We have a winner for the SPI Dive Week photo week. The winning photo was based on the sharpness of the image as well as combining the fish life with the Texas Clipper. Congratulations to Jennifer Idol from Austin Texas.
Divers went out to the Texas Clipper on Saturday. Rio Grande river is flooding to to 4 days of very heavy rain. Visibility was some 20 feet with water temperature at 84 degrees.
Fall is here and today it brought lots of rain and wind meaning we had to postpone today's dive trip. Hopefully we will have a break in the weather by the weekend so we can continue on with the spectacular diving we have all been enjoying. We are starting to fill up Saturday spots in October. If anyone is looking to get a few dives in before winter now is the time to sign up!
Man have we been spoiled. Seas were 2 - 4 feet, but in comparison to the less than 1 ft seas we have had, they felt much larger. Inspite of the seas, visibility is still in the 80 to 100 ft range and water temp is 84 at the surface and 81 at depth. Currents were moderate today and divers reported seeing numerous fish including schools of snapper, spades, triggers, barracuda, damsels, wrasse, rays, octopi, arrow crabs, squirrel fish and a Texas flag.
This has truly been a special week for diving in South Padre Island. In the 25 years that we have been diving the waters of the Gulf of Mexico we could not recall divers ever diving more than 3 consecutive days with us. Of course we never had the Texas Clipper in that time either. Well now have a new record!! 3 divers who have dived 4 days in a row with us. Congratulations to Mark, Rob and Brian! And thank you to all the divers that made the opening weekend of the 3rd annual SPI Dive Week one to remember!
Sea Sports of Houston came back out to the Clipper for Day 3 of Dive Week. They enjoyed diving from the Double Sunshine so much yesterday, the requested it again for today's dive. Since seas cooperated by laying nearly flat, we were happy to oblige. Water again was very clear, 80 to 100 ft and divers have enjoyed getting to spend ample time exploring all that the Clipper has to offer.
We saw record numbers of divers today on the Texas Clipper as groups from Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Oklahoma joined us for what were near perfect conditions. Seas were so flat, divers could have skipped stones across the surface during their intervals. Water was BLUE and viz was 100 ft down to about 110 ft. Conditions were ideal for photo taking!! To accommodate all of the divers we even had to take out two boats.
SPI Dive Week kicked off a day early with divers from Sea Sports of Houston getting an early jump on the festivities. They were treated to calm seas and excellent visibility up to 80 ft. Water temps were in the 80s.
A dive out to Little Sara with divers, snorkelers and spear-fishers. Currents were a little strong and the top layer of the water was green from recent rain runoff. On the rig divers reported visibility around 70 ft and also stated that the water blued up below the 20 ft level. Lots of big barracuda on the rig.
Trip to the Texas Clipper. Visibility was 80 ft and the water temp was 83 down to the bottom.
A small group of divers cam out with us to the Clipper today and seas were nearly flat. With hardly a ripple on the surface it was possible to look down from the Diver 1 and see the Clipper from the surface. Divers enjoyed the good viz down to around 95 feet before the upwelling obscured the water. Bottom temp was reported to be 75 degrees with temps around 85 on the surface. Now is a great time to come dive with American Diving. The summer crowds have left and the Gulf of Mexico is as close to flat as she can get!
Sea Sports came back out for another day of diving, this time to the Texas Clipper. The divers experienced excellent conditions as sea were calm and temperate once again. Divers reported visibility as being any where from 80 to 100 feet down to about 110 feet. They saw rays, amberjack, skip jacks, grey snapper, french angelfish, trigger fish and more.
Sea Sports of Houston joined us for two dives on the Iron Reef, Little Sara. Seas were calm and temperate for the group with 1 - 3 ft swells and 84 degree temps. Little Sara was crawling with sea life as divers reported seeing schools of snapper, amberjack, Atlantic spades, lookdowns, sgt majors, damsel fish, wrasse among others.
Another gorgeous day on the Texas Clipper! Visibility was 100 feet and waters were a deep blue down to 100 feet. Divers relished in the great conditions and reported seeing octopus, lookdowns, cownose rays, southern stingrays, wrasse, queen angels, queen triggers and much much more.
Advanced snorklers and divers made the trek out to Little Sara today. Fresh water from the Rio Grande brought in plankton that clouded up the top layer of the water column limiting viz to around 30 feet. Once divers dropped down below the halocline viz opened up to around 80 feet and waters were blue down to about 80 feet. Lots of barracuda were seen and divers enjoyed swimming with the large schools of lookdowns, octopus, damsels, arrow crab and more.
A small group of divers came out to the Texas Clipper today and had some of the best water of the season. Visibility was 100+ feet down to the bottom of the wreck. Seas were moderate at 1 - 3 feet and there was very little current. Bottom temp was around 78 degrees.
A group of divers came along out to Little Sara. There was a moderate current and lots of plankton that limited visibility to around 60 feet. Divers and snorklers were treated to close up views of schooling barracuda, sgt. majors, grey snapper, stone grouper, lookdowns, a hiding octopus and lots of damsel fish.
Tons of Steel trip to the Clipper and the Iron Reef, Seana's Rig. Diver's encountered clear blue water and near ideal conditions as we had very little current and clam seas. Bottom temp was around 79 degrees. Diver's reported seeing juvenile amberjack, butterfly fish, queen angel fish, queen trigger fish, southern sting rays, wrasse, coco damsels, arrow crabs and much more.
Six whale sharks spotted between Seana's rig and Little Sara. The whale sharks came to the side of the boat and began rubbing themselves on the vessel's hull.
More whale sharks!! This time a group of divers from Broken Arrow, OK, Houston and Fort Worth were surprised to find a whale shark out at the Iron Reef, Little Sara. Dive 1 had already yielded a close dolphin encounter for some in the group and then on Dive 2 a whale shark came in to steal the show. Visibility was around 40 to 60 feet and the water felt warmer than the last couple of days and was around 77 at depth.
No need to dive the Clipper today. Not when there are whale sharks all over the Iron Reef, Seana's Rig! One diver reported seeing 5 at one time, while other divers in another area reported seeing 3 to 4. The best estimate we have is that there anywhere from 10 to 20 Whale sharks seen on the dive. Every time a diver turned around there was another whale shark in the water with them. Truly a spectacular sight to see. Visibility was around 40 to 60 feet and water temp was 84 at the surface and 76 at depth.
Divers from Scuba Schools of Forth Worth and Houston Underwater Club came along for a Tons of Steel trip which includes two dives on the Clipper and one dive on an gas rig. The Mississippi River flooding to the North has brought in a ton of fresh water and algae blooms to the normally clear mid summer waters. The muck has created some not so great viz for divers on the Clipper as of late. Still after two wreck dives it was time to head to the Iron Reef, Seana's Rig. To the divers surprise the algae bloom has also brought in a school of whale sharks!! The shallower depth at the rig meant better viz and a chance to swim with one of the ocean's most majestic and mesmerizing creatures.
Dive day two for the divers from Northwest OK Scuba took us out to the Iron Reef, Little Sara. The gas rig 9 miles off the of the South Padre Island coast did not disappoint as divers were treated to a myriad of marine life. They reported seeing: octopus, wrasse, damsel fish, spade fish, large barracuda, arrow crabs, brittle starfish, and of course our native schools of lookdowns.
Divers from Northwest Oklahoma Scuba in Enid, OK made the trek to South Padre for two days of diving to the Texas Clipper and area gas rigs. Visibility was around 40 feet and seas were moderate at 2 - 4 feet.
Dive World of San Antonio came to South Padre Island for a trip to the Texas Clipper. Seas were moderate and a current was observed coming out of the North carrying nitrate rich waters from the Mississippi River. The group was undeterred and were treated to some great dives on the Clipper. Although viz was not the 100 ft that we have been spoiled with of late, it was good enough to leave the divers, of Texas' largest artificial reef, wanting to come back for more.
Snorkel trip and certification dive to the Iron Reef, Little Sara. Currents were moderate for a group of advanced snorklers from the Harlingen area. Beneath the surface, divers from Brownsville Fire Department were finishing their Open Water course and saw large bait ball of silver fish that have taken over Little Sara, as well as the usual suspects of Lookdowns, snapper, barracuda and octopus.
WHALESHARK!! The final day of diving for the SUDS group proved to be the best of the weekend as the group was treated to not one, but two whale sharks on the Iron Reef, Seana's Rig. Diver's got up close and personal with the giant ocean marauders as they swam laps around the rig structure feeding. A group of divers from Brownsville Fire Department performing their checkout dives were also in the water for the once in a lifetime experience. As the Diver 1 was pulling away from the rig after dive 2 the boat was surrounded by a pod of dolphin that is estimated to have included 200 - 300 members. Truly an amazing experience for all those onboard.
SUDS divers came out again for a two tank trip to the Texas Clipper. Waters were clear blue. The beginning of the dive was a little murky due to the shrimpers dragging the bottom of the Gulf. However, as the day wore on, the sediment settled down and viz opened back up to be in the 80 foot range.
Divers from SUDS out of San Antonio, Texas did two dives of the Iron Reef, Little Sara. Waters were blue and calm for the divers who were treated to sightings of octopi, larges schools of lookdowns, stone fish, moray eel, wrasse, damsel fish, large barracuda and more.
Texas Clipper two tank trip with TPWD
Dive to the Iron Reef, Little Sara. Locals and out of towners enjoyed clear blue water, calm seas and a plethora of marine life.
Tons of Steel trip. We ended up doing 3 dives on the Texas Clipper today. Water was blue with viz in the 60 - 80 foot range.
Boys Scouts from Katy, Texas were certified today as we journeyed back out to Little Sara for their certification dives. Waters were still on the cooler side at around 74 degrees. Visibility was still in the 50 - 60 foot range. Congratulations to all of the hard work put in by both groups of scouts this week. They should all be very proud of their accomplishment!
Boys Scouts from Pearland came out and were certified on the Iron Reef Little Sara. The scouts were welcomed to the underwater world by a pod of spinner dolphin that came and played at the surface near the back of the Diver 1. Water temps were brisk, 75 degrees at depth, and viz was in the 60 foot range.
July 4 and 5
Divers from Houston's Sea Sports Scuba joined us for two days of diving on the Iron Reef Little Sara and the Texas Clipper. Water was blue with viz in the 80 foot range and seas were moderate. Sunday's dive to the Clipper gave many their first ever encounter with a Sunfish or mola mola.
Centex Dive Club made the drive from Austin to come dive the Clipper with us, and they were not disappointed. Visibility was 80 - 100 feet down to around the 70 to 80 foot level. Divers saw large barracuda, schooling lookdowns, giant arrowcrab, and several large remoras. Currents were moderate and seas were nice and calm.
Troop 332 found blue water and dolphin on their first dive to the Texas Clipper today. Visibility was 100 feet with calm seas and mild currents. A family of wrasse were spotted in the gorgonian coral just below the observation wing on the Clipper. Divers also spotted the usual suspects: trigger fish, atlantic spade fish, damsels, snapper, grouper and lookdowns. Congratulations to the newly certified divers of BSA Troop 332 from Spring, Texas!
BSA Troop 332 from Spring, Texas came down to get certified and made their first dives on Little Sara. The Troop braved moderate currents and visibility during their first ever ocean dive but were treated to large schools of lookdowns, sargeant majors, coco damsels and even spotted an octopus. Viz was 40 feet and the current was 1/2 knot.
Another great day of diving on the Iron Reef Little Sara. Visibility was 100 feet today and the current was moderate. Five divers from Brownsville Fire Department completed their open water certification. Congratulations! The rest of the group onboard consisted of divers and advanced snorklers. They were treated to schools of lookdowns, Sgt Majors, spadefish, coco damsels, large barracuda, stone grouper, an octopus and much, much more. A favorite dive among guests and crew, little Sara did not disappoint.
A small group of divers headed out to the Clipper to take advantage of blue water and light currents. It appears that the Clipper is working as far as attracting new species to the Gulf waters off of South Padre as several yet-to-be-identified fish have been making appearances for divers. Water temp is 85 at the surface and 79 at depth.
June 23, 24, 25
Boy Scouts from Troop 52 in Austin Texas dove for 3 straight days on Little Sara, Seana' rig, and then finally on the 25th they dove the Texas Clipper. Visibility was in the 100 foot range every day. Currents were from dead south bringing cobalt blue water. On Thursday's dive, the gulf of Mexico was dead calm and 84 degree water.
Big Blue Water Diving!!!!!! You could see the Texas Clipper from the deck of the Diver I.
Photo's from June 20th's dive to the Texas Clipper by John Thompson from SUDS "Solders Undertaking Disabled Scuba" A picture is worth a 1000 words. Big Blue Water Diving!!
June 20, Saturday
Science divers from UT Brownsville and divers from around Texas went to the Texas Clipper in 4 to 6 foot seas and cobalt blue water. Water temperature was 84 degrees at the surface and around 79 degrees at 134 feet. Visibility was some 80 feet from the surface to the bottom. Currents were mild. Seas are expected to drop to 1 to 3 feet for the rest of the week.
June 14, Sunday
A group of divers from around Texas went to Seana's rig near the Texas Clipper. Currents were once again heavy, however the blue water returned and the divers had some 70 foot of visibility.
June 13, Saturday
San Antonio divers went to the Texas Clipper in 2 to 4 foot seas. After 3 attempts to tie off to the Clipper in a very heavy current we decided to go to the nearby rigs. The northern rigs still had heavy currents but as we traveled south to the southern rigs the current reduced enough to make the diving less work.
June 7, Sunday
Blue water on the Texas Clipper. Ascuba Venture from Corpus Christi made two dives on the Clipper with warm 84 degree water and some two to four foot seas with very short wave periods. At 126 feet visibility was around 30 feet and at 80 feet visibility was around 100 feet. Large rays abounded and there is now a resident Goliath grouper that is making the Promonade its home. This same afternoon a whale shark was spotted on Seana rig by one of the crew boat captains.
June 6, Saturday
Blue water is in on the Clipper. Dive World of San Antonio got to take advantage of the spectacular viz today on a two tank trip to the Clipper. Visibility was 80 feet and current was light out of the southwest at half a knot. Water temperature at the surface was 84 degrees. Large cow nose rays were seen on dive one along with schooling juvenile snapper, lookdowns, Atlantic Spadefish, coco damsels, butterfly fish, queen angels, squirrel fish and much, much more.
June 3, Wednesday
Took a dive on the Iron Reef of Little Sara. Water vis was 60 -70 feet vertical. Divers enjoyed seeing the schooling lookdowns, sgt. majors, coco damsels, barracuda, cow nose rays, snapper, grouper and jacks. Currents were light and the seas were a mere 1-3 feet.
May 31, Sunday
Sea Sports of Houston joined us again for a two tank trip to the Texas Clipper. The moderate current was coming from the southwest and divers were able to escape it by swimming on the structure side of the wreck. Visibility was 40 to 50 ft down to 60 feet and fell to around 20 ft at the 80 foot mark. The trigger fish were looking for a free meal from divers and many reported being accosted by more than one at a time. The Houston area divers reported seeing schools of mutton snapper, juvenile amberjack, triggerfish, squirrel fish, spadefish, look downs, arrow crab, bristle worms, blennies and an octopus. Everyone appeared to have a good time and many photos were taken as possible entries in the SPI Dive Week photo contest.
May 30, Saturday
Sea Sports of Houston joined us for a two tank dive on Seana's Rig. Seas were 2 - 4 ft and visibility was 40 - 50 ft horizontally and is being affected mostly by waters flooding out of the Rio Grande. Divers witnessed schools of Sgt. Majors, grey snapper, look downs, stone grouper, sheepsheads, Atlantic spade fish, greater amberjack and jack crevalle. Currents are still moderate, but were not issue for divers.
May 24, Sunday
We moored up to the Clipper this morning and though the heavy currents had subsided, the flood waters from the Mississippi had stirred up the water causing poor visibility. The determined divers from Houston Scuba Academy made one dive on the Clipper and then we headed to nearby iron reef, Dolphin Rig, for dive 2. The visibility was still clouded so for Dive 3 we headed to the iron reef, Seana's Rig. Finally, the divers were treated to fair visibility and a pod of playful spinner dolphin that swam curiously around snorkelers in the water. Divers in the under the water saw several good sized greater amberjack, schools of snapper and numerous blennies, damsel fish and a variety of macro life.
May 23, Saturday
The Diver I left for the Texas Clipper this morning and hit very heavy currents and flood waters out of the Mississippi. The dive was called off , however we did release one Hawksbill turtle and one Kemps Ridley turtle onto the Texas Clipper.
May 17, 2009 Sunday
The scientists from UTB were onboard today as we headed out in moderate seas. The NOAA sea state report was calling for 1 to 3 foot seas, but they felt more like 3 to 5 on the way to the Clipper. Once we were tied off to the Clipper, the scientists were treated to deep blue waters and reported being able to see the wreck in the water from 30 feet. Water visibility was in the 20 to 40 feet range down to 90 feet. Divers reported seeing large schools of juvenile amberjack, a school of snapper hiding from the currents behind the kingpost, butterfly fish, rock grouper, triggerfish, and an assortment of bristle worms, damsel fish and blennies. One diver reported seeing "a large grouper" ducking into the Clipper's ballroom, most likely a goliath or black grouper.
May 16, 2009 Saturday
Divers from Houston with Just for Divers dived the Clipper today. Seas were moderate at 3 to 5 feet. The water was a deep blue and visibility was in the 20 to 40 foot range horizontally with water temperatures from 78 at the surface to 75 at depth. Divers reported seeing schools of juvenile amberjack, snapper and Atlantic spadefish as well as a giant grouper seen swimming inside the wreck for cover. The clipper has also become home to numerous bristle worms, fire coral, damsel fish, and blennies.
The Diver I departed for the Texas Clipper at 0900 and met 3 to 5 foot seas. Water temperature was 78 degrees from the surface to the bottom. The was a lot of plankton present. Visibility at 60 to 80 feet was 20 feet horizontal. This is turning out to be a very dry year so far and we expect visibility to improve dramatically this year without the flood waters of the Mississippi bringing nitrates and phosphates into the Gulf of Mexico.