The water clarity for Memorial Day weekend is better than in recent years, possibly due to the slow tides and extended high pressures.
There is less gumbo, the dreaded yellow-green algae that appears on cue in late spring. Also called angel hair, the algae blooms and drifts across the bottom until it catches on ledges and wrecks, much like leaves in autumn piling up against fences and shrubbery. Gumbo rarely stays suspended in the water column for long, so the visibility is usually poor only when it's disturbed by large fish or a diver's fins. If diving in an area with gumbo, move a mile or so north or south or change depth by 10 feet or more; you'll likely break into a clearer area.
Vertical visibility reports are top to bottom, and the horizontal visibility has more to do with the depth: 15 feet in 25 feet of water, 15 feet to 45 feet, 40-60 feet deeper than 60 feet and 80 feet in the middle grounds.
Water temperature has broken into the mid to high 70s shallow and low 70s deeper.
The second Spearboard Open Spearfishing Tournament in New Port Richey had world record attendance for an aggregate competition: 217 divers entered from as far away as Louisiana and the Carolinas. Results and photos can be seen at www.spearboard.com
- Chad Carney teaches scuba and spearfishing and runs charters out of St. Petersburg. Call 727 423-7775 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org