Okay, this isn't the far East nor Caribbean paradise, it's lunchbucket day diving in Jupiter and West Palm while avoiding bad storm surf outside, kicked up by an offshore midAtlantic storm. So it was "improv" diving during my week here rather than the more hotshot Jupiter stuff with Angie and Chuck on which i frequently tag along. But not this time, we were "surfed out".
What to do? Well last Thursday, just before the surf was a no-go for the weekend and thereafter, did two easy reefs on a drift dive with Abernethys on the "Deep Obsession". Captain Cole, DH Conner, and lovely DMs Kathy and Jeannine made it a nice day on two 50-something reefs, Teardrop/Rob's Reef, then Bath & Tennis reef. I 'buddied' with buoy-dragger Jeannine on both. The second dive was notable for a loggerhead turtle who swam and drifted along with me (or vice-versa?) for 3-4 minutes, pretty close by, so it was fun. Both dives about 50 minutes, water about 72/70 deg. Visibility was decent at about 40'. Nice, and so I had two dives "in my pocket" before the big Saturday date with Angie/Amazz.
Okay, then surf trashed our date, so this morning I tried Phil Foster Park for the first time. I'm not much of a shore diver and dragging a flag is just one more potential entanglement for me, but I got with the program and was gearing up on the south beach after getting lots of advice. East bridge or west? I went East, since there were new artificial reefs, a small wreck, and some other stuff on the way over to the bridge pilings.
Well, I never got to see most of that stuff since the viz was close to nil. About 4 feet max, maybe 2-3 average. So after going back to the car for more weight (shallow dives need more weight, remember? I was out of weights, but a slab of slate and a crescent wrench in my pocket got me about right with Mr. Gravity. It was kind of a braille dive, with frequent Meerkat-like pop-ups to see how I was doing. Early morning high tide meant it was semi-dark, and when it went real dark I knew I was beneath the bridge. Pilings would appear in a ghostly fashion, at about arm's length. Saw some fish too, Spades, angels, 'cudas. Mostly I tried to stay oriented and keep the buoy free of both me and the bridge.
Anyway, for a first-timer it was Gothic and therefore kinda cool. Or, you could say it was blackout vis and pointless. I choose the former, as I don't dive that often and am easily amused. Excellent compass practice too.
Soon the ebb current began so I "motated" back west to the beach and the half-submerged picnic tables that are *really* handy for assembly and disassembly. I suppose it was about an hour dive but the pop-ups make that a guess. Max depth a big 21'.
Then after, I found a NY Bagel shop and bumped into my best buddy from high school who I didn't know lived there, I had thought it was Miami. They were out on a morning walk so he and fiancee squeezed into my junked-up-with-tank-and-gear car and I visited with them at their house in Palm Beach Shores. What're the chances of that? I think this Phil Foster thing was just meant to be..
So, that's the el-cheapo day dive report from this infrequent diver. Got three fun dives in that easily could've been zero dives if I'd been more complacent. Any day wet is better than any day dry, right? Tomorrow the long drive back to New Orleans.
I now return you to trip reports from somewhat more rare and exotic locales..... :-)
Last edited by nolatom; 03-11-2013 at 03:15 PM.
As another infrequent diver who sometimes has to settle for "Gothic" dives, I can relate, and I appreciate the report because it proves that you can have an interesting dive without 80 degree water and 100 foot vis. Any venture into that alien environment we call the sea is an experience all its own, even if it's only 21 feet down. Thanks for the report, and better luck the next time you return to Florida.
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