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Diving in hurricane weather
sk290 - 8/26/2008 5:47 PM
Category: General
Replies: 25

We’re counting down the days to Cozumel, leaving Sat for a week with 9 dive buddies, most of them from this site (thanks Greg!). And what do you know? Dam Gustav has just turned into a hurricane this morning and it might be heading our way (DAMN, DAMN DAMN!!!).

I don’t care though. I’m diving, hurricane or not! My question is: has anyone dove in hurricane conditions before? What is that like? Are the waters calmer down below?

The worst it could happen is that we have to be evacuated to the main island (I’m told). Then you’ll find me in some bar gulping down mojitos... no vacation wasted anyways!!!!!! :)
uwlover4u - 8/26/2008 6:03 PM

I’ve gone diving in hurricane conditions in Key Largo and trust me IT’S DANGEROUS. Getting in the water is easy enough. Getting out is another story. All and I mean all the fish disappear to deeper water. It’s really no calmer 10 meters or more down, the water gets very silty, the vis is 20 feet or less. Trust me it’s not worth it. I’d rather stay at a beach bar and just drink and watch the action.

rescue15 - 8/26/2008 6:23 PM

You won’t find any boats to go out. I almost got blown out with 1 foot seas in Key Largo during spring break...1 foot seas are barely ripples where I usually dive.

ScubaHawk - 8/26/2008 6:33 PM

As an xprofessional mariner, please trust me on this: Hurricanes are dangersous! Now, if you would like to feel insignicant, and if you have a death wish, play with mother nature while she is at her worst!
bushwacker4u - 8/26/2008 6:34 PM

I really was feeling down about not getting to go on this trip but now ,I feel better." Thank You Gustav". However, according to gustav will be [ at ] 120 mph on sunday but way north of cozumel like just above the 25 long line and cozumel is just above the 20 . The glassy water mentioned earlier will probally be more like the dreams of some of my buddies....shattered. but hopefully Gustav will drive the sealife south to ya ...right? Haven’t dove in a hurricane but have had to dive in galvestion bay in a storm before the sailboat went down ..not that hard to get out of water ..ummmm after you get in the Coast Guard basket.

Hope ya’ll have a great time and get in some good diving .
seawolfdiving - 8/26/2008 7:23 PM

I’ve been diving in "near Hurricane" conditions doing checks on docks, moorings, etc...

The surge is usually pretty BAD. The vis. almost always SUX, currents can get to be really RIPPING, and surface ops are usually down right DANGEROUS.

These are NOT conditions that I would take students or fellow divers out in for recreational diving. 

Not to mention, it’s not much FUN...!

But if your heart is set on doing it...

All I can say is GOOD LUCK...!


Bobo - 8/26/2008 8:37 PM
Girl stay out of that mess, bad rips, bad surge, bad wave action. sit in the bar and watch the rain and wind. bump the water action no need.
tshark - 8/26/2008 8:44 PM
What are your thinking? Sound familar? Well maybe you could hand feed hot dogs to the eels too while your at it. Be careful I would attend hurricane partys. Just my 2 cents. Be safe.
SCUBASMITTY - 8/27/2008 1:06 AM
let’s see: hurricane +9 stranded dive buddy’s+ mojitos ? hhmmm sound’s like the making’s of a damn good hurricane party to me !! you gotta submit pix from this one !!!
Blade - 8/27/2008 6:07 AM
Well they are officially called Typhoons in my waters but the effect is the same; stay out of the water. It is simply too dangerous. The viz is typically shot because of all the recent turbulence so even if the water has calmed you can’t see crap. I hope it has passed before you get there but if it still lingers have a mojito for me...

Good luck and safe diving...
dalehall - 8/27/2008 6:11 AM

Have a good time and be safe Sandra..
Hopefully, it will stay North of your area and give you some diving..
Of course, we’ll be expecting a report and pics when you get back...
DiveNClimb - 8/27/2008 6:45 AM

Hey Sandra, Just go and enjoy your vacation. I am heading to Roatan Saturday for 7 nights. we did this same trip last year when Huricane felix hit a catagory five and was coming right at us. We were forced off the Island, but the the mainlanders were walking around the airport and taing our flights. We (Group of 19) were resued and evcaced by US military and rode a chanook to the mainland. It ended up that Felix turned south and slamed into nicaragua and never touched the Island. We returned and finished our holiday losing only 2-1/2 days of diving.

All in all it was a trip of a lifetime and non of us regretted it.

So enjoy your holiday, Dive if safe, meet and make friend. Live, laugh and love. Joe


Thunderdiver - 8/27/2008 2:18 PM

I have dove in Hurricane weather in the Gulf off the coast of Galvestion. That was my first ocean dive and how I got my name Thunderdiver. I advise against diving in that type of weather. Things are very different blow the surface. Currents change on a dime. Themos are crazy and you still have to surface. So getting on board a boat is an adventure.

DIVE SAFE and do NOT dive in Hurricane weather. I do not think that you have a death wish...
Greg - 8/27/2008 3:15 PM
Regardless of whether you all decide to DIVE or DRINK during the hurricane...I want a group photo!!! Whoever has divebuddy shirts, please wear them. And tell the resort you’re staying at that you’re a group! I’m glad most of you met on the site. Make sure to dive safe. Later, Greg.
ScouterJT - 8/27/2008 5:02 PM
if a hurricane is strong enough to up-right the Spiegel Grove at depth, there’s no way I’m going to go diving in one
mukashi - 8/27/2008 7:50 PM
Don’t waste your time. Here off of our coast when a storm comes through, visibility is extremely poor for quite a while.
MouthBreather - 8/30/2008 1:04 PM

Seriously? Ahh, update your life insurance, update your will. If you are like 90% of us and prone to seasickness you will be "feeding the fish." Unless you are in the Navy and you are compelled to be there, the ocean is no place to be during a storm much less a hurricane. I’m just sayin’...
seafox - 8/31/2008 8:04 PM

Don’t think I can add more words like, dont’do it, dangerous, stupid ect.....

However if you are not convinced, and don’t beleive that a hurricane affect a great deal more then the surface, here is what happenned in the Florida Keys while Hurricane Dennis was passsing through!

Divers discovered the USS Spiegel Grove had rolled upright, apparently courtesy of waves spawned by Hurricane Dennis.

USS Spiegel Grove - Courtesy: AP Hurricane Dennis fixes botched Florida reef
MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) Mother Nature tidied up a man-made mess off the coast of the Florida Keys when the force of Hurricane Dennis flipped a sunken U.S. Navy ship into the perfect position to help form an artificial reef.

Powerful waves and currents generated by the hurricane flipped over the 510-foot (155-meter) USS Spiegel Grove and set it to rest on its keel on the ocean floor, reef project managers said on Tuesday.

That was the position Key Largo scuba divers and tourism promoters had aimed for when they scuttled the 6,880-tonne hulk in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in 2002.

"I’m flabbergasted," said Rob Bleser, the volunteer project director, after diving on the reoriented wreck on Monday. "Nature took its course and put it where it belongs."

Sandra, just a suggestion, but I would rethink this trip!

Take care and be safe,

seafox - 8/31/2008 8:21 PM

Wish we had an edit button!

I t’s not clear in my note but prior to Hurricane Dennis, the USS Spiegel Grove was lying on her starboard side, slight angle upwards.

Not as planned!

Following Dennis, to the surprise of divers like me, she was perfectly upright, sitting on her keel, the way it was intented when she was sunk!

Keep in mind that she is 510’ long x 85’ wide, 7000 tons, sitting in 130’ of water.

Do you still want to dive in a hurricane? :)

Me, I dive all over the world in sometimes unpleasant and questionnable conditions, but I don’t dive in thunderstorms, nevermind hurricanes!

sk290 - 9/01/2008 5:10 PM

UPDATE FROM COZUMEL (yes, jeoalousy is not a pretty color!!!).

We got in on Sunday, the sun was shinning, hot weather and no one in the island. We have the island all to ourselves. It’s incredible! We dove Santa Rosa yesterday with beautiful weather and great viz... just like I remember! Also did a shallow dive (can’t spell it) as welll. Had dinner at Jeannie’s. Again, great food and cheap beer.

Today we went to Columbia Caves and had the best dive yet. Awesome drops, incredible caves, great viz. Got back and had lunch at Rockin’Java. Great place, good food, and again, cheap beer.

Tomorrow we do the C-53. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the week is like. Signing off for now... going napping. Wish you were all here with us. Having the time of our lives! :) :) :)


seafox - 9/10/2008 2:59 PM
FYI: Update on the Oriskany Wreck Following Gustav

Some changes have happened to the popular wreck following Hurricane Gustav last week. FIRST-HAND report from the scene....

The following is a first-hand report of a dive on the Oriskany this past weekend. Our correspondent is Captain Dave Mucci of Blue Water Dive Adventures.
I had a charter to the Oriskany on Saturday morning, September the 6th.
When my divemaster jumped in and could not find my primary sub-surface buoy, which was at 30 fsw and clearly visible prior to Gustav, the red flag went up.
I tied into a secondary buoy and set the boat up for dive ops.
My divemaster prepared the clients for their first dive and I jumped in mask, fins and snorkel to search for the "lost" buoy.
Visibility was about 40’ on the surface and I found the buoy at around 50 fsw.
seafox - 9/10/2008 3:01 PM

(Cont’d) After their first dive the DM reported that he thought the ship seemed deeper than he had remembered. At this point I knew I had to do a survey dive to confirm my suspicions. I did not bring my SCUBA gear, so I set it up for Sunday.
Sunday morning I donned my gear and hit the water, the visibility was maybe 40’ on the surface.
I marked my primary sub-surface buoy at 45 fsw, the flags were wrapped around the buoy line and I could not see the wreck, I cleared the flags and headed down.
My first stop was the flight deck amidships, approximatly fifty feet inboard of the island, viz was around 20’.
I had dove this spot many times and had marked it at 136 fsw, it now marked at 147 fsw.
I took several marks at various locations to try to get a feel as to whether she had listed or not.
seafox - 9/10/2008 3:02 PM
(Cont’d) The outboard side (port) sits at 139 fsw and was the shallowest mark I got.
Amidships marks at 147 fsw aft of the island and 150 fsw, 20 feet in front of the island.
I marked the top of structure at 84 fsw with the top pipe at 78 fsw (it was the shallowest point of the wreck at 67 fsw).
The tip of the yardarm (starboard side refueling boom where the flags hang) is at 88 fsw, it was at 75 fsw, which puts the flags at around 95 fsw, they were at 85 fsw and also indicates that she has listed to starboard about five degrees.
She is still an awesome dive and somewhat a "new" dive now, but a little deeper than before.

That’s it for now.
Safe diving,
Capt. Dave