Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007
UPPER FLORIDA KEYS -- Divers, snorkelers and water-lovers of all ages can experience the colorful underwater world of the Florida Keys at Island Sun Splash, slated for Sunday, June 10, through Saturday, June 16, and based in Key Largo, the Dive Capital of the World.
Beginners, especially kids, can participate in activities that gently and safely introduce them to North America’s only living coral barrier reef, while experienced divers enjoy exploring the mysteries of the Keys Shipwreck Trail.
Island Sun Splash is the perfect place to “Try Scuba,” the Professional Association of Dive Instructors’ introduction to scuba diving that is taught in a swimming pool. Youngsters and adults receive personal, hands-on training from a professional dive instructor in the equipment and techniques used to see the dazzling display of marine life found on Keys reefs.
Advanced divers can head to Spiegel Grove, the 510-foot-long queen of Keys artificial reefs. Additional trips to Coast Guard cutters Bibb and Duane and farther south, Eagle, round out a week’s worth of world-class wreck diving.
Novice divers can expereience Key Largo’s shallow wrecks including the Benwood and City of Washington.
Divers interested in the deep extremes of tank diving can attend seminars conducted by Dive Rite to learn about technical diving and rebreathers.
Snorkelers can float lazily above shallow reefs and watch the otherworldly spectacle of life around the corals. Damselfish, angelfish, snapper, grouper, rays, wrasses, moray eels, barracudas and soft and hard corals put on a daily show for their human audience.
Photo and video buffs can learn tips from renowned photographers Tom and Therisa Stack, and Emmy-winning videographer Frazier Nivens. How-to seminars and contests encourage all attendees to sharpen their skills while they have fun capturing images of Keys marine life.
Landlubbers can join their underwater counterparts in the Land & Sea Photo Scavenger Hunt. It’s an ideal family activity that combines underwater photography with a search for historic landmarks in the Upper Keys. Prizes are awarded for the top point-getters and every youngster in the junior (under age 15) division wins a prize.
Two special seminars invite Island Sun Splash participants to take a trip through time to the beginning of diving and the search for Spanish gold.
The History of Diving Museum tour takes visitors along a timeline of diving from breath-hold divers to the first-ever treasure hunters to explorers of the deep abyss. The museum houses the world’s greatest collection of “hard hat” dive helmets, a rare collection of historic rebreathers and “Michelin-man” steel diving suits used to explore the deepest crevices in the oceans.
World-famous treasure hunter Carl Fissmer will conduct two seminars on the 1733 Spanish fleet sunk by a hurricane in Florida Keys waters. Tours of local wreck sites are to follow each of his sessions.
Sailing and fishing clinics are to be held, and kids can compete in the Children’s Olympics. Fish identification classes will enable reef visitors to log the sealife they see.
The fun culminates with a family picnic at Founders Park on Plantation Key featuring live music and award ceremonies.
Admission to Island Sun Splash is $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 10-13. Children under age 10 are admitted without charge. Admission includes all seminars, “Try Scuba” pool session, 10 percent discount on dives, certification instruction and retail purchases at all participating dive and snorkel operators, and discounts at participating restaurants and stores.
Special discounts on lodging, parasailing and wave runners are also to be included.
For the latest information and event schedules visit www.divecapital.org.