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My bud Spence

Southern Skin Divers is a business that acts like a club for our divers. We very much like the low key atmosphere and fellowship of all our diving friends. Currently our staff escorts about 300 customers per year on diving trips all over the globe. These trips are offered at low prices that we are able to obtain because of our volume purchases. SCUBA diving is a fun sport and we at SSDS intend to keep it that way for you. We are extremely proud of our perfect safety record which cannot be equaled by any other dive center.

SOUTH CAROLINA  

    On a regular basis, we all take a trip to South Carolina to renew some old friendships with some heavy duty diver friends in that area.  We take our deck boat and have some friends show us some of their favorite places to find fossils and giant sharks teeth.  In the dinosaur times, sharks were up to 100 feet long and some of their teeth are over 5 inches long and can be quite rare to the collector.

    spear point

In the past, we've found sharks teeth, a giant sloth tooth, teeth from camels and bison, and lots of petrified wood.  Most people that go looking for sharks teeth are lucky to find one, we found over 200 total.  This was quite a haul.  Also, we get to dive in a beautiful area.

                                             

This South Carolina trip is always very popular, and a trip we make often, so watch for updated trip schedules here as they develop

We are always looking to take another trip to South Carolina to look for relics, sharks teeth and other fossils.  We always find lots of fossils and relics here in 15 - 35 feet of water. There are currently spots available for this dive trip to the Morgan and Cooper Rivers for divers with advanced certification and at least 25 logged dives. Last time there were plenty of artifacts recovered including 4 different Megalodon teeth that were over 5 and a half inches long. The passport member price of $700 includes transportation from near Birmingham, tank rentals and air fills, 3 days of diving, the use of a personal diver locator system, hotel accommodations and food and beverages on the boat.  This is a fun trip to a pretty place.  Dont miss this trip!

You can also get your Solo Diver or Underwater Hunter & Collector certifications while on this trip, and it's excellent training as well as producing great fossils. Call The SCUBA School and speak with Forrest or Steve if you are interested.  You can see more pictures of what you can expect to find on this trip here.

Special Note:

Passport club members only. This is high risk diving. Do not consider this dive trip to be a routine recreational dive trip. This trip is only for the divers who want to be on the edge and want to find relics and fossils. We have heard of  at least two very experienced divers that have been killed in the last 3 years in the areas in which we dive. Hazards include no visibility, really strong currents, boats that ignore dive flags, shrimp boats pulling nets along the bottom, alligator and shark breeding grounds. These are only some of the hazards that we know of and there are more that we don't know about. This trip is only for a few experienced divers who want to be exposed to this type of high risk. The danger is similar to hang gliding, cave diving, sky diving or rock climbing. We don't want to encourage anyone to go on this trip but we also don't want to deny our club members the freedom to go where others have not been before. Passport Member price $700.

 


Panama City Flounder and/or Spearfishing Trip

Fall is the best time of year for Flounder & we have privately chartered one of the newest dive boats in the area for our annual Flounder trip.  Last year on this trip we took 180 in two days. The Flounder are in abundance and are closer to shore enabling us to stay in longer. If you already own a speargun it works fine but the best is a pole spear with a paralyzer tip. These are much less expensive than guns and much more practical for Flounder. This is a very enjoyable trip, especially if you like to eat fresh fish. On Saturday evening we will take some of our catch to the Captain's Table Restaurant in St. Andrews and have them prepare our catch. There is nothing like fresh seafood and the Captain's Table does a great job. We just received a shipment of the latest spear gun models available. Come by the Scuba School and check them out. You just might be interested in this type of diving.

We will primarily be hunting Grouper during the late Fall. Panama City has a lot of Red and Gag grouper in the 10 to 20 lbs range in 60 to 100 ft of water. The water temp should be in the low to mid 60's. As usual we will also try to get some Mangrove Snappers, Triggerfish, Flounders and Amberjacks. Our private charter for these weekend adventures is one of the nicest spear-friendly vessels in the panhandle.

Orange Beach Spearfishing Trip

Due to the thousands of sites along the Alabama Gulf Coast in the Artificial Reef Program, Orange Beach has some of the best Spearfishing anywhere. We will be spearfishing for two days on some of the same sites that we dive on in the Spearfishing tournaments we compete in. In years past we mainly did this in Panama City, FL but it seems like we are getting bigger and more fish off the Alabama Gulf Coast. This time of year we will be hunting Grouper, Black and Mangrove Snapper, Flounder, Amberjack, Triggerfish and Cobia. For this trip we have chartered a 30 ft boat that is very fast and seaworthy. It works perfectly for spearfishing. It uses twin 4 stroke engines that don't have much exhaust. It is very quiet and gets us to the big fish in a hurry. This trip includes two days of offshore spearfishing and two nights of hotel accommodations.

Those of you who like to spearfish & are considering a new gun should come by SSDS and check out some of the specials we have on custom upgrades for Gulf Coast spearing.

Orange Beach, AL and Panama City, FL Spearfishing
Every weekend in June & July we have spearfishing trips to one of the two destinations above. This will be during Red Snapper season and also during two of the Spearfishing tournaments with the Alabama Spearfishing Association. Now is the time to start looking at your schedule and see if you can go.

Shallow Water Wreck Diving, Panama City
Mark will be leading a group to dive some of the shallow water wrecks off Panama City, Florida. This is the next step for all of you newly certified divers that are ready to experience boat diving in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, you junior open water certified divers will be able to participate since we are limiting the depth on all of the dives both days. This is one of the nicest dive boats in the Florida Panhandle and we have it chartered privately.

Offshore Wreck Diving, Panama City, FL
Mark will be taking another group to dive some of the off shore wrecks off Panama City, Florida. This is the next step if you are interested in some of the off shore, less dived sites. This is the same vessel that we charter on our inshore trips. This is also a good opportunity for you guys to get your wreck diving certification.

Manatee Trip - Crystal River, FL    The water is a constant 72 degrees here year round. This means that in the winter it is considerably warmer than the ocean, so there will be a larger congregation of Manatee in this area. We have chosen a holiday weekend to enable kids to participate in this encounter with these giant mammals. This should give us plenty of time to have two long days of snorkeling and diving in Crystal River as well as some of the nearby springs.

Utila, Honduras Live Aboard
We had such a great Spring Break trip last year, that we have decided to book the brand new Utila Aggressor for this Spring! Last year we spent the week diving off of Utila and Roatan. The boat we used was fantastic but this year we will be using the new flagship of the Aggressor Fleet. The diving is easy, fish life is abundant and the food is excellent. This will be a great family trip. Let us know right away if you are interested.

Utila, Honduras - "Dive The New Year In" Trip

Our "Dive the New Year In" trip this year will be on the Honduran Island of Utila. We have taken a couple of really good Liveaboard trips to Utila the past two years, but this year we have decided to privately rent the entire La Guna Beach Resort! Our package includes all meals, 3 boat dives each day, unlimited shore diving and snorkeling, horseback riding and kayak use, and Nitrox use for the week.

Bonaire
The Island of Bonaire has perhaps the best shore diving in the Caribbean. The shore dives are clearly marked and with the unlimited diving package that we have, you may dive as frequently as you wish. We also have included 9 boat dives for each diver. Included in this package are oceanfront condo accommodations, truck rental, breakfast daily, unlimited air diving and Nitrox diving if you are Nitrox certified and transfers to and from the airport in Bonaire. Spencer will be running this trip so give us a call at The SCUBA School for more details.

Fiji

We have privately chartered a 10 passenger dive yacht that is perfectly suited for Fiji and the diving itinerary. All indoor areas are air-conditioned and each of the guest cabins feature en suite facilities. The beautifully appointed salon has ample room for divers to view their photos and videos or to enjoy a movie on the entertainment system. The sundeck features covered and uncovered lounging and is a perfect place to relax with a book during surface intervals. Fiji is also one of the easiest South Pacific destinations to get to with a direct flight from Los Angeles!

Fiji dazzles everyone with its bright corals and huge sea fans surrounded by clownfish ornate ghost pipefish and nudibranchs. But it does not stop there, Fiji also comes with schooling pelagics. Make sure you turn from the bright corals and look for barracuda, reef sharks, mantas, tuna and the occasional pilot whale! There is no shortage of marine life large and small in the waters of Fiji.

Oriskany Wreck Trip, Pensacola / Orange Beach

Southern Skin Divers Supply will be diving soon from one of the largest and fastest dive boats in the Panhandle area. We have chartered this boat along with its crew for the entire weekend. Saturday there will be two dives made on the USS Oriskany. On Sunday morning we will dive with the same group on two other dives in the area. This trip will be in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. There are limited spaces available on this trip so call us for more details.

The Oriskany is the largest vessel ever sunk as an artificial reef in the world.  She was put down in May 2006 and now rests in 212 ft of water approximately 23 miles offshore. The top of the tower starts at 68 ft and there is plenty to see above 100 ft, perfect for recreational diving.  There are a couple of requirements that need to be met prior to this wreck dive so call us for more info. 

Cayman Islands Liveaboard
We have already started taking deposits for this Spring Break vacation in 2012 on the Cayman Aggressor. This is the same vessel that we just returned from on our 'Dive the New Year In' trip. These diving yachts are set up perfect for maximum diving & we have had group trips on this vessel one or two times a year for the past few years. The diving in Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac is spectacular and if the conditions are good, we will dive all three Islands. The flight times are also easy from Birmingham through Miami to Grand Cayman, or direct from Atlanta. Also, being most local schools Spring Break, it will enable families to dive together.

RETURN TO HAWAII

In Hawaii right now it is perfect on land and in the water. Hawaii is just another word for perfect. Beautiful water, great diving with turtles, manta rays, sea shells, eels, colorful rare fish, no hurricanes, no passports needed, no stomach problems, no bugs, two 14,000 ft. tall mountains, active volcano with lava flowing into the sea, safe location, English language (well pidgin anyway), surfing, low prices. You know Hawaii sounds so good and we haven't been there in a while, so why don't we just go back as soon as we can.........


Other trips in the planning stages & upcoming..............

SOON - Orange Beach, AL Wreck Diving
SSDS will once again have a private wreck diving charter on this 46 ft. custom Newton Dive Special. There will be plenty of room on this large diving vessel with us carrying only about half the amount of passengers it is rated for. This is not a spearfishing trip. If you want to take pictures or just do some recreational wreck diving in The Gulf, give us a call and sign up.
 
Webmaster's favorite dive site!   

 We Just Got Back From Cozumel  We travel to the Yucatan a couple of times a year to Cozumel...one of the top dive destinations in the world & known for having clear warm water and easy drift diving.. If you're looking for a quick well-deserved getaway, then this is the trip for you! Usually a week long trip filled with plenty of diving, fun, and nightlife. More fun than you should be allowed to have, this is truly a super trip. Our next trip??

Just Got Back! -  Belize Liveaboard
The Belize Live-Aboard that we have booked for April is almost sold out. There are only four spaces still available. This is the same luxurious vessel that we used last June. We expect the same high quality service, diving crew and food and I am sure those of you that go, will not be disappointed. For those of you that haven't traveled on one of our Live-Aboard trips before, it includes: Up to five dives per day, deluxe suite accommodations with private bathrooms, food, snacks, beverages and local alcoholic drinks for adults, tanks, air fills and weights for diving. We are also offering a $400 discount for every person on this trip.

SOON Advanced Class and Wreck Diving Trip Panama City, FL.
All of you recent students that are ready to do an advanced trip, this is it. The classroom session will be at the Scuba School. The topics covered will be boat diving, wreck diving, deep diving, underwater navigation, night diving and using a lift bag. The Passport Diver price is $495. This includes classroom training, 2 days of offshore wreck diving and 2 nights in a hotel and processing fees with a certification agency.

SOON! - Spearfishing & lobster hunting Liveaboard, Dry Tortugas
It appears that we will not be able to have any spearfishing trips in Alabama for the next few months due to the oil spill so we have put together a trip in Florida for those of you that want to do that. Each diver should get between 12 and 14 dives. This trip includes diving, lodging on the boat, meals, snacks, beverages, air tanks and weights. It is during lobster season so we will be going after them in addition to snapper (Cubera and Mutton), groupers, hogfish and others. Call us at The SCUBA School for more details.

We're going back to Truk Lagoon! Once again, we've planned a fantastic trip! We've got new info, pictures & trip logs from previous trips here ---->TRUK

Always wanting to go back to Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
Truk Lagoon is without a doubt, the undisputed shipwreck diving capitol of the world. This will be Steve's sixth trip to Truk and in that time he has logged hundreds of dives there. Together he and Forrest are taking a group privately chartering one of the largest liveaboards in the world. Countless coral and fish surround the Japanese shipwrecks of World War II that lie in broad ranges of diving depths comfortably satisfying novice to experienced divers. Some divers usually manage 30-35 dives per week. The diving will be from one of the multiple dive tenders with experienced guides taking 4 or 5 divers to alternate sections of each site. This will insure that diver congestion will not impede the photographic opportunities. These Japanese war ruins consist of many conceivable war tools of that era. Tanks, cars, trucks, guns, cannons, airplanes, torpedoes, depth charges, tugboats and barges are all found and many intact. For more info about this incredible, once in a lifetime adventure, give us a call. Here is a link to some of Mark's photos from our last trip to Truk ==> TRUK

We are probably (maybe, dunno, wanna?) going to do a 2 day extension to either Guam or Pohnapei on this adventure. This is a great opportunity to get over 30 dives on this live aboard trip. Now is the time to sign up for this 12 day trip!

FUTURE TRIPS
We are in the process of setting up escorted group trips for the year.  Wed appreciate it if you would call the Scuba School and let us know where and when you want to dive.  We will probably not set up too many 3-4 day trips outside the country.  These cost as much as week-long trips and allow too little diving because of having to fly.

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Southern Skin Divers Supply - 4515 5th Avenue South - Birmingham, AL 35222 - (205) 595-3052

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