Capt. John, the Captain formerly known as handsome. Greetings from Capt. John, Scuba Florida 
August 2003 Circulation 2,841
Current Conditions Gulf of Mexico

Deep Water Grouper ~ Capt Richard Daniel,
Capt. Richard's Deep Water Gags

Capt. Chad Koos and big gag!
Capt. Chad's big un!

Capt. Richard with another nice fish!
Another nice fish Richard!

Hot! Gulf temps are in the 85 degree area. Bring a bath robe! We have been having some of the best vis in years for this time of the year. The rains have created problems with vis and high seas, but we are still getting out every week. Some red tide reported at Ft. Desoto. Fishing in shallow is very slow. Try 100' or deeper for the big ones.

Scallop Report... Capt. Ben Pitta, Attorney Richard Blunt and I went scalloping with Capt. Glen Touchton out of Ozello, Florida. What a perfect day! The eight mile ride to the boat ramp is though rustic, picturesque, old Florida. Just beautiful! The backwater ride in a well made home-made flats boat was another real thrill. Just beautiful. We jumped into 6' to 8' water, bright green turtle grass covered the bottom. Great Vis. Quickly we began to collect scallops. In two hours we had limited out, Capt. Glen had already cleaned most of them by the time we got on board. That night, all of us dined on the delicious tasty treats. Just beautiful!

Wreck Trip... "Cheated death again"! We had a two day charter in the Gulf for wreck diving. The weather was nasty, with rain storms blowing by and occasional 5' foot seas, it was a tough two days. But the water was so nice at 85 degrees plus and with all the weather we still had decent vis. We got a few fish for dinner both nights so all in all it was a great experience. Tough guy awards go to all those on board, Michael and Brian Keezel, Dr. Tareq Sanan, Saoud Sanan, Alan Salter, Chris Price, Jon Matthews, Capt. Ben Pitta and Capt. John.

Additional info at:


Scallop Season July 1st to September 11th.



July 1st, 2003, Scallop Season Opened!

Record scallops from Homossassa to Steinhatee, Florida indicate a great season for Scallops.

Scallops are one of the most delectable foods to come from the sea. They are so rich that a little goes a long way.

Scallop Bag Limits

2 gallons whole or 1 pint of meat per person per day, no more than 10 gallons whole, or 1/2 gallon meat per vessal anytime

The most productive way to catch scallops is with mask, fins and snorkel. Drifting along, the snorkeler looks for scallops in patchs of seagrass. Sharp eyes help pick up the shiny paired eyes lining the scallop's interior mantel. Being towed behind the boat on a snorkel sled, using a glass bottom bucket are other methods of locating scallops (Sleds and Buckets available from Aquatic Adventures dive shop).

What you need to scallop:

  • Saltwater Fishing License
  • Mask, Fins, Snorkel
  • Mesh Bag
  • Diver's Flag or pull Flag with float. Caution Flag sizes have changed.
  • Polorized Sun Glasses.

I will be booking Scallop Trips from July to September 11th when the season closes. Full boat with guide $250.00 or $60.00 per person, 6 hours of fun!


Crystal River


Student photos of Manatee
Manatee at 3 Sisters

Manatees! 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

Student photos of manatee.

Take lessons this month or the kitten gets it!
Don't make me do it!

  • August 7th and 8th Open Water Course. Snorkel/Dive 8/8/03
  • August 9th and 10th Open Water Course. Snorkel/Dive 8/10/03
  • August 14th and 15th Open Water Course.Snorkel/Dive 8/15/03
  • August 16th and 17th Open Water Course. Snorkel/Dive 8/17/03
  • August 20th 3 tank Gulf Dive with Capt, John.
  • August 23rd and 24th, Open Water Course. Snorkel/Dive 8/24/03.
  • Night Dive Every Saturday Night ~ Adventure Advanced Dive Every Sunday that classes are scheduled!
  • Weekend Courses Available every weekend in September and October 2003
  • Private classes available during the week. Gulf Dives and Scalloping Available everyday!
  • Rescue and Divemaster course available throughout August/Septmeber 2003 

See: 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)


The Poor Man's Lobster Season!

"A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned," he said, "for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we do only be drowned now and again." John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands (1907)

Scalloping Boneheads Bombard Crystal River! I have often heard it said that "all you need to own a boat is money"! The unsaid other side of that saying is "If you don't have much money, you don't have much boat"!

Every weekend I have been teaching up at Crystal River and every weekend I have been more than amused at the scene at the loading ramps at the Best Western Hotel. Hoards of folks converge on this small community every year during scallop season. Their antics are priceless!

During the lobster mini-season in the Keys it is the same scene, just nicer boats.

Five sinkings to date at the docks of the Best Western. Most of the sinkings were folks tying up to the dock without spring lines. They get up in the morning to a sunken boat. That'll ruin your weekend. Lots of boats put in the water without the drain plugs in. The Chinese Fire Drills to pull the sinking boat out of the water, or get the plugs in or start the boat and get it up on plane to bail the boat are laugh riots!

Crystal River Scallop Bpat
Crystal River Scallop Boat

And some of the boats I have seen...overloaded boats filled with kids and dogs. Boats that were probably not seaworthy when they were new, fifty years ago. Little boats with big motors, big boats with little motors. Big trucks pulling little boats, little cars pulling big boats. Crappy cars/trucks pulling expensive boats. Nice motor vehicles pulling crappy boats. Lots of poor boatmanship and folks without a clue. Boat owners trying over and over to back the boat onto the ramp. Wives and girlfriends trying to be "helpful" giving directions. Cross words and frustration. Manatees hiding in fear. Words can not describe the pandemonium.

I have never laughed so hard in my life. I wish I had pictures to share, next year I will be better prepared. Funny or not, it is also pretty scary.

No one has been hurt so far and most of the accidents have been at the dock or in shallow water. Bottom line is if you are going to own a boat get some training. Buy a boat that is safe and seaworthy. I personally would not step into the boat of a un-trained first time boat owner or in a boat that I thought was unsafe or un-seaworthy. It is amazing how many people will. Boating, like diving it is only fun as long as it is safe. In diving you have required training, I think it is time that boat owners have required training as well.


Scuba Industry Morns the Loss of John Cronin, PADI Co-Founder


RSM, CA – 16 July, 2003. The diving industry today is mourning the loss of the man who introduced more than 10 million people into the sport of scuba diving. John J. Cronin, co-founder and CEO of PADI, The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, died yesterday at his home in Temecula, California at the age of 74. Cronin, one of the most influential men in the diving industry and current President of The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association would have completed his 50th year this year.

A native of Albany, New York, John joined the Marine Corps where he served from 1947-1948 being recalled to service in the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1952. In 1959, John accepted the position of East Coast Promotions Manager for U.S. Divers Company in New York City. In 1964, John became the first person in the history of the diving industry to surpass wholesale sales of $1 million dollars. Rising rapidly through the ranks, John was promoted to Marketing Director in March of 1969. Later that same year, he was appointed CEO and then President of U.S. Divers, a position he held until his retirement in September of 1985.

While attending a diving banquet in December of 1961, John met Ralph Erickson, a professional educator. A friendship immediately developed, and over the next several years their concept of a new, professional diver training organization was developed, this was PADI. In 1966, Cronin, in conjunction with Erickson, formalized the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, or PADI, as it is known today.

Thanks to John’s leadership, PADI, is currently recognized as the largest single entity in the diving industry with retail sales in excess of $250 million. PADI has offices in 7 countries, over 100,000 individual members and 4,600 Retail and Resort locations located in 175 countries worldwide. In 2000, PADI issued its 10 millionth diving certification.

Cronin served on the board of the DEMA from 1971 until 1993, at one point being the President, and again elected as President in 1999, 2000, and 2002. He gave his time unselfishly in promoting the industry and the sport championing new diver acquisition, retailer, resort, and manufacturer growth, and fighting legislation that would negatively impact the industry.

Cronin was also heavily active in politics being actively involved with Republican candidates at the local, state, and federal levels for over 20 years. He raised millions of dollars while serving as the treasurer or finance chairman for over 60 campaigns, including several for former Governor Pete Wilson of California and past Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

Donations to: Loma Linda University Medical Center
c/o John Cronin Memorial Heart Institute
Office of Advancement
P.O. Box 2000- A607
Loma Linda, CA 92354

Cool Web


Want to check your level of stress? Check out the Dolphin Stress test: Thank me later!

Federal Trade Commission - The Do Not Call Registry Register your phone numbers with the FTC to prevent telemarketing phone calls. Go to:

Just Seafood Recipes I was surfing the web for Blue Crab Recipes and found this great site:

Everthing you wanted to know about Bananas.
The perfect dive food:

Crystal River Web Cam ~
New website and domain for Crystal River. Web cam overlooks King's Spring and New Manatee Facts Pages. My new web site:

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Captain John Russell

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Copyright, Captain "Handsome" John L. Russell 3 1998-2003, all rights reserved (all lefts reserved too)! Violators will be slowly beaten to death. Last revised 13 Mar 2009.