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March 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Belize, Hawaii, Cozumel, Palau . . .

Caribbean winter warnings and more trouble with the Siren fleet

from the March, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Florida's Admiral's Club is Kaput. After we published a glowing piece in November about super critter diving under Blue Heron Bridge in West Palm Beach, using the Admiral's Club as a home base, reader Dawn Steedman (Coral Gables, FL) got excited about the possibilities, only to discover the hotel had just been sold and would become a drug rehab facility. So to meander under the bridge, visiting divers will need a car, and then park in nearby Phil Foster Park, which means a longer swim. Of course, locals have used the park as their base for diving under the bridge's east and west spans. The park is apparently closed after dark.

Winter in the Caribbean. Keep in mind that in the winter months, weather issues like wind and rain may affect your diving. For example, Carol D. Cox (Port St Joe, FL) told us of her planned trip aboard the Turks and Caicos Explorer, which travels to the southern Bahamas in November. "I arrived at Great Exuma a few days early to relax, and was surprised to learn from a taxi driver (they know everything happening on the island) that the boat is not based in George Town as the web site implies. It is an hour away at Emerald Bay Marina, part of the Sandals resort complex. Regardless, I was glad I had a chance to see George Town and beautiful Elizabeth Harbor before boarding the boat. As it turned out, we were stuck in the harbor for two days due to the high winds; it was too risky to maneuver the boat through the small channel. Although we were right next to Sandals, one had to pay $100 a day to use the facilities. A taxi into George Town was $80 each way. Passengers walked around the marina or watched satellite TV in the marina lounge. The boat was in a section of the marina by itself, so we were allowed to dive there. I did a two-hour dive in 10 feet of water and saw nudibranchs, yellow stingrays, an octopus, cleaning gobies, tons of upside-down jellyfish (which my buddy tried to rescue), juvenile fish and large spiny lobsters. At sunrise on the third morning, we finally headed out and crossed over to Conception Island. It was a bumpy ride, and a few passengers were too green to make the first dive. At this point, there could have been a lot of grumping, but it was a great group of experienced divers aboard who took the problems in stride. At the end of the cruise, they offered a 40 percent discount on a future trip -- a nice offer to make up for something that was beyond their control, but it turned out we would have to do another south Bahamas itinerary within one year. Even with the discount, this was not a trip I wanted to repeat." And keep in mind that winter water temperatures in the Bahamas can be in the low 70s into February. ( )...

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