If you’ve been saying you’d like to get your scuba certification, now is the time to do so in the Florida Keys. Through January 1, 2014, divers can take the Wreck Trek Diver Challenge, a friendly competition that encourages divers to explore the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, a string of nine shipwrecks and reefs at varying depths. Friendly Florida Keys' Divers — Photo courtesy of AKA Dive Charters and Supplies
More than 30 dive shops in the Keys are participating in the challenge, including a new addition, AKA Dive Charters and Supplies in Tavernier Key (Islamorada). The new shop, located in Mangrove Marina, is offering seriously competitive prices: two tank dives with weights and tanks are just $75. They also offer night dives, twice-daily snorkeling tours, eco-kayak trips and a slew of supplies. Stop by the new shop for t-shirts, backpacks, fins, snorkels, regulators, BCs (the diving vests), log books, computer gauges and other dive and underwater gear. While you’re there, ask about Project Aware, a grassroots effort to help protect sharks (yes, sharks!) and the rest of the marine ecosystem.Amber's Down Time Charter Boat — Photo courtesy of AKA Dive Charters and Supplies
Possible dive sites include Alligator reef, Conch reef, and the Spiegel Grove, Bibb and Eagle – three of the wrecks that are part of the dive challenge. Winners receive a personalized collage of the wrecks (when diving five), and those who dive all nine wrecks can qualify for additional grand prizes such as dive equipment and dive-and-stay lodging packages.