Mild Winter in Store for the Florida Keys? So Far So Good
Well, here we are in 2015 already, strong winter winds blew through in mid-November and eased to a nearly continuous, 15-20 knot (18-24 mph) breeze throughout December. Our water temperatures plummeted rapidly from 80 degrees to 74 degrees seemingly overnight. That’s too close to freezing by the measure of us locals. Recently, temperatures have stabilized at 76-74 degrees on the reef and out to the 160’ ocean bottom contour which includes the deepest locations of our best wrecks, the USNS Hoyt S. Vandenberg, and the Cayman Salvage Master.
These conditions are typical in the Florida Keys and we can expect these conditions to continue just into March. As always, it’s a good idea to check the weather conditions when booking a trip, a big indicator to exceptionally rough weather is the approaching of a cold front. These cold fronts will nearly always keep us tied at the pier for a day or two until they clear from our waters. The dominating factor isn’t the cold wind as you would get from the name but more simply the fierce winds that precede and follow the passing of a strong winter cold front.
We had an exceptionally great tropical storm season here in the Keys, not a single tropical storm threatened us this year, however the early arrival of a couple monster cold fronts did the work to cool down our waters and now that it’s passed we can expect fair conditions for the remainder of winter, or at least, that’s what we’re all predicting so far.
The sea life spotted on our dives hasn’t slowed one bit, as a matter of fact, we’ve seen an even greater variety and concentration of creatures on our most recent dives. We have been treated to large pods of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin visiting our divers on several occasions while diving our wrecks. Large bait schools are making their presence felt on all our reefs bringing with them the usual predators such as yellow jacks, Spanish mackerel and barracuda to name a few. I also have had several reports of large bull sharks on the sea floor near the USNS Vandenberg but I have yet to capture a photo. Stand by, it won’t be long before I get one in a video.
So if the winter conditions have you yearning for a warm weather retreat stateside, we’ll be diving the 76 degree clear water, 60’ of visibility on the wrecks with 70 degree air temps for the next few months. Just pick up the phone and let us warm you back up...
One last thing for anyone that hasn’t found this local gem yet, I recently discovered an additional marine supply store close to home. Keys Marine Supply on Stock Island has all the hard to find items here in the keys including marine epoxies, bulk fiberglass supplies, cables, hydraulic parts, and so much more. I mention this because when you need it down here it’s sometimes hard to find it “RIGHT NOW”...
Give Claudia a call at 305-292-0101 to see what they have in stock, she’s always a pleasure to talk to and can help find those hard to find items.
Stay safe and happy diving, we’ll see you on the water.
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