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

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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.

 

Source: www.keysnet.com

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Get a FREE undersuit when you buy a trilaminate drysuit from Scubapro

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IT’S TRILAMINATE TIME!

SCUBAPRO is launching its 2024 drysuit promotion:

With the purchase of a trilaminate drysuit EVERTECH DRY BREATHABLE or DEFINITION DRY, SCUBAPRO gives you the matching K2 EXTREME undersuit (GBP 345) for free.

If that’s not a reason to start drysuit diving, because in our climate it’s drysuit season all year round! So don’t miss out – the promotion is valid until May 31, 2024 at participating SCUBAPRO retailers and in participating regions.

All information at https://scubapro.johnsonoutdoors.com/eu/en-gb/free-k2.

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Diving with Frogfish in Costa Rica: A Hidden Gem Underwater

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In the vast and vibrant underwater world of Costa Rica, there’s a peculiar creature that often goes unnoticed but holds a special place in the hearts of divers: the frogfish. This enigmatic and somewhat odd-looking species is a master of camouflage and a marvel of marine life. Diving with frogfish in Costa Rica is not just a dive; it’s an adventurous treasure hunt that rewards the patient and observant with unforgettable encounters. Let’s dive into the world of frogfish and discover what makes these creatures so fascinating and where you can find them in Costa Rica.

The Mystique of Frogfish

Frogfish belong to the family Antennariidae, a group of marine fish known for their incredible ability to blend into their surroundings. They can be found in a variety of colors, including yellow, pink, red, green, black, and white, and they often have unique spots and textures that mimic the coral and sponges around them. This camouflage isn’t just for show; it’s a critical survival tactic that helps them ambush prey and avoid predators.

One of the most remarkable features of the frogfish is its modified dorsal fin, which has evolved into a luring appendage called an esca. The frogfish uses this esca to mimic prey, such as small fish or crustaceans, enticing unsuspecting victims close enough to be engulfed by its surprisingly large mouth in a fraction of a second. This method of hunting is a fascinating spectacle that few divers forget once witnessed.

Where to Find Frogfish in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is dotted with dive sites that offer the chance to encounter these intriguing creatures. Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos), Catalina Islands (Islas Catalinas), and the area around the Gulf of Papagayo are renowned for their rich marine life, including frogfish. These sites vary in depth and conditions, catering to both novice and experienced divers.

The key to spotting frogfish is to dive with a knowledgeable guide who can point out these master camouflagers hiding in plain sight. They’re often found perched on rocky outcroppings, nestled within coral, or even hiding among debris, perfectly mimicking their surroundings.

frogfish

Diving Tips for Spotting Frogfish

Go Slow: The secret to spotting frogfish is to move slowly and scan carefully. Their camouflage is so effective that they can be right in front of you without being noticed.

Look for Details: Pay attention to the small details. A slightly different texture or an out-of-place color can be the clue you need.

Dive with Local Experts: Local dive guides have an eagle eye for spotting wildlife, including frogfish. Their expertise can significantly increase your chances of an encounter.

Practice Buoyancy Control: Good buoyancy control is essential not just for safety and coral preservation but also for getting a closer look without disturbing these delicate creatures.

Be Patient: Patience is key. Frogfish aren’t known for their speed, and sometimes staying in one spot and observing can yield the best sightings.

Conservation and Respect

While the excitement of spotting a frogfish can be thrilling, it’s crucial to approach all marine life with respect and care. Maintain a safe distance, resist the urge to touch or provoke, and take only photos, leaving behind nothing but bubbles. Remember, the health of the reef and its inhabitants ensures future divers can enjoy these incredible encounters as much as you do.

Join the Adventure

Diving with frogfish in Costa Rica is just one of the many underwater adventures that await in this biodiverse paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or taking your first plunge, the waters here offer an unparalleled experience filled with wonders at every turn. Beyond the thrill of the hunt for frogfish, you’ll be treated to a world teeming with incredible marine life, majestic rays, playful dolphins, and so much more.

So, gear up, dive in, and let the mysteries of Costa Rica’s underwater realm unfold before your eyes. With every dive, you’re not just exploring the ocean; you’re embarking on an adventure that highlights the beauty, complexity, and fragility of our marine ecosystems. And who knows? Your next dive might just be the one where you come face-to-face with the elusive and captivating frogfish. Join us at Rocket Frog Divers for the dive of a lifetime, where the marvels of the ocean are waiting to be discovered.

About the Author: Jonathan Rowe

Are you looking to make a splash online? As a seasoned diver and digital marketer, I specialize in crafting bespoke websites and innovative marketing strategies for dive shops worldwide. With my expertise, your business will not only be seen but also remembered.

From deep-sea to digital depths, I navigate the complex waters of web development and online marketing, ensuring your dive shop stands out in the vast ocean of the internet. Contact Scuba Dive Marketing for more information.

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