Wrecks of South Florida


Among all the crazy things I've done to amuse myself over the years (it's not that being an architectural illustrator isn't exciting, but you can get a fat butt sitting at a drawing board all the time), I became a PADI Divemaster just for fun. That doesn't mean I'm qualified to disperse universal wisdom to fellow scuba divers while gathered around a bond fire at the scuba diver high temple, but it is an important job. My wife, Edrianna was a dive instructor and I assisted her while she trained new divers. The divemaster duties include: making sure the students stay together and most importantly, don't drown! Divemasters also work on dive charter boats conducting dives with 5 times more divers to shepherd over.

Edrianna went on to work at a large dive instructor training facility called ProDive in Ft. Lauderdale and I went to work part-time on a charter dive boat called the Seahorse in Pompano Beach, Florida. I worked for tips and free diving.

 

 

 

 

The Mercedes: German Freighter, 194' long and sunk in 97' of water 

I also produced artwork for Capt. Mike Halprin, owner/operator of the Seahorse, including a large mural and dive briefing charts. At the time there weren't many detailed images of the many wrecks that are dived off the east coast and Mike and I came up with an idea to draw these artificial reefs (intentionally sunk boats). It was easier said than done.

The Hydro Atlantic: not intentionally sunk but went down in a storm off Boca Raton, Florida in 1987. 320' long and in 172' of water. This is the only wreck I did not dive because it is beyond recreational diving limits. I worked from a video taken by Mike.

 I had a lot of experience on most of the wrecks. One of my duties was to tie off lines to a shipwreck prior to letting divers descend. This required precision on Capt. Mike's part, reading surface and bottom current's direction and speed. Mike was the best, he had great instincts.

The Rodeo 25: Dutch freighter, 215' long and sunk in 130' of water 

 It was equally challenging for the divemaster not to mention dangerous (did I mention I was doing this for free and because I thought it was fun). I had to dive into the deep blue on the Captains cue; swim down as fast as I could, to depths up to 130', while dragging several hundred feet of rope attached to a 3 foot diameter surface buoy; my heart ready to explode; clear my ears so my head wouldn't implode, sometimes into dark water with visibility less than a few feet; find the wreck and attach a grappling hook to it without overshooting the wreck or before the surface float or ripping current pulled me away.

RSB-1: cable laying ship, sunk in 118' of water

 And if I missed the wreck I would have to ascend and endure the "hairy eyeball" glares of angry divers, perched on the edge of their seats and sweating in their wet suits and heavy dive gear. They would have to wait for me to repeat the whole thing again--great motivation to get it right the first time. I'm not bragging but I never missed a tie off. Man was that fun!

The Captain Dan: USCG bouy tender, 175' long and sunk in 110' of water

 Link to Wrecks of South Florida Part Two

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