After a turbulent month or 2 in Key Largo, we were happy to host our 11th Annual Key Largo Reunion Weekend Dive Event this weekend. It was a full house, and the weather and Dive conditions were spectacular we’re happy to say! We knew we were in luck when we woke up on Thursday to clear blue skies and a light northerly wind, perfect for scuba diving Key Largo reefs and wrecks!
For those who are not aware, we have been hosting this Key Largo Dive event for 11 years now, and it’s geared for our wonderful customers who have been diving with Sea Dwellers before…some diving with us for decades we’re happy to say! Many participants return year after year for this event, and have become not just customers, but friends of management and staff. Our staff has come to enjoy the event greatly over the years and we’re always happy to welcome back the divers we’ve come to know and love for this weekend of eating, playing, scuba diving and great camaraderie!
The Diving conditions, once again, were very good! Blue water and lots of sunshine enabled us to get some amazing diving in over the weekend. it was a “turtle weekend” for sure…can’t remember seeing this many in awhile for some reason! Also many Reef Sharks were sited each day, 3-5 foot range in size and very curious of the divers, enabling us to get a close look at these beautiful creatures!
The entire Key Largo diving weekend was wonderful! 3 days of diving including a 3-location dive trip, a Champagne Sunset Cruise, Saturday night Costume Party and lots of good times! A special thanks to everyone who was able to attend this year’s Reunion dive event, and to those who couldn’t make it this year, you were missed by all and we hope to be diving with you at next years Reunion Weekend!
– Your Sea Dwellers’ Dive Center Staff
Your friends at Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo have had a great winter scuba season this year. Why? Well I think it’s pretty simple…the diving in Key Largo has been amazing! The water is only about 75 degrees, which is pretty warm for Jan/Feb…but more importantly the marine life has been kicking! Here is a video by Sea Dwellers Instructor Dave Jefferiss during a couple scuba dives off the Sea Dweller III last week on Molasses Reef to prove the point. Note all the sharks! As we have been pointing out in some previous blog postings they have become common sightings on our reefs for the last couple years now, and days like the one on the video where you can see multiple Caribbean Reef Sharks circling around scuba divers on the reef are not uncommon either! Good news for the reefs according to the experts by the way, and great news for the diving in Key Largo we think!
Thanks to Dave for the wonderful video…and we hope to see everyone down here to dive with Sea Dwellers Dive Center soon! Enjoy!
Contact Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo for great diving today!
Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo is proud to announce that we are an official “Blue Star Operator”! What does this mean? Well let me explain…
According to NOAA, “The Florida Keys are home to the third-largest barrier coral reef in the world and beckon millions of visitors each year. The reef’s close proximity to land and an abundance of boat operators in the Keys make this diverse underwater world easily accessible for the novice snorkeler and the seasoned diver alike” (see NOAA Blue Star).
For this reason, NOAA has implemented the Blue Star Program here in the Keys for Dive Centers and Dive Operators. Again according to NOAA, “Blue Star is a program established by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to reduce the impact of divers and snorkelers on the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys. It is a voluntary recognition program saluting charter boat operators who promote responsible and sustainable diving and snorkeling practices, helping keep the reef healthy for generations to come.”
So there you have it. A worthy cause I’d say for me, Sea Dwellers Dive Center, and anyone else working here who loves the unique marine ecosystem we have here. Key Largo is considered by many to be the “Dive Capital of the World” for many reasons including the amazing diversity and abundance of marine life found here. At Sea Dwellers we frequently hear our repeat divers tell us just how amazing the marine life is here, especially compared to many of the most popular dive destinations in the Caribbean. Simply put, there are few places left in the Caribbean that can boast the abundance and diversity of marine life we have in the Florida Keys. While we do not celebrate the sad fact that many islands in the Caribbean are seeing greatly diminished fish populations, we are proud that we have been able to buck this trend. This is not by chance, and the reason you can come down here and dive and see things like large groupers, snappers, permit, snook and goliath groupers, just to name a few, is due to the rigorous conservationist efforts found here. (BTW These fish I am mentioning are known to be good “eating” fish, (ie they taste good), and are just generally not found in any great numbers in the Caribbean anymore, but they are found in the Keys.)
Blue Star stresses conservationist education and awareness for the community of Dive Operators in the Keys. Coral reefs are under increased pressures globally. Through practicing responsible diving and snorkeling, you can help to lessen local stress on the reef while still partaking of its beauty. Book with a Blue Star recognized operator today, (like Sea Dwellers Dive center of Key Largo), and learn more about the wonders of the sanctuary and the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys!
Rob & Staff
Travel is good, especially dive travel, this we know. But why? Let’s discuss the reasons we all love to travel and scuba dive. As some of you may know, now is our slow season in Key Largo; (Always a shame really because our summer is going to last at least another couple months…but that’s another story for another time.)
This is the time that we, the staff at Sea Dwellers, take our vacations. And this year we certainly are doing just that, as everyone of us is either just coming off a trip or are currently on a trip. Most of you, scuba divers who dive with Sea Dwellers in Key Largo as well as other dive destinations, know about the joy of travel also.
Having just returned from a trip, I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it was to get away. I feel rejuvenated from the experience, and the experiences last a lifetime.
For Jon and Mike, traveling has obviously affected their “life journey” if you will, to this day. Both of these guys have been around the world probably more than once, and I love their take on this, great stuff.
Some of the best memories in my life are the Dive trips with my family. I come from a family of divers…my Mom and Dad both big-time divers. Obviously, diving Key Largo was a constant, almost every weekend in the summer months and all summer vacation…and we didn’t have to travel far. I still remember driving down US1 over the first bridge into Key Largo; man I used to love that feeling, and still do. But we also organized group trips of friends and family to Cozumel and the Bahamas to go diving. After college my father and I went on dive trips to more exotic places like the Red Sea, Truk Lagoon, Bonaire and Roatan. Real father-son bonding, and some of the best memories of my life.
My father and I in Honduras
I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for me, life is about experiences. When I’m on my death bed I don’t think I’ll be thinking about some shiny car I bought but about some of those amazing dives I was able to make with my father in a far-off exotic destination. That’s what life is really all about, isn’t it? (Thanks dad.)
You see, in my mind, experience is better than a tangible object like a car and is just as much of a “possession”. My folks don’t dive anymore, are retired and have moved up to the mountains. But we have these memories, they will always be there. Key Largo, Cozumel, the Red Sea. You can have the shiny car, I have something better, and you never have to trade it in.
Well put Debbie. These days my wife and I travel every year. This year we went to Sardenia and Sicily, places we always wanted to go to. In Sardinia, we went snorkeling almost every day, enjoying the clear blue Mediterranean waters and exploring caves and swim-thrus, just the 2 of us. Sublime. Is there anything better for a relationship? We are lucky that our jobs allow us to take longer trips, and I find that it takes at least several days to clear my mind of all the clutter I have from the usual pace of life. Usually by day 5 or so of our getaway, I find myself in a different state of mind, totally relaxed and free from the stress and worries of our daily lives. A weekend getaway doesn’t do this for me, I need a little longer to get to that…place, that travel can take us to.
Craig has been a US Naval Attache living abroad for many years in several different countries
during his career. What fantastic insight from someone who knows travel!
Traveling opens our minds to other cultures and ways of living, and this can also help us to appreciate what we have
in the good ‘ol US of A. I’m not rich by American standards, but seeing how other people live in places like Honduras, Mexico, Egypt, and even Italy certainly has brought home to me how lucky we are living here in America. I realize that “plenty is enough”, and if I don’t have that new large-screen TV that my neighbor just bought that’s OK. We have our problems, but we still have it good. I wish all Americans would travel, I’m pretty sure it would be good for the health of our country.
We have return customers that have been diving with us for years. They return to Key Largo for the great diving, but
also they return to the same place each year because they feel comfortable here. Like a “second home”. Traveling to Key Largo still takes them away from their normal everyday existance, while still letting them…”escape”, for awhile. They have a sense of comfort returning to the same place. Some call it “deep travel”…getting to really know a place. To experience it “like a native”.
Interestingly enough, when I travel I find that returning home has it’s joys, also. I find that the old saying, “there’s no place like home”, certainly applies in my case. When I finally open the front door to my home after a long trip it’s a wonderful feeling.
Sometimes there are discomforts involved in travel, I consider this the “Price We Pay” for the good times. As most of us know, flying now is not as easy as it used to be. Jet lag, the occasional upset stomach from that great meal we’re not used to eating and other little things can cause discomfort for some. The good news is, like surgery, we usually forget the uncomfortable parts afterwards. I know people who don’t travel just for these reasons, and that’s fine. But personally, I expect these little things and when they happen, consciously accept them and remember that “nothing good comes easy”. For me these wonderful experiences are well worth the minor inconveniences.
As you can tell, most of your staff here at Sea Dwellers Dive Center likes to travel…and it appears that most of our customers like to also. We get divers from many places around the globe; Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, France, Italy, the UK, Germany, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Australia, India, Israel, Jordan, Egypt….most states in the USA…and many more I can’t think of now. These are some of the places off the top of my head I’ve seen on our releases when I check customers in. We feel lucky to have the customers we have, many of which we consider friends and that travel back to Key Largo year after year!
And we all have that one thing in common…or, should I say 2 things…Scuba Diving & Travel. So here’s to the next great travel experience for all of us!
Rob Haff – Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo
Man, has the diving been good here lately. I mean, we’ve been seeing Goliath Groupers, reef sharks, bait balls…and yes, even a Great White Shark! These are things we’ve always seen…at times, but never with this frequency. After a slow spring, with more bad weather than anyone can remember…for the last 6 weeks things have just been incredible on the reef.
We’re happy about this of course, and we’re also happy to see a lot of divers here also. It’s been a little slow here the last few years, but it seems like suddenly divers are taking vacations again…a good sign for businesses here, but also a sign that America is doing better maybe?
And the health of the reefs has been getting better, we think, at least in the short term as shown by all these critters we’ve been seeing so much of. This is good for businesses, divers, vacationers…and us, because we simply love the Keys and especially the reef here, the only living coral barrier reef in North America.
So we think this is something to celebrate, and we’ll keep you updated on the critters!
One of my staff was diving Molasses Reef the other day, enjoying the bait ball we’ve had there for over a week now, and he said the obvious hit him suddenly…the marine life here is really awesome! As a matter of fact, the marine life today in the Florida Keys is more abundant and diverse than it was 10 to 15 years ago, in our humble opinion. Now to those of you who dive key largo and already knew that, it does seem obvious.
But in this world we live in now this should really be applauded. Today we find many of our natural resources under attack from things like pollution, climate change, and lack of government funding for protection due to deficits, etc. It’s very easy to talk about the negatives here on the only barrier coral reef in North America, of which there are still plenty. And yet despite this, the marine ecosystem here in the Florida Keys has seen some positives over recent history, as shown most dramatically in the abundance of marine life we’re seeing these days.
In 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was established, along with many rules and regulations that some were concerned about. But with this also came government funding, for the protection of our waters and the ecosystem here. I believe we have seen the benefits of this at this point, and while there are still many problems we face here, there are tangible improvements that we all can see today on our reefs…that we all can enjoy!
We at Sea Dwellers think this is something to celebrate…Happy 4th of July America!
Well for the last few days, a big bait ball has been living, or trying to live…on Molasses reef. It’s been exciting…several caribbean reef sharks have been circling it, feeding on it as the small fish struggle to make it past the next deadly pass.
Sorry to say, while it’s been fun to watch, it won’t last long…as the ball is getting smaller and smaller and smaller….