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Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?
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Author:  FreediveJoe [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?

The wife and I are looking to buy a Tandem island. Its main use will be as a spearfishing platform. If anyone in the Miami area has a tandem island and likes to dive it would be pretty awesome if I could tag along some time to see how affective it is as a dive platform.


Author:  fusioneng [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?

All depends on where you like to go, if it's near shore on calm days it's great. If you spend most of your time out on the reefs (5-10 miles out) forget it, you have to mod the boat out so much to make it sea worthy it's just not worth the effort. Get at the very least a 12 ft RIB with at least a 40 hp Yamaha. A longer boat is better offshore.
We dive mostly south of KeyWest (scuba), even with our massively modified TI with massive sailsets and twin outboards it gets a little sketchy way off shore at the reefs. Anymore we tend to stay close to shore just south of KW no more than a couple miles out. Too many scary times and close calls way off shore. I strongly advise against taking a stock TI out in open water more than a mile or so offshore, you may not be able to get back.

Author:  FreediveJoe [ Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?

Fusion, I read one of your comments back from 2011 describing how much the TI made a difference in your boating and diving experience, granted that was 5 years ago and I presume you have a ton more experience with the boat now. What type of mods are we talking about? I see videos of TI's on youtube handling some knarly weather. I have dove off kayaks before in Hawaii in open water with a sea kayak, surely a trimaran with pedals and a sail are safer. My goal with the TI is to extend my beach dives and reach out to 5 or 10 miles. I see guys on pro anglers heading off shore, I would assume the TI would be a better fit. The reason we want a TI is because a boat doesn't really fit the budget. What are the main concerns with the TI that make you feel like you cant get back past a mile or two from shore?

Author:  fusioneng [ Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?

I don't mean to be Debbie downer on the subject, but we have had a few people read about our adventures on our highly modded out TI, then go out in the keys on stock TI's and get themselves in real serious trouble. Several times now this has happened so I no longer advise people going down there, the area is not small sail boat friendly, you don't see many small sail boats down in the keys. We have a house in Key West and have been going out down in the keys for many years now and that's our home turf, we know enough to steer clear of the very dangerous areas. The problem that comes up with TI's is the great distances that must be covered, the very strong currents down there and prevailing winds are more than you can overcome peddling and sailing a stock TI, so basically you get blown off shore and can't get back to the Islands (next stop Cuba (lol)). Then on top of that in So Florida sudden extreme storms come out of nowhere with no notice sometimes on a daily basis (we have been thru at least a dozen, scared out of our wits).
There are darn few nice places to launch from, and all the islands are surrounded by blank bare shallow sand for miles around (really boring for diving) so you have to go pretty far out and pretty big distances to find interesting stuff. Therein lies the problem, a lot can happen in 5-6 hrs.
Most protected areas restrict spear fishing, so make sure you know the areas you can go, which I'm sure you already know. Yea we often take our spear guns along, but we are not hard core free divers and spear fishers, mostly we enjoy just diving and snorkeling and being there and exploring.
There is a world of difference between owning a far offshore heavily modded out TI that pretty much needs to be trailered vs a couple Revo 13's with sail kits that you can just throw on the roof and pull over to the side of the road anywhere and launch. Of course with the revo's you have to stay pretty close to shore and stay in fairly protected areas. It's really your decision, I definately would not attempt to take a revo 5-10 miles out onto the reefs, or out into open ocean.
Here is our rig:

Most of the cool places are 5-7 miles offshore, and if it takes you 3-4 hrs to get out there, then 3-4 hrs to get back, it's simply not worth it. Our heavily modded out TI tops out at around 15 mph in good winds, and averages around 8-10 mph in light winds (and almost no wind) even that is really too slow for the vast areas we typically have to cover, in our experience a stock TI will average around 3-4 mph, and that number quickly goes negative if your fighting wind and the typical 5-6 mph currents down here.
We don't plan to get rid of our TI, we are out on it pretty much every weekend, and it serves our needs well as our family boat, we use it for everything we ever imagined, truly a SUV for the water. We sold our Sea Ray powerboat, and our fleet of smaller Hobie kayaks, because we just never took them out anymore, and they just sat in the garage unused. I just no longer go way out there offshore (too scared).
In direct response to your question, yes a TI is more capable than a sea kayak in rougher seas (within reason) and you can go out further, and cover much more distance. However don’t over estimate the boats real capabilities offshore, 5-10 miles out is really far and we have been scared out our wits out there enough times (ie 35mph winds 6 ft seas, etc), that I no longer go out that far.
Watch this video:

Hope this helps you make a decision. Hopefully others will weigh in (there are several really experienced adventure type boat owners in the keys).

Scairdy Cat BOB

Author:  FreediveJoe [ Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?

Bob that definitely helps. I agree with you about not over estimating it's capabilities. I don't plan on using it in the keys much, mostly to extend beach dives and hit a few locations up to 5 miles out with good weather planning.

I like how you integrated a safety strap with the fwd splash guards to prevent ama folding. Is that your own design?

You are right about those pop up storms here in Miami. You can almost count on them everyday around 3ish.

We are still trying to figure out exactly what we want to do but a TI is more budget friendly for us.

Thanks a lot for your input, it is much appreciated.

Author:  fusioneng [ Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miami freediving and spear fishing from a Tandem Island?

As divers you likely already have a huge advantage over everyone else, especially if like me you prefer the long swimfins your legs are already conditioned for the task.
Here is a nice video kind of showing off the TI and it's peddling ability:

Of course it's no good if you end up in this situation, most of the time with way too many people (5) and way too much weight on board, (well over 700 lbs), then the boat becomes a slow train. When Hobie says 600 lbs, they mean 600 lbs.... no work around for that one unless you re-hull the boat.

With our boat since our mirage drives are not our primary propulsion ( human power only supplies 20-25% of our propulsion needs (Tri-bred propulsion), and because I typically peddle 10-15 miles a week so my legs are pretty strong (helps being a diver), I can get away with this setup using the Flowfin 90 fins (developed for the Eclipse). Definitely not for everyone. Hopefully Roadrunner will give us one of his great reviews of the Flowfins one of these days.

I assume this setup is not something Hobie recommends. The wife wanted me to get one of those tubes you tow behind your boat last week so I could tow her and the daughter around lake Hartwell (true story). Yea right....I wasn't born yesterday (lol).

Best thing to do is go to your local Hobie dealer for one of their demo days events, Our dealer Economy Tackle in Sarasota has a demo day every other Saturday, where you can actually try all the different boats out and talk to real experts who will help you select the right boat for your own lifestyle and needs (that's what we did).

Good luck

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