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Five divers stranded in Florida waters when anchor line snaps; rescued when party boat happens to pass by



Whilst heading back to Key Largo through rough seas on Tuesday of last week, Capt. Joe Hall on the Sailors Choice party boat saw something he couldn’t believe.

A lone diver, frantically waving his arms, bobbed alone among 6-foot seas near Pickles Reef off Tavernier.

“It was really rough. Waves were crashing over the bow of our boat,” said Capt. Joe. “I barely caught a glimpse of him.”

Mate Jamie Stephenson put the ladder down and helped the diver onto the 65-foot fishing boat. “Then [the diver] asked, ‘Is everybody else here?’ I asked him what he meant.”

An intense rescue effort was then started that found four other divers, scattered from near Molasses Reef to Pickles Reef, approximately three miles away.

The group of five divers from Georgia was diving at Molasses Reef when the anchor line from their unmanned boat snapped.

“One of the divers was underwater when he saw the anchor line go slack,” said Officer Bobby Dube, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman. “They went to the surface and saw the boat drifting away.”

“They didn’t leave anybody topside,” said Officer Dube. “This shows why it’s always a good idea to leave a safety man on deck.”

The owner of the boat tried to swim after it, but 25 mph winds pushed the vessel away.

The Sailors Choice started running a search pattern after hearing Lunsford’s story. Many of the 18 fishing customers aboard went forward to scan the seas.

“Everybody on board helped out,” Capt. Joe said. “You could see they knew they were part of something important.”

Four FWC patrol boats headed offshore after getting the 5 p.m. call. One of the FWC boats later rescued a diver, who apparently tried to follow Lunsford, near Pickles Reef.

The Sailors Choice, accompanied by a Sea Tow Key Largo boat, spotted the remaining three divers, who had inflated their BCDs and stayed near Molasses Reef.

“By the time we saw them, they were drifting farther offshore,” said Capt. Joe. “We got on the loudspeaker and told them they were going to be OK. Sea Tow went in and scooped them up.”

A TowBoat US Key Largo vessel found the Wellcraft adrift on the shoreward side of Pickles Reef. The U.S. Coast Guard also took part in the search.

The divers were in the water for approximately 2 hours. After the first diver was found at around 5 pm, the rest were out of the water before 6.

“It’s a really nice feeling” to help in the rescue,” Capt. Joe said. “It was the end of the day so no other boats were going to be out there. Those guys probably would have spent the night at sea.”




Roots Red Sea is the Travelers’ Choice



There is a remote spot on the coast of the Egyptian Eastern Desert that has been steadily developing an enviable reputation amongst the worlds diving community. It’s absolutely no surprise then that Roots Red Sea has just received TripAdvisors top award, Travelers Choice, the 10th year running it has been recognised with awards from TripAdvisor!

With a passing glance, many divers have dismissed a visit to this gem, its rustic appearance and remote location seemingly enough to deter further consideration. However, those that take a closer look have been rewarded with simply a totally unique experience with awesome diving, an unbelievable welcome and life long memories.

Winning an award once could be luck, every year for 10 years, there has to be a reason. Why not go to find out what it is?

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Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Nays Baghai



Gemma and Ian chat to Nays Baghai. Inspired by The Blue Planet as a child, Nays’ work as an underwater cinematographer and photographer has been showcased by numerous premier brands, including Rolex and Sony Alpha.  Nays was featured amongst the Top 30 finalists of the Australasian Top Emerging Photographers competition in the Portfolio and Animal categories. He is a PADI-certified Freediving Instructor and Master Scuba Diver, and can dive to 40m both with and without tanks.

Have a listen here:

Find out more:

Find more podcast episodes and information at the new  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email

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