Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Trip

For Spring Break this year members of our dive club decided to board the M/V Fling for a 3 day cruise. The Trip consisted of 7 dives.

group pic
 The first Day began with two dives at West Bank, despite moderate current most of the divers were able to make the transit down to the reef for their first glimpse of the sanctuary. After a second dive at West bank in which a Hammerhead was spotted the boat transited over to HI 376 oil platform for the next dive.

Oil rig diving was a first for all of the TAMUG Dive Club members on the trip. Viewing the abundance of life attached to the artificial reef was a highlight of the trip, as was the schools of silky sharks circling the rig. 

After a transit to East bank, divers splashed to get oriented to the site before the night dive. During the orientation dive, a Tiger shark was seen, which made Chad, our divemaster, giddy with joy (yes, literally giddy). During the night dive everyone was dazzled by the abundance of bioluminescent creatures in the water column and the 6-7’ loggerhead turtle catching some zzzz’s. After consuming as many hot brownie sundaes drizzled with hot fudge, as humanly possible, divers turned in for the night.

The following morning, divers awoke for the final dives at Stetson Bank where they would see the layered slabs of rock, that have been pushed up to create pinnacles, that make this sight so unique. Sadly there were many invasive, but beautiful lion fish seen here. 

Many thanks to the crew of the M/V Fling for making this trip such a great one. As always thanks to Sharron for setting up our trip, to Captain Bland and Captain Mike for taking and returning us safely, to JT for supporting our dive operations, to Todd for keeping our tanks topped off, and especially to Wendy the best cook on the planet.

The Dive Club trip out to the Flower Garden Banks was such an adventure! It was my first time on a live-aboard dive boat, which was a pretty cool experience. Every day the schedule was eat, sleep, dive, repeat. After every dive there was fresh delicious food waiting for us, which could have been anything from biscuits and gravy, to homemade pumpkin bread, to brownie ice cream sundaes after our night dive. My favorite dive was off of an oil rig, which was another first for me. The rig was like an oasis covered bright colors with life flourishing all over it! We saw lots of silky sharks, some hammerheads, angelfish, parrotfish, amberjacks, and more. My other favorite part of the trip was attempting to make a Harlem Shake video on our last dive.. we’ll see how it turns out! The crew was awesome, always joking and smiling and always so helpful. I can’t wait to go back!

Lauren Woods
- Lauren Woods

lion fish

oil rig