Troop 373 Wheaton, IL Tuesday July 12, 2011

July 13, 2011 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 
The lovely Sombrero Reef Lighthouse.

The lovely Sombrero Reef Lighthouse.

Trevor shows us what the tuna spit out!

Trevor shows us what the tuna spit out!

Today started off slow.  I was right about mosquitoes last night, so everyone was a little dragging this morning.  Probably from the blood loss, yes, there were that many mosquitoes!!!  But that is the way it goes sometimes, it is HIGH ADVENTURE, after all.  :)

The day went along reasonably.  First thing we stopped off at the fuel dock in Marathon called Pancho’s.  There is a convenience store there as well, so some guys had ice cream post breakfast.  But it was good to cool off early because the day was hot! We were all sweltering,  all day long.  After fueling, we made our way to Sombrero Reef, which has a lighthouse on it that was built in 1858 by General George Meade.

We ended up doing all our three dives today there, both ends of the reef during the day.  Then it was back to the west end for a night dive after a few hour toodle out into the deeper water south of the reef line to fish.  It was a mission accomplished, because we at least caught a few fish, finally!  No keepers, though, as they were Little Tuny, not a pleasant tasting fish.

The night dive was lovely.  Good visibility and calm conditions made for a good intro to night diving for these guys.  I actually got into the water, too.  I led half the group, and Jim the other half.  Megan has been battling a head cold for the duration of this trip, and doesn’t want to risk making matters (reverse blockage or severe ear infection) worse by diving.  We saw some interesting things, a small turtle, some lobsters and baracuda (standard fare), a large group of tiny juvenile fish that were swimming around us like a living cloud.  The phosphorescence was highly visible, and the moonlight was bright.  I love night dives!

Tomorrow we must work on buoyancy for some folks.  And see if we can help young John slow down a little more to equalize the pressure in his ears.  He is not having much luck, and has yet to spend a full dive in the water.  Too bad!

Patrick and his grass bass!

Patrick and his grass bass!

So we end our night doing something we usually never do–we are on a mooring ball on sombrero reef.  The mosquitoes were so bad close to shore last night, primarily because of the lack of breeze.  Conditions are the same tonight.  No one wants another night like last night (though we have had worse boughts with the skeeters).  Usually when folks ask if we can spend the night on the reef, the answer is no.  “Only thing preventing me from staying here is fear and common sense,” that’s Denny’s usual reply.  But here we are, nonetheless.  The winds are predicted to be light (bad for bugs close to shore) and chance of rain 10 %.  So we’ll risk it!  It’s better to run into shore from a freak thundershower, rather than be drained by the little bloodsucking bugs!  So with that, I’ll end this day’s entry.  And now to the pictures!

Serious reeling....

Serious reeling....

Lunch time

Lunch time

Kristina gears up.

Kristina gears up.

Mother/daughter exchange.

Mother/daughter exchange.

John returns from a brief dive.

John returns from a brief dive.

Three amigos

Three amigos

James on ladder

James on ladder

Holley melting in the sun!

Holley melting in the sun!

Mid afternoon the ship often looks like a floating morgue!

Mid afternoon the ship often looks like a floating morgue!

Just before the giant stride---Ciaran!

Just before the giant stride---Ciaran!

All hail the fisherman!

All hail the fisherman!

Uh, sunscreen for my sleeping beauties?!?!?!?!.......

Uh, sunscreen for my sleeping beauties?!?!?!?!.......

Another rare moment, son assisting mother!   Renews my faith in the coming generation!

Another rare moment, son assisting mother! Renews my faith in the coming generation!

Who called this meeting?

Who called this meeting?

This is what happens when you don't wear your sunscreen!  Ouch!

This is what happens when you don't wear your sunscreen! Ouch!

Packing up

Packing up

Who called this meeting?

Who called this meeting?

Future ninja relaxing.  She's 4'11.  I am serious about both statements.

Future ninja relaxing. She's 4'11. I am serious about both statements.

Captain, diver ready!

Captain, diver ready!

Photo at the end of the adventure!

Photo at the end of the adventure!

Yellowtail snapper

Yellowtail snapper

Yellowtail snapper under boat

Yellowtail snapper under boat

Here, take this!

Here, take this!

The great tank transfer.  The compressor motor crapped out, but has since been replaced!

The great tank transfer. The compressor motor crapped out, but has since been replaced!

When you don't wear your sunscreen, part I.  Note:  ears.

When you don't wear your sunscreen, part I. Note: ears.

Safety brief.

Safety brief.

Peanut gallery

Peanut gallery

After the dive.....

After the dive.....

Megan underwater---her happy place!

Megan underwater---her happy place!

Pancakes:  recording the recording!

Pancakes: recording the recording!

Jim has this thing about lionfish......must kill, must die!!!!!!  Maybe we need to do an intervention.......

Jim has this thing about lionfish......must kill, must die!!!!!! Maybe we need to do an intervention.......

Lionfish

Lionfish

The baracuda is bigger than our future ninja!

The baracuda is bigger than our future ninja!

Handing up the lionfish (in bottom of crate)....Simple catching technique.  Thanks Jim!

Handing up the lionfish (in bottom of crate)....Simple catching technique. Thanks Jim!

Keeping watch for divers.

Keeping watch for divers.

Holley takes a dip.

Holley takes a dip.

Denny too!  (takes a dip)

Denny too! (takes a dip)

Duct tape works another wonder--chafe guard!

Duct tape works another wonder--chafe guard!

Brian tends the breakfast sausages.

Brian tends the breakfast sausages.

Underwater waves.

Underwater waves.

Cheesing for the camera!

Cheesing for the camera!

Sleeping beauties--just after dawn.

Sleeping beauties--just after dawn.

Sargasso Seaweed is actually an algae.

Sargasso Seaweed is actually an algae.

Jim nets baracuda.

Jim nets baracuda.

Hermes tells Megan all about it!

Hermes tells Megan all about it!

Deploying divers on Looe Key next to other scout boat, Yankee.

Deploying divers on Looe Key next to other scout boat, Yankee.


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