Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

So, what do you do when you can’t get offshore, you and your dive buddies have a good breakfast in your bellies, all your gear is charged and ready to go, and you’re amped to dive? Go dive! Change the location and focus.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

First, we contemplated diving Quiescence’s training tank! I am serious! After a good laugh about that, we then considered diving under their dive boats, replacing their zincs, cleaning their bottoms a little, and looking for some small sea life in their protected slip in their teeny harbor. This would have been a good dive – low current, good visibility, no waves, easy entry and exit, chance to see some small stuff, and free. Free is good…

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip , Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

However, we wanted just a tad more excitement, so we headed over to Jules Verne Undersea Lodge, where you can SCUBA down to an underwater hotel room and order pizza – they deliver by dry box!

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

While we probably would never have actively chosen to dive here, due to horrific offshore conditions, our Key Largo reef and wreck dive on Quiescence was called.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

Being completely shut out from our offshore dives, we were eager to get some new gear wet. We had one fairly new diver, who we wanted get him in the water at least once and assess his skills.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

Another diver had suffered from the skin bends and been out of the water about six months. He was eager to just get on the bottom and breathe. And we were eager to get in at least one dive with our dive club buddies from NAS JAX Skin and Scuba Diving Club.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

With such a huge shift from offshore reef and wreck dive to a cloudy lagoon full of dive students, tourists, and even a couple manatees on a dreary, rainy, sunless day; a shift in goals ensued.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

As in everything in life, your attitude makes a huge difference. It was a chance to dive. Afterward, we reviewed what all we got out of diving in a dark lagoon, and it was a surprising lot.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

First, I wanted to master using our two GoPro cameras. What a perfect opportunity. On a scenic reef dive, I probably would have had someone else start and stop the camera, and just carried it a bit, then  handed it off to someone else to do a bit of recording. I would not have wanted to be distracted from seeing the reef.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive TripHowever, this was my opportunity! Although frustrated, I was determined to master the small shiny buttons – all two – one turns the device on, and one starts the filming. After some false starts and stops, I managed to master the beeps and blinking lights. This is when I was scrutinizing the buttons on the GoPro – and it was recording, I discovered.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

Delighted at my success, we continued around the basin, looking for items to video. There were some manatees in the lagoon, but we avoided them since we didn’t want to crowd them or upset them.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

Low PSI – this definitely was a low-pressure dive in a fairly controlled environment; no sharks, alligators, currents, boat propellers, boarding self and gear on and off a boat, jumping off a boat or climbing a ladder back on board, watching and worrying about other divers, worrying about keeping up with a group.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

Instead, we got to practice keeping one thought in mind – “Where is my dive partner?” – and work on navigation.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

I cannot emphasize enough just how unusual the visibility was – with the rain, tide change, unusual volume of new divers stirring up the silt – it was a challenge!

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

There was no pressure to see all of a long mile of reef; we could settle down at a shallow depth and watch fish endlessly!

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

We took a lot of video of fish. We got to watch their school interaction, and their reaction to a couple groupers lurking around. On a drift dive, we would never have gotten to stay in one place, practice neutral buoyancy and make adjustments over a half hour, and just enjoy breathing and rising up and down, all the while watching beautiful fish.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

We got such good video of the fish, and wanted to correctly log them in our dive log – we use Dive Log –  that we had the fun of ordering a fish identification book for future dives. We spent a whole evening reviewing our footage of the fish and identifying about 12 different species that we might have missed otherwise.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

While we didn’t get to see any of our dive club members after decent; we practiced videoing other divers, quietly observed the classes and enjoyed listening to their style of prep and review, and underwater we watched typical learning behaviours, identified good and poor actions – solidifying our own goals of precision and safety. Entering the undersea lodge main room, we got to review overhead environment; ascents and descents.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

We weren’t the only ones with the idea of diving here, so it was crowded,  it was a dreary rainy day, the visibility was low, and it was expensive. True, it’s a checkbox does never have to be done again, however, we wrung all sorts of learning out of the experience, and most important – got wet, and had some dive time with our buddies.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

What we learned: If you are open-minded, there is ALWAYS something to learn. As I say with captaining a sailboat on two-hour charters in the same location every day; I always learn something new.

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

, Jules Verne Undersea Lodge – Salvaging a Dive Trip

It might not be what I thought I was going to learn, but I always learn. It might be from personal observation, or talking to a passenger, or on a dive trip – listening to a dive master or dive partner, but there always is something to learn or experience or appreciate.

What to read next: Diving the Florida Keys – Packing and Planning

Or: Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

 

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