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Dive Review of Wet Dreams/NA in
The Continental USA/Panama City, FL

August, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Carol Cox, FL, USA
Contributor   (14 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 2619
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Guam, Palau, Truk, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Cozumel, Kona
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
2
Water Visibility
70   to 80    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Do not go below 130', unless you wanted to touch the deck of the Oriskany
with your fin tips and come right back up.  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
None 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
None 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Comments
The boat had a rinse tank for thier onboard video camera.  We were able to
remove the video gear long enough to give our camera equipment a quick
rinse, but there is not a rinse tank large enough to accommodate more
camera gear.  There is a shady cabin with two tables and benches.  One
table holds the snacks and the other can be used to assemble camera
equipment.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
1 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
1 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
My husband and I were in Panama City for an artificial reef seminar that
included a dive on the Oriskany.  The boat Wet Dreams was booked through
Scuba Shack (www.scubashackpensacola.com).  We had to be at the shop at
0600 to sign release forms.  The boat is docked behind Scuba Shack.  The
shop has carts for carrying gear from your car.  During the week, your
vehicle must be moved about ½ block away.  We ordered nitrox tanks
in advance and analyzed them at the shop before taking them a short
distance to the boat.  The layout is convenient, especially if renting
gear; everything in one place.  

There is a cabin with two tables and benches.  One table holds snacks.  The
benches served as an area for dry storage and to get out of the sun.  A few
guests could also go on the upper deck where the wheelhouse is located, or
on the bow where there is room to lounge.  It runs 9 or 10 kts, making the
trip to the Oriskany in 2 hours and 20 minutes each way.  Although slow, it
is a comfortable ride.

You are told to pack a lunch and beverages.  The boat provides water and
the best snacks Ive ever had on any dive boat, including liveaboards. 
They started out with two big trays of homemade brownies and cookies. 
There was cold watermelon after the first dive, and finally homemade ice
cream with blueberry sauce during the long trip in.  They actually churned
ice cream on board!  

We only had 8 divers, probably because the trip was mid-week.  I think it
would be pretty crowded with a full load of 20 divers.  The crew provided a
safety briefing before we disembarked with info on conditions when we
reached the site.  This is not a dive for beginners, and we were treated
like the experienced divers we were.  However, there is a safety diver in
the water at all times making sure nobody narcs out or needs assistance; I
am sure he would keep an eye on less experienced divers if needed.  We were
asked not to go below 130 unless impelled to touch the flight deck at 137
with fin tips and then come right back up.  The safety diver made the dive
easy by tying a line from the stern to the island of the Oriskany.  

The Oriskany is starting to get a growth of algae or bacteria along with a
few hydroids.  It was circled by a large school of hardtail jacks.  There
were a few large barracuda hanging out around the top decks and one was
very curious.  There were small red and vermillion snappers and amberjacks,
but nothing large enough to excite the fishermen yet.  We saw a lot of
seaweed blennies, planehead filefish, and juvenile gag groupers or scamp. 
There were a few tropicals on the wreck to include a couple of juvenile
trumpetfish, spotfin butterflyfish, and scrolled filefish.  There were also
arrow and blue crabs on board.

The ships island was large enough to hold our interest for a couple of
dives.  We were able to swim through the bridge and poke our heads in
through several openings.  We drifted through the gangways and visited the
air boss deck.  This will be a fantastic dive in 6 months to a year as sea
life moves in, but it is already a great dive now.

We also visited a couple of wrecks from a private boat that are noteworthy.
 The first was the Russian Freighter, sunk by a torpedo in the 40s and
demolished to prevent a shipping hazard.  The wreck was full of life with
enough cigar minoows and juvenile vermillion snappers to blot out the sun. 
It was loaded with juvenile and adult black drums, soapfish, spotfin and
reef butterflyfish, red and black snappers, bonita, toadfish, etc.  The
highlight was watching my husband swim between two large boilers as a 6
bull shark came from the other direction.  The bull shark didnt realize my
husband was there until he was only 3 away, and did a sudden U-turn.  The
shark went around the other side of the boiler and came back around two
more times to check us out.

The Pete Tide II is a 182 oil rig boat sitting at 100 with the top deck
at 65'.  The first thing we saw when getting to the lower deck was a
porkfish, the first we had seen this far north.  As we made our way to the
upper deck we were joined by a large school of spadefish and schools of
small baitfish that looked like glassfish to me.  There was also a thick
school of cigar minnows.  On the upper deck, the barnacles were full of
seaweed blennies and the very colorful tessellated blennies (orange
freckles surrounded by purple!).  We also saw scads of blue angelfish that
graciously posed for our cameras, and soapfish that were competing haeavily
for territory.  There was a friendly barracuda patrolling the top deck
that showed me his large teeth more than once.  The Pete Tide II had lots
of large open holds that we could have explored further, but resisted since
this was the third dive of the day for us.

With the addition of the Oriskany, Pensacola will rival Panama City and
North Carolina as premier wreck diving sites in the US.  There are numerous
sites other than the ones mentioned here to include a couple of oil
platforms that have been placed within recreational limits.  We definitely
plan to come back and experience more of what Pensacola has to offer.
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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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