South Florida Reefs off of West Palm Beach (45-60ft)
This spectacular coral reef ecosystem offers divers miles of continuous ledges, undercuts, crevices, and patch reefs to explore at depths ranging from 42 to 60-feet. Located directly offshore of the Breaker’s Hotel and continuing south, you drift effortlessly past hundreds of species of marine life including soft and hard corals, angelfish, parrotfish, rays, eels, sea turtles, and loads of macro life (if you can spot it amongst the dense coral backdrop). Definitely bring your Fish Identification slates and books for these dives! If you’re interested in exploring South Florida reefs, look no further! The next few dive sites listed below are selected portions of the greater Breaker’s Reef.
North and South Turtle Mounds
On the inshore side of Breaker’s Reef, there are two isolated coral mounds with depths of 42-feet on top to 62-feet in the sand that surrounds these mounds. With a mild drift, you can make a jump from the north end of Breaker’s Reef to these mounds, which are a hotspot for grouper, hogfish, sea turtles, spiny lobster, moray eels, and rays along the 15-foot ledge.
The reef leading up to the Statue offers a breathtaking example of our South Florida Reefs! As you approach the north section of Breaker’s Reef, you will be overwhelmed by the tropical fish that congregate along the end of Breaker’s Reef. You also have the opportunity to say that you visited King Neptune on your dive. In the late 1970’s, a local dive organization placed an 8-foot statue of King Neptune in the sand at the end of the reef. With two sea turtles resting by his side, he has watched divers pass his reefs for decades. Recently, the continuous drift of the Gulf Stream laid him into the sand, where he now rests at a depth of 59-feet.
With a beautiful ledge and fingers that protrude inshore, divers find masses of tropical fish, sea turtles, moray eels, and nurse sharks. With depths of 45 to 59-feet, you explore deep undercuts as you approach the northern portion of Breaker’s Reef as it wraps northwest. Along Fourth Windows, you will come across a heavily encrusted communications cable. If you listen closely, you can hear the ocean:).
A well-defined and relatively straight ledge at a depth of 45 to 57-feet, divers encounter moray eels, grouper, spiny lobster, and, of course, an abundance of soft and hard corals as well as loads of tropical fish. Another communications cables lies across the reef on Elevator Shaft and immediately following is a massive undercut where you typically find a sea turtle, nurse shark, or moray eel resting.
Known for its massive sponges and coral forest, Dive-O-Rama offers divers unforgettable coral backdrops. With marine life swaying with the current, this is an excellent site for macro life including frogfish, flamingo tongues, and cleaning shrimp. Although challenging to find, with a little patience you can discover the perfect photo opportunity. Depths range from 46 to 58-feet.
Moray Alley aka The Trench
Often referred to as “The Trench”, this is a phenomenal dive site with a deep cut running east-west towards the northern portion. Cut into the reef decades ago, the trench is preceded by three communications cables lying east-west. Twelve-feet wide, you are typically able to slip into the trench and travel east as the current moves overhead. Moray Alley, at a depth of 47 to 58-feet, was named after divers frequently encountered resident moray eels including green, spotted, purplemouth, and goldentail eels. Don’t forget to look closely at the sand in the trench…lots of yellow-headed jaw fish make this their home!
South Flower Gardens
At a depth of 42 to 54-feet, you will discover immense forests of swaying corals as you drift South Flower Gardens. It is often difficult distinguishing between the corals and the tropical fish as you watch the thousands of fish swaying amongst the dense soft and hard corals. Typically, an excellent site for divers searching for the elusive spiny lobster as well as underwater photographers in search of large aggregations of marine life.
Teardrop and Ron’s Rock
An incredible dive site at a depth of 43 to 56-feet. At the southern portion of Teardrop, you will find 3 to 4-foot of profile with outstanding patch reef inshore. The northern portion of this site, the ledge gets more prolific and curves towards Ron’s Rock, a section of massive erosion at the northern most point of this site. This site is a nursery for tropical fish with frequent sightings of juveniles. At Ron’s Rock, there is always the possibility to observe a barracuda, sea turtle, or grouper enjoying the hospitality of a cleaning station. From Ron’s Rock, you will make a ‘leap of faith’ across the sand towards the southern most portion of South Flower Gardens.
Bath and Tennis
South of Breaker’s Reef, Bath and Tennis proves itself as a playground for divers. With depths ranging from 42 to 53-feet, you will discover masses of marine life within the crevices of this site. This site was named after the Bath and Tennis Club of Palm Beach which sits directly inshore of this site.
Totally different from our other South Florida reefs and a favorite among our divers and staff. Paul’s Reef offers incredible diversity regardless of your interest. You find soft and hard corals, massive sponges, macro life, brilliant tropical fish including midnight parrotfish, spiny lobster, big animals, and rays. At the northern portion of this dive site, you will find a series of jumps as the ledge curves inshore. At a depth of 45 to 56-feet, this is an outstanding site to explore and offers very different structure from the majority of other reef sites we frequent.
Just south of the inlet, this artificial reef constructed of concrete culverts and telephone poles is a great place to look for lobsters, green turtles, and the occasional goliath grouper. It’s not uncommon to see large schools of barracuda on this site!
60’ Rock Piles
Our oldest artificial reef, created when the Palm Beach Inlet was cut, lies just south of the Palm Beach inlet. It’s a fantastic site for lobstering and shell collecting, and is host to a wide variety of marine life.
Click for a complete list of our South Florida Reefs here in Palm Beach.