West Palm Beach - 07-July-99

From - Thu Jul 08 19:04:46 1999
From: Emily Woodberry
Subject: Trip Report - 7/7 - West Palm

Another wonderful day of diving! On Wednesday, I went to West Palm with 2 friends to dive with George on his favorite boat - The Bleep! with Captain Bleep and dive masters Eva and Tim. This was a three tank and lunch dive. I recommend this boat and crew highly. Cost was $50 if you had your own tanks and $65 if the boat supplied your tanks.

I met up with 2 friends in Melbourne around 7:30am and we carpooled to Riviera Beach Marina where we met the boat at 9:20. We loaded up and headed out by 10:00am. We had 20 divers on board.

The day was beautiful, sunny, and warm. We had 2 foot swells on the blue, blue ocean. It was gorgeous.

The boat is very large without any center barriers. The back half is open and there is a very large covered area for shade. There is fountain soda on board and cookies and crackers to munch on. The boat has a shower as well as a water hose for rinsing. It also has a shampoo and conditioner dispenser on the wall beside the shower - which I've never seen before on a dive boat.

The first dive was split into 2 groups - "Juno Ledges" divers and "The Cave" divers. Juno Ledges is a spectacular reef - but I went on the cave dive. The Cave is a hole in the reef at 140 feet. The captain was concerned about current, so he dropped us pretty far up current from the cave. We dropped.................and dropped..............and dropped. I watched my computer - 50'.......65'......80'...... And we dropped..........and dropped........ The reef started at about 120' It was a mound shaped reef with small plants growing on it. There were no corals (not enough light) and not many fish. It was a rather boring reef - but we weren't there for the reef. I stayed at around 100 feet as I swam along the reef. The current wasn't near as bad as expected, so we had a little bit of a swim.

Up ahead, I saw the dive master secure the float line which was our cue that he had located the cave opening. This is not an actual cave. It is a hole that completely penetrates the reef and exits on the other side. You can see the exit hole from the entrance hole. Once you enter the hole, it opens up into a rather large room. I turned on my flashlight and was a bit taken back by the 2 HUGE jewfish that were hanging out at the back of the room away from the divers. I don't think that they were too worried about us since they didn't perform their signature "I'm pissed off" gill slam. They simply hung out with us as we swam by in awe. Each went at least 400 pounds - probably more.

The hole was big enough for 2 tractor trailers to drive through side by side with room to spare.

By the time we exitted the cave, it was time to surface. We all did a nice long safety stop at 15 feet. My computer registered a max depth of 138 feet and a total down time of 17 minutes. My deepest dive ever!

The water was very warm, but there were a number of thermoclines on this dive. It's eery watching the effect of the warm water meeting the cold water as we passed through the different levels.

We had an hour of up time and then did our second dive at Jumpin' Jack (I think that's what Tim called the dive spot) This reef had really nice relief at the edge with lots of ledges, nooks, and crannies. We saw lots of life on this dive. Large nurse sharks, turtles, lobster, morays, fish, fish, and more fish!!!! The current on this dive was stronger than the first dive. My computer registered 84 feet for 35 minutes.

LUNCH!!!!!! Bob put out a wonderful spread of fried chicken, deli sandwiches (roast beast, ham, and turkey), potato salad, and chips. yum!

After another hour of up time, we did our final dive. This dive started on a sunken barge filled with large boulders - and fish. There were all sizes of barracuda hanging about the barge. It lays east/west in 60 foot of water and made a great current block once you got on downstream side of the barge.

Once past the wreck, there were large rock piles teaming with juvenile fish. Past these large piles was an area called the Culverts, also known as the PlayPen. Here are large concrete sewer pipes strewn about and piled on top of one another each teaming with its own little ecosystem. This was a really cool dive. However, upon surfacing, we found ourselves directly at the mouth of Lake Worth Inlet, which is a shipping channel! I want to do this dive again, but it is definitely a weekday dive as there is a lot of traffic in this area on the weekends.

After our final dive, we munched on sweet watermelon as we headed back to the dock. We got in around 4:30 and were home by 6:45. What a wonderful day!


Irishman Software, Satellite Beach, Florida
Mail Corrections / Additions to : Irishman@SpryNet.Com
Last Updated 19-Apr-99