I recently returned from a trip to the Bahamas to dive some of the gorgeous reefs in the area. Without a doubt, the water clarity and many of the coral reefs throughout the Bahamas are quite stunning. The warm water and the colors will take your breath away, but there was something about it that made me miss being back home in Palm Beach… The fish life!
While Palm Beach might not have the incredible visibility of the Bahamas, it more than makes up for it in the incredible abundance of fish life. I noticed while diving the reefs in the Bahamas that capturing a photograph of the reefs covered in numerous fish was difficult to do. The reef has its share of small tropical fish darting in and out of the reef, but the larger fish… the jacks, grunts, snappers, groupers, etc. were no where to be seen. Diving in Palm Beach has spoiled me!
This became most apparent during our first dive today on Jolly Jacks. The reef exploded with marine life. The colors of the reef, intermixed with all the fish life, was mesmerizing to the senses. I felt as though I was in the center of an over-populated fish tank. Swarms of the fish circled me while I positioned my camera to capture the essence of the dive. A camera with a lens with 360 degrees of view could only begin to convey this feeling.
Conditions were certainly not of Bahamian standard, but neither were they terribly bad — even for underwater photography. Visibility was in the 40-50ft range with water temperatures in the upper 70s. Quite the change from the 100+ feet of visibility and the 85 degree water temperature of the Bahamas, but the tradeoff is worth it to me. The nutrients in the water column and the cooler water are perfect conditions for the fish.
On our second dive we headed south to the Corridor wrecks. Once again, the fish life in Palm Beach would blow away anything I have seen in the Bahamas with dozens upon dozens of massive goliath groupers each weighing into the triple digits. Where else but in Palm Beach can you see this?
As my good friend from the UK said to us Floridians on our boat trip to the Bahamas, “You guys certainly are spoiled! You’ve got the best backyard in the world.” I certainly agree! Surely, the occasional 50 mile run to the Bahamas in the summer time is quite nice, but I would never trade it for the diving in Palm Beach. Diving in Palm Beach is as good as it gets!