Finally: Clearing warming water! It’s been way too long since this thermally challenged body has immersed in the abyss. Another winter of rapid-fire cold fronts have drastically limited the number of diveable days in southwest Florida this year. We tied our record set last year of not being able to get a trip out for six weeks in a row. Cold fronts not only make the water murky, they make it cold. Both suck! My minimum threshold is 70°, most locals are more like 80° and the Northerners just laugh at us all! There is no finality about the potential impending move of the Dive Shop which many of you have been asking about. Variables keep shifting and there are limited options, so for now we keep flowing!
Revitalize: Friends ran out yesterday to dive and spear. This is Paul’s take on the experience; "Found the conditions wonderful but most important, the sea heals and revitalizes me”. I LOVE the word REVITALIZE! Who doesn’t want to revitalize? If you’re a spearo like Joshua, your revitalization may be impaling ‘“30 inch mangrove snapper”. Thirty inch Mangos? I had to call him out, so I asked if he measured them I got no reply. Today he shows me a picture on a big Mango laying on a measuring tape. The bottom line is, fisherman exaggerate! We don’t lie, we get overly excited, which is medically proven to make us over-estimate the size of things. Twenty six and a half inches is still a massive Mangrove snapper Joshua! Being on the sea is refreshing, being in the sea is revitalizing! Not that we need the sea to revitalize that because everything is just peachy up here on land! Now, that’s a lie! We need to be in the sea now more than ever. I’m so looking forward to my next revitalization!
Reminiscing: I’ve been doing a lot of that recently. Both about awesome dives that I have done in the past and about all the amazing people that I’ve met through this little dive shop over 23 years. I’ve gotten to see several old friends and patrons that I haven’t seen in years this winter. Sadly, it’s because they are bringing in their scuba gear to repurpose because they can no longer use it. The bell tolls for you my friends! One dive that makes me smile every time I think about it involves a sea turtle and a starfish. I was gaming, riding my DPV (diver propulsion vehicle) over hard lime-stone bottom looking for lobsters and grouper about 25 miles west of Marco. I scooted close to a turtle and was astonished that he didn’t spook or really even notice that I rode by him. So I circled back around to see what he was up to. He was devouring a big basket starfish. Talk about enjoying a meal… He didn’t even realize I was right beside him for several minutes! I love to ride my scooter and game but I’m always fine unsaddling the DPV and putting down my speargun when nature gives me one of those magical underwater moments! He was holding the starfish with his front flippers, chomping away. To me it looked like he was smiling! All of a sudden he realizes I’m there, looks at me dumfounded, as if he’s thinking, ‘what are you and where did you come from? He thought about picking his breakfast back up but decided I wasn’t a good dining companion. The starfish disagrees! Maybe sea turtles really do have a temperament and personality similar to Crush in Finding Nemo? That one did!
I’m so thankful and blessed to have all these memories of fabulous dives and wonderful people to reminisce about. That’s fine, but it’s all about the next dive and making new memories with old and new friends! Time stops for no one, we only have so many days left to dive… So let’s rock the underwater world in 2022!!
Live, Love, Dive —Jeff
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