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St Andrews State Park Jetties
BeachBubbles - 7/21/2007 12:00 AM
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Category: Travel
Comments: 1
St Andrews State Park JettiesThis is my very first, of hopefully many dive blogs. It`s been a year since we (my two sons, Daniel and Ben and I) got our open water diving certificates and we finally got back in the water last weekend. It`s our fifth dive and our very first dive away from our instructor!


Unfortunately we forgot the underwater camera, so I googled some of the things we saw and am sharing them with you here.

We met up with a few fellow members of the local dive club, Scubaholics, in the wee early hours at a jetty in Panama City where there are lots of pretty (and notsopretty) fishies hanging out.

When we walked over the dunes to the beach there were about a dozen other diver down flags already in the water. Best dive times are dictated by the tide, so other divers in the area had the same idea.

Scuba diving is BIG...I mean REALLY BIG in Panama City. On the main drag leading up to the park, I counted no less than a dozen dive shops, including one inside the park. I swear there are as many dive shops per capita in Panama City as there are chiropracters in Tampa.

I have to say I LOVE diving. But I`m not very experienced. Luckily since I was with some other very experienced divers in the club, most of my awkward missteps were caught before I got myself into serious trouble. Such as my regulator tubes were all twisted and discombobulated in such a way that I had zero slack in my breathing tube. And my boyancy compensator (the jacket that helps me go up and down) was unfastened.

I felt like a child on my first day off to kindergarten as the my fellow divers ushered me back to shallower water and adjusted all my tubes and fasteners for me.

Hey that`s what buddies are for!

Teresa, Dawn and Keith, all dive masters (i.e. certified upthebutt diving experts) graciously volunteered to buddy up with the lesser experienced divers. So Daniel, Ben and I split up. Dawn took me, Keith took Ben (who ended up having to abort because he had trouble clearing his ears), and Teresa took Daniel.

First we went over a few basics as a quick primer, and off we went.... or DOWN we went!

Oh. My. God! We saw some cool shit!

A large (18" long) hogfish was chillin out in a nook between some rocks. You had to peek over a big rock to see him.

A Green Moray Eel snuck up behind Daniel, then swam away.

An Arrow Crab greeted us between some rocks. Isn`t that guy FREAKY lookin!! The one we saw had a couple legs severed at the knee. OUCH!

Dawn picked it up and it danced on her palm. Then she tried to hand it to me! But in my excitement, I inhaled sharply and floated up toward the surface. By the time I got my boyancy under control it had scurried back into its little corner. This little boyancy problem happened quite a bit. Eventually Dawn took to grabbing my hand and pulling me back down. I`ll get it. Give me time. I`ll get it.

We saw several other kinds of fishies including Black Grouper.

And Peacock Flounder. Can you see it? The one we saw was no bigger than my open hand. Dawn touched it with her fingers and it fluttered and swam away.

We also saw several types of anemonea and tube worms or fan worms. When we touched them they would duck right back into their tube.

We also saw a Cow Fish about the size of a football.

In total we were under water about an hour.... the others were. I missed out on the first 20 minutes because of my little fastener problem. Oh well.

After our dive we all convened under the picnic pavillion for sack lunches and reminisced over our dive. Communication while under water is very limited.

That was the most fun I`ve had in a while! Wow.


Greg - 7/22/2007 12:00 AM
Wonderful blog! I love the use of photos.