Our Science Dive Profile
For the final summer trip of 2019, five other senior nauts and I had the chance to go diving in the Texas Flower Garden Banks off of a Liveaboard for three days. The Flower Garden Banks is a National Marine Sanctuary 100 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, in about 75-100 feet of water. During those three days, we did twelve deep dives (five the first day, five the second day, and two in the morning of the last day.) These dives had an average depth of approximately 85 feet. For the majority of the dives, we conducted lion fish and predatory fish surveys along with general fish surveys that we will send to the National Marine Sanctuaries.
The Long Days of Diving Science
Each day our wake-up call was at 6 a.m. to start diving at 7 a.m., and we ended diving at 9:30 p.m. Before every dive we had a 30 minute preparation time to get in all of our gear. We would use a line that was attached from the back of the boat to a mooring buoy, 35 feet under water, to keep ourselves from being swept by the current and to save some energy. Once we made it to the bottom there was only a slight current, and we were able to start our science.
Island Under Water
While conducting our surveys, we were able to see some interesting wildlife. Sharks, jacks, rays, and many more were spotted on every dive. For these dives, we had three main locations: Flower Gardens (east and west), High Island 376-A, and Stetson Bank. Our most interesting dive was High Island 376-A, which was in 400 feet of water. As recreational divers, 400 feet is way to deep for us, and there was plenty of wildlife between 30-80 feet. For many of us, that was the best dive we have ever done. There was an abundance of algae, tunicates, and fish. With the visibility around 100 feet, we were able to see everything around us.
A Diving Trip Worth Repeating
This has been a fun and rewarding experience. I am strongly considering coming back next year if given the opportunity, and I encourage all other advanced divers to go too. SCUBAnauts creates experiences in exploration, and I love it! To read about another Naut’s experience with lionfish studies, check out Jack’s blog!