Stetson Bank Trip Report August 9 & 10, 1996
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Picture of Lloyd
Lloyd at the Helm

Sunset at Stetson Banks
Sunset at Stetson Banks

Scorpian Fish and a small Moray Eel
There is a small Moray Eel in here! Click on it!

Scorpian Fish
A Scorpion Fish

Stetson Banks are the tops of salt domes in the Gulf of Mexico at 28 degrees 9.98 minutes latitude and 94 degrees 17.86 minutes longitude, about 60 miles (111 km) west-southwest of Freeport, Texas. Like the Flower Gardens, it is more than a day trip because of the distance. But, it is almost on the way to the Flower Gardens, and makes a great stop on the way home if you have a compressor or some full tanks. Stetson is best described as rocky with fairly large variations in the elevation of the rocks. Perhaps the best technical description is that it would be a great place for a dirt-bike type of motorcycle if it were on dry land. There was a variety of fish life present that evening, but light was waning so the pictures were dark. There is a rope left permanently for use as a reference in night dives, probably left by customers of the Fling and the Spree. It would be easy to drift away in the current at night without a reference or much experience in varying gulf currents. There isn't as much coral at Stetson as at the Flower Gardens, but the structure of the rocks attracts a lot of life. We saw the usual Angels, Barracuda, Grouper, Snappers (though not many), Wrasses, and many other fish.

This trip was a continuation of today's diving at the Flower Gardens with Lloyd Cheatham and his father. We had completed 3 dives at the gardens on Friday by early afternoon, and decided to come here while we off-gassed some nitrogen. This put us half-way home by nightfall, with 3 tanks of air left apiece. We arrived about 5 hours after our dives at the Flower Gardens, but in time to get a dive in before dark. Visibility was probably only 60 to 80 feet horizontally, but we didn't mind.

The first dive (Friday evening) was done in no current. Fish were plentiful, so we simply looked around to see what there was to see. We hung out on the mooring line on the way up since there was plenty of activity on the bottom to see from that vantage point, as well as near the surface. This conserved our air and gave us more time in the water. We fished a little that evening, but didn't catch anything worth keeping. We dropped a fluorescent dive light over on a rope and took a look under us. We watched some shrimp and crabs swim by on the surface, but not much was happening below.

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Copyright © 1996 Randall C. Allen - All rights reserved
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