March 26, 2024 3 min read

Washing Machine / Summiting / sCUBA!!!

Normally, agitation is not a good thing, but it is if you’re washing clothes. The herky-jerky back-and-forth movement of the agitator was how the clothes used to get cleaned. Front-load washers nowadays no longer have agitators, I imagine our clothes aren’t getting as clean as they used to. When the the wind is blowing at or close to the opposite direction from where the tide is flowing, that creates surface water agitation all along the Gulf coast. The stronger the wind is blowing and the tide is flowing, the greater the agitation. This ‘washing machine’ effect is magnified in and around the passes as the current speed increases. It makes the seas rough, and the wave period short. ‘Lumpy’ is a good word but I stole a phrase that I use often from a Divemaster in Grand Cayman as we were getting ready to head out (think British accent); “there’s going to be a fair amount of texture on the surface”. The incoming tide versus a southeasterly wind adds texture, and the vice versa is even more tumultuous. When there is a full or new moon the tides in Southwest Florida are basically on steroids. The dosage varies based on the proximity of the moon to the Earth, which fluctuates by about 70,000 km from phase to phase. I’m not sure why my moon phase website is only in metrics, but that is roughly 43,000 miles. That’s quite a difference, and when the moon is close to us our tides can be roiding like the Incredible Hulk! There are times when all of this information factors into my decision whether to run a trip or not. I’m not worried about the boat handling it, I’m worried about my passengers! I remember how I felt the only time I got motion sickness as a young boy. Agitation is good for cleaning clothes, not boating!

Speaking of agitation, did you guys know it was an election year? I’m not going down that rabbit hole… My political correctness editors get enough grief without me going Indecision 2024. So, I was talking to a patron the other day about the vast range of confidence and ability that new students walk-through our door with. It’s a journey for people to earn their open water certification, and for some that journey is monumental. I said to him: “some students go through the open water course like they’ve been diving their whole life and for others it’s like they’re climbing a mountain”. The naturals make the instructors life easier, but I think most of us instructors enjoy the challenges of helping people overcome their hurdles.  Sometimes those hurdles are mental (too much shark week or they watched Jaws at too young). Sometimes it’s more about learning how to breathe properly and exhale through the nose only when needed to clear the mask or equalize it. One of the cool aspects about the dive industry is that experienced divers are usually very patient and nurturing towards the newbies. Helping students work through their issues, relax and reach the finish line to earn their certification is one of the most rewarding things that I do. Patience is a necessity for a scuba instructor and the more the better! Patience and kindness have been free at Scuba Marco for almost 26 years now! 



Local diving got fantastic for several  days a couple weeks back. We went from January 2nd to March 13th without getting the Psychquatic offshore. Then the flood gates opened and we ran 4 trips in a row. Water clarity was sweet and we had top to bottom vis (seeing the bottom from the surface) a couple of those trips! Then the wind machine turned back on. Thanks for the tease and taste Mother Nature. I’m looking forward to a long, calm and amicable relationship between us the rest of the year. Please!!! Instructor John was very appreciative to get offshore after diving the bay most of this winter. He was doing his good vis happy-dance. Like most of us, he’s a lot more pleasant to be around when he’s smiling and diving. That will be everyone onboard the Avalon live-aboard with Jessi and I in Cuba this September 6-14th. Our ‘fun specialist’ will have everybody in good spirits, add in awesome diving and we should all be wearing perma-grins that week. I’m really stoked about this one! You can’t spell Scuba without Cuba!  I’ll start the chant…  scuba cuba, Scuba Cuba, SCUBA CUBA!!! Try it, feels really good! In closing, my fellow dive lovers; may you reach the summit of any mountain that you climb and dive all the pristine destinations that you dream of! 

Did I mention that we still have a few spots available on that Cuba trip?? 

Have a Safe Easter Weekend Y’all!  Live Love Dive!!  —Jeff

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