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Dive Review of MBT Divers/H2O Below in
The Continental USA/Pensacola, Florida

MBT Divers/H2O Below, Aug, 2008,

by guy, ill, usa ( 1 report). Report 4254.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Caymans, Flordia, Great Lakes, Cozumel, Honduras, Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 60 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 45 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions back on board and still be able to draw a full breath.
Running out of air would cancel your second dive of the day.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments there was a large camera only table provided but few divers had cameras.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was a joint operation with MBT as the dive shop and H2O as the dive boat operators.They ran a very well organized operation from start to finish. We signed up with MBT to do two days of diving. The shop opened at 7am where we checked in each morning and picked up tanks. The air fills were always 3000 psi and nitrox was available for those who wanted it. We were given directions and a map to the dive boat which was about 10 minutes away and easy to find. Once at the dock a cart was provided to carry the tanks and gear. On board were the various radios and depth gear, several fire extinguisters, O2, a working head and life jackets. A huge ice filled cooler was provided as was free bottled water. Separate containers for cameras and masks and two fresh water shower heads.Weights were provided.
The first day consisted on two in-shore wrecks both at just over 100ft depth. The vis was about 30ft and the wrecks were pretty basic. The wrecks were the Pete Tode II and the Tex Edwards. Lots of fish seen on both wrecks. The dive boat had an excellant system of lines to get the divers to and from the wreck as well as a drift line. The dive boat was 36ft Newton Custom Dive that can hold up to 16 divers
The second days dive was on the aircraft carrier Oriskany. The weather was forecast as being somewhat rough so all divers were asked if they wished to attempt to reach the dive site. We all agreed to give it a try. Luck was on our side as the weather/seas were mild. The forecast must have scared away other operators as once we arrived on site, we had the Big O to ourselves! Lines were laid out to assist in reaching the wreck and returning to the dive boat. The boat could have held up to 16 divers but on this trip we had 11. Once in the water the temp above 40 feet was around 85 degrees but below that is dropped to 60. I wore a shorty and was comfortable but others wore either a shorty or fullsuit with hood.This is a dive where a shorty, full wetsuit or drysuit would not be out of place!I made my first dive on the Big O following the guide line to the "island" of the carrier. From there I dropped to the flight deck which was at 139 feet. Once on the flight deck I entered one of several open hatches into the "island" and explored five deck levels and their various compartments.There are numerous open swim-throughs as well. The carrier has been in the water for nearly two years and marine growth is starting to take hold. This is a wreck so vast that 30 dives could be made on the "island" itself and still not see it all. There are several mooring lines attached to the "island" so care must be made to ensure you are following the right one back to "your" boat.Since we were the only dive boat on the wreck this day it wasn't an issue. The divemasters were in the water on each dive but stayed out of our way and just observed should anyone need assistance. A rollcall was performed at the start and end of each dive. Oranges and watermelon were sliced up after the dive which really hit the spot! The currents were mild but came from different directions depending on the depth. An informative dive briefing was given prior to each dive. A safety sausage was provided to each diver and also used as a secondary rollcall when turned back in and counted.On the trip back to the dock the crew
fired up a small gas grill and cooked hotdogs for everyone. A nice touch from a very friendly crew! A tip jar was provided and mentioned but not pushed.
The American and Viet Nam prisoners of war flag were flying on the sunken wreck...a nice touch and I hope continues.This useage is a far better end to a great ship than falling under the scrappers torch.
The Oriskany is huge being over 911 ft long. It is deep,sitting in 212 feet of water. Dive lights are recommended as are gloves.The only drawback is the four hour boat ride to the wreck and back.Lots of baracuda shadowed us as we off-gassed on the mooring lines. Schools of various fish are finding a home on the Big O. This wreck can only get better and it's pretty damned good as it is!
MBT can be reached at www.mbtdivers.com and H2O at www.THREEWIRECHARTERS.com The motel recommended was Suburban which is almost next door to the dive shop.Their rooms had kitchenettes and three beds plus all the normal things you'd expect. They can be reached at 850-453-4140
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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