Rainbow Reef would like to thank Matt, Dave, Mike, Gabe, Marty and Al for choosing Rainbow Reef Career Development Center for their PADI Instructor and Staff Instructor Training. Great job you guys, we had a blast!
…some rain must fall. Lucky for us, Tropical Storm Bonnie was a bust and didn’t really leave any rain in her wake. She just quietly slipped northwest and left us alone after one day of threatening weather. Unfortunately it made our group from SeaVentures have to turn around and go to plan B- hopefully we will see them soon. The good news is that the system seemed to move all of that wind we were having right out of the area and it is gorgeous calm and flat looking for today and this week. I know what that means- I’ll be getting out for some diving! A parking lot injury (don’t ask) may have me on the sidelines for a few days but I am hoping to be better before my favorite dive on Wednesday; Conch wall. Join me!
We had some fun friends visiting this week. Young Zack B from GA was here diving with his favorite buddy Jardin. Since the weather wasn’t ideal, they dropped by Jule’s Undersea Lodge to get wet on his first day. They played with a crab and checked out the habitat and had a great time. Speaking of Jule’s, my good friend Maureen O fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming SCUBA certified this week with instructors Jeff and Brent. She could not rave enough about what great work they did and how comfortable they made her in the water. She returned to Michigan triumphant with her C-card in hand. Both Zack and Maureen are anxious to return and do some nice smooth water diving in the near future! A good friend Mary also had a fantastic experience with Jeff and Brent. Years after being scared away from SCUBA by an overly assertive instructor, she put the gear back on and had a wonderful “discover swimming pool” session with Brent. She loved it so much that she didn’t want to get out of the pool and now she’ll be back to get her OW cert soon!
In RRDC news, we are proud to congratulate Jose and Brian who successfully completed their IDC this weekend and are now PADI instructors. Great job to them and to Course Directors Pam and Bill. Some staff members had memorable weeks- Becky T (the squirrel) was excited to report that she had a close encounter with a nurse shark and just yesterday she was able to carefully assist a southern ray who had a hook and fishing line caught on him. Great job, Becky! Captain Graham and his wife Rese were thrilled to welcome their new addition this week; baby Marley Rose was born on Tuesday and is happy and healthy (and adorable!).
Wow, these weeks are really eventful in the summer with everything going on- thank you so much to our customers for being so loyal and allowing us to provide you with memorable trips and knowledge that lasts a lifetime. We appreciate you!
Wow, it’s been a crazy busy few weeks at Rainbow Reef! We’re certainly not complaining, but it’s been a whirlwind of divers and photos and fish stories- *whew*. Time for a day off today after I finish recording some thoughts here.
Week before last we were excited to welcome back our good friends Jerry, Nancy and Elva. The most memorable dive I did with that crew (along with Bridget, the lovely wife of Captain Bill) was an incredible drift on Conch Wall. If you haven’t done Conch Wall, you really must. It’s a long, sloping wall that tapers gradually into a flat relief as you approach the area of the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory (which you cannot swim into- we surface prior to getting there). We saw a huge nurse shark at the beginning of the dive and with so many places to look it seemed like everyone had their own unique amazing experience. Upon surfacing tales were exchanged of seeing sharks, rays, turtles and many other fantastic sights. I personally was stunned at the sheer size of some of the day to day fish that you see on a more shallow dive- the French Angels were dinner plate size or bigger and I saw a puffer fish that astounded me with his girth.
On that same dive we went to a location nearby that was a neat patch reef- wow, the life we saw there! The most remarkable part were the Flamingos Tongue that were absolutely everywhere! I’d only ever seen one before and suddenly they were all over the place. It was like an Easter egg hunt just popping from sea fan to sea fan looking for more. What a delight! Toward the end of the dive I was thrilled to get to swim side by side with a nice sized nurse shark until I finally had to turn around and re-join the group and get on the boat. I could have stayed there all day. It was amazing.
I’ll close for now and save some stories for next week’s log- I have more, believe me. I’m putting up a few pictures to enjoy and until next time, get out there and do some diving!
Wow, busy season has kicked in full force and we are enjoying every minute of it! We’ve had several things going on that are very exciting.
We were happy to welcome DiveHeart once again to RRDC. If you are not familiar with their work, please take a few minutes to look at their website and consider donating some time or funds to the organization. They are a group of big hearted people who help people with disabilities discover the wonders of scuba. Doug B from Diveheart wrote on our facebook page:
“Hey guys and gals! I ejoyed my recent experience with you and the Chicago Diveheart group. Your staff went way above and beyond to accommodate everyone’s needs and it is much appreciated.”
We appreciate that you came diving with us and allowed us to share in the experience. It was wonderful for everyone.
We had a visit from SeaVentures out of Atlanta, GA this past weekend, which is always a treat. It’s nice to see old friends and make new ones, which we always know will happen when their bus pulls in. We had some winds that weren’t favorable, but in the end they all got some gorgeous dives in and said they had a nice time. Their departure was preceded by a cookout, courtesy of DJ, shopped for by Gabriele and cooked by Dale. Our whole crew hopes you had a great time and we can’t wait to see you again in July!
I’m featuring a few photos in the blog this week- we had two photographers on board in the past few weeks that got some truly outstanding shots. The first was Mark Karl, a diver who joined us for some exceptional dives during his visit. The weather was amazing for him and he was able to really have fun with his camera. The other was the Painter family, who spent a few weeks with us doing various specialties and getting their son rescue certified. Both got some amazing shots. A picture says a thousand words, so check these out!
In closing, a word about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. We are very happy to say that the FL Keys have been spared any ill effects from this disaster and we continue to operate as usual, with crystal clear waters and healthy reefs suitable for diving and snorkeling. From the Miami Herald:
“The risk of oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout reaching the Florida Keys and South Florida anytime soon is now so remote that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suspended its trajectory maps for the area, effectively downgrading the region to low risk.”
We of course are very happy to hear that, as our coral reef system and our waters mean so much to us all here in Key Largo. We continue to support the areas that are being impacted and will do so in the future as well. Your best source of up to date information regarding the spill is at NOAA’s website. We will post any updates as they are warranted, but we are not being effected by the spill and are enjoying some spectacular diving right now (as the pictures above certainly show!)
We had a really fun week at Rainbow Reef. As usual we had a lot of fun classes going on from Discover Scuba to Rescue class as well as a few specialties- night dive specialty and wreck specialty. Two of our instructors in training are beginning their rescue dive courses and EFR as well.
In addition to classes, we saw some amazing sights. Because I’m writing this, I have to report on my own sighting first. On a drift dive on Thursday afternoon, we spied a pod of dolphin on the reef! Talk about an absolutely astounding sight. It was a bit startling at first because it just looked like a big school of something unknown and REALLY big, but when my eyes focused and I realized what we were looking at, I was stunned. Instructor Becky and I gave chase for a short time, trying to extend our experience just a bit, but we had to turn around since we were on a drift and didn’t want to get separated. I know people who have been diving since they were old enough to strap on gear that have never seen them, so I am really amazed to have had that happen. Naturally I drove everyone crazy for the rest of the weekend repeating my thrilling tale to everyone who has ears and exaggerating it more and more with each telling, but what can I say? I do love to dive and that was just incredible. See the picture below, taken by the Blattman’s, who were out with us on that dive.
There were some other good sightings as well- Sadie and her student saw an octopus on the Benwood on Sunday morning in the daytime! She said he was changing colors and swam around for a short time, then either swam away or camouflaged so well that she couldn’t see him any longer.
The spotted eagle rays are out in full force lately as well and we are seeing large groups of them sailing around the reefs. Below is a picture taken by a customer, Mark Karl- it is honestly one of the most breathtaking underwater shots I’ve ever seen.
To top off the weekend, we had 2 full chartered boats of snorkelers from FIU and Miami Dade College- they had a fantastic time with clear seas and lots of life to look at. I know they will be back soon and several of them now want to get scuba certified. Once the feeling grabs you, it sure does grab you! The Tropical Voyager and the Tropical Adventure tied up together and they all got to snorkel together, which made for a really fun day for them. We were very happy to welcome them here. Below is a picture taken during their trip- it’s so clear and gorgeous that you can practically scan the reef from here!
So that wraps up just some of the highlights from the week and weekend. Don’t forget to find us on Facebook and friend us- we update daily with fun pictures, videos, quotes, and information about Rainbow Reef and Key Largo. Here is a direct link:
Rainbow Reef Dive Center on Facebook
Wonderful news- we have 6 new instructors to congratulate! Becky, Nate, Mike, Justin, Dan and Matt all completed their Instructor Development Course today and passed with flying colors. Great job to all of you, we’re very proud!
This weekend was a lot of fun- we had the folks from Team Divers down from Miami, we welcomed Scuba Quest, who had a delightful time with us and Neptune Divers paid us a visit as well. They kept us all on our toes!
In other exciting news, we are now an Aqualung dealer- stop in today or call to ask about our selection of regs, BCs, computers, fins, etc.
We are getting excited for the upcoming weekend, which will be very busy and a lot of fun. The water temperatures are up now so that many people are using shorties or just bathing suits.
This was an eventful and fun week- We welcomed American Dive Zone, who took several trips with us and had great conditions on the Spiegel, the Duane and the Eagle. It was a bit wavy out there but the vis was reported as nothing short of amazing. On one dive, the Spiegel was visible from the surface! It was reported that the waters are really warming up out there as well.
We also welcomed a group headed by Bruce S, who did several fantastic dives with us. You were a joy to dive with and we hope you’ll come back to see us the next time you’re here!
Conditions on Molasses were just as beautiful. Below are a few photos from dives this week. Enjoy!
We were excited to have the Sea Ventures group from Georgia join us again this past weekend for some excellent diving, fun times and even a cookout on Sunday afternoon just prior to their departure. The waters were significantly warmer than the last time they were here and it was a great opportunity for several of their students to become Open Water certified. Congratulations to them and welcome to the wet and wonderful world of SCUBA diving. One of the highlights of their trip was a night dive on Saturday, where the divers got to experience the wonders of the ocean in a whole new way. I heard reports of many crabs, grouper and barracuda. The weekend was topped off by a dive on the Spiegel Grove early Sunday morning, and while it was on the wavy side, the vis was reported as incredible and everyone reported having a great time. Before they hit the road back to Georgia, they enjoyed a cookout dockside with burgers, dogs and the fixings.
It was a busy weekend and we also welcomed back instructor George Y with his students, who were down from Miami. They enjoyed clear vis dives on Saturday and Sunday and we enjoyed having them, as always.
Our weekend was topped off by owner DJ treating his hard working staff to a viewing of Disney Nature’s Oceans This is an amazing film that anyone who loves the water absolutely must see. Big thanks to DJ for making sure that we all did, it was a fun night out for us.
Below are a few pictures from the weekend!
Congratulations to MIKE FONDA, from Cohoes, New York. It was a beautiful, calm, sunny day on Friday, April 23, 2010, when Mike successful completed his Advanced Open Water course with a couple of deep/wreck dives on the Speigal Grove, and the Duane. Mike completed his Deep dive on the Speigal Grove, and his wreck dive on the Duane. The Speigal dive had about 65 feet visibility, no current, and a very calm surface. The Duane dive was even better with 75 feet visibility, no current, but a little choppier on the surface. With the water temperatures rising to a more comfortable level, the conditions were great for both diving, and just being out on the boat. Mike was treated to several large barricuda, a large grouper, and a school of permits. Congratulations again on a job well done.
This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of diving all day with Steve and Deanna from Dallas, Texas. Steve who is already certified, joined Deanna and I in the pool for the confined water session of the Discover Scuba course. Deanna was a natural in the pool and we headed out on the Tropical Voyager to Molasses Reef with Captain Zach and Nate. First dive was on the Aquarium and Deanna with a little nerves made the giant stride in and the smile never left her face! We had great viz and an amazing time! Steve was able to get some great shots of the experience. Second site, we checked out the winch and Atlantic Spadefish on the Winch Hole. After coining the nicknames Scuba Steve and Scuba Sue we were able to convince Scuba D (didn’t need much convincing) into getting her certification! I look forward to hearing from them on their next dive adventure. Thanks for a such and awesome day!!