Monday, July 13, 2009

Diving Without Seeing

Shannon holding the hooked fish

Shannon and I are currently staying in Panama City Beach. Shannon's brother Steve is getting married in a few weeks in Alabama, so we are hanging out here until then. On Thursday morning we went diving at the jetty at St Andrews State Park. Picking up air fills and food took longer than we planned, and by the time we got there we had missed high tide by one hour--we had heard the ideal time to dive the site is one hour before high tide :( Not to be deterred, we put our scuba gear on and made a long walk to the gulf. Unfortunately, for most of the dive we couldn't see anything because of terrible visibility. I hung on to Shannon's BC so that we didn't lose each other while descending. It worked, but even at depth there was no viz.

After swimming around the end of the jetty, into the channel that goes to the bay, we found good enough viz if we stayed at 30 feet deep. Below 30 feet, the viz would close up to nothing, and above it the same. For whatever reason, we could see each other from six or seven feet away as long as we stayed at 30 feet deep and on the bay side of the jetty.

Unfortunately for us, there were lots of people fishing off of the jetty at the time. I haven't been diving around fisherman before, so I wasn't sure how great the risk is of being hooked, but I can imagine the result is pretty bad if it happens. We didn't get hooked, but we did come across of fish that was hooked on a broken line.

He still had a lot of life in him, but Shannon was eventually able to grab him and I grabbed and removed the hook. It seems simple, but it was a two person job. Shannon's gloves made it easier for her to grab the fish without getting stuck by a spine on his gills, but she didn't have quite enough dexterity to remove the hook. I am sure if needed, either one of us could have done it on our own, but it was just easier for her to hold the fish and me to remove the hook. There is some unique sea life at this site, but unfortunately the area is overrun with discarded fishing lines and lures. I would imagine many fish lose their lives to lures and lines that are broken off and become a deadly form of trash. We will be adding more pics of Panama City Beach here.

Lucas Price
Underwater Encounters

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