This is turning into a very exciting dive season here at SSDS! We have plenty of new equipment hitting the door daily. Lots of divers have already earned or are in the process of earning their Openwater Diver Certification. We have already taken over 100 divers on group trips this year and the season is just getting started.
Alabama in particular, has some excellent diving thanks to the Artificial Reef Program that was started over 60 years ago. Just this week, the Marine Resources Division, sank another vessel off the coast of Alabama. Memorial Day weekend we will be on site diving out of Orange Beach, AL for the sinking of "The LuLu", a 270 ft freighter. The progression of this Reef Program for the past 60 years is why we have such an incredible Red Snapper habitat compared to other places in the world. To read more about the sinking of the LuLu click here.
The fish off the coast of Alabama are healthier now than any other time during my lifetime. I continue to see bigger fish in larger schools now and every year there are more of them. Just over a week ago, while spearfishing, I took my largest fish to date and I didn't have to go that far out to get it. Unfortunately, Federal Regulations still are preventing the Public from harvesting Red Snapper for a significant period of time. This season will be less than one month. Even though the Feds say there aren't very many Red Snapper and you can't fish over 28 days, the US Department of the Interior is blowing up Oil Rigs right now killing all of the Red Snapper and everything else that lives on them. Our US Congressman, Jo Bonner, has introduced the Gulf Fisheries Fairness Act. This will give State waters in Alabama out to 120 feet deep. That way Alabama can manage their own Fish Habitat and have their own season. To read more about this click here.
April 12th - 14th 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! 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 26-28 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 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.
May 18th & 19th 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 good trip for that. Also, Junior Divers can participate too since the dives are relatively shallow. Like all of our trips, SSDS, has privately reserved this vessel. Spearfishing every weekend from mid May until the end of June These trips are selling out FAST! Some of these will be during Red Snapper season and also during the Alabama Spearfishing Association's Red Neck Riviera Spearfishing Tournament. To find out more about this and other ASA tournaments click here. This is a great tournament and spearfishing off the Gulf Coast of Alabama is second to none. Now is the time to start getting ready for spearfishing season.
June 8th - 15th Turks and Caicos Liveaboard
We have a great group going with us on this all inclusive 5 dive a day Caribbean trip on board your own private vessel. I had the opportunity to dive with this operation in September and it was one of the best overall crew, boat, food and diving I have been on. It also is a piece of cake to get to Provo from Birmingham or Atlanta. We are now down to one last spot.
We have the best deal on all of our SeaLifeDC 1400 packages! You won't be able to touch this price anywhere and you will also get a camera class for free with Mark Tant with the purchase of any of these here. This new 14-megapixel camera combines diver-friendly design and six underwater color modes for sharp, colorful photos and HD video - underwater or on land. The SeaLife DC1400 is the easiest digital camera to use underwater, EVER. The camera features five widespread “piano key” controls, a large shutter button, and a fingertip-control lever that allows scrolling through menus or zooming in and out without releasing your grip from the camera. This is an extremely travel friendly system. Call us and we can let you know all the options with these cameras.
SSDS is also the local dealer for the new Pelican Coolers. These are the best coolers on the market and possibly the last cooler you will ever buy. They come in 4 sizes ranging from 35 to 95 quarts. They are made in the US and have a lifetime warranty. Equipped with countless features that beat their competition, the list goes on and on. The best thing to do is come and check them out in our showroom and see which size (or sizes) are best for you.
Some of you that purchased Buoyancy Compensators from SSDS from 2009-2012 might have had the SureLock II weight pouches. There is a voluntary recall on the handles of them. SSDS will replace the handles with the reinforced ones at no charge. It is not necessary to bring in the BC, just the weight pouches. In the photo to the left, the handle on the left is bad and the one on the right is the new reinforced model.
The Nitrox Course and Spearfishing Clinic have been very popular so far this year. We currently have room in both of theseclases. Come see us April 20th, 9:30 am at The SCUBA School
April 20th, 9:30 am - 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.
April 20, 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.