Family Dive Log

Last Updated: 10/4/2011
New Log Order : Trips are listed most recent first. Dives within a trip are listed oldest first.

The resolution of pictures in this log is significantly reduced for web viewing. These pictures are also usually color enhanced to counter the light-filtering effects of water. If you are interested in any of the pictures in this log (or pictures of other fish commonly found around Caribbean reefs), please let me know (at scott@hartog.net) and I'll email you the full-resolution originals. You may use the pictures in this log (especially for educational purposes), but please send me a note at scott@hartog.net if you do use any of them.

Except where noted otherwise, these pictures were taken with a Canon SD600 six megapixel point-and-shoot camera set in underwater mode. The camera itself was in a Canon WP-DC4 underwater housing. Pictures taken after 2008 also used an Intova ISS-2000 strobe. The manual operation of the power setting on the strobe takes some practice.

For fish names, I used the “Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas” edition of the books “Reef Fish In-A-Pocket” and “Reef Creature In-A-Pocket” by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach (see www.fishid.com for info on these books). I recommend these books because they are very complete and also very light and portable. I think the pages are plastic, so you can put them both right in your dive bag (although I haven't actually taken them underwater with me). I also have the book “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes”. This is a great field guide and has a lot of great pictures and information for a huge variety of fish, but it is larger, heavier, and not water proof, so it is more of a fascinating home reference than an on-the-spot reference.

You can use the links below to jump to the entry for a specific dive.

_____________________________________________

October 1, 2011 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Snapper Ledge Cave at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Turtle Hole (near Wellwood) at Molasses Reef

October 2, 2011 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Benwood Wreck and Pierre's Ledge Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Woody's Ledge at French Reef


_____________________________________________

September 11, 2010 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Sandbottom Cave at French Reef
Dive #2 – Woody's Ledge at French Reef

Dive #3 – Night Dive! Sandbottom Cave at French Reef

September 12, 2010 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Benwood Wreck and Pierre's Ledge Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Woody's Ledge at French Reef


_____________________________________________

August 13, 2010 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Sting Ray Alley at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Spanish Anchor at Molasses Reef

August 14, 2010 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Snapper Ledge at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Pillar Coral at Molasses Reef

August 14, 2010 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Night Dive at Aquarium at Molasses Reef

_____________________________________________


November 25, 2009 – St. Thomas, USVI
Dive #1 – Rye Reef (or Wye Reef)
Dive #2 – Cartanza Senora (or Cartansa Sr.)

_____________________________________________


August 29, 2009 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Wench Hole (Ball 10) at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Donut (Ball 1) at French Reef

August 30, 2009 – Key Largo, FL
Dive #1 – Benwood Wreck
Dive #2 – Christmas Tree Cave (Ball 4) at French Reef

_____________________________________________


June 19, 2008 – Key Largo, FL

Dive #1 – Wench Hole at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Pickles Reef

June 20, 2008 – Key Largo, FL
Dive #1 – Wellwood Wreck at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Fire Coral Cave at Molasses Reef

June 21, 2008 – Key Largo, FL
Dive #1 – Snapper Ledge at Molasses Reef
Dive #2 – Pickles Reef

_____________________________________________

October 1 , 2011 – Key Largo, Florida top

This trip was originally scheduled for mid-August, then rescheduled for Labor Day weekend, and then rescheduled again (because Hollyn had a cold) for October 1. The sea life didn't seem as plentiful as on our August and September dives, but there were still unique and interesting things to take pictures of.

The theme for the dives was.... “jellyfish” and lots of ‘em. On the first dive, we plopped down right into a big flock (school?) of jellyfish. They were numerous on every dive and hanging out at about 10-15ft.

A secondary theme for the dives might have been “turtle”. We had several minutes swimming with a large green sea turtle that just hung around the divers. I captured a nice movie of the turtle gracefully swimming by, but it was shot without camera light, so it needs to be edited to revive the colors. When I figure out how to do that, I'll post the movie.

We also saw...

This time we stayed at Ocean Pointe in a nice, very clean, two-bedroom condo on the gulf-side of Tavernier. It’s about 11 miles down US1 from the Holiday Inn. They have a marina, pool, tennis courts, volley ball court, bar/grill, and other similar amenities. We only stayed one night and we were beat from the drive and the dive, so we didn't take advantage of anything outside the condo itself. If we do another multi-day, extended-family dive trip, this place might be a better choice than the Holiday Inn because the condo is more spacious and comfortable than a hotel room and the place has good amenities for non-dive time.

Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef Dive Center (RRDC). They're relaible and flexible and they treat us well so we keep on using them. We had Brad Grizzle as a dive guide for all our dives on this trip. He has signed my logbook probably 15 times now. He's on the left in this picture below. Abby (also a dive guide) is on the right and I can't remember the name of the young lady in the middle. She was the boat deck hand.




Dive #1 – Snapper Ledge at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

56

1:41pm
EDT

44

fair

80

Mostly sunny




Anchor

Moon Jellyfish closer to my face/camera than I wanted it to be.



Blue sponge – maybe a “Branching Vase Sponge”?

Christmas Tree Worms



Queen Angel fish

Dive #2 – Turtle Hole (near Wellwood) at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

53

2:55pm
EDT

45

fair

79

mostly sunny



This is a new dive sight for RRDC and they dive it specifically because a large green sea turtle hangs out here. We were lucky enough to swim with her (him?) for a couple of minutes and get some pictures.

a big remora, probably about 3 feet long.

...which was intensely interested in Hayes

And now some family pictures...

Hayes

Hollyn

Leslie

Scott

October 2 , 2011 – Key Largo, Florida top

Dive #1 – Benwood Wreck and Pierre's Ledge at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

67

9:18am
EDT

50

fair to poor

71

mostly sunny


The 67 ft depth on this dive occurred at Pierre's ledge. The rest of the dive was at about 40-45ft.

Very tiny arrow crab. A little larger than a daddy longlegs spider.

Grey Angelfish

Dive #2 – French Trench (near Woody's Ledge) at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

69

10:35am
EDT

41

fair

78

mostly sunny


Although my computer recorded a 69 depth at some point in this dive (which I don't remember specifically), virtually all of the dive was at about 40-45ft.

Colorful coral outcrop

Lionfish (aggressively invasive species in the Keys)

Florida Spiny Lobster (head obscured by coral)

September 11 , 2010 – Key Largo, Florida top

Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef Dive Center (RRDC). This was our “makeup” dive trip because Hollyn could not dive on our August trip due to a cold.

Dive #1 – Sandbottom Cave at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

48

2:28pm
EDT

43

fair

80

partly cloudy


TODO – add pictures.

Dive #2 – Woody's at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

48

3:44pm
EDT

49

fair

80

partly cloudy

TODO – add pictures.



Dive #3 – Night Dive! Sandbottom Cave at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

49

7:55pm
EDT

44

good

77

partly cloudy

TODO – add pictures.

September 12, 2010 – Key Largo, Florida top

Dive #1 – Benwood Wreck and Pierre's Ledge at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

40
(10 min @ 70ft)

9:25am
EDT

50

good

73

clear sunny


TODO – add pictures.

Dive #2 – Woody's Ledge at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

55

10:50am
EDT

49

very good

79

clear sunny

TODO – add pictures.

August 13 , 2010 – Key Largo, Florida top

Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef Dive Center (RRDC) (www.rainbowreef.us) for the third year in a row. Their prices are competitive, and we have always received safe, professional, flexible service from them. They are very good with younger divers which is important to us. If it ain't broken, don't fix it, so we chose them again this year.

This trip was a bigger production than previous years. Instead of being just my immediate family (wife and kids) and my cousin Rick, this year the group also included my parents, my sister Marci and her family, and my daughter's friend Emily. For August14th, we had ten divers and two snorkelers which made it cost-effective for us to charter RRDC's Tropical Explorer dive boat for just our group.

RRDC certified three new divers in our group on this trip. Bill and Ben were certified by Jeff and Emily was certified by Brad. My sister, Marci, also took the “scuba tune-up” course from Jeff.

I decided to invest in entry-level equipment for my immediate family thinking that it might pay-off if we are going to dive frequently as a family. I chose Oceanic for everything because I found an amazing package deal from an authorized Oceanic dealer (PrimeScuba.com) and because we have dived with this same Oceanic equipment in the past as rental equipment. For the record, we now all have OceanPro BCD, SP-5 DVT first stage regulators, Alpha-8 Sport second stage regulators, Alpha-8 Octos, and the two-gauge Depth Max console (except Hayes whose package also included the compass – presumably by accident). I recommend this equipment because it is simple and reliable and it works fine for recreational diving. I also recommend George at PrimeScuba.com. He was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about this equipment.

I also added a dive computer to my equipment list. I bought the entry level Aeris XR1. It does everything I need it to do and it is not very expensive. I replaced the depth gauge in my console with the computer. I use it more for dive log information than for info while I dive. (Note from previous log entries that I had trouble getting computer data out of my cousin Rick, so now I can just get it out of my own computer.)

On a down note – my daughter Hollyn came down with a cold the day before the trip. She tried like a trooper to dive on two different boat trips, but she was not able to equalize her ears and so she was unable to dive. This was especially a bummer because Hollyn's friend, Emily, came with us on this trip and they were not able to dive together.

Dive #1 – Sting Ray Alley at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

37

2:07pm
EDT

48

50
okay

81

mostly
sunny
hot


Our dive master for this dive was Amber.

On this dive, I took pictures of many different fish that I chose not to include in this log entry.

The reasons I chose not to include these pictures is (1) this log would become too large, (2) I already have pictures of many of these fish in my log, (3) some of my new pictures were not especially good.

Here are the picture I chose to include:

Emily and her instructor, Brad

left to right: Sara, Anne, Leslie (in back), Hayes, Nana, Emily, Hollyn

Hayes and Leslie with their new regs!

Channel Clinging Crab (~6” carapace)

Blue Anglefish (not Queen Anglefish)

Black Grouper

Green Moray Eel

Queen Anglefish

Dive #2 – Spanish Anchor at Molasses Reef

Max
Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

26

3:21pm
EDT

47

50
okay

81

mostly
sunny
hot


Our dive master for this dive was Amber. On this dive I also saw a french angelfish, but I failed to get a sharply focused picture of it.

Leslie, Hayes, Scott

Honeycomb Cowfish (it has horns)

Southern Sting Ray

Orange-spotted Filefish

Stoplight Parrotfish (male)

Scrawled Filefish
(with Four-eyed Butterflyfish in the upper right)

August 14 , 2010 – Key Largo, Florida top

On this dive, Leslie chartered the RRDC's Tropical Explorer, because we had enough divers to make chartering cost-effective. Again, Hollyn was not able to clear her ears and could not submerge (though she tried hard).

Dive #1 – Snapper Ledge at Molasses Reef

Max
Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

33

2:07pm
EDT

50

50
okay

81

sunny
hot


Our dive master for this dive was Becky “Squirrel”.

Rare Snorkeling Treyfish

Snorkeling Annefish

Rick and Betsy

Channel Clinging Crab

Graysby

Stoplight Parrotfish (female)

Scorpionfish (camouflaged)
The scorpionfish picture above was taken by Rick or Betsy with a Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera.

Dive #2 – Pillar Coral at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

42

3:13pm
EDT

52

50
okay

82

sunny
hot


Our dive master for this dive was Brad Grizzle. Brad has an easy diving pace and he points out sea life that I can never seem to spot on my own. I have never dived this site before. There are outcroppings of tall coral which gave me the overall impression of cacti growing in the desert. There are some pictures of the pillar coral below.

Balloonfish

Porkfish

Queen Anglefish

Emily and her instructor, Brad

Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Yellow Stingray

Banded Coral Shrimp

Yellowhead Jawfish
The yellowhead jawfish picture above was taken by Rick or Betsy with a Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera.

Pillar Coral (with Trumpetfish)
The pillar coral picture above was taken by Rick or Betsy with a Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera.

August 14 , 2010 – Key Largo, Florida top

Dive #1 (of 1) – Aquarium at Molasses Reef

Max
Depth
(ft)

Entry
Time

Bottom
Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water
Temp
(°F)

Skies

29

8:34pm
EDT

59

50
okay

79

new moon


NIGHT DIVE! (one tank)

Our dive master for this dive was my cousin Rick. Hayes was my dive-buddy and Rick and Betsy were the only other divers from our dive group. Everyone else was either tired from the afternoon dives or intimidated by the idea of night dive. There was a new moon this night, so there was effectively no moon light.

Rick saw an octopus on this dive but I did not see it (and I didn't, at the time, understand Rick's underwater signal for octopus). Another couple of divers on our boat snapped some colorful pictures of two different squid, but our group did not see any squid.

We spent some time with our flashlights off to observe the bio-luminescence in the water and on the reef. We could see what appeared to be luminescent flakes or sparks fly off our fingertips when we waved our hands underwater. Dots of light also appeared sparsely on the reef itself. Relatively bright blue dots of bio-luminescence would frequently appear suspended in the water nearby. The bio-luminescence was not as prevalent as I remember from my only other night dive about 15 years ago, but Rick tells me that it varies. Another factor in viewing the bio-luminescence was that we could never fully get our eyes adjusted because there were 17 other divers underwater from out boat, and a group of them would invariably swim by with their flashlights on and reset our night-vision. Even so, I think the bio-luminescence was Hayes's favorite part of the dive.

I had trouble taking pictures on this dive. My camera needs some light to focus, so I think I need a low-power, always-on, “spotter light” for taking pictures underwater at night. I also turned my strobe off several times while we were trying to adjust our eyes for bio-luminescence (because my strobe has bright LED indicators on it). After each attempt to view the bio-luminescence, it took me a few shots to realize that my strobe was turned off so I missed some shots.

Blue Tang

I'm not sure if blue tang always have these stripes and I just don't notice them during the day, but every blue tang that I saw on the night dive had these vertical stripes. You can tell it is a blue tang by the small yellow dot just in front of the tail.

Green Sea Turtle

We were told to NOT shine our lights on resting/sleeping sea turtles. If they are startled from rest, they can take a breath of sea water and drown. Even if they don't breathe sea water, they can become disoriented and injure themselves or the reef. This green sea turtle, however, came swimming by us, so it was not resting/sleeping and I snapped a picture of it. (It didn't seem to be affected in anyway. It seemed completely disinterested in me.)

The dive master also told us not to disturb sleeping parrotfish. They sleep in a bubble of mucus (reminds me of my kids as toddlers) and they are only able to construct one mucus bubble per night. If you disturb them, then they don't get enough sleep and become more susceptible to diseases and predators.

Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Hayes underwater (not a great picture)

November 25, 2009 – St. Thomas, USVI top

Both dives were at roughly the same site – Shipwreck Cove at Buck Island in St. Thomas USVI. The dives were arranged through the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas. The outfitter was Underwater Safaris (Water World Outfitters in the Havensite Shopping Mall right next to the Cruise Ship Dock, P.O. Box 8469, St. Thomas, USVI00801, (340)774-1350, 340-774-3737) and our underwater group guide was Russ.

Water temp was about 80F. Leslie, Hollyn, and I dove with just long-sleeve rash-shirts. I was comfortable with the temperature. Hayes dove with a half wet-suit, because he has no body-fat and is prone to becoming chilled.

Dive #1 – Rye Reef (or Wye Reef)

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

47

45

30
okay

80

sunny
hot


This was not one of my favorite dives. Much of the dive was spent swimming over what appeared to be construction debris like chunks of concrete (see background of picture of Hollyn below). Also, our dive master seemed to be in quite a hurry. My young son, Hayes, had a hard time keeping up and was also occasionally confused by the presence of several different dive groups in close proximity. Many times he swam after one of these groups in a frantic hurry to catch-up. I would retrieve him only to be scolded underwater by the dive master upon return for not staying with the group. In my opinion, this dive was actually made worse by the dive master. Adjusting to the needs of the group by going at a slower pace would have solved this problem.

Hollyn

Spotted Moray Eel

Branching Vase Sponge ?

More information about Rye/Wye Reef can be found at
http://www.divingstthomas.com/wyereef.htm

Dive #2 – Cartanza Senora (or Cartansa Sr.)

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

47

45

30
okay

80

sunny
hot


Things got a little more interesting at this second dive sight because (1) we were diving in a confined area so Hayes did not struggle to stay with the group and (2) there was an interesting wreck to see. We also saw a turtle that decided to settle on the wreck and watch the divers.

As much as I didn't care for our dive master, he did have at least one intriguing talent. See the picture of the air rings below.

Hayes

Fairy Basslet

Leslie (top), Hayes, Scott, Hollyn

Hollyn in wreck swim-through.

Air rings blown by Dive Master Russ

Green sea turtle

More information about Rye/Wye Reef can be found a
http://www.divingstthomas.com/catanzasenora.htm

The site seaturtle.org created a sea turtle identification chart...
http://www.seaturtle.org/documents/ID_sheet.pdf

August 29, 2009 – Key Largo, FL top

My cousin, Rick Riera-Gomez, dove with us again and was Hayes's dive buddy. Rick is a dive instructor with GUE and is the dive safety office for the University of Miami.

Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef (again).

Dive #1 – Wench Hole (Ball 10) at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

??

??

Okay
40

86

Sunny


Rick: If you read this, I never received the depth/times for these dives from your dive computer, please mail them to me.

TODO -- Add notes and pictures.

More information on Molasses Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/molasses.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-70/view.divespot

Dive #2 – Donut (Ball 1) at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

??

??

30

86

sunny
hot


TODO -- Add notes and pictures.

More information on French Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/french.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-79/view.divespot

August 30, 2009 – Key Largo, FL top

On this trip, we dove as a family group and stayed with the drive master, Brad Grizzle. Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef.

Dive #1 – Benwood Wreck

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

47

45

30
okay

86

sunny
hot


TODO -- Add pictures.

At this site, we saw a WWII-era bomb and an anchor. We also swam over Pierre's ledge which is a drop to about 60ft. As with most of our Key Largo dives, the fish were everywhere.

More information on the Benwood Wreck can be found here.
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/sanctuary_resources/shipwreck_trail/benwood.html
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-76/view.divespot

Dive #2 – Christmas Tree Cave (Ball 4) at French Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

48

51

30
okay

86

sunny
hot

TODO -- Add pictures.

This site has two swim-throughs – sandbottom “cave” and Christmas Tree “cave”.

More information on French Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/french.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-79/view.divespot

June 19, 2008 – Key Largo, FL top

I don't have very good record for these June 19, 2008 dives. Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef, and our dive master was Allen Trusdale. Hayes did not participate in these dives because he was taking the PADI certification class in the pool at the back at the hotel. Hollyn did participate, but the dive master was her dive buddy because she had not yet performed her final PADI OW check-out dive.

Dive #1 – Wench Hole at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

35

45

good

82

cloudy


Lots of swimming against the current.

The following pictures were taken with a Canon SD600 using only the built-in flash. This was my first dive taking pictures with a digital camera, so many of the pictures were unremarkable.


Scott

Hollyn

Anemone

More information on Molasses Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/molasses.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-70/view.divespot

Dive #2 – Pickles Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

35

45

good

82

rainy


Longspine Squirrelfish

??

Mostly french grunts with some blue-striped grunts

More information on Pickles Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/pickles.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-34/view.divespot

June 20, 2008 – Key Largo, FL top

Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef, and our dive master was Brad Grizzle (#237016). Neither Hayes nor Hollyn dove these dives with Leslie and me because they were both doing their final PADI OW check-out dives. They dove at the same time as we did, but they dove with their PADI instructor, MarcyAnn McDonald. I highly recommend Marcy and it is hard to imagine how anyone could have interacted better with my son, Hayes, who had trouble sitting still for the class parts of the instruction.

[Update 9/12/2010 – We bumped into Marcy again on a Rainbow Reef Dive Boat on 9/12/2010. Marcy is now an instructor at “Sea Experience Marine and Dive Store” in Fort Lauderdale (www.seaxp.com). She is still great with young divers and I still recommend her.]

Dive #1 – Wellwood Wreck at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

35

50

good

82

sunny
calm


No current, clear water. This is not a wreck dive per-se. The M/V Wellwood hit the reef in 1984 and remained “aground” for 12 days until she was dragged off. Leslie and I did not dive with the group on this dive so that we could go slower and take pictures. I had much better success with the camera on these two dives. The following pictures were taken with a Canon SD600 using only the built-in flash.

Green Moray Eel

Blue Tang amongst Blue-striped Grunts


Hollyn and Hayes with PADI Instructor Marcy McDonald


Hollyn with a compass doing underwater orientation on her checkout dive.

Hayes on his check-out dive

French Anglefish

Stoplight Parrotfish (female)

Florida Spiny Lobster


Smooth Trunkfish with a Striped Parrotfish

I also snapped pictures of Blue Chromis, French Grunts (which are all over reefs near Key Largo), White Grunts, Schoolmasters, Tri-colored Damselfish, male Stoplight Parrotfish, Porkfish, Trumpetfish, Sailor's Choice, and Neon Gobies on Maze Coral.

We also saw a memorial stone marker for Dan Baleer who apparently died in 2005.

More information on the Wellwood Wreck can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/molasses.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-70/view.divespot (Molasses Reef)
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/special/wellwood/project.html
http://www.reef.org/enews/articles/fiveyear-wellwood-restoration-assessment-completed

Dive #2 – Fire Coral Cave at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

35

50

good

82

sunny
calm


Scrawled Filefish

Humongous, damaged brain coral.

school of Blue Tang

Goliath Grouper (“Bert”)

I also snapped pictures of Barracuda (fairly common around key Largo dive sites), and a school of big Tarpon.

This was the best dive that I have had in the Key Largo dive area (to date). There was zero current and the water was clear. The skies were sunny, so there was lots of color even at 35ft.

We saw a regular resident, Bert, (see photo) who is a Goliath Grouper. He seemed unfazed by our presence and by my flash. Even so, I did not get a good picture of him that conveys his size.

More information on Molasses Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/molasses.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-70/view.divespot

June 21, 2008 – Key Largo, FL top

My cousin, Rick Riera-Gomez, dove with us and was Hayes's dive buddy. Rick is a dive instructor with GUE and is the dive safety office for the University of Miami.

Rick: If you read this and you have the depth/times for these dives, please mail them to me.

Our outfitter was Rainbow Reef.

Dive #1 – Snapper Ledge at Molasses Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

??

??

some
turbidity

??

sunny
calm


Balloonfsh

Scrawled Cowfish



Trumpetfish


Grunts and Schoolmasters hanging out under a crop of Elkhorn Coral

More information on Snapper Ledge can be found here
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-147/view.divespot

Dive #2 – Pickles Reef

Depth
(ft)

Bottom Time
(min)

Visibility
(ft)

Water Temp
(°F)

Skies

??

??

Okay
40

??

sunny
calm


Smooth Trunkfish

Sea Cucumber

Leslie and Hayes

Also snapped a picture of a green moray eel, but there was lots of “snow” in the picture.

Cousin Rick

I saw lobster and green moray eel within 60 seconds of reaching the bottom on this dive. I also saw a Yellow Stingray, Sea Urchins, Stoplight Parrotfish, Squirrelfish, Blue Tangs.

More information on Pickles Reef can be found here
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/research_monitoring/pickles.html (map)
http://www.divespots.com/scuba/spotID-34/view.divespot