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  #91  
Old 06-27-2008, 08:31 AM
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I talked to Paul Menta down in the Keys last night. He had been out all day on a 9 m, lit! Strange June weather we're having. Anyway, the blow stuff didn't make quite this far north so my thoughts are still drifting to travel and diving. Bringing something up from last summer, the Wreck of the Sapona in Bimini, Bahamas.



Here's the wreck. It used to have a high stern section listing on its side. Time, corrosion, hurricanes and the odd bomb have altered that. The story behind the wreck is an interesting one. Here is what Bimini Undersea, a good local diving operation has to say about it:

During World War I, traditional ship building supplies, ie. Steel, was in short supply. Looking for alternatives, the US government commissioned the construction of 24 ships made from Concrete. They were to be built by the Liberty Ship Company. Of the 24 vessels planned only 12 were built. And, the history of the 12 is a bit in question. Especially the history of The Sapona.

Some historians have the Sapona completed in 1911, others claim she didn’t set sail until after the war ended in 1920. What everyone does agree on however is that by 1924 she was owned by famous Bahamian Rum Smuggler Bruce Bethel. Stories have it that Bethel was using the vessel as a floating warehouse just off the shores of Bimini during the US period of Prohibition.

Another point, not in dispute is that her present location just behind South Bimini on the Great Bahama Bank is the result of a hurricane back in 1926. The Sapona didn’t “sink” as much as she simply “ran aground” having been driven up into shallow water by the storm. Another hurricane in 1932 caused the stern end to snap off and keel over to the east side. This same 1932 hurricane is rumored to have put the entire island of North Bimini underwater for a short period of time during the storm.

Probably the most famous story about the Sapona has it’s roots in one of aviation’s biggest mysteries. And, the story that launched the legend of the Devil’s Triangle. The disappearance of Flight 19 on December 5th, 1945. During the early 1940’s, the Naval Air Stations located in Southern Florida would regularly use the wreck of the Sapona for bombing a strafing practice. Shooting up the hull with 50 caliber machine gun shells and dropping fake bombs. They shot so many rounds at The Sapona that to this day, following stormy weather, divers still find a few coral encrusted machine gun shells strewn on the bottom on the periphery of the wreck.


More at: http://www.biminiundersea.com/sapona.htm




A good friend's daughter has a go with the Aqueon around and inside the wreck. She was a natural picking it up in about 15 minutes. More about this intriguing swimming device at: http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=4372




I can remember diving on the Sapona decades ago. There was more to it then. Then again, I guess that is what people visiting the wreck in the 1940's used to say. At least of course before some of the more intense strafing and bombing runs.










If you're in Bimini be sure to visit the Sapona if you can. It is a fun stop.


Photos by Rick Iossi



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  #92  
Old 06-27-2008, 08:31 AM
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Here's something you don't see everyday on here, WINDSURFING! For those that have been around long enough or may actually still partake, think about this for a sec. Imagine, it is 1995, almost no one is thinking about using traction kites for water sports, yet. So, you HAVE to get a wind fix and it has to be on the water and you don't want to mess with experimental sailboats. What do you want to do? Yes, you got it.

Here's a few images ...



Burlenčių įskaitoje nugalėtoja tapo vartotojo *anzelka* atsiųsta nuotrauka "Bangų šukos", kuri artimiausią konkurentą finale aplenkė daugiau nei dvigubai. Sveikiname Vėjasgalvoje komandą A. Lapėnienę ir G. Lapėną!
From: http://tinyurl.com/6pww9k

Pretty dramatic conditions, a lot more appropriate for windsurfing than kiting from appearances. The text is in Lithuanian, I think, maybe Russky can help us out with a translation? Hope it isn't something bizarre out of left field.




Got this via Turkey, again I think. Seems to be something from Neil Pryde. Should have asked Garrett to get some images directly. Next time! When's the last time you shredded by desert ruins? Then again on further thought, wonder if this might not be Egypt and a new resort down the shore instead of ruins?
From: http://www.teknolist.net/2008/05/01/...ustleri-4.html





파도속의 윈드서핑~! ("Wind surfing in the waves!") I was surprised to get a clear translation and so quickly from Korean. Still, would have liked to know where this is. Maui, South Korea or ??? Gives me pangs of wind lust just looking at it.
From: http://www.kwasa.org/@board/zboard.php?id=kfba_photo






Here's an odd one. Makes you wonder what that Mistral boarder was doing in Pipeline? Did he loose his rig? Was he cheaping out on a standup board, and continued good health likely and was using the board for standup? We may never know. One more question, is that a rock shelf a few inches below the water right in front of those guys? OUCH!
From: http://blog.jamie-sterling.com/



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Last edited by ricki; 06-27-2008 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:24 AM
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Headed south to grab the third or so good wind weekend since the wind traditionally shuts off. Here's to it! Had a close look at Henry Flagler's bridge to Spanish Harbor Key. The Florida East Coast Railway was used to transport passengers and freight between Miami to Key West from 1912-1935



It was constructed in 1912 and was subsequently converted to automobile use in 1938. The railroad was destroyed by the devastating hurricane of 1935.





They cut a notch in the bridge to accommodate boat traffic making for the harbor on the other side. Flagler's bridge was replaced in 1972 by the structure just to the west.





You don't want to be anywhere near this thing on an incoming tide or any other bridge for that matter. There was a near drowning of a kiter a bit north of here in Islamorada years back. His kite swept under the bridge in a ripping tidal current. His lines were caught by oysters on a bridge piling beneath the water. The kite ripped down current and the lines "pulleyed" by the oysters dragged him underwater down to the piling and held him there submerged until a fisherman jumped in the water with a fillet knife and cut him free. No fisherman, no more kiter, a really lucky break.





A look at the flip side of the structure on Bahia Honda.





The lightwind board takes a break in the tidal flats, wind waiting.



Photos by Rick Iossi
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Last edited by ricki; 06-30-2008 at 06:37 PM.
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  #94  
Old 07-01-2008, 05:34 AM
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One of the spots worth thinking about for a trip is Grand Cayman. Just below Cuba and a short jet flight south from Miami lies the Cayman Islands. For whatever reason, the rates with Cayman Airways have yet to jump up much and they still have the old two bag, 50 lb. baggage allowance as of this writing. Besides that, Cayman is a great place to visit and The Kitehouse has just set up shop there for wind fixes.



A section of the north shore of Grand Cayman. Note the shallow reef rimmed by the breaker line and all that calmer clear blue water inside. Various areas around the circumference of the island are rimmed by shallow reef containing stretches of sheltered water. When the wind is on, off you go and have fun shredding. You have a choice of riding calmer waters on the inside or hitting the waves on the outside. Or, you could just dive the walls on the outside. Lots of pinnacles, astounding vertical drops and good viz.





Lots of diving options there, from snorkeling, serious free diving to tech diving with wrecks to boot. This is the wreck of the Cali a short distance offshore in Georgetown harbor and within easy swimming distance of a few restaurants and bars.





Near east end with more waves on the outside and calmer stuff on the inside




Playing around with the Aqueon in all that clear water




The wreck of the Gamma right off the beach, good in the day or night for a visit. There's even the wreck of the Kirk Pride down around 780 ft. for the diehards. What to do, sled dive it or go on mix? Atlantis used to do three man submersible dives on it until a hurricane retired the sub sad to say. There is always the Carrie Lee to checkout. Some guys scooter free dove it a few years back, down to 260 ft. with several video cameras. No end of fun stuff to get up to on and under the Caymans.




Sunset and the world is fine. Great restaurant right on the rock at the waters edge. Got blown away a few years ago but not forgotten.



In addition to Grand Cayman there is also Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to consider for a visit.


Photos by Rick and Laura Iossi
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Old 07-04-2008, 01:28 AM
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I mentioned that Mike Minichiello of The Kitehouse has setup shop on Grand Cayman offering kiteboarding, standup paddle surfing and more. He has located at Ocean Frontiers facility, http://www.oceanfrontiers.com/ , a very experienced dive operation in eastern Grand Cayman. More at: http://www.thekitehouse.com/cayman.htm Kiting photos should follow soon. Some shots follow of a standup session.



Heading out through the East Channel into some nice swells





The eastern portion of Grand Cayman. Checkout that massive area of fairly calm water sheltered by the barrier reef. Just go outside and you can have waves and some insanely clear and beautiful wall diving. More to come on the wall in another POD.





Riding in. Mike hauled the three standup boards, kite gear, free diving stuff, etc. on his Kitehouse boat about ten minutes away from the dock to this area.






Coming in the channel past a bent aid to navigation with yet another wreck in the distance





There are quite a few ship wrecks in the area both newer ones and those centuries old. Notice how calm it is inside the reef.





Sliding past yet another wreck on the outside of the barrier reef



Photos by Rick Iossi


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Last edited by ricki; 07-04-2008 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:43 AM
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JP was down in Nicaragua recently and brought back this great shots. He had the break all to himself for a few days in the first photo. Hey JP, tell us some more about the place, what you liked, getting around, etc.. Never been down there know very little about the place.




Some outstanding swells like the Pacific can deliver. Oh, wait a second, this was on the Caribbean side, not!









Great sunsets down that way


Photos by JP Robinson
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  #97  
Old 07-06-2008, 10:49 AM
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Rick, Thanks for putting up my photos! Nicaragua is the new Costa Rica. This quote is from my Moon Handbooks Nicaragua guide: " The hiker, volcano climber,bird watcher, surfer, sailor, swimmer and naturalist, not to mention rum drinker, sunset watcher and fresh fish eater will find themselves quite content in Nicaragua's southwest corner".
Surfers know that San Juan del Sur is the jumping off point for surf trips, with an undulating coast line just north of Costa Rica offering numerous point breaks accessible by land and some only by boat. Just south of San Juan del Sur is Bahia de Salinas on the Costa Rica/Nica border. A destination for world class kitesurfing and windsurfing. The Caribbean trade winds get drawn inland by the super heated air over the jungles and gets a further boost from the numerous volcanic peaks in southern Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica kind of like the Maui effect. These steady offshore winds help to shape the waves for surfers too! Not far from San Juan del Sur is Granada the oldest city on the continent founded by the Spanish on the north edge of the massive Lake Cocibolca in the early 1500's to show off their growing power and prestige in the region. Nearby Granada you can ride a Soviet troop transport up to the rim of the extinct Mombacho Volacano for stunning views of colonial Granada with it's horse drawn carriages and internet cafes and Lake Cocibolco. There are direct flights to Managua the capitol from Miami and Atlanta. San Juan Del sur and Bahia de Salinas are about a 4-6 hour drive from the Managua airport.
Lots to do down there, I've gone three times and will be back soon.
JP

Last edited by 500EPILOT; 07-06-2008 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for the photos and great information JP! How many of us would like to have checked out Costa Rica back in the day? Sounds like a great opportunity, like Peru but a bit closer.


From: http://www.moon.com/planner/nicaragu...uandelsur.html


From: http://www.spanishintheworld.com/photo-nicaragua.html

Found some more info about the area at:
http://www.sanjuandelsur.org.ni/

Quote:
Originally Posted by 500EPILOT View Post
Rick, Thanks for putting up my photos! Nicaragua is the new Costa Rica. This quote is from my Moon Handbooks Nicaragua guide: " The hiker, volcano climber,bird watcher, surfer, sailor, swimmer and naturalist, not to mention rum drinker, sunset watcher and fresh fish eater will find themselves quite content in Nicaragua's southwest corner".
Surfers know that San Juan del Sur is the jumping off point for surf trips, with an undulating coast line just north of Costa Rica offering numerous point breaks accessible by land and some only by boat. Just south of San Juan del Sur is Bahia de Salinas on the Costa Rica/Nica border. A destination for world class kitesurfing and windsurfing. The Caribbean trade winds get drawn inland by the super heated air over the jungles and gets a further boost from the numerous volcanic peaks in southern Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica kind of like the Maui effect. These steady offshore winds help to shape the waves for surfers too! Not far from San Juan del Sur is Granada the oldest city on the continent founded by the Spanish on the north edge of the massive Lake Cocibolca in the early 1500's to show off their growing power and prestige in the region. Nearby Granada you can ride a Soviet troop transport up to the rim of the extinct Mombacho Volacano for stunning views of colonial Granada with it's horse drawn carriages and internet cafes and Lake Cocibolco. There are direct flights to Managua the capitol from Miami and Atlanta. San Juan Del sur and Bahia de Salinas are about a 4-6 hour drive from the Managua airport.
Lots to do down there, I've gone three times and will be back soon.
JP
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:41 AM
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Headed out to the wreck of the Doc Poulson off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Simon and I were up for some scooter free diving to checkout this artificial reef sunk in 1991 in honor of Doc Poulson, the physician that worked to get the first recompression chamber set up on Cayman. The wreck was a former anchor tender and lay in about 55 ft. of water over white sand. The fairly shallow depth makes it a fairly straight forward free dive even more so ala scooter. Still, there are hazards associated with scooter free diving which can't be ignored. More on that subject at http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=4615 Reefs are nearby supplying a ready stream of fish orbiting over the wreck.




Simon heads down. BTW, he has a great site with images from his undersea travels around the world at: http://www.glorifiedfisherman.com/ He prefers to hold the DPV in the conventional way. I vastly prefer to use the saddle, hands free operation and easy steering by flicking a fin tip. Makes shooting images and equalizing a lot easier for me.





Click photo for full sized image
A bird's eye, (fish's eye?) composite view of the wreck





The wreck is just deep enough to pickup some garden eels in the sand. They would zip down out of sight as you motor over them. I shot a lot of video on the wreck, stay tuned for that. Caught some interesting images including Simon crafting air rings and then ascending through them, a cuda that quickly followed Simon as he scootered into the below deck spaces, schools of jack, darting garden eels, rampaging groupers and more.





Running up on some of those jacks





A neat bottom side elevational view of the wreck. Wish I had remembered to shoot a composite in portrait mode. Longer breathhold but well worth the result, next time. (Click photo for full sized image. I was happy with how this one turned out all be it cropped at the top)





Motoring by the deck house. Question, what is it with SCUBA divers and displaced toilets? I almost Photoshopped this one out. I did a photo shoot on one our our few wrecks Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the 1970's one cold night for a college assignment. Viz. was great and the photos came out well. Even caught a shot of a guy going through the motions on the throne fitted out with a sea squirt and everything. Next dive the pot was out sitting on the deck. Guys, if the wreck has a head, leave it in the head. Looks more natural.



Anyway, it was a fun dive, thanks Simon for the tour! Hope to be back soon to see more on this great island.


Photos by Rick Iossi
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Last edited by ricki; 07-08-2008 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:34 AM
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