DWF dives and teaches to feed his soul, but to pay the mortgage DWF has a “day” job. Well this week the day job sent him down to Tampa, FL for the week. We all know that you can’t just grab a dive on the last day you’re in town since there’s that pesky little nitrogen off-gassing time you have to wait before getting onto an airplane home. But it’d be a shame to make it down to Florida without getting wet.
There is a lot of competition down in the Tampa area, and I called several places. Many places weren’t running charters on Monday. Nobody seemed to be doing night dives during the week. And just about everybody was running day charters (8am-1pm and/or 12 noon-5pm). None of those were really going to work for somebody who’s down there working.
But with a little bit of luck, DWF saw a hole in his schedule on Monday and filled it with some diving! I stumbled upon 2Shea Dive Charters and made contact with Captain TJ. He was super flexible and after a bit of back and forth we identified a dive that would work for me.
The long and short of it was that I rolled right onto one of the 2Shea charters. I really appreciated how Cap’n TJ worked with my schedule (even pushing back our departure time just a hair so I could make it).
This is a relatively small dive operation, and the boat we took out seemed like it could comfortably hold about 6 divers. But between Captain TJ and Divemaster Eric, it was full-service. They supplied all the gear anybody needed (DWF brought down his full kit), the dive briefing was comprehensive and we had divers of several different skill levels on board. This included a brand new younger diver who was well taken care of.
If you’re not into the cattle car dive operation and you know your stuff then 2Shea Charters will be just about perfect for you!
I got paired up with Tyler as my dive buddy and he and I did a quick review. I’ve done enough diving with brand new dive buddies that I knew to do a kit review, signal review, and figuring out who was doing to drive. That extra few minutes before getting into the water helped to make the dive more relaxing. I got stuck doing UW Navigation since I am admittedly a little better at it.
The water was about 84 degrees so this was a no-wetsuit dive day! It’s difficult to describe how amazing it was to just throw on a swimsuit after diving in a 7MM, hood, and gloves, just 24 hours before.
The only real bummer during the dive was that I hadn’t fully charged up my camera and the battery died about 5 photos into the dive 🙁
I also am getting used to my new setup so all 5 of those photos were totally overexposed. I was able to salvage a single one. If you look close you can see some little shrimp looking guy in there.
We did two dive sites that afternoon:
3 Poles Reef (45 feet for an hour)
Clearwater Artificial Reef (27 feet for an hour)
The visibility wasn’t the crystal clear water I was envisioning. It was somewhere between 15-20 feet.
All in all I had a really enjoyable time diving for my very first time in the Tampa Bay area. The next time I’m down here I’ll be looking up Captain TJ to see if I can get in another few dives with 2Shea Dive Charters.