Deep Obsession

Liz Thompson   Jul 30, 2019

After a diver achieves Open Water Certification, they often ask us how they can dive deeper and stay down longer. After experiencing some dives in open water, we recommend to our Dive Buddies the best way of extending their diving abilities is through Advanced Open Water Certification. This program requires you to complete four specialty courses including the Deep Diver class and accumulate at least 25 total dives. There are many unique sights to see below 60 feet!

 

One of our Manager’s favorite wrecks to dive is the U.S.S Spiegel Grove. Located off the coast of Key Largo, this retired Navy ship was sank in 2002 as an artificial reef. In 2005 Hurricane Dennis was so powerful that it moved the shipwreck to where it is currently situated with her “right side (the starboard side) up”. The tallest point, the top deck, rests at 60 feet, which is accessible for any open water diver, however the real fun lays below that depth. At the deepest point the Spiegel Grave rests at 130 feet, just within the depth limits of deep diver certification. While on this dive you can look forward to seeing sea life from large groupers and barracuda to a variety of other reef and pelagic fish (fish that inhabit the open sea).

 

Another amazing dive that can be found beneath 60 feet but requires more than just the deep diver certification in the Oriskany. The “Mighty O,” as it is affectionally named, is an aircraft carrier that served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 2006 it was sunk twenty-two miles off the coast of Pensacola. At its deepest point, it rests at 212 feet of water, and its shallowest point is at 80 feet below the surface.  Named one of the top 10 dives sites by the London Times, the “Great Carrier Reef” is a draw for all level of divers from Advanced Open Water to Technical for its amazing visibility. There is also a chance of seeing larger marine life, including Whale Sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, and even resident octopus. With a deep certification you can reach the tower, but in order to touch the flight deck of this amazing ship you need to jump into the world of technical diving, as the deck sits at 145 feet.

 

 

If you are a fan of reefs, then you have nothing to worry about when it comes to achieving your deep certification. Some of the most amazing reefs lie below 60 feet! One example is Mary’s Place in Roatan, Honduras. Formed by archaic volcanic activity, Mary’s place is a crack that runs at 120 feet between two cliff faces. On either side of the crack an array of beautiful coral reaches out, as ocean life such as seahorses and moray eels reside around you.  Because the passage way can be narrow in some places the diver who sets out to discover Mary’s Place needs to have excellent buoyancy control, and for those divers who are not confident enough to venture between the walls, the beautiful corals are visible from the top of the site, making it so that you can dive above (about 30 feet) and follow along the crack.

 

 

 

Our Founder’s favorite deep dives is in Cozumel at Punta Sur.  The site is known as “Devil’s Throat” and is a narrow tunnel that drops through the red coral reef structure at around a 45 degree angle from a depth of about 100 feet (30 m) to 125 feet. Be confident of yourself, as once you enter the narrow tunnel, there is no exit point until you reach 125 feet – just above the depth limit for recreational diving.

 

 

The dive sites themselves aren’t the only things to see below 60 feet. Often the marine life can be different as well.  Large turtles, such as loggerheads, do most of their activities below 60 feet, including hunting or sleeping. And if you want to see a fish bigger than a VW Beetle then look no further than West Palm Beach for Goliath Groupers, which can often be found hanging out around wrecks at 80 feet and below.  These are only two examples of the amazing marine life than can be found at deeper depths – as many pelagic species swim at deeper depths.

 

 

Any diver who wants to dive at deeper depths needs to be aware of the risks involved. We always encourage divers to stay well within their expertise levels and to make sure that they are diving in the safest conditions possible. That is why we encourage you to make sure you are completing the necessary classes in order to achieve all your diving goals - whether it is staying down longer or going down deeper.