Island Sun Splash 2006 was kicked off with an Anniversary Party of the sinking of the Spiegel Grove and ended with a great cookout and the awarding of prizes. The turn out was less than expected, due to the hype that the Weather Channel and others gave to Tropical Storm Alberto. Those that did come had the time of their lives, and are looking forward to next year's event.
The seas were a bit rough on Monday but the remainder of the week was typical Florida Keys weather, blue skies, clear water, and calm seas. The weeks activities began with a Reef Fish ID course given by REEF. This was the first of four sessions designed to educate divers and snorkelers on how to identify the sea life on the coral reef. The program was essential for those that participated in the land and sea photo scavenger hunt. The winners of this great family activity were able to choose from an assortment of prizes supplied by the good folks of Atomic, Dive Rite, DUI, Pinnacle Wet suits, Sherwood, Scubapro, Akona, PADI and many more. Prizes included BCD's, regulators, masks, wet suits, great PADI backpacks, Encyclopedia of Diving, and much more.
A raffle was held for 4 fantastic prizes. Scubapro and Dive Rite each provided a package of dive equipment valued at over $1,500.00 each. Key Largo Resorts, the host property, provided a vacation package and the members of the Upper Keys Association of Dive and Snorkel Operators provided the fourth prize, which was eleven dive and/or snorkel trips, one trip with each of the participating members.
In addition to REEF FISH ID clinics, Island Sun Splash offered seminars by world famous underwater photographers Stephen Frink and Tom and Thiresa Stack. Emmy Award winning videographer, Frazier Nivens, offered two clinics on underwater digital videography and editing. Dr.'S Joe and Sally Bauer of the History of Diving Museum provided insights into how diving was started and opened their doors to the public for the first time. Karl Fissmer, professional treasure hunter, provided two seminars on the 1733 Spanish Treasure Fleet that were wrecked along the Florida Keys by a hurricane.
The most exciting things to happen, besides the fantastic diving and snorkeling, during the Island Sun Splash were the pool activities held at the Key Largo Resorts, Holiday Inn pool. The event sponsored 4 free sessions of Discover Scuba courses for ages 8 years and older. Free pool refresher programs were also offered at the same time. The SCUBA Olympics and the Junior Olympics were packed with fun for all ages. The youngsters went diving for pewter "pieces of eight" and several other relay type activities. The adults enjoyed activities such as underwater bowling, where the diver was the ball.
The Upper Keys Association of Dive and Snorkel Operators want to thank all of the dive and snorkel operations that offered discounts on their charters, training, and merchandise throughout the week. A big thank you also goes out to PADI, Scubapro, Sherwood, Pinnacle Wet suits, Atomic, Dive Rite, DUI. We also would like to thank the many local restaurants, gift shops, CVS Pharmacy and other water based activity operators for their participation and support.
Those that were unable to attend this years Island Sun Splash or were scared off by the news media, really missed a great family oriented fun-filled week. Never fear though, Island Sun Splash 2007 will be held in June 2007. So don't miss out next year on the great diving, snorkeling, and fun that was had by all this year. Watch our web site for next years event. www.divecapital.org