The Sapona Wreck: Strange Ship, Stranger Story – But Not Al Capone’s

A POPULAR WRECK DIVE IN THE BAHAMAS’ BIMINI CHAIN, THE S. S. SAPONA HAS A SHADY PAST but nothing as lurid as the tales people tell about it. And while its story does include (a little) gambling and (some) Prohibition-era bootlegging, it doesn’t include the oft-credited gangster Al Capone. It was built of reinforced concrete as a solution to the World War I shortage of steel for Liberty Ships, just not by Henry Ford. But

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Bonaire 2018: Old Standbys, “New” Sites. Who Knew?

IN 14 DIVE TRIPS TO BONAIRE OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS, one thing was clearly fixed in my mind: you didn’t waste boat dives on sites that were accessible from shore. Like several of my favorites, Old Blue (now called Tolo) and Oil Slick Leap. On my 15th visit in early January, I had a revelation, and perhaps a lesson in looking at things differently. As I’ve gotten older, I realized I had to cut back on

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The Philippines: In the Triangle

MY POST IN THE ORIGINS SECTION, “The Far Side of the World: Geohistory & the Triangle of Diversity,”  helps explain why we in the U.S. pay much more money and travel much longer distances to dive in the Pacific rather than the Atlantic/ Caribbean. ICE AGE EXTINCTIONS    At one time ocean life was uniformly distributed worldwide along the Equator, but the movements of continents and the rise and fall of sea level ensured that many

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Bimini Chain: Sharks! Turtles! Conchs!

IN THE WATERS AROUND BIMINI and the chain of small cays stretching southward, the sea bottom is mostly sand, punctuated by coral heads large and small and dive sites with names like “Bull Run,” “Krispy Kreme” and “Orange Cay.” And “The Strip,” an amazing dive. A low wedge of coral in the midst of the sand, about 200 feet long and 25 feet wide, it overflows with fishes in the daytime. At night, the fishes are mostly

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Florida Keys: Wind, Light, Barracudas

WHILE THE FLORIDA GULF COAST HAS BEEN PART OF MY LIFE FOREVER, I’ve only been in the Florida Keys for one brief visit and diving my way down them has long been on my Bucket List. The Juliet, my favorite liveaboard ever, sailed down the Keys in mid-May, from Miami to Key West and I went with it. It was a mixed trip – I can never say enough good things about the Juliet’s terrific, and terrifically attentive,

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Flower Garden Banks: The Texas Caribbean

FLOWER GARDEN BANKS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY, located in the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles off the Texas/Louisiana coast, is a relatively accessible dive destination for those of us with a pressing need to get underwater in an ocean. It’s a two-day boat dive, offering seven dives on reefs that top out at depths of about 60 to 70 feet. Aside from some wreck dives off South Padre Island, pretty much the only other local diving in

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