Capt. John, a desperate man! Greetings from Capt. John, Tampa Florida 
May 2003 Circulation 2,715
Current Conditions Gulf of Mexico


You bet!

I am in the Gulf! I like to eat Kittens!

Warming Up! Gulf temps are in the 80 - 82 degree area!

Fishing has been great. Reports of Great Whites caught and released off of Bayport have the locals in a buzz. Lots of sharks in the area this time of the season. Bull sharks and Dusky sighted by divers in various areas. Good! The conservation efforts are working and I hope to see some sharks this summer.

I went diving on an old barge 90' X 30' last week. Not much on the wreck except bait fish and 'cuda (the silversides were awesome). The reason there was not much on the wreck is because 5 Jew Fish from 150 to 300 pounds live there. I also noted a baby Jew in the area of 25 pounds. What was really interesting were some shell piles, mostly of dead Florida Fighting Conch all around the wreck, in these piles were some shell jewels, shallow water turbines, cones, tulips, welks, and others. A great find! No Great Whites (or kittens), though! This site is in the Tierra Verde area, near the M60 Tanks, GPS North 27.40.70, West 82.51.77.

Vis is good depending on the wind, so let's go diving!

Additional info at:

Crystal River
Manatee at 3 Sisters
Manatee at Three Sisters

There are still Manatees at Crystal River. But the heard moved out earlier this month. There are 50 or in the park all year round, but you have to look a little harder to find them. I always find manatee!

Additional info on manatees at: and
Crystal River
Crystal River

Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto

Somebody Help Me!
Take lessons this month
or, the kitten gets it! No foolin'!

May 17th and 18th Advanced Open Water Class. Crystal River and Blue Grotto.$350.00 Includes gear, dives, lodging with kitten and Nitrox certification. Sign up this week!

May 10th and 11th, Open Water Course, Rescue and Divemaster.
May 17th and 18th Advanced Open Water Course, Nitrox.
May 24th and 25th Open Water Course, Rescue and Divemaster.
May 26th Memorial Day, Dive/Snorkeling Trip, Crystal River
May 31st and June 1st, Open Water Course, Rescue and Divemaster.
June 7th and 8th, Open Water Class, Rescue and Divemaster.
June 14th and 15th, Open Water Class, Rescue and Divemaster.

Private classes available during the week.

Rescue and Divemaster course available throughout May and June 2003 

and for additional information.

Former students may go diving on training days for tune-ups and fun ($15.00 per person, plus cost of dive, if applicable). Diving with kitten $50.00 extra.

Safety and Training

Buoyancy Control is one of the marks of a good diver. Proper buoyancy insures diver comfort, safety and protection of the reef. Lots of things affect buoyancy, wetsuit thickness, accessories like hoods, hooded vests, and 2 piece suits make one more buoyant. Salt water vs. Fresh water is also a factor, as well as, proper weighting. Some of us are floaters or sinkers. Wetsuits are composed of closed cell neoprene and are more buoyant at shallower depths than they are at depth. Aluminum tanks vs. Steel tanks are another consideration. Cold vs. Warm water is another, one is more buoyant in warm water than cold. What you are carrying on your dive can also affect your buoyancy. What's the solution? First, do a buoyancy check at the surface, by letting all of the air out of your BCD and holding an normal breath (don't forget to put your regulator in your mouth). If you don't sink you are underweighted, If you sink right away, you are overweighed. Under ideal situations you should float at eye level. If you are using an aluminum tank, add 3 pounds. Aluminum tanks tend to become more buoyant as they empty. Most steel tanks continue to be negative. The best way to check buoyancy is at your safety stop at 15 feet. With 500 PSI in your tank and no air in the BCD you should be neutrally buoyant with the gear configuration you are wearing. By logging your gear configuration, weight used and other factors, you can eventually be on the mark on the amount of weight you need for every gear configuration and situation.

Some things to think about:
  • Air is added to the BCD at or near the surface or bottom, most other times you are letting air out.
  • Never use the power inflator as an "elevator" to lift you to the surface, you can't dump as much air as you put in once you start rising and Boyle's law kicks in.
  • Buoyancy control is much harder to maintain at 33' to the surface due to the additional atmosphere.
  • Practice orally inflating your BCD often in case of malfunction of the power inflator.
  • Practice hovering in the diver position in shallow water using your breath to control buoyancy.

"What kind of Crap is this? Department"


500-million gallons of acidic waste heading to Gulf

Offshore disposal of refuse from a bankrupt Manatee County phosphate mine begins this month.

St. Petersburg Times
published April 4, 2003

TAMPA In an unprecedented move, federal regulators announced Thursday they will allow Florida to dispose 500-million gallons of acidic wastewater into the Gulf of Mexico.

The waste from the abandoned Piney Point phosphate mine in Manatee County could be loaded onto barges and sprayed into the gulf starting in two weeks, said Allan Bedwell, deputy secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The disposal will be allowed through summer and into fall, ending in November. The amount of waste to be disposed would fill more than 700 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Although some environmentalists criticized the plan, state and federal officials said doing nothing risks an environmental disaster in Tampa Bay.

The earthen mound now containing the waste water is unstable. Too much rain could breach the mound and send the waste cascading into Bishop Harbor, an aquatic preserve at the mouth of the bay just south of the Hillsborough County line.

During a 20-minute closed-door meeting in Tampa Wednesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Todd Whitman told state DEP Secretary David Struhs that she had approved the plan and would issue an emergency permit in a few days.

Whitman said her agency spent four weeks wrestling with the proposal, finally agreeing it is the only way.

"We wanted to be sure every possible alternative had been explored," Whitman said.

The DEP already has discharged several million gallons of the treated waste into Bishop Harbor and even that comparatively small amount has produced algae blooms that could lead to fish kills and other problems.

Bedwell said state and federal officials have wracked their brains trying to come up with other alternatives, but nothing else gets rid of the wastewater fast enough. Speed is of the essence after a rainy winter and spring, especially with hurricane season starting June 1.

Disposing of so much waste in the gulf "is not option A, it's option Z," Bedwell said. And it won't be cheap. DEP officials figure it will cost between $15-million and $37.5-million.

The barges carry coal from New Orleans to Tampa Electric Co.'s two power plants in Hillsborough County and return empty.

The waste will be sprayed across a 20,000 square mile area at least 40 miles from the Florida coast by one of two methods. One plan calls for the empty barges to carry up to 10-million gallons of the waste in their ballast tanks and spray it into the gulf as the ships return to Louisiana. The other calls for using just one barge, which would repeatedly circle around the designated area.

Initially, trucks will carry the waste from Piney Point up to TECO's plant at Apollo Beach, Bedwell said. But DEP also will build a 2-mile-long pipeline across U.S. 41 to Port Manatee to send the waste to the port to be loaded onto the barges.

The wastewater will be treated before it is shipped to the barges. That will adjust its acid content, but will still leave it with more ammonia than EPA guidelines allow, Bedwell said.

However, both Bedwell and EPA regional administrator Jimmy Palmer said that by spraying the waste across a large expanse of the gulf, the ammonia will be diluted so it will not harm marine life.

Nevertheless, environmental advocates still questioned the wisdom of using the gulf to solve a pollution disposal problem.

"Everyone turns to the ocean to solve the problems of their poor planning," said David White of the Ocean Conservancy. "And as usual the taxpayers are stuck paying to clean up the pollution."

Quenton Dokken, executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation in Corpus Christi, Texas, questioned assertions that diluting the waste would render it benign.

"You know, this is the whole attitude toward the Gulf of Mexico - dilution is the solution," said Dokken, a marine research scientist at Texas A&M University. "You dump a little of this and a little of that, and when you throw them together and measure the total impact, it is having an effect."

Paul Johnson, spokesman for an ocean protection group called Reef Relief, said he was surprised such a major environmental policy happened so quickly.

"It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Tampa almost a decade to get a permit to dump spoil from channel maintenance dredging into the gulf," Johnson said. "My main concern about dribbling this around the Gulf of Mexico is that you could get a whole class of egg species in the water column, and I don't know what that phosphate waste will do to them."

Whitman said she would not allow any waste to be sprayed in areas of "critical marine habitat." It will be disposed of in "an area that's been determined to have no significant endangered fish life."

However, White of the Ocean Conservancy questioned whether there is such an area in the gulf. And he noted that the gulf's currents could carry the waste where it is not supposed to go: back onto a Florida beach, or into an estuary like Tampa Bay.

Initially the EPA will send a research vessel behind the barges to monitor what the waste does to the gulf's water quality "to ensure that dilution is achieved," EPA spokesman Carl Terry said. After that it will be up to the DEP to monitor the disposal.

The EPA announcement caught some by surprise. "This is the first I've heard of it," said Rick Leard of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. "Our agency usually, in concert with the National Marine Fisheries Service, comments on any types of projects that would allow ocean dumping or filling. There are laws against ocean dumping."

In fact, Palmer of the EPA acknowledged that dumping any sort of waste in the ocean violates international treaties. The only exceptions are for cases involving a risk to human life and limb, he said - not for avoiding an environmental catastrophe.

"This is probably an unprecedented situation," Palmer said.

Before EPA can issue the emergency permit to Florida, he said, the U.S. State Department must notify more than 80 countries that signed those treaties. But they cannot stop it, Whitman noted.

"It's not a question of getting permission," Whitman said. "It's just a question of notification."

Although it may have no effect on the EPA's decision, the agency will probably invite public comment on the gulf disposal plan.

- Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Don't we have better science than this? Isn't that stuff radioactive also? What about boiling, distilling, ionization, reverse osmosis? For years the Phosphate Industry has wined and dined the Florida Legislature prior to the legislative session, with a pre-session party serving stone crab and other sea food delicacies. Perhaps the tainted water shoud be served there as a beverage? Maybe it should be given to Nestle/Perrier to bottle? The stuff they bottle is about the same thing, anyway. Any suggestions on how to stop this? Capt. John

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Captain John Russell

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