September 1-3, 2017 (Labor Day Weekend): Over the years, Panama City has become synonymous with wreck diving. The beneficiary of an early and aggressive artificial reef program, the waters off this Florida Panhandle beach town are littered with the remains of freighters, warships, tugs, barges, OSVs — virtually any sort of vessel imaginable.
And, with wrecks, comes the inevitable boom in marine life: fish, lobsters and other crustaceans, and coral. These vessels are now ablaze with color, hosting life where there once was none.
This September, Harry’s Dive shop will host a two-day trip designed to help you experience the best in Panama City wreck diving. This trip is a great opportunity for divers to take part in Advanced or Specialty Diver training. Because of the depths (many of the wrecks are in 80 to 100 feet of water), if you are not taking part in a class, some form of prior Advanced or Deep Diver training is recommended, along with Nitrox certification and use.
Other than that, you don’t have to be a big-time tech diver — or even have that many dives under your belt. Normal recreational dive gear, including two tanks and a wetsuit adequate for current temperatures, is all you need to own or rent.
On Saturday, we’ll enjoy an six-hour, three-tank dive trip, returning in plenty of time to enjoy a delicious dinner at Captain Anderson’s restaurant. Sunday, it’s another six-hour, three-tank dive trip that returns in time for a leisurely drive back to New Orleans — or you can simply spend Sunday night in Panama City (there is an extra charge or this, of course).
The weather generally cooperates with us; however, if we do have to cancel at the last minute, Vortex and Morrison Springs are just a short drive away — and you can either get a refund of your trip fee or apply it to a future outing. Be sure we have your cell phone number, so that we can contact you at the last minute, if necessary.
Who is This Trip Ideal For?
This may be the perfect trip if you:
- Think that diving is the best way to spend this popular holiday weekend.
- Are looking for an long weekend dive trip within easy driving distance (five hours) of New Orleans.
- Think that wreck dives are what make life worth living.
When Does It Take Place?
Panama City is roughly five hours from New Orleans (see map below). Our schedule is:
- Friday, September 1: Drive to Panama City (approximately four hours). Check into hotel.
- Saturday, September 2: Meet at Panama City Dive Center (PCDC) at 6:15 am to sign paperwork before going to the boat. The boat leaves at 7:00 am and should return at 3:00 am. Leave tanks at PCDC while at Captain Anderson’s for our dining experience.
- Sunday, September 3: Meet at PCDC at 6:15 am to pick up your tanks before going to the boat for a 7:00 am departure. We should return around 1:00 pm to pick up, pack up and head out — or you can opt to spend the night in Panama City.
How Much Does it Cost?
Trip Pricing: Pricing for this trip is as follows:
- Base price, per diver (double occupancy): $499
- For single occupancy: Add $150
- For extra night: Add $150
- Nondiver on boat: $135 (space available)
Prices subject to change.
Deposit and Balance Due: Requirements are as follows:
- Payment in full due at signup.
- Be aware there are no refunds unless we find someone else to take your spot
What’s Included: The basic trip price includes the following (if applicable):
- Two nights’ accommodations
- Continental breakfast
- Dinner Saturday
- Air fills
- Two days of diving
Not Included: Travelers are responsible for the following (if applicable):
- Transportation to, from and around Panama City
- Appetizers, desert with dinner
- Any meals not specifically listed
- Crew gratuity
- Sunday night hotel in Panama City, if desired
Additional Requirements: Travelers must supply:
- Diver and/or Nitrox certification cards
- Dive insurance
- Signed waiver and Statement of Understanding
- Personal dive gear
- Audible and visual surface signals, reel or spool
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