is simply outstanding! Twelve miles offshore in 3-4 foot seas, we anchored over the USS Mindanao. The spear fishing divers entered the water first and quickly headed for the wreck. We made last minute checks on our gear and got final instruction from the dive master, Lloyd from Sea Dogs Dive Center: " Enter the water, swim to the anchor line and meet me at 15' on the line."
Within a few minutes we were on the line heading down to the wreck. The wreck is huge at 446 feet long. The first thing I noticed was all the life swimming around. Everywhere I looked, fish were darting around the rusted and encrusted skeleton. We followed Lloyd around the wreck, while he pointed out points of interest and several very large fish. I saw a huge Goliath Grouper (my guess was 250 lbs), Lionfish, flounder everywhere and other fish I could not identify. While heading back up the anchor line a school of barracuda were spotted 15 feet away. A couple sandbar sharks followed us up to the boat, they seemed to be very skittish and kept their distance. One of the spear fish divers said they saw a Tiger shark...
After everyone was back on board, Lloyd started to prepare a little snack before we made our second dive. One of the Lion fish spotted was killed and brought back up for some sashimi style treats. Lloyd also brought along a fresh pineapple and water melon. Very nice touch by Lloyd and Yes, I did try the sashimi and its was surprisingly good.
The second dive was on a 100' sunken barge. This wreck was covered with all kinds of fish as well. Another Goliath Grouper swam around and did appear to follow us a few times. Huge schools of some type of bait fish moved about in unison.
The boat Capt, Robert was very knowledgeable and made sure the ride out and back was comfortable. It did rain some on the return trip and the sea got up there but the setup on the boat and the Captain's skills made sure we were comfortable and secure.
Being new to the world of diving I must say I felt safe with these guys and the total setup with Sea Dogs. The local knowledge of the area is worth the cost alone. The other divers on the boat appeared to be locals and repeat customers. They were friendly and shared their knowledge. I liked it so much, I signed up for another dive...
Day 2: Diving with Sea Dogs
Day 2 we headed back out to the USS Mindanao. It's such a huge ship to explore, going in and out of the wreck. This time we entered the ship at one of the holes that sunk the ship. This opening was two decks down from the top deck, plenty of room to maneuver and the view is outstanding inside the wreck. The second dive was on the same 100 foot barge that was sunk years ago. Two Cobia were bagged, a few Lion fish. Big Rays were spotted as well as a 8 foot hammer head and some sand bar sharks. While going to release the anchor and on the way up Lloyd shot a huge 50 lbs Cobia, making that three total.