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

Wet Dreams/NA, Aug, 2006,

by Carol Cox, FL, USA (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2619.

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
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
UW Photo 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
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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