Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Diving in the Florida Keys

We hadn't really planned to dive when we were in the Florida Keys, we thought we would have had enough by then. But since we didn't do as much as we'd hoped on Andros (due to weather) we decided to dive a couple of days here. We're glad we did since it was quite different from San Salvador and Andros, and better than we expected.

There are lots of dive companies here. We picked one nearby where we're staying that got good reviews - Abyss Dive Center. Unlike San Salvador and Andros a dive master / guide is optional. We chose to just dive on our own. The first day the dives were shallow (Samantha and Horseshoe) - only about 8 meters (25 feet). There were tons of fish and the coral was in decent shape and colorful (the color is always better at shallow depths).  The first day we had another couple (beginners) with us, the second day it was just Shelley and I and we did a bit deeper dive (the Gap, 20m) first, and then another shallow dive (the Donut). It's nice to see so many fish, although most of them are small. The lobster we saw are also small. The groupers were also a lot more wary and a lot less friendly here. This is likely due to fishing and catching lobster. Even the dive people, who emphasize conserving the reef, are still spearfishing and catching lobster.

I love the Christmas Tree Worms. Each pair of "trees" is one worm. Look close and you can see the "heads" of the worms. You have to move slowly though - if they sense you (water movement?) they disappear ("fold" up) in an instant. I commonly have a couple of photos of them out, then subsequent shots of nothing.

christmas tree worms

The barracuda were quite curious and unafraid as long as you didn't make any sudden moves.

friendly barracuda

In the Caribbean, there are lots of these on the menu - conch fritters, conch salad, conch soup. It's not just the French who like eating snails! (Conch are large snails, this one was about 10 inches long.) You can see its trail in the sand.


We didn't see many Sergeant Majors in the Bahamas, but most places they are common.

sergeant majors

It's hard to give a good feel of just how many fish there are. Imagine being surrounded by flocks of colorful birds (only slower and quieter!)


View all 41 photos as a slideshow or overview.

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