1999 - 2000 - May 5, 2001 - May 12, 2001 - May 19, 2001 - Curacao 2001 - June 30, 2001 - July 21, 2001 - August 4, 2001 - December 8, 2001 - December 29, 2001 - December 30, 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009
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June 9, 2001: Jacksonville Beach, Florida

"Margarita Barge" - "Vic's Barge"
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I had been wanting to dive off of Jax Beach for a long time. Being the location of my first salt water dive ever, over two years before, it held some nostalgia for me. My sister sent me some email, letting me know she was going to try to get a group together, and I decided I could manage this quite easily.
Diving off of Jacksonville Beach, Florida:
  • Directions from Tampa: There are many ways to get to Jacksonville - I usually go I-75 South, to I-4 East, and then I-95 North.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny in the morning ... it started to rain as we docked.

  • Personal Notes: Steve the boat captain spotted me as I walked up and called me by my Rodale's handle right off the bat. We did two dives, both off of barges, one of which was pretty much unrecognizable as a barge (something was there, but it had been there for a while). This day was the first day my Sony PC110 camera and Ocean Images housing got wet. Well, the housing got wet ... the camera stayed quite dry, thank god. As my buddy John is constantly reminding me, there's a steep learning curve with digital cameras. Heck, there's a steep learning curve with any halfway complex photography/videography! Having neglected to charge up my camera lights (which came on and then dimmed within seconds), I spent a lot of the dive switching between using a red filter, and not using the filter ... any images (and movies) attached to this page may have gone through some processing to clean up the colors. Many times, if I was zoomed into something with the red filter on, the colors cleared up and looked natural ... however, wider shots were very green (particularly stills with the filter on). Without the filter, there was a lot of white. Much of this may have to do with the fact that we were more than 70 feet down and that the visibility was 30-35 feet ... lots of particulates in the water. Wildlife wise, we saw jellyfish, a soapfish, some grouper, some very large blue angelfish, several Florida sea goddesses (nudibranchs) ... The excitement is mounting for next week's trip to Curacao ... will have much video after that one!

Videos!

My Codecs Page so you can get what you need to see these.

Sorry if they're a little jumpy, or a little green ... this is the first time for me taking underwater videos. The videos have no sound and have been rendered using a Divx MPEG encoder ... shouldn't be too hard to find on the net. Also, the size is 360x240 ... those of you using an 800x600 screen resolution should get decent quality full screen ... or at least double the size. My suggestion is that you download these (using a right click function of your browser) rather than clicking to view them. :) Modem users might find them a little big, sorry. :(
Margarita Barge
[VIDEO LINK] 689 kB A school of snapper.
[VIDEO LINK] 507 kB A juvenile blue angelfish. Very pretty ... I wish I had gotten this one without the filter on.
[VIDEO LINK] 2.5 MB A fish I haven't been able to identify. Territorial little buggers; one of these made aggressive moves towards me.
[VIDEO LINK] 94 kB A hydromedusa jelly. Jellyfish of any sort tend to make divers shiver a little, even from a distance.
Vic's Barge
[VIDEO LINK] 1.2 MB This jelly appeared to be being eaten! We wondered what it was that was in the hole that had managed to get ahold of it.
[VIDEO LINK] 3.8 MB A belted sandfish, a soapfish, and the belted sandfish again. The belted sandfish appear to be very territorial, and very aggressive even towards larger fish. The soapfish as well seems to clear out the area, if briefly.
[VIDEO LINK] 1.9 MB A little blenny. These guys tend to sand still a lot, but are also very skittish.
[VIDEO LINK] 327 kB This jelly floated by as I moved around the wreck.
[VIDEO LINK] 844 kB Here's a belted sandfish keeping a sea star some company.
[VIDEO LINK] 2.8 MB Nudi-Suki! Just kidding. Two nudibranchs, Florida Royal Sea Goddesses, apparently mating ... and then a pan over to my sister for size comparison.
[VIDEO LINK] 1.9 MB A little arrow crab, apparently munching on something. You can quite clearly see his tiny little claw ...

Pictures!

Unless indicated, these are a little processed to bring in more (in some cases, less) red and less green, and bring up the brightness.
Margarita Barge
A nudibranch. This particular kind is known as a Florida Royal Sea Goddess, I think.
This is a failed attempt at cleaning up what could have been a good picture of (what I think is) a juvenile blue angel fish.
The colors on the blue coral have been appropriately corrected ... but like most of the pics, when you see bright green, it's probably more of a white.
This is an uncorrected image of a non-filtered photo. This little bugger was very territorial and constantly swam towards me. Swim, sit, swim, sit ... it was almost like he was trying to get into a better position ... right as I got focused in on him!
This is uncorrected with the filter, of course.
This is not something you want to see, particularly during your ascent ... but we saw many. This is zoomed in from a distance aways.
Vic's Barge
We're not sure what this is. Could be a jellyfish but we don't know how it got to where it is.
This jelly looks like not only has it's tendrils been pulled off, but it also looks like it's being eaten by something in a hole. A video of this is available above.


Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
107 Margarita Barge 77 feet 32 min. 80 F
108 Vic's Barge 72 feet 43 min. 80 F
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