Sunday December 20th finds me and my student, Joseph, aboard Scubatyme III heading out to do a couple of Open Water class checkout dives. It was a coolish day with temps in the high 50s (which would later turn to mid 60s), the sun was bright and the seas were calm. Captain Dave and DM Amanda got everyone situated on board and we were soon on our way to our dive sites.
After a short ride out of the Inlet, we arrive at our first dive site, the “Ancient Mariner”, an artificial reef formed by the sinking of a ship which used to be a floating restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Joseph and I head down the line and get ourselves situated on the deck so we can get ready to do our skills. We take a quick tour of the wreck first, so he can get used to the depth and see some cool stuff (like the thousands of Glassy Sweepers in the wheelhouse), then head back to the ascent line and I begin to run Joseph through his skills. While he was doing his mask removal skill, a very friendly Southern Stingray came by to say hello! We took a few moments to watch the graceful movements of this creature, then took another quick tour before heading back up the ascent line to our safety stop and, ultimately the boat.
After our surface interval, we arrive at our next dive site, “Lighthouse Ledge”. This is going to be a drift dive, so we jump in and head for the bottom and determine which way the current is running. After a bit of time, we find a nice sandy area on the bottom and Joseph runs through a few more required skills. We spend the rest of the dive looking at all the fish on this beautiful reef and I watch Joseph’s buoyancy and kicking skills. We saw a couple of Lobster, a Pufferfish, a small Spotted Eel, and tons of Grunts, Blue Chromis and Squirrelfish. Soon it was time to head up to our safety stop, and again back to the boat. A fun day of diving and lots of firsts for my student, Joseph. Two more open water dives for him and he will be certified!!
— Instructor Doug