Heavy wind and rain often stop offshore excursions and also can have a great influence on underwater visibility. Divers reported this week being able to see 25-50 feet off St. Petersburg in 45-130 feet of water. With runoff from the county blowing out the passes, visibility likely will be greatly reduced to about 18 miles or 60-foot depths. Beyond that there usually is little effect when seas are relatively calm.
The boxcars and jack hole area we dived in 110 feet off Sarasota had surprisingly awful visibility. Gag grouper often seem to dislike this pasty, white water of 5-foot visibility and probably headed north for clearer hunting grounds. Plenty of amberjack were there to greet us. Thirty feet over the lip and into the jack hole the clear, cooler, fresh water was a welcome site during a 150-foot advanced nitrox training dive.
We talked to a fisherman who was on the site first and watched him for an hour as we ate lunch. He thanked us for giving him the chance to see how the bite was going. Unfortunately it wasn't; he and his buddies caught only a couple of bonita and cut loose one barracuda.
- Chad Carney teaches scuba and spearfishing and runs charters out of St. Petersburg. Call 727 423-7775 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org