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Key Largo wreck ‘Spiegel Grove’ claims Orlando diver’s life



Monroe County dive team members located the body of a missing diver from Orlando last week who was last seen deep inside the USS Spiegel Grove, a 510-foot Navy ship that was intentionally sunk in 2002 as an artificial reef about six miles off the coast of Key Largo, Florida.

The missing diver was identified by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office as Joseph Dragojevich, 43, a captain with the Lake County Emergency Medical Services.

Deputy Becky Herrin, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said divers found Dragojevich’s body inside the ship at around 1:30 p.m. Friday. But they have not retrieved the body, nor have they positively identified it. The retrieval process could take hours, Herrin said.

Dragojevich’s body will be taken to the county Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy after it is recovered.

Dragojedich was diving Thursday afternoon with his friend, James Dorminy, 51, of Kissimmee on a commerical charter boat owned by the Scuba-Do Dive Company based in Key Largo. There were six other divers on the boat, but only Dragojevich and Dorminy were conducting a “penetration dive” inside the wreck on their own with no guide from the dive company.

In 2007, three experienced divers from New Jersey perished inside the Spiegel Grove while also doing a penetration dive with the Scuba-Do. The dive company has been in business since 1986, according to its website.

About 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Dorminy reported Dragojevich missing to the crew of Scuba-Do. The captain of the boat notified the Coast Guard, which launched a search with a boat crew from Islamorada and an air crew from Miami. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also launched a search by boat, but the missing diver was not found at the surface.

Dorminy told two officers with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office that he and his friend had attached a reel line before they entered the mammoth ship, which below is a maze of dark, narrow passageways and claustrophobic rooms not meant to be penetrated by divers because of the danger.

The real line was supposed to guide the divers to find their way back out of the ship.

Dorminy told the officers that the men explored several levels of the ship, which rests at 130 feet, before beginning their exit. Dorminy was in the lead, with his friend reeling in the line behind him.

Dorminy said he last saw Dragojevich behind him, signaling with his dive light that he was okay. When Dorminy looked back again, Dragojevich had disappeared and the line was slack.

Dorminy said he swam back to find the line tangled. He searched for as long as he could for Dragojevich before being forced to surface with his air running low.

Gerald Smith, executive director with Lake EMS, said Dragojevich had been with the department for 15 years and was a district chief. “He goes way back,” Deputy Chief Ralph Habermehl said.

Dragojevich had a girlfriend and two adult children with an ex-wife.

For more on this story, click here.




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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