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Going to So. Florida, need advice

Discussion in 'Florida' started by Eric Sedletzky, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California
    4,772
    5,467
    I’m going to WPB in early October (4th thru 9th) to visit friends and to dive. This will be the first time in 18 years that I have dived somewhere else besides Northern and Southern California in 45 to 65 degree water.
    I thought it might be fun to at least get in a day or two of diving.
    What are the water temps that time of year? Should I pick up a three mil shorty or not worry about it.
    What type of diving can I expect off WPB? Current, structure, depths, etc.
    How do they view Californians? No one likes California. Should I mention where I’m from or just keep my mouth shut and hope my accent doesn’t give me away lol.
    Will they let me dive my 109’s?
    Do charters provide tanks and weights?
    What are the best charters boats? list of best to worst.
    How many dives do they do in a day?
    I heard it could be hurricane season, true?
    Do they insist on seeing a log book? because I don’t have one. I could show them some cert cards from the late 90’s and a few tech certs if that helps.
    Will it look awkward if I wear Jets with booties, or should I look for some type of full foot fin instead. What types of fins does everyone use there?
    What is the usual cross section of divers that normally dive off WPB? Locals, tourists?
    Do they babysit you or are divers free do do what they want within reason?
    Do I need a drift marker flag to tow along? Or is there a designated DM that does that?
    Any advice and tips will help, thanks.
     
    IncreaseMyT likes this.
  2. IncreaseMyT

    IncreaseMyT Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Naples, FL
    1,386
    376
    In October the water is still really warm but the jelly fish are out in full force so you will want some protection. A rash guard would do fine but if you may not use a rash guard for a long time it may be better to spend the money on a 3mm so you have some more versatility.

    I take my own tanks with me never had a problem, 133's

    I haven't been able to find a charter that does more than a 2 tank dive

    Jets with booties are fine lots of people down here wear them.
     
    Eric Sedletzky likes this.
  3. hilljo88

    hilljo88 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: nyc
    604
    464
    Pura Vida in Riviera Beach is a first rate shop. They’ve always been nice to divers fron NY/ CT so you’re probably ok. They will provide tanks and weights for charters as well as Blue Heron Bridge, an epic shore dive site.
     
    Eric Sedletzky likes this.
  4. Soloist

    Soloist Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    1,045
    1,549
    I would recommend Narcosis, Walker’s and Jupiter Dive Center, but there are numerous others. Unfortunately, you will quickly discover dive times are an hour max. The three ops listed are a good choice for solo diving and lobster hunting. During the week they usually offer 2 tank dives, but on the weekends they go out twice for a total of 4 dives. Narcosis has a relatively new owner/captain, but they used to go out in rough seas (really, really rough seas) when NOBODY else would or could. It’s a large 48 foot craft with dual Cat engines and can access many dive sites others can’t, but due to its size it can be crowded on the weekends. Bill Walker is a great captain, has a smaller boat and he used to offer trips specifically for technical divers (not sure if he still does). Bill offers 3 tank dives quite often too. Jupiter is a good choice if you are interested in checking out Goliath groupers, but you will see them in WPB too.

    The dive guide carries the flag. If you are solo diving you certainly will want to either launch a SMB from depth or from your safety stop. You will encounter all levels of divers, hunters and photographers from an array of locals and tourists. You will be there during hurricane season.

    Nobody will judge your gear. You will see all types of fins including Jets, full foot, deadly splits and open heel. However, diving in WPB is the perfect place for freediving fins if you are able to travel with them. I always wear a full suit so I can shove my entire arm into lobster holes. Your tolerance for cold will be much greater than most, so I can’t tell you what to wear, but the water temp “should be” in the low eighties. You can rent tanks from the boat or bring your own and get them filled at Force E or Pura Vida.

    I would also recommend diving Blue Heron Bridge. Hit the water an hour to forty five minutes before high tide. You can rent a dive flag, weights and tanks from Force-E on Blue Heron Boulevard just up the road if needed. They also have a map of the dive site and can provide a ton of information. Lots of macro stuff, octopuses, little rays, batfish, sea robins and the like. Beware, the main boat channel for the inlet runs parallel to the bridge and perpendicular on the west (right), so don’t swim out too far. I know because I have done this, twice. Jackass...

    As long as you don’t talk about the virtues of the homeless freaks and bums in San Francisco and how quaint it is watching them take a dump in a mailbox, I don’t think being a Californian will be a problem. It is Florida after all. The following thread can give you some insight into drift diving in WPB. Have a great trip!

    -Potentially Unsafe Observation During Dive
     
    sportxlh and Eric Sedletzky like this.
  5. seeker242

    seeker242 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pompano Beach, FL
    1,404
    924
    Avg Oct temp is 82F. Typical trip is 2 tank drift dives. Palm beach is known for drift diving. Usually a good current running. They may go do a wreck on the first dive if current is not that bad. Depths out of Jupiter 70-90’ or so. No one cares where you are from or what fins you have. You need an SMB. Boats provide flags. Jupiter dive center is my favorite.
     
    Eric Sedletzky likes this.
  6. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California
    4,772
    5,467
    Half my comments are tongue in cheek in case some of you haven’t already figured that out, lol!
    Of course no one cares about Californians, fins, or 109’s.

    Keep the comments and advice coming, this is all great stuff. I’m taking notes.
     
    IncreaseMyT likes this.
  7. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California
    4,772
    5,467
    How far is Blue Heron Bridge from West Palm?
     
  8. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California
    4,772
    5,467
    Should I bring a handful of aluminum plates in case someone may want one?
     
    couv, aquacat8 and IncreaseMyT like this.
  9. arew+4

    arew+4 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pa
    1,212
    1,397
    I'm pretty sure there's no East Coast / West Coast animosity in the diving community. I don't think anybody is going to give you the stink eye, unless you show up red eyed and stank of "chronic" :wink:
     
    Eric Sedletzky likes this.
  10. IncreaseMyT

    IncreaseMyT Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Naples, FL
    1,386
    376
    I do want one actually. I am sure others would too :)
     
    Eric Sedletzky likes this.

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