RECOMMENDED LEVEL OF TRAINING - ADVANCED!
702 West Second Street
Freeport, TX 77541
Average Water Temperatures
at the Gardens
(broken down by month)
- You must check with Tom’s at 12:00 noon the day of departure. Before you drive to Freeport to be sure the weather conditions are a "GO" for the trip.
- Boarding on the boat begins at 8:30 p.m. the boat will depart immediately after the briefing. Please do not attempt to board the boat early. This would only create difficulties for the crew.
- Sleeping arrangements are bunk style with upper and lower berths having privacy curtains.
- Water temperature is (click here) degrees at the surface.
- Maximum depth allowed is 130 ft. on the first dive of the day and 100 ft. there after.
- There is a mandatory 2 1/2 hr. surface interval.
- The boat has a VCR on board to watch videos.
- The boat will return to the pier between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- * There will be no sharing of computers. If one buddy uses a computer and the other uses the tables, both will be required to dive the tables.
- * Table divers are timed from surface to surface.
- Diver age - minimum age is 12 years old, all minors must dive with parent or legal guardian.
- Tanks - 80 cuft tanks are included for both air and nitrox divers. You can bring your own tank, but there are no high pressure fills (3000 psi max) and no doubles.
- Three full meals per day (anyone on very strict diet. ie vegan, kosher, needs to call Gulf Diving directly so special arrangements can be made)
- Snacks around the clock-- fruit, candy, cookies, popcorn, vegi-tray, cheese, pretzels etc.
- Beverages-- coffee, tea, tang, Gatorade, lemonade and water (soda and beer available )
- All air or nitrox fills (must board with one full tank, unless diving nitrox tank will be provided)
- Bed linens, blankets, pillows
What to Bring:
- All personal dive gear, weight & weight belt (special arrangments can be made if you are flying in to dive flower gardens)
- Certification card & Log book
- Seasickness medication
- Dive light - if you are planning on doing the night dive you must have a tank light, primary and at least one backup light between you and your buddy.
- Surface signaling devices - inflatable signal tube and whistle
- Recommend using Dive Computer (The reef is at 65-80 ft and 3-5 dives per day)
- Towels and swimsuits
- Soap & Shampoo
- Ear Plugs recommend for light sleepers (generators are always running 24/7)
- T-shirts, jackets, and warm-ups
- Suntan lotion & Insect repellent (tons of mosquitoes at dock)
- Cameras and film
- Battery chargers
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Soft baggage only
- Money for soft drinks, T-shirts, and caps
- * Tips are appreciated for Crew (a good rule of thumb is 10% of trip cost)
What not to bring:
- Glass containers
- Spear guns, slings or slurp guns
- Personal Dive strobes
- Underwater Scooters
- Rebreathers & or doubles
How many dives?
2-day trip-potentially 7 dives.
Typical 2-day trip: 2 morning dives on the West Bank of the Flower Gardens. At lunch move to the East Bank and make 2 more day dives and 1 night dive. Move to Stetson Bank during the night and make 2 morning dives on Stetson before getting underway for Freeport. The near-shore rigs are all being removed, so the near-shore rig dive has been deleted from the schedule. We'll stop if we can find one and conditions permit. Minimum of 2 ½ hour surface interval between dives.
How are the dives conducted?
The boat divemasters will give a thorough briefing the night you board the boat, and tell you all about the in's and out's of diving off a large boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Site-specific briefings are conducted at each new dive site. The dive times are set by the boat crew, and will be approximately 7:00 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 5:30 pm and 9:00 pm on a 5-dive day. 4-dive days usually start at 8:00 am. 2 ½ hour surface intervals are mandatory, giving you plenty of time for meals, naps and sunbathing. Boat crew does not dive with the passengers, but instead is on deck during all dives to assist with entries and exits, as well as any surface assistance that is needed in-water. The trip leaders will be diving with the passengers. Divers are required to dive with a buddy.
The boat-imposed depth limit is 130 fsw for the first dive of the day ONLY, and 100 fsw for all subsequent dives. Dives must be planned within recreational limits-no planned-decompression dives are allowed. Within those parameters, buddy teams plan and execute their own dives. Dive times are set by the boat crew. Bottom times are limited only by your no-decompression limits, air consumption and common sense.
Entries and exits?
Entries are giant-stride off the port (sometimes starboard) side of the boat. It's about a 5 foot drop that looks a lot higher for you tall guys, but you'll be wet before you know it. Both boats have 2 ladders secured to the swim platform on the stern for your exit. Exits are made using lines from the ladders to remove your fins, then climbing the ladder with the rest of your gear in place. Camera lines are rigged for lowering and retrieving camera equipment.
TWO DAY TRIP ITINERARY
BOARD BOAT AT 8:30 P.M. ORIENTATION BY THE CAPTAIN
AND BOAT DIVEMASTERS REGARDING RULES AND PROCEDURES
OF THE BOAT. WE WILL DEPART THE DOCK IMMEDIATELY THERE AFTER.
WAKE UP ON FLOWER GARDENS. GRAB A LIGHT BREAKFAST,
DIVE, SIT DOWN TO FULL BREAKFAST,…. FOUR – FIVE DIVES
TOTAL THIS DAY, INCLUDING ONE NIGHT DIVE. DURING THE
NIGHT THE BOAT WILL MOVE TO STETSON BANK.
MAKE TWO DIVES ON STETSON. THE BOAT WILL
RETURN TO FREEPORT BETWEEN 5:00 P.M. AND 7:00 P.M.
FULL REFUNDS: WILL BE MADE WHEN A TRIP IS CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER, MECHANICAL PROBLEMS, ETC.