Archive for February, 2012
While diving on Jesse Stoker’s boat, Cassandra, a local radio personality awaiting contact with extraterrestrials, disappears. Stoker considers her
a hoaxster, but allowed the charter because the bank is ready to repossess his vessel.
Cassandra’s body is found three days later, but the M.E. finds she’s only been dead for five hours. Once it’s known that Stoker filled her tanks and she died
from oxygen poisoning, he becomes the prime suspect. He’s never lost a diver before, doesn’t believe in alien abduction, and doesn’t believe she just died.
To clear his name, stop a wrongful death suit, and save his livelihood, Stoker must figure out where Cassandra spent the missing days and find her killer.
I hope the above blurb enticies you to purchase the novel.
Several have asked “Where is Devil Ray Reef?’ Those of you who dive off the coast of West Palm Beach, Florida may say it sounds like Breaker’s Reef just south of the King Neptune statue. Yes, the Greek god is still there, just slowly being buried by sand. He stood tall for over 40 years, but finally a winter storm knocked him down. But that area is not Devil Ray Reef.
However, if you continue to drift north, past the northern edge of the reef and kick to the west for a few minutes, you’ll find Turtle Mound. A fish covered reef with ledges on the southern and western side, grass flats on top where turtles are easy to spot in the summer. I changed the name because, well, Murder on Turtle Mound did not sound all that exciting.
Turtle Mound was always one of my favorite dive sites. As a dive guide and with a gentle current, I’d request the boat captain to drop us on this site for our second dive of the day. New divers and experienced divers love it. Leaving Breaker’s Reef and gliding across the white rippled sand to Turtle Mound, one would often see southern rays. Their eyes peaking above the substrate, allowing the diver to approach. Then when too close, the animal would rise gracefully off the bottom and curl his wings as he headed into the blue leaving a trail of sand like a jet’s contrail.
The ledges and undercuts are home to lobsters, green morays, snappers, and trumpet fish. In the summer, each month brings a different species of turtle (leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill, green) that rest in the soft corals that grace the top of the mound and flows along the northern edge.
But, you say, where are the mantas, the correct name for devil rays. Many times as I left the reef and let the current carry me northward, I’d find two or three skimming the bottom. This always happened on one of those lazy, hot August days when the visibility exceeded over 100 feet. With their white belly, black back, and scooped mouth, the rays would circle once or twice, pass overhead, then disappear. Thus, I felt it was OK to change the name of the reef for the book.
For those of you who like to scuba dive and have never tried the sixty-foot reefs of West Palm Beach, I encourage you to do so. Hope to see you on the reef.