A Simple Shore Entry Dive from El Prado Park in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL

Florida, Scuba Diving, USA
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Ever since I got my PADI Open Water Diver certification, I am eager to go diving and explore the underwater worlds. Unfortunately, work and now hurricane season haven’t made it easy for me to go diving in the last few months. Recently I also just completed my diving gear by buying a BCD, regulator and a dive computer.

I did some trial runs in a rather shallow pool of just 7ft depth. Not really the best place to dive. Then I got a message from my dive instructor who certified me. He will be going out with another student to finalize his diving course and get him certified. I got asked if I want to join in. Without even knowing the full details, I acknowledged and we set the date, time and location for our dive.

My instructor suggested an easy beach/shore entry dive not far from where we all live. The plan was to get their early and go out there right after sunrise. So Sunday morning was here, the day of our dive, and as planned I headed over to my instructor’s house to load my gear in one car and we would all car-pool over to the dive location. We met just past 5 a.m. on a Sunday. Yes, it was very early, but hey we would be going diving.

Once at my instructor’s place, he told me the bad news, that it will be just the two of us because his other student canceled. Nevertheless, we decided on going anyway. We had each other as dive buddies and were good to go.

After a short drive up to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, we parked in the parking lot of El Prado Park. It was still dark outside and we walked over to check out the beach and the ocean. While doing that, we bumped into a police officer on foot patrol and had a short chat with him.

It looked like to be a great day and we set up our gear at the truck. We waited for sunrise and carried our gear to the beach. Yeah, we had to wear all of our gear on the body, including the heavy air tanks and walk with them to the beach, while having our fins in hand.

Once there, we walked out a little bit into the Atlantic Ocean. Our already inflated BCD kept us afloat and we took turns in putting our fins on and holding the dive flag. A dive flag must be always displayed if divers are in the water. Usually, the flag is mounted on the boat taking you to the dive site.

However, as we did a shore entry from the beach, we were still required by law to have the flag. In our case, the flag was attached to a surface marker buoy which had a long line and a handheld reel, which one of us has to hold.

The dive flag is important to warn other boaters that there are divers in the water, which is especially important in shallow waters like we were in.

Once we had our fins on and were all ready to go, we submerged and swam underwater towards the first reef line of the coast. We explored up and down the reef line and got to see quite a bit of marine life. While diving with a surface marker buoy it’s important to keep your distance from the line, to not become entangled in the line. Therefore it’s good to have a dive knife with you, just in case. Which we never needed, but I had one close encounter with the line, while watching some sea life.

I took my GoPro with me to capture some footage of the dive. I didn’t know how well that will go, as it was my first trial to take pictures while diving. This time, I felt way more comfortable in the water and especially with controlling my buoyancy. One of the best events was seeing a group of tarpons swimming by us and I encountered two individual stingrays.

We stayed underwater for just a little bit over one hour. But considering that our maximum depth was around 4m, it is not really hard to reach that limit. Overall it was a fun dive and I was just happy to get in the water and play with my diving gear and my GoPro underwater. It was the first time using my Shearwater Perdix AI during a real dive and I am so happy with that product. I tried a couple of other dive computers of my dive instructor, but this one is my favorite. Before buying it, I spoke to other divers and everyone just spoke so highly of Shearwater and especially the Perdix AI. I love the wireless air-integration feature and that it is a wrist-mounted computer instead of a console attached to a hose.

We only went to the first reef line and there is a second one just a little bit further out. As I am a newbie to diving, every minute and everything I saw was exciting to me. For some of you dive-veterans, it probably sounds like a boring dive. I am just so glad about every dive I can do.


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