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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

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Scubapro Luna 2 AI Dive Computer

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dive computer

In a video produced exclusively for Scubaverse, Jeff Goodman reviews the Luna 2 AI Dive Computer from Scubapro.

For more information about Scubapro products, visit www.scubapro.johnsonoutdoors.com.

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Dive the richest reefs in the world with the pioneers of Raja Ampat 

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raja ampat

Papua Diving Resorts are the pioneers of sustainable tourism and diving in Raja Ampat. Our award-winning resorts are PADI Five Star and were the first exclusive dive resorts in the heart of the Dampier Strait. Where lush jungle meets clear, warm waters and the richest reefs on earth, let yourself embrace an escape like no other. 

With over 30 years of operation in Raja Ampat and award-winning commitment to the people and environment of Papua, Papua Diving Resorts’ experience and impact are unrivalled. This makes us the natural choice for ocean enthusiasts.

Our founder, Max, has been diving and exploring Raja Ampat since 1990, discovering the dive sites the area is so famous for. Paying tribute to his family, Max named a few of the dive sites after his wife and children, including Melissa’s Garden and Mike’s Point, as well as coming up with quirky names like Chicken Reef and Sardine Reef because of his experiences while diving there for the first time.  

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Papua Diving Resorts is also just a stone’s throw away from the famous Cape Kri, world record holder of most reef fish species counted on a single dive. In 2012, ichthyologist Dr. Gerry Allen counted 374 different reef fish species on a single dive at Cape Kri. In an interview, he said: 

“One of my favorite places to dive in Raja Ampat is Cape Kri near Sorido Resort… I didn’t even have to look for fish. They found me! The survey was the highest species count I’ve ever tallied on one dive, 374 distinct species in 90 minutes!” 

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Our dedicated team will make sure you see the best of Raja Ampat as we take you on incredible trips to the Fam Islands, Mushroom Islands and Manta points, just an hour away from our resorts. Experience Raja Ampat’s super reefs in a whole new light by joining the fluorescent dive and blackwater dives around Kri Island. Or simply enjoy a relaxing sunset and night dive where you can be sure to see the elusive mandarin fish and famous walking shark. 

With Papua Diving Resorts, guests get the chance to experience the Last Paradise at the very first dive resort in the area. Here, qualified and experienced staff are committed to giving guests the best Raja Ampat has to offer through Papua Diving Resorts’ quality service, food, and excursions. 

OUR RESORTS 

Papua Diving Resorts provides two world-class options to stay on Kri Island: the more traditional Kri Eco Resort, and upscaled boutique Sorido Bay Resort.  

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Sorido Bay Resort is our luxury boutique option 

Perfect for those who want a touch of luxury, Sorido Bay Resort is a collection of 9 charming bungalows with spacious rooms and ensuites, each with Wi-Fi, AC and fan and a veranda that overlooks a vibrant house reef. The private resort faces the Papuan sunrise, basking the island in a warm glow for a beautiful day in Indonesia’s Crown Jewel.

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Indulge in community-style meals at the sea-view restaurant that overlooks the turquoise waters of the house reef and Sorido Blue Hole beyond. If you’re lucky, you might spot a pod of dolphins or even whales with your morning coffee or afternoon tea.  

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Kri Eco Resort is where paradise meets sustainability 

Looking out over the dark blue waters of the Dampier Strait and distant mountain ranges, Kri Eco Resort is a cluster of authentic Papuan-style water bungalows built from locally sourced materials with 3 room types to choose from, two of which have communal bathrooms.

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The 13 cottages come with Wi-Fi, electric fans for still nights, and direct access to Kri’s vibrant house reef. The over-water sun deck area faces the Papuan setting sun, creating the picture-perfect spot for bright orange sunsets. With a more in-touch-with-nature feel, Kri Eco Resort bungalows allow guests to fully enjoy the cool sea breeze and natural beauty paradise has to offer. 

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Regardless of where you stay, you can be sure to experience the rich biodiversity of Raja Ampat. Enjoy looking down from our jetty into the crystal-clear waters of the house reef, where you can spot stingrays, blacktip reef sharks, moray eels and sea snakes, and if you’re lucky even some dolphins and dugongs swimming by.  

The resort grounds are also rich with land creatures such as monitor lizards, cuscus, even kingfisher birds and sea eagles. Embrace your adventurous side and take a kayak out to the sandbar that appears during low tide, or a hike through the jungles that sit between the two resorts.  

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Wherever you choose to book with us, guests at Papua Diving Resorts can enjoy the community coming together on a shared passion, sharing stories with divers and adventurers alike during mealtimes and excursions.  

CONSERVATION 

By staying at Papua Diving Resorts, you become part of the effort to protect this beautiful yet fragile environment. From offering schooling and sustainable employment for indigenous people, to boosting shark populations, Papua Diving Resort’s aim is to leave this world better than we found it. 

Providing education and training to the local indigenous Papuan villagers is a part of our mission at Papua Diving Resorts, through which they can take the skills and knowledge and apply it to their livelihoods.

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When Max arrived in Raja Ampat, he found a community that depended on shark and ray finning to provide for their families. To encourage a more sustainable approach to earning a living, Max employed and upskilled the locals through teaching them boatbuilding, woodworking and guiding guests to experience all that Paradise has to offer.  

Creating partnerships with locals in the nearby villages, Max sought to provide one-of-a-kind guest experiences to see and photograph the Red and Wilson Bird of Paradise, seen only in Raja Ampat. Aligned with our mission at Papua Diving Resorts to protect nature and empower the local people, a portion of our proceeds go back to these local partnerships. 

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As leaders in conservation and pioneers of sustainable tourism and diving in Raja Ampat, Papua Diving Resorts offers guests an unforgettable opportunity to experience the best of Indonesia’s Crown Jewel. Located at the heart of the Dampier Strait, we invite you to explore the rich biodiversity of the area, both above and underwater. 

BOOK NOW 

Email: info@papua-diving.com  

Website: papua-diving.com  

Instagram: @papuadivingresorts  

Facebook: Papua Diving Resorts 

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