The following weekend I join Art and Tina for an early dive at Dutch. It?s good to see them again. Tina is in the final stages of her Divemaster course and needs to map out the School Bus. This mapping project is one of the odder requirements of the PADI Divemaster program. We catch up on the winter?s happenings and their move into a new house while assembling our gear. Art and Tina are proponents of the DIR diving philosophy and are responsible for my leanings in this direction.
We enter at the ramps to the left of the peninsula outlook. Tina first takes some compass headings on the School Bus ? the subject of her mapping project and then we descend and swim out to the platforms. The viz is outstanding ? a week without rain has improved things remarkably. From the platforms we follow the rope to the bus and Tina begins measuring and mapping with Art's assistance. I hang back taking pictures.
Art and Tina are a remarkable buddy pair. They seem to communicate a lot of things telepathically. As Tina gets out her reel and begins measuring stuff on the bus, Art is right there helping out. I guess when you have several hundred dives together you become a pretty good team.
We hang around the bus for a while longer, with me taking more pictures than anyone could possibly be interested in - like this one:
Once Tina has enough measurements for her needs, she leads us over to the unmarked cruiser. The big carp are still hanging out there.
From here Tina leads us back along the remains of an old quarry road to the School Bus and we swim through it.
After the School Bus, we head back to the platforms and from there back to our entry point. Under the platforms I spot one of the big (~ 3 ft) palamino trout that seem to like the deeper depths.
We do our safety stop by the relatively warm and remarkably clear water under the entry platforms. I feel almost (that's almost, but not quite really) like I'm in tropical waters. The fish like it here too and I spend my time trying to get up close and personal with them for photographs.
Bluegills are probably my favorite fish at Dutch because of their pretty colors. I move in and get another shot of this one:
Finally it's time to surface. I almost hate getting out of the water, but I do have some hot coffee and donuts waiting.
Spiegel Grove/Key Largo
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Copyright 2002 Carl Muhlhausen