Dive Newsletter

Hello Divers!

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to put another newsletter out to you. We have been taking groups diving every weekend for the past couple of months, usually more than one trip each weekend. As you can see, we are keeping this pace until the end of the year. As this update is being written, Mark is on another Panama City wreck trip, with a dozen of our divers in Panama City, FL. Spencer boards a plane tomorrow for seven weeks of Gold diving with our Dad Steve and some of our other divers in the Bering Sea near Nome, Alaska. Meanwhile Forrest is holding the fort down at SSDS getting ready to start taking divers spearfishing again in a few weeks.

And speaking of Spearfishing. We know that not everybody is into being in the water while fish are being hunted for various reasons. We do have plenty of other types of diving where you won't see divers with spearguns. One thing that I hope we all can get on board with is the killing of the invasive Lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico. I saw my first Lionfish off the Coast of Alabama not quite three years ago and they were very small then. Now I sometimes see over one hundred a day and they are getting huge! The only known predator they have here are SCUBA Divers. We will continue to see our bigger fish for a while but the juveniles will get taken easily by these Lionfish.

Please start killing Lionfish if you are in the Panhandle area. A small polespear designed just for Lionfish is inexpensive. If you want to eat them, you will need some gloves, a bag and some type of shears to keep their poisonous spines from infecting you. Here are a few of them that I took last weekend.


Gulf Coast of AL Spearfishing
Sept 29th - 30th and Oct 6th - 7th
Spearfishing off the Gulf Coast of Alabama is second to none. We have an incredible Artificial Reef Program that was started almost 60 years ago, and also have some natural reefs that provide a healthy habitat for fish life as well. In addition to big fish, we also get lobsters like this one that Joe took a few days ago with us.

Wreck Diving on The Oriskany
Sept 29th - 30th 
Mark will be leading this group to dive on the USS Oriskany, the largest wreck ever sunk as an artificial reef in the world. On Sunday morning we will dive with the same group on two other dives in the area. This trip will be in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. We have privately chartered this vessel as usual so there will be only wreck diving on this trip.

The Oriskany is the largest vessel ever sunk as an artificial reef in the world. She was put down in May 2006 and now rests in 212 ft of water approximately 23 miles offshore. The top of the tower starts at about 80 ft. This is a deep, and big site and there are a couple of requirements that need to be met prior to this wreck dive so call us for more info.

South Carolina River Trip
October 19th - 21st
This will be another artifact/fossil diving adventure to South Carolina on one of our boats. Most of the diving will be done near the Beaufort, South Carolina area. Lately, we have been finding larger Megalodon Teeth than we ever have including Spencer, just last weekend, finding his largest.

Please read about this trip HERE for more info about this type of diving. 

Panama City Flounder Trip
October 27th - 28th, Nov 3rd - 4th & 17th - 18th
This is the time of year we usually do best at hunting flounder. We will have at least three trips on weekends in late October through November. 

The dives for flounder are relatively shallow enabling us to have plenty of
time underwater. Experienced spearfishers and those new to it will both enjoy
the opportunity to harvest a lot of these tasty fish. Due to the shallow depths of these dives, Juniors are welcome on these trips. A gun is not necessary, only a pole spear and fish bag. We usually take up to 100 each day so everyone gets to take plenty of fish home to enjoy. Again the SCUBA School is privately chartering one of the nicest dive vessels in PC. It also has hot water showers and an enclosed area to warm up between dives for when it is cooler above and below the surface.

Utila Honduras 

December 29th - January 5th, 2013 
Our "Dive the New Year In" trip this year will be on the Honduran Island of Utila. We have taken a couple of really good Liveaboard trips to Utila the past two years but this year we have decided to privately rent the entire La Guna Beach Resort! Not only will we be celebrating the New Year but we will also be the first SCUBA School to make it 60 years old in 2013! We still have some spaces so come join the fun. Our package includes all meals, 3 boat dives each day,
unlimited shore diving and snorkeling, horseback riding and kayak use, and Nitrox use for the week.

Continuing Education

August 18, 9:30 am at The SCUBA School
Enriched Air NITROX 
Have you ever dreamed of having longer no-decompression limits to take pictures or explore a wreck? Did you ever want to be safer while diving, reducing the potential risk of decompression sickness?

Nitrox is the key. Due to the reduced fraction of nitrogen in your breathing gas, your body will have less work and the de-saturation times will be reduced.

In your ENRICHED AIR NITROX program you will learn all the necessary rules for planning dives with Nitrox and using Nitrox in a safe way. An important key point in the entire program is analyzing your own tank prior to any Nitrox dive.

August 18, 1:00 pm at The SCUBA School

Spearfishing Clinic
Those of you that are enrolled in the NITROX Course might want to
consider the Spearfishing Clinic that starts immediately afterwards. NITROX
works well with most of the spearfishing that we participate in. Forrest, who
teaches both of these courses here at The SCUBA School, is ranked among the top competitors in the Alabama Spearfishing Association as are several of his former students. In this class you will learn skills necessary to
participate in and become a successful spearfisher.

Forrest Phillips
Southern Skin Divers Supply
4515 5th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35222