Dive Newsletter

Dive Newsletter

Hello Divers!

Since our last newsletter, a lot of exciting things have happened around here at SSDS.  The Gold Divers have just returned from their annual Bering Sea Dive Adventure in Alaska.  As most of you know, my dad Steve Phillips has a Gold Diving Camp near Nome, Alaska and for 20 years now has spent his summers diving for and teaching others how to dive for and find Gold. My brother, Spencer, grew up doing this with Dad and he spends one to two months each summer there as well.  Just this week they, (along with others from SSDS) were the featured divers on The Outdoor Channel’s Gold Fever show. If you want to see it or record it they will be replaying it Saturday October 27th at 5 am, episode #256.  Dad has been keeping a dive journal from his time each year in Alaska compiling a book of his experiences.  His book is finished and any of you that are interested in owning a copy should let us know.  One season of his Alaska trip is featured in the October issue of American Digger Magazine. American Digger is a publication dedicated to the hobby of responsible recovery of Artifacts for enjoyment and Historical importance.  We also sell copies of American Digger here at SSDS.
Southern Skin Divers Supply is now the SCUBA School for Marion Military Institute, Alabama’s Military College.  Each semester SSDS instructors will teach at Marion a new group of Cadets Openwater Diving.  Following their training the Cadets will be taken to Panama City Florida for their checkout dives just like we have been doing for almost 60 years.  Once the checkout dives are completed the new Openwater Diver Cadets will have the option of having private Continuing Education classes taught on site at MMI like Enriched Air Nitrox and Spearfishing.  Here are Spencer, Mark and Joseph Weber with the first group of newly certified divers from MMI at Morrison Springs.
The Lionfish Invasion is becoming an epidemic.  For years SSDS has taken 35 to 40 trips annually to dive off the Gulf Coast of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.  I don’t know anyone that dives down there as much as SSDS.  Three years ago I started seeing a few small Lionfish.  They have been along the Carolina Coast down to the FL Keys for over 15 years but they are now in our waters.  I have been diving in the Gulf the past 6 weekends in a row and it is now common for me to see several hundred in a day.  Without trying too hard, I can kill 20 to 40 per dive, and do most days.  We need to start trying hard.  A Lionfish Killer (a small pole spear) is very inexpensive and easy to carry.  Whether you bring them to the surface or not, please start poking holes in them.  They taste great and I indulge on them a couple of times a week but some divers might not want to risk getting stung by their poisonous spines.  No problem.  Just knock them off of your spear after you poke them.  I do this all the time to the small ones and let the Triggerfish, Snappers and Eels finish them off.

Upcoming Trips

Panama City Flounder Trip – Oct.  27th/28th, Nov 3rd/4th & 17th/18th
This is the time of year we usually do best at hunting flounder. These trips start next weekend and we still have room on them. 
The dives for flounder are relatively shallow enabling us to have plenty of time underwater. Experienced spearfishers and those new to it will both enjoy the opportunity to harvest a lot of these tasty fish. Due to the shallow depths of these dives, Juniors are welcome on these trips. A gun is not necessary, only a pole spear and fish bag. We usually take up to 100 each day so everyone gets to take plenty of fish home to enjoy. Again the SCUBA School is privately chartering one of the nicest dive vessels in PC. It also has hot water showers and an enclosed area to warm up between dives for when it is cooler above and below the surface.

South Carolina River Trip – November 16th-18th
This will be another artifact/fossil diving adventure to South Carolina on one of our boats. Most of the diving will be done near the Beaufort, South Carolina area. Just last weekend Spencer returned from running another trip with the gang over there.  The new guy to this type of diving found a large 5 inch complete Megalodon Tooth his first day.


Utila Honduras – December 29th – January 5th, 2013 
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! Not only will we be celebrating the New Year but we will also be the first SCUBA School to make it 60 years old in 2013! We still have seven spaces so come join the fun. 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.


Continuing Education

November 10, 9:30 am at The SCUBA School
Enriched Air NITROX 

Have you ever dreamed of having longer no-decompression limits to take pictures or explore a wreck? Did you ever want to be safer while diving, reducing the potential risk of decompression sickness?  Nitrox is the key. Due to the reduced fraction of nitrogen in your breathing gas, your body will have less work and the de-saturation times will be reduced.  In your ENRICHED AIR NITROX program you will learn all the necessary rules for planning dives with Nitrox and using Nitrox in a safe way. An important key point in the entire program is analyzing your own tank prior to any Nitrox dive.

November 10, 1:00 pm at The SCUBA School – Spearfishing Clinic
Those of you that are enrolled in the NITROX Course might want to consider the Spearfishing Clinic that starts immediately afterwards. NITROX works well with most of the spearfishing that we participate in. Forrest, who teaches both of these courses here at The SCUBA School, is ranked among the top competitors in the Alabama Spearfishing Association as are several of his former students. In this class you will learn skills necessary to participate in and become a successful spearfisher.

November 3, 9:30 am at The SCUBA School, Underwater Photography

Mark Tant is teaching another Underwater Photo Course.  Those of you that purchased a new Sealife DC1200 or DC1400 or one of our DSLR Packages can take this course for free!  We also have a good selection of new SeaLife cameras, strobes and lights and pre owned DSLR equipment from Ikelite.  


Equipment Specials   

From now until the end of the year with every purchase of a wrist computer, SSDS will throw in a free transmitter.  This is a $450 item so if you or a loved one is considering an upgrade to an air integrated dive computer, it is a great time to do it.
Forrest Phillips
Southern Skin Divers Supply
4515 5th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35222




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