Among several thousand divers who visit the Keys annually to dive the destination’s shipwreck trail, 10 winners were randomly selected as part of the Florida Keys ‘Wreck Trek Passport Program’ that concluded in January 2012.
More than 100 divers completed a series of nine wreck dives to be eligible to win one of several dive and lodging packages and sets of dive equipment.
Rocky Welch, a diving instructor from Pinellas Park, Fla., was the program’s first grand prize winner, receiving a state-of-the-art scuba system from Aqua Lung, including a Zuma bouyancy compensator (BC) device, Mikron regulator, Airsource 3 second stage with power inflator and a Suunto ZOOP 2 guage dive computer.
Welch, who accompanied numerous diving groups to the Keys for customized weeklong trips to complete the Wreck Trek dive challenge, said, “It’s the overall adventure of [the shipwreck trail] that divers love. There’s no other place you can do that,” said Welch, who thrives on introducing divers to new experiences.
“On three different Wreck Trek trips, I never saw the same thing twice,” Welch added. “My countless trips to the Keys are some of the best dive trips I’ve had.”
Nine other selected recipients were Paul Adams, Jr. and Patrick Hellman of Fairborn, and Tipp City, Ohio; Sarasota, Fla. resident Eric Lyons; Olexander Myronov of Palm Harbor, Fla.; University Park’s Mike Lesh; Tracy Matthews and Tabitha Dimas of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Clearwater, Fla. resident Sebastian Majewski; and Shari Vang from Baypoint, Calif.
Among the prizes awarded these individuals were a SCUBAPRO MK17/A700 Black Tech regulator, Sherwood Profile dive computer, Sherwood Gemini integrated power inflator Fusion dive fins, as well as two-night/three-dive stays for two at Keys lodging properties, including Doubletree by Hilton Grand Key Resort in Key West, Marathon’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Keys Largo’s Amoray Dive Resort and Ocean Pointe Suites.
Because of the dive program’s popularity, plans are underway for a “Wreck Trek 2.0” dive challenge, expected to continue through January 2014. Details are to be announced soon.