We finally made it off shore, the sea state over the last several weekends have prevented us from getting out. The sea state forecast of 2 to 3 feet was not quite correct so it was a bit rough; but the divers from Duggan Diving and others form around Texas hung tough and made two dives on the Texas Clipper today. The water was a comfortable 78 degrees at depth and the visibility was 40 feet; the divers reported spotting some Black-Tip Sharks during dive 1 and we are happy to report the resident family of Sting Rays were cruising about and no Lion Fish sightings (unfortunately we are sure they are still there).
Dive Week 2014 wrapped up strong with divers from Sea Sports of Houston, and others from all over Texas and as far away as London. The water temperature at depth remained at 84 degrees but due to the recent storms and a flotilla of shrimp boats dragging the gulf in and around the area the visibility hovered in the 20 – 30 foot range. The divers spent time hunting Lion Fish on the Clipper and during the last 3 days of Dive Week were able to dispatch about a dozen, unfortunately there are still plenty down there. We would like to thank everybody who participated in this important event and a special thanks to those of you who donated so generously to the cause. Thanks to Stephen Whitley and Paul Schmieder for the photos below.
Dive Week has gotten of to a late start due to weather and off shore conditions but we made it out to the Clipper today with several divers that have been here all week to participate in Dive Week; the seas were a bit rough and visibility was diminished due to the recent weather but this group was not to be denied. Water temperature was 83 degrees at 110 feet, and a few Lion Fish were sighted in and around the 100 foot range, we will have to go back tomorrow and relieve the Clipper of a few more.
A great day off shore, the seas were calm and the sun was shining as Sea Sports made 2 more dives on the Clipper today. Conditions beneath the surface remained the same as yesterday and divers had a chance to explore more of the Texas Clipper. With over 470′ of ship you can dive the Clipper everyday and see something different.
Divers from Sea Sports Scuba out of Houston made 2 dives on the Clipper today, the conditions have remained very good with visibility at 60+ feet and the thermocline that has been with us all season still remains keeping the water at depth in the low 70’s. A huge school of Lookdowns has been making the Clipper home for several weeks now. The Lookdown does not play a significant role in commercial fisheries. However, it is sought after for large public aquarium displays due to its interesting shape and flashy appearance.
Divers with the The Dive Shop from San Marcos and others from around Texas made 2 dives on the Clipper today, the seas were a bit rough today making it a more challenging but under the surface conditions were very good, we had a slight current and the thermocline is still keeping temperatures at depth in the low 70’s. Visibility was 70 feet and the Clipper is packed with marine life, the yellow cup coral was feeding as you can see in one of the photos below.
Gigglin’ Marlin stayed for another day of diving on the Texas Clipper, it was another great day off shore. The water temperature is still 73 degrees at depth and the visibility was 60 feet again today. The family of Sting Ray that has made the Clipper home must have been having a reunion, there was at least 10 of them sailing around today along with a large school of Amberjack.
Divers from Dive World San Antonio and Gigglin’ Marlin out of Houston dove the Texas Clipper today; visibility was 60 feet and the water temperature at depth was 73 degrees, the thermocline has been at the 30 to 40 foot range for weeks now. The Clipper was packed with marine life and the divers had a wonderful time.
Amberjack season is open and today we had a couple spear fisherman on board and they took advantage of the calm seas to get the season started right, the Scuba Diver students completed their certifications along with the Tech Instructor candidate. The thermocline has dropped down to 60′ maintaining the temperature at depth in that low 70’s area.
American Diving headed out to the Clipper today with students, we had Scuba Diver students making their certification dives above the Clipper while a Tech Instructor candidate was working on skills below. It is always amazing to me the varied marine life we encounter – While working with students at 30′ we witnessed an incredible fly by – a large Manta Ray with several Ling in tow. What a first dive memory these students will have. Of course I didn’t have a camera since I was working with students; hopefully we will see more Mantas in the future.
Tom’s Dive and Swim from Austin dove the Texas Clipper today in 3’ seas and all had a great time. The thermocline is still hanging around the 30-foot area, bringing the temperature at depth down into the low 70’s and visibility was 50’.
Divers from Duggan Diving and others from Texas and New Mexico made 2 dives on the Texas Clipper today, the weather was great and the seas were calm. Water temperature on the surface was a comfortable 83 degrees; the thermocline encountered at 40′ dropped the temperature at depth to 74, the visibility was 60′. Divers reported seeing a school of 5 Hammerhead Sharks and a large Reef shark among the huge schools of Spade Fish, Snapper and Lookdowns that inhabit the Clipper.
The Following Trip Report was submitted by Bryan from Sea Sports Scuba:
July 4th-6th, 2014
South Padre Island, TX
Our divers gathered for a meet & greet on Friday at the Sea Ranch Restaurant with myself and Rob Hancock of American Diving, South Padre. After a warm welcome, a quick briefing on the weekend’s events and a couple of drinks, it was time to watch the island’s outstanding fireworks display over Laguna Madre Bay.
Saturday we did two dives on the wreck of the Deep Six, an 80′ shrimp boat that went down in rough seas, splitting the hull and resting on a sandy bottom around 65’. She’s taken some damage from hurricanes over the years, and no longer has a super structure. However, since the wreck is not marked and doesn’t show up on any charts, there are loads of fish living around it. More scorpion fish than I’ve EVER seen in one spot, they were absolutely everywhere. The highlight was a surprise encounter with a very large Goliath Grouper attempting to hide from us under some wreckage. I say attempting because this was easily a 250 pound fish, so “hiding” is a relative term here! Water was around 82 on the surface, 72 on the bottom under the thermocline. Deep Six sits pretty close to shore, so she’s in green water, 12-15 feet of visibility on the bottom, better than that the shallower you are. Later that evening, the group returned to the marina for a sunset dolphin-watching cruise in the bay. We saw several pods of dolphins around the jetties, and took in a spectacular sunset. A great way to finish off the day!
On Sunday, we were headed back out into the Gulf of Mexico by 7 am, eagerly anticipating the main event of the weekend: our two dives on Texas Clipper! Conditions were picture perfect with smooth seas and 80+ feet of visibility on the wreck, which sits rolled on its left side on a 132’ bottom. The most interesting parts of the dive are between 60’ and 100’.
Upon splashing for our first dive, a huge school of Lookdowns were hovering above the central portion of the vessel, glistening in the cascading sunlight. A handful of large Amberjacks circled around slowly, and of course what Gulf of Mexico dive would be complete without a few large Barracuda? Just before coming up the mooring line at the end of our first dive, a nice sized male Southern Stingray cruised along the side of the Clipper’s hull and made a couple of passes as we ascended to the surface.
The Texas Clipper has a great swim through along the Promenade deck, where the large windows are now on the ceiling above you due to the orientation of the ship. You can see down into the vessel below you as you swim over openings that were cut into the thick walls. Another point of interest is a large crack in the hull that formed in 2008 as hurricane Ike moved through the Gulf on its way to the Houston area. Even though the storm was hundreds of miles away, the hydraulic force was enough to create a small canyon of twisted and torn steel big enough to swim through easily. Throughout the second dive, our group continued to enjoy the fish life attracted to the Clipper such as Queen Angels, Blackjacks, Snapper, and that same huge school of Lookdowns. Over the two dives on Sunday, divers on the boat killed fourteen lionfish!! How about that?!
The Gulf of Mexico, and more specifically the Texas Gulf Coast is home to some really unique and worthwhile diving opportunities. If you haven’t been down to South Padre Island to dive the Texas Clipper, I would highly recommend it. We’ve got a world-class wreck dive right off of our coast!
Sea Sports Scuba joined us again today with other divers from around Texas to dive the Texas Clipper, seas were calm and it was a beautiful day on the water. Visibility was 60+ feet on the Clipper, the water was 82 degrees on the surface but the thermocline was encountered at 30 feet today and the temperature at depth was 74 degrees, still very nice. The Lion Fish have continued to multiply over the winter, with help from the divers on board we managed to dispatch 15 of them in very short order. A great day was had by all.
Divers from Sea Sports Scuba and others from around Texas visited the Deep 6 today, the seas were calm and the weather was great. On the Deep 6 the visibility was around 12 feet; this was expected due to the location of the wreck, surface temperature was 80 degrees we had a thermocline at 23 feet that dropped it down to 74 degrees. Divers reported seeing a very large Goliath Grouper that has made it’s home there.
The American Diving Crew headed out to the Texas Clipper this morning, seas were calm and the water was 81 degrees all the way down to 90 feet. The visibility was 80+ feet, we are looking forward to a great 4th of July weekend.
Divers from Scubaland Adventures made 3 dives on the Texas Clipper today, visibility was 80 feet and the temperature at depth was a comfortable 81 degrees. Divers spotted 5 Lion Fish today and we were able to eliminate 4 of them, one of the deceased Lion Fish was taken right off the spear by an Octopus. Still trying to get some of the other residents of the Clipper interested in eating the Lion Fish; the Barracuda are showing more interest but still no takers.
Several divers from yesterday and others from around Texas joined us for a 2 tank dive on the Texas Clipper today, we are happy to report the thermocline has dropped, the divers enjoyed a warm 86-degrees from the surface to 115 feet and visibility was 70+ feet. Divers reported schools of large Snapper along with the common residents of the Clipper, also sighed was one of the Sting Ray that have made the Clipper home for the past few years. Another Lion Fish was located by the divers that was quickly dispatched by the crew. Again we tried to get a few of the residents to take an interest in the Lion fish, only the Barracuda seemed to be slightly interested but not enough to give it a try. We will keep working at it.
We left the dock in the darkness with divers from around Texas and Monterrey headed out to Little Adam, the 4am meeting time would prove well worth it.
The conditions were ideal on the surface, 86-degree calm cobalt blue seas and plenty of sunshine; below the surface it was even better. A huge school of Tarpon greeted the divers as they descended into the rig. Divers saw schools of Lookdowns, Chub, Spade Fish and Barracuda along with all the colorful tropicals that schooled around the coral encrusted vertical and horizontal risers. At depth the temperature was a wonderful 84-degrees.
Congratulations to the Yarte family, our newest Scuba Divers and also to Brian, Jason and Apo on their Nitrox Certifications.
Divers from Dive World San Antonio ventured out to the Texas Clipper today, the seas were calm and the weather was great. The visibility has improved to 50+ feet and we didn’t encounter the thermocline until 65 feet. The surface temperature was 85 degrees and at depth it was 76 degrees. The Lion Fish sightings continue and we slayed another today. We tried to get some of the resident marine life to take interest in the latest victim but didn’t get any takers.
Calm seas and beautiful weather at the Clipper today, the surface temperature was 85 degrees but at 50 feet it dropped to 75 degrees. The visibility was only about 30 feet but the divers had a great time, during the 2nd dive 2 Lion Fish were spotted hanging out in one of the davit arms; pictured below are the before and after photos, the small one was able to evade the spear and will unfortunately live another day.
Divers from around Texas dove the Texas Clipper today, including 3 Scuba Diver students completing their off shore open water dives. Congratulations to Bobby, Apo and Emede.
Divers from Dive World Austin and others from around Texas made 3 dives on the Clipper today, seas were calm and the weather was beautiful. Below the surface visibility was 60 feet and the water temperature at depth was 75 degrees.
Divers from American Diving were doing routine maintenance on the Texas Clipper where they ran into a Lion Fish. Visibility was around 100 feet and 75 degrees at depth.
Divers from Duggan Diving in San Antonio went to the Texas Clipper under calm seas and blue water. Visibility and sea state remained the same as yesterday.
Congratulations to Ernesto Arreola on his first open ocean dives.
Divers from around Texas went out to the Texas Clipper with calm blue water. Visibility was 89 feet and water temperature was 75 degrees on the bottom. No current. Coral is growing geometrically.
Divers from Louisiana and Texas went to the Texas Clipper on glassy seas and blue water. Today you could see the Clipper from the deck of the Diver I. No current and temperature at 80 feet was 75 degrees.
The Diver I and crew went to the Liberty Ship reef to check conditions. Abundant fish, large Goliath grouper and giant Atlantic rays were found. Does not look like fisherman have been in the area in years.
Boy Scouts from Grapevine Texas went out to the Texas Clipper in two foot seas and warm water. Visibility was 80 feet.