Sirena slowly motored out of the inlet with bumpy, 3-5 foot seas. Captain Walker maneuvered the boat ever so perfectly that the ride felt more like a smooth, magic carpet ride than the Rip Ride Rockit rollercoaster at Universal Studios. Thankfully, once outside the inlet, the seas settled down a bit.
Our first dive site was North Double Ledges. The surface water was an enticing blue hue. Perhaps the visibility would be good. Seconds later the words “Dive..Dive..Dive!!” reverberated in the air. A boat-load of divers were splashing in the water. Once I ducked my head underwater I knew the visibility wasn’t good…. it was amazing!! I could clearly see the bottom… 80 feet below! The water a soothing 76 degrees.
Cue in the marine life! I could tell there was negligible current as the bottom barely moved under my feet. To start off the diving just right, a nurse shark swam out from under the ledge right through the middle of the group. This lovely reef is home to numerous schools of tropical fish, and under this clear-blue veil, the scenery was nothing short of breathtaking.
Eels poked their heads out of the reef to check out the good visibility, too! In fact, the visibility was so spectacular that even the Blue Heron bridge critters were getting word of it. A batfish was enjoying a different of scenery for a change. More nurse sharks were lazily enjoying an afternoon siesta. I was crossing my fingers, toes, legs, and arms in the hopes a great hammerhead or something out of the world would cruise by. With these conditions, that would be quite the treat.
No great hammerhead, but the shear splendidness of the dive was hard to beat. After close to an hour down, our first dive was over. With the wind at our backs, captain Walker maneuvered Sirena perfectly. In fact, I was starting to doubt these were, in fact, 3-5 foot seas.
After our surface interval, we were ready to do it again. Our next time was at Midreef. Visibility had dropped just slightly, but that was perhaps because of the low tide water coming out of the inlet. Those 20 inches of rain we had last night have to go somewhere. Still, with 80 feet of visibility, I would be the last to complain.
Lindsey was guiding the group this time. Her animated, happy demeanor always a welcome treat even underwater. Green morays were posing for the camera. A very friendly female nurse shark, who appeared to have given birth not so long ago, sat patiently as I took her photograph, too. A couple of divers found a special treat… large deer cowrie shells without an animal in them. It seems hurricane Sandy might have killed a good number of these mollusks as divers are finding them on just about every dive. If you’re a shell collector, you definitely want to go out diving in Palm Beach now!
As I was minding my own business, I felt a sudden avalanche overhead. Looking up, my dive buddy had completely trampled over me. Worst of all, she never turned back to apologize. I swore I would get my revenge and with my fins removed (kids.. don’t try this at home!), I gave her a taste of her own medicine! Just a little clean diving fun.
Overall, even with less than ideal seas, the diving more than made up for it. Just another wonderful day of scuba diving in Palm Beach… in the Florida winter!!! Come out and experience it for yourself!
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