Dive Newsletter

Hello Divers!

To say that a lot of diving is going on would be an understatement. We usually average 50 group trips a year and it appears that we will have considerably more than that this year. As of this writing SSDS has taken 31 group trips so far and has at least one a weekend for the next few months. June had something for everyone with Artifact diving in the rivers of South Carolina, Red Snapper Spearfishing off the coast of Alabama and Pensacola, Wreck diving and checkout diving in Panama City, a week of Caribbean Liveaboard vacationing in the Turks and Caicos and our Gold Dredging near Nome, Alaska. The next few months offer more of the same!

One of our friends, Rick Dennis, just returned from our Turks and Caicos trip. Rick is a very experienced diver and is also very good at underwater photography/videography. Check out his site at www.rickldennis.com On this site you will see many images of the various types of creatures you will find on our international travel.

We have just announced a couple of additional Liveaboard trips to Belize and the Cayman Islands. Red Snapper season came and went in June. It was fun while it lasted and some impressive fish were taken but the Feds overestimated the amount that the Recreational Fishers were expected to harvest. Since that was the case, we will have the first 21 days of October to target Red Snapper again this year. This will be the only time this year that everything that we hunt, spearfishing, will be in season at the same time. You spearfishers need to take advantage of it and try to go dive in Oct!


Aug 2 & 3 and 10 & 11 and Sept 13 & 14 and every weekend in October -  Spearfishing in Orange Beach or Pensacola, FL

We have a couple of boats that SSDS keeps full most weekends during Spearfishing Season. Some of the best Red Snapper in the world is near the Alabama Artificial Reef System that was started in 1953. We have several trips during the Fall Snapper season but during the others all of the Triggerfish, Groupers, Amberjack, Flounder etc will be in season so there will be plenty to go after this time of year.

August 24 & 25 Gulf Shores, AL Wreck Diving 

Mark is taking this group to dive Alabama's newest artificial reef, The LuLu, and the largest one in the world, The Oriskany. All of you photographers need to get your cameras ready for this. Lately, we have enjoyed great vis on the Mighty O and we see all kinds of big animals out there too! In addition to these two sites we will probably dive the Navy Tug as well.

Every weekend in November - Panama City, FL Flounder trips

SSDS privately charters our favorite PC vessel for our annual Flounder harvest during November every year. These dives are great for anyone that enjoys excellent seafood! The dives are shallow so junior divers can participate. Also, a spear gun is not necessary at all. A pole spear is easier, quicker and cheaper and does a better job for these bottom dwellers. Sign up quick because they go fast!

Dec 28 - Jan 4 Belize Liveaboard

Spencer will be taking everyone on our "Dive the New Year in" trip this year. Every year after Christmas he enjoys taking groups all over the Caribbean and this year it is Belize. All of our Liveaboard Vacations include all diving and luxury accommodations on a diving yacht. It is not uncommon to have the opportunity to dive up to 5 times a day. In addition to private staterooms and diving, gourmet meals and beverages are included for your voyage too.

March 22 - 29 Cayman Islands Liveaboard

Next Spring Break SSDS has privately chartered the Cayman Aggressor. The only way to enjoy diving all three of the Cayman Islands is to go by vessel like we do. Forrest is taking this group. The Cayman Islands are great for families that dive since most of the best diving is above 60 ft of water. The water is warm, clear and usually calm. The dates are Spring Break for the area schools as well.

Continuing Education

The Nitrox Course and Spearfishing Clinic have been very popular so far this year. We currently have room in both of these.

August 24, 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 24, 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.


Personal request from Steve, Forrest and Spencer Phillips

Hello Divers, 
This week I received a letter from Representative  Jim McClendon announcing that he is running for State Senate.  Many of  you newer divers don't know me, but I'm the guy that was in charge of Southern  Skin Divers Supply until I retired and Forrest took over.  I only do the  Alaska adventure now and dive for relics in Alabama.  In 1999 a new law was  passed in the Alabama Legislature.  In this law were regulations that were  terrible for the rights of the Public to have access to our Public lands that  are underwater.  Alabama is blessed with 77,000 miles of waterways, most of  which have never been dived on or explored.  SSDS and other dive stores  tried to modify the new law with no success.  The new regulations read in  part that you could not dive anywhere in Alabama Public waters without first  paying a Professional Archaeologist to give you a permit to dive in your rivers  and streams.  This was not a permit to look for or find anything but just  to go diving.  It was totally corrupt and wrong and gave Alabama the worst  and most unfriendly dive law in America.  In 2003, I was arrested for  diving and finding a relic in the Alabama River at Selma.  I have been  diving there since 1973.  This is the time that we first met Jim  McClendon.  He is my Representative in Montgomery.  No one has been  more important to you, The Public, in getting back your rights and access to  Public waters than Jim McClendon.  These past years have included hundreds  of trips to Montgomery to work with our Legislators by myself and many others to  get back our waters.  From the time I was arrested Jim has been on board  and leading the charge on your behalf.  He is a bulldog in his  efforts.  He personally is responsible for the audits of the agency that  exposed their corruption and forced their agency head to resign.  Over the  many years of this ongoing fight he has managed to cut the agencies funds enough  to reduce the State Employees of the agency by about 30%.  This was for you  and got their attention.  The person who had me arrested was allowed to  resign.  Jim spearheaded every action that we did and he never gave me  false lip service.  He has never turned me down on any request that I have  made.  He is our number one voice in Montgomery.  Two years ago when  we tried to change some confusing words in our dive law, he had it passed for us  in The House.  It was the first Bill passed in the entire House that  year.  All of this was Jim McClendon's work.  The unfriendly diving  regulations no longer exist in Alabama.  Instead, The Public, can dive in  any of our waters.  You can now find relics, fossils, gold dust and  artifacts that are not part of an official Cultural Resource.  The waters  of Alabama can now be explored thanks to Representative Jim McClendon.   Alabama now has the friendliest dive regulations in the entire country.   The Public, that means you, are still unduly harassed from time to time and  people eventually call our dive store for help.  They refer the problem to  me because I understand the laws.  If it is beyond my help, I call Jim  McClendon.  He has never failed to help.  Jim is not a career  politician, he is an Eye Doctor.  Jim and his family are divers and he has  a strong interest in history I do.  He will be even more valuable in The  State Senate.  Forrest, Spencer and I are sending $500 for his  campaign.  If you are ever going to give any money to anyone running for  office then please help Jim.  It doesn't matter if you live in Alabama or  not.  The successes that Jim has made happen here have had a large National  impact on Public access to Public Lands.  Hunters, fishermen, Historians,  Hikers and everyone in the Public benefits from Jim's efforts for us. We need him.  Let him  know who you are and what your interests are and send a check to: 
Jim McClendon for Senate 
361 Jones Road 
Springville, AL   35146-6134 
Thank you. 
Steve Phillips 
Southern Skin Divers Supply