Feb. Newsletter

Hello Divers!

During the past 4 years, SSDS has averaged 50 group trips a year and we are off to a quick start this year with another 50 or so this planned in 2014.  So far this year we have already taken divers on check out dive trips, Liveaboard diving in Belize, Spearfishing in Panama City and a couple of Manatee trips.

On our last Manatee trip, we took 25 divers to Crystal River, The Rainbow River and Weeki Wachee Springs.  This is a great time of year to escape the cold and dive in water that is about 73 degrees and we saw around 100 or so very affectionate Manatee.  Check out this video by our friend Shaun Stancil who is using the brand new SeaLife DC1400 underwater camera.

This is a great, inexpensive and easy to use photo system that has optional modeling lights, strobes and lenses.  As you can see it also takes excellent HD video!  We have several of these packages on sale at SSDS.

Here are some trips we have coming up with spots available.  Call us quick because they are all selling out fast.

March 8, 9 Panama City, FL Spearfishing
Spencer will be leading this group on some of our best dive sites for spearfishing this time of year out of Panama City. When we do these sites we generally bring back several hundred pounds of fish each day. We also have a very nice boat chartered with an enclosed area great for changing and getting out of the wind.

March 14-16 South Carolina River Trip
We have had some great trips recently finding fossilized shark's teeth and other artifacts with some new spots and diving from our new boat! Spencer will be leading a few hearty souls on this trip.We generally do three or four dives a day on this swift/blackwater diving adventure. Bring your boat coats and thick suits for this one.

April 27, 28 Wreck Diving on The Oriskany
Forrest will be leading this group to dive on the USS Oriskany, the largest wreck ever sunk as an artificial reef in the world. This trip will be in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. We will be diving two days, one on the Oriskany, and the other on two additional wrecks. If you want to kill lionfish on this trip you may. No spear guns allowed and no other fish will be killed, just lionfish. The Oriskany 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 big, deep site and there are a couple of requirements that need to be met prior to this wreck dive, so call us for more info.

May 2, 3 and May 31-June 1 Spearfishing in Orange Beach and Pensacola, FL
We have a couple of boats going out during some of the tournaments with the Alabama Spearfishing Association and the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition.   Our Captains put you on very good fish during these contests with Amberjack, Cobia, Triggerfish and Red Snapper (June 1) being targeted.

May 17, 18 Panama City, FL Wreck Diving
Mark will be leading this group on some of the inshore wrecks of Panama City. There are plenty of them, and this is the next step for new divers to take in their training. Good divers are always learning and this is a great trip to do it on. Also, Junior Divers can participate too, since the dives are relatively shallow. Like all of our trips, SSDS, has privately reserved this vessel.

July 19-26 Bonaire
The Island of Bonaire has perhaps the best shore diving in the Caribbean. The shore dives are clearly marked and with the unlimited diving package that we have, you may dive as frequently as you wish. Included in this package are oceanfront condo accommodations, truck rental, unlimited air diving and Nitrox diving (if you are Nitrox certified) and transfers to and from the airport in Bonaire. Mark will be running this trip so give us a call at The SCUBA School for more details.

Continuing Education

March 15, 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.

March 15, 12:30 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.

April 5, 9:00 am Stress and Rescue Course
Stress is a major contributor to rescue situations and diving accidents. Through this course you will learn
accident prevention, as well as how
to handle problem situations if they occur.

Mark Tant will be teaching this program about avoiding, recognizing and solving problems on the surface and under water. The course runs two days in which you will participate in academic and in-water sessions in the pool and in the open water. As a prerequisite for certification you will also earn CPR & First Aid certificate during this course.


* What Is Stress?
* Stress In Diving:Causes And Prevention
* Detecting And Dealing With Stress
* Accident Management
* Skills Needed To Deal With Panic And Rescues
* Conditions That Complicate Rescues