Captain Slates Atlantis Dive
The Underwater Wonderland of
Key Largo, Florida
By Jule Mummert
Friday morning, the team at Captain
Slates Atlantis Dive Center sets out with a group of visitors
to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for Captain Slates
world famous Creature Feature adventure dive. For nearly
25 years, Slate has been feeding barracuda, moray eel and nurse
sharks in the protected reefs of Key Largo and teaching divers to
appreciate these creatures instead of fear them.
It is educational to take first
time divers out for the feeds. We touch them as they swim by and
hold the eels in our arms. It teaches new divers that these things
you learn in diving to regard as potential hazards are fairly harmless
and could really care less about us, said Captain Slate.
Captain Slate has been on 60 different
cable networks through the years because of these feeds including
the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel and even Ripleys
Believe It Or Not! for his mouth to mouth fish feed with hungry
barracuda. He holds up a mask that a barracuda had once taken a
bite out of. Luckily I only ended up with a black eye,
said Slate. Sometimes it happens, its a crazy trick.
Slate learned to perform these stunts
from Steve Klem, a retired diver now in his 80s and a founding
leader in the industry. Slate continues his feeds in the same areas
Klem frequented many years ago. Some of the moray eels have
stayed in the same area for 8 years, and some of the sharks for
2 1/5 - 3 years. We see them come and go, says Slate.
life has thrived since the establishment of the sanctuary preservation
zone, or SPA, as a no-take zone. The SPA is the only area in the
Keys where spear fishing is not allowed, besides a small area off
Big Pine Key called Lou Key. Protected by both state and national
government, 180 square miles the upper keys, including 22 miles
of shoreline, 6 miles out and 300 feet deep into the ocean is alive
The marine life at the National Marine
Sanctuary and John Pennekamp State Park is one of the most beautiful
and plentiful in the Keys. The rest of the Keys are beautiful,
says Slate, but you dont see fish anywhere else in the
keys like you see here.
Atlantis Dive Center frequents sought after dive sites like the
510 foot long Spiegal Grove, the longest ship purposefully
sunken to create an artificial reef for the protected fish of the
National Marine Sanctuary. In the years to come, this site will
become a coveted home for all types of coral and marine life and
serve as a special place to spot larger types of fish enjoying the
protection of its expanse. Other sunken ship dives include 327 foot
long sister ships, the Duane and the Bibb.
favorite spot among snorkelers in the National Marine Sanctuary
is the Christ of the Abyss statue. This 9 foot tall,
2000 pound statue of Christ was a gift in 1966 from the Italian
Dive Association in commemoration of all who had lost and would
lose their lives at sea. With arms outstretched to the heavens and
face tilted towards the sunrise, this statue is a special site to
Christians, other believers and even non-believers who experience
the statues serene beauty and the moment it offers to consider
Christs peaceful message.
Captain Slate has been performing
underwater weddings at this site since 1978 and currently holds
the Worlds Record for number of divers in attendance at an
underwater wedding service. This practice has become so sought after,
Slate has found himself performing wedding ceremonies for enthusiasts
both under and above the water nearly every weekend.
Atlantis Dive Center is also an internationally
recognized training facility with full certification credentials
for first time or master divers, re-fresher courses and a college
for dive instructor training.
Slates Atlantis Dive Center offers South Floridas largest
fleet of snorkel, scuba charters and glass bottom boat rides in
the Florida Keys. Discover John Pennekamp Underwater Coral Reef
State Park and Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary with Atlantis
Dive Center and experience the fully protected and only living coral
reef in the continental United States.
Visit Captain Slate at the 106.5
Mile Marker in Key Largo, Florida or call 800-451-DIVE and
dont forget to tell them you learned about them at TropicalAdventure.com.
If you'd like, check out Captain Slate's website: Captain
Slate's Atlantis Dive Center
Get More Information
on This Adventure!!!
Experience adventures like the one found in this article
and others by using TropicalAdventure.com Vacation Planner.
Simply fill out our Vacation Planner form and you will
receive FREE information about this activity
and others that you may be interested in. Click below
to sign up.