I did not plan on doing any deep dives during this trip but changed my mind on Friday when I learned there was a Saturday (July 5th) morning trip to the Spiegel Grove and conditions were pretty good.
I was a little nervous since I had to abort the dive during my 2005 trip. In 2007 I decided not to go due to dive conditions so it was a dive that was long overdue. I decided not to bring my camera so I could focus on safety since this was my first time at the wreck.
Chris from Rainbow Reef was the dive guide for the trip. The waves were higher than I liked, which made me a little nervous. High waves make it difficult since you pull yourself around the boat to the mooring line along along a “granny” line while breathing through your snorkel. As I learned the hard way in 2005, water getting in your snorkel from high waves can be a problem. I made it with no problem but I still want to get a snorkel with a better wave guard for future dives like the Spiegel.
We moored on ball number three, which put us mid-ship on the starboard side at about 85 feet. There was very little current and visibility was great. We swam towards the bow past the mid-ship crane. We even stopped to salute the flag on the crane tower, which seemed like the thing to do since it was the 4th of July weekend. We turned around at the starboard anti-aircraft gun when I hit 1800 psi and headed back to the mooring line. We did not see a lot of the large fish that hang out around the ship except for two pretty good sized Barracuda. As we planned, I ended up hitting 95 feet for my maximum depth. Overall the dive went as planned and I feel a lot better about doing more of the deep wreck dives in the Key Largo area, especially if I have a better snorkel.