On our first full day in the Dry Tortugas (Tuesday), we left the anchorage around 7am and headed out for diving. Scott, Brandon and Matt were onboard with us and this was to be their first ocean dive, having just recently completed their dive certification. We were hoping to find a reasonably priced air compressor to bring along to fill the air tanks since we had more divers on board with us this year, but we were unable to acquire one. We ended up borrowing additional tanks (thanks Nick!) giving us a total of 14 air tanks. With 6 divers on board, we each got 2 tanks to use so we split our dives up into half tank dives so we could could get more dives out of our trip.
Once we all got our scuba gear setup, we enjoyed the ride out to Texas Rock, our first dive spot. Last year, we didn’t get the opportunity to dive Texas Rock so Randy, Corey and I were excited to check it out. We were blessed again this year with flat calm seas and perfect diving weather. Nothing beats diving in crystal clear water as calm as a lake and having the spot all to yourself with no other boats and divers around! Texas Rock is one of the deeper dives in the Dry Tortugas (that are marked with mooring buoys) and sits at 55 feet of water. This large coral mound is beautiful with coral heads jutting up from the sandy floor. There were large schools of fish and interesting little swimmers. I spotted one of my favorite fish, a Porcupinefish, which we affectionately call a “Pudgy fish” since it resembles the pug we once had, Pudgy. Randy pointed out a spotted eel hiding in a rock and there were all sorts of colorful tangs, angelfish and parrotfish.
Our next dive was Off Ramp. We dove Off Ramp last year and I love this shallow dive. It is located right near Texas Rock so it makes a great follow up shallow dive after doing Texas Rock. Off Ramp is in about 30 feet of water and because it’s shallow, visibility was great and the colors were vibrant.
By the time we all completed our second dive it was lunch time and time to head back to the Garden Key anchorage. Once we were rafted up with Sea Crazy, Corey, Matt and Scott took our dinghy out for an afternoon of fishing. Randy and I squeezed onto Corey’s little kayak and paddle to shore to visit Fort Jefferson and snorkel the coal docks. As usual, our evening ended in a wonderful sunset and with Corey blowing the conch horn.
For those interested in the GPS Coordinates for Dry Tortugas Dive/Snorkel Moorings :
RNAMB1 (Windjammer) N24°37.413 W082°56.548
RNAMB2 (The Maze) N24°36.600 W082°56.914
RNAB3 (Davis Rock) N24°41.209 W082°54.440
RNAB4 (Texas Rock) N24°40.082 W082°53.125
RNAB5 (Off Ramp) N24°40.156 W082°54.506
LMBSE (Loggerhead SE) N24°37.833 W082°55.187
LMBSW (Loggerhead SW) N24°37.8031 W082°55.546