June Diving Report

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wc-IMG_3514I hope it’s safe to say our last front has come and gone. The tarpon have arrived in big numbers on the reefs and throughout Key West Harbor. Sea temperatures have rapidly increased and are now in the low to mid 80’s thanks to the lingering, warm Gulf Stream current. The tidal and/or Gulf Stream currents have been unforgiving at times over the deep wrecks coinciding with the full moon cycle. The wrecks this spring were un-diveable for nearly two weeks and we will likely see the same 4-6 knot currents pick up around mid-month. Schedule your deep dives before or after this period unless you really enjoyed climbing rope in gym class, then in that case, this would be your kind of dive. Water clarity has improved and we’re now seeing visibility range from 40’ up to 100’ on the deep wrecks and the reefs. This will continue to improve as our summer trade winds settle back in. We’ll typically see visibility of 100’ on the reef to upwards of 200’ or “unlimited” on the deep wrecks during June through August along with “lake like” conditions on the surface. These are the times you want to escape the Duval Street heat and hit the water for a nice long dive. There’s nothing better than being the only person in your group that isn’t sweating from the heat and humidity simply because you were reef diving just hours before. wc-IMG_3517We have been spotting some less common species on our dives. Recently spotted: several locally unfamiliar black tip reef sharks, several large hammerheads swimming on the surface, and even a 7ft blue shark, probably following the tarpon migration. We have also seen the arrival of our manatee population, so please keep a sharp eye out as you navigate the harbors as they will soon be thickly packed into the local marinas. The most interesting thing we spotted this spring was the dense population of really nice sized black grouper. I have compared them to cockroaches scattering when the lights turn on. They are literally covering the deep wrecks and will scatter as you approach them. I assume they will soon check their calendars and quickly disappear. Now that grouper season has opened I may have to shift sights to fishing in between dive days. wc-IMG_3511On a more concerning note, we have noted an increased population of invasive lionfish. Though we do not have as large a population as the Bahamas, the numbers and size of the fish are increasing. We can easily remove lionfish from the shallow reefs but the deeper wrecks and reef zones are showing much heavier populations, likely because of the limited number of divers hitting these area specifically to take lionfish. So if you want an exciting deep dive and free great tasting meal, that has no size limits or restrictions to harvest, then dive deep and bring the proper equipment to safely collect dozens of fish. You’ll collect as many as you can carry in a matter of minutes. Stay safe and happy diving, we’ll see you on the water.


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