Latest Area News

30A sunsets topic of new book

Northwest Florida Daily News - Entertainment - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:25pm

SEAGROVE BEACH — Without any books written on the subject, you could say “the sky was the limit” for first-time editor/publisher and Seagrove Beach resident Cindy Moskovitz, whose photography book “Sunsets of 30A: The Magic of Light on the Emerald Coast” was recently published by Made Ya Look Publishing in May.

Moskovitz will be signing books 9 a.m.-noon June 27 at Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach and 5-8 p.m. at Sundog Books in Seaside.

The book retails for $29.95. Signed copies are available for purchase at Sundog Books in Seaside and Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach.

The book is also available for purchase online at Sunsetsof30A.com where is also a full roster of retail locations.
 

Dive into history with Panhandle Shipwreck Trail

Northwest Florida Daily News - Entertainment - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:23pm

Miles off the Florida Panhandle’s coast rest vessels of history.

Twelve unique shipwrecks make up the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, which promotes some of the area’s numerous dive spots.

Each wreckage has its own draw and history. The trail was unveiled in 2012 with the idea of attracting visitors to the Panhandle.

“In order to complete the trail, people would have to travel across the Panhandle,” said Franklin Price, senior archaeologist with the Florida Department of State’s Underwater Archaeology team.

They would also likely have to plan multiple trips to complete the trail, Price said.

The trail was created in part by the archaeology team soliciting area dive operators for the shipwrecks that best represented the
Panhandle, Price said. They considered each wreck’s popularity, ecological diversity and history.

For scuba divers, the trail is not to be missed, Price said.

“Even if they’re not divers, I hope they still get a better appreciation of the value of what’s down there, of our submerged heritage and the opportunity to explore the shipwrecks and natural reefs,” he said.

Passport 

Divers who take on the Shipwreck Trail can mark each dive with their “passport.”
Dive masters will sign and place a sticker on the passport after the diver visits each wreck.
Locally, you can get your passport from Emerald Coast Scuba, located at 503 U.S. Highway 98 in Destin, or Scuba Tech, located at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Marler Street.

The Shipwrecks

Destin: 

Miss Louise—A push tugboat that was sunk in 1997. The 95-foot tug lies upright in shallow water about 60 feet down. Storms have flattened some of the top of the tug, said Carla Moore, co-owner of Scuba Tech in Destin. Although it’s close to shore, it can be difficult to reach with fishermen and other dive boats covering the area.
Sea creatures have flocked to the site. Spanish mackerel, kings, barracuda, and baitfish frequent the site. Goliath Groupers, whale sharks, and Manta Rays have also been seen.
“You have to part the fish to see the wreck,” Moore said.

Pensacola: 

USS Oriskany — An aircraft carrier that has become a popular diving destination. After serving in the Pacific, The “Mighty O” served in the Pacific before being was sunk in 2006. Also nicknamed “The Great Carrier Reef,” the Oriskany is one of the most breathtaking dives, Price said. 

YDT-14 — This U.S. Navy dive tender was sunk in 2000. The ship’s upper structure is at 65 feet of depth. 

San Pablo — From a historical perspective, this freighter is the most interesting, Price said. It once hauled fruit from Central America before being sunk by a U-boat during World War II. It was refloated and was later sunk again in a secret military operation off of Pensacola. 

Pete Tide II — This offshore oilfield supply vessel became an artificial reef in 1993. It has three decks of superstructure. 

Three Coal Barges —These barges were sunk in 1974. They rest in about 50 feet of water.

Panama City: 

Black Bart — A oilfield supply vessel that was sunk in 1977. It sits intact from the top down between 40 and 85 feet of water. 

FAMI Tugs — These two tugboats once sat bow to bow, but a storm placed one boat on top of the other. 

USS Accokeek — A fleet tugboat that served in both Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It then became a training vessel for navy salvage divers before being sunk for the last time in 100 feet of water in 2000. 

USS Strength — A World War II minesweeper that survived a midget submarine attack and a kamikaze raid.

 USS Chippewa — A veteran Navy tugboat now lies upright in 100 feet of water.

Port St. Joe: 

Vamar — This ship lies in 25 feet of water. It was a support ship for Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1928 Antarctic expedition, then as a tramp steamer it sank under mysterious circumstances in 1942. Of all the trail’s wreckages, this is the most suitable for snorkelers, but it is still best seen on a dive, Price said.

Shipwreck descriptions courtesy of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research.

On the web:
More details as well as photos and video on each of the trail’s shipwrecks can be found at www.floridapanhandledivetrail.com. The current marine forecast and nearby dive shops for each site can also be found.
 

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