Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Day 292 Underwater Adventure-Dive and Snorkel --Lauderdale- By- the -Sea

I am more of a land dweller enjoying the ocean from my comfy chair on the beach.  The mystery of the underwater ocean world with its’ burst of color from the variety of fish and coral carries some intrigue.    My intrigue however, has only led me to stand safely on the ground peering into an aquarium. During my recent venture to the quaint area of  Lauderdale- by- the -Sea  (see Days - 289, 290),  I thought that it was time to “dive in” to an underwater adventure of this area’s off coast  coral  reefs  and a nearby ship wreck (SS Copenhagen) .

Lauderdale- by- the- Sea (LBTS) is  just 7 miles north of Fort Lauderdale.  The coral  reef is only about ¾ mile from its shore which allows snorklers and divers to launch their inspection right from the beach! 

In 1900, a single crew cargo steamer, SS Copenhagen, bound for Havana,  crashed into the reef about ¾ mile off of what is now Lauderdale- by- the- Sea. This sunken wreckage which has  become an underwater marine preserve,  houses soft and  hard coral, colorful sponges, tropical fish and more.  The nearby shore location of the reef and wreck, which is in relatively shallow water of 15-30 feet,  gives  both snorkelers and divers access to an exploration of the ocean world.
Gold Coast crew before a shore dive and our snorkel trip. My guide is on the far right.

 A trip to LBTS allows an experienced diver and/or a novice  to enjoy an underwater adventure. Local, Gold Coast Scuba, and  South Florida Diving Headquarters, about 2 miles north in Pompano Beach,  offers tours, equipment, maps, and guides needed to “dive in”.  LBTS  also hosts “BugFest” (July 24-29,2018) which is an annual week long lobster hunting festival and contest for divers.

Picture from our adventure

  My friend, who is an experienced diver, lights up with enthusiastic speech as he  tells  stories about the immersive world of diving. Since I suffer from motion sickness and a bit of claustrophobia  I was even pensive about snorkeling. Our off shore snorkel guide from Gold Coast Scuba gets an "Academy  Award of Patience". She stopped, tried a flotation vest,  and offered reprieves on her buoyancy device, all in an effort to encourage my perseverance  through the rough rolling waves out to the reef.  (The usual easy swim was more challenging due to the choppy  waves on the day of our trip.) She was correct, once reaching the reef, the sight of parrot fish, waving finger like coral, starfish, and even the unusual presence of an  eagle ray, distracted me enough to put a halt to my slight hyperventilation with the  tube in my mouth.   

I did not last long and I had to be a hauled to shore on  her flotation device as my motion sickness got the best of me but she got me out there. For a brief time, I forgot about being a land dweller and  I was curious to see more of this ocean world.

South Florida Diving -Diving and Snorkel Trip

I got my chance to see more with South Florida Diving Headquarters which  offers  a dive and snorkel  boat tour of the reef’s nursery and the SS Copenhagen This trip accommodates diverse  interests by providing equipment and guides for both divers and snorkelers. The captain kept us laughing and the crew made sure everyone had the equipment that they needed, plenty of water, snacks and fruit.   

This time at the nursery, I focused on slow mouth tube breathing. I was able to last several hours enjoying the colors of the hard coral, spider like swaying seafans,  and blue, yellow, and striped fish.  I even spotted a puffer fish. The ship wreckage was an eerie  preservation of the past with visible  bronze plaque, anchor and frame and a union  with the sea as marine life overtook the structures. 
 My friend dove and I snorkeled with South Florida Diving
As I watched  the grace and slow motion alternating fins and bubbles of my friend while diving and observed the flow of the marine life, I began to relax,overcome my fears, and find comfort as an “ocean dweller”.   LBTS is a great place to start some type of underwater adventure. Who knows, maybe I will learn to dive and next year catch my first lobster at LBTS'  BugFest!

Boat to Nursery and SS Copenhagen

Spiritual Reflection
 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. (Deuteronomy31:6)

 Other Sources

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