Trip Report My First Year of Local Diving in South Florida

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deeper thoughts

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Is there a specific operator in Tavernier/Islamorada that you would recommend? Is there one that stands out for great service, in your opinion, like Horizon Divers?
Not really they all seem to do a good job.
Plus I have my own boat so my experiences diving with them is limited at best
 

Skeptic14

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@Ironborn I appreciate the detailed write-up.

I've done 2 recent trips to Tavernier/Key Largo and really enjoyed it, thinking of WPB or Boynton this year.

I've not done drift diving to this point, would either boynton or wpb be a better intro to drift diving in your opinion? I do uw photography (wide angle mostly) any advantage for either there? THanks
 
OP
Ironborn

Ironborn

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@Ironborn I appreciate the detailed write-up.

I've done 2 recent trips to Tavernier/Key Largo and really enjoyed it, thinking of WPB or Boynton this year.

I've not done drift diving to this point, would either boynton or wpb be a better intro to drift diving in your opinion? I do uw photography (wide angle mostly) any advantage for either there? THanks
Did you see any significant difference between diving from Tavernier and diving from Key Largo proper? Or was it more or less the same? Was there a particular operator in Tavernier that you would recommend?

As for your first drift diving in Palm Beach County: Boynton Beach would have the advantage of usually milder current than West Palm Beach, but the inconvenience of potentially having to carry a dive flag (which is not fun when you are also carrying a camera). West Palm Beach operators generally carry the flag for you, but the current may also be stronger there and thus impede photography.

As for shooting wide angle in either place: Boynton Beach will have more large schools of fish, whereas West Palm Beach may have more interesting individual animals. Check out my Instagram profile for an idea of what to expect.
 

scubadada

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@Ironborn I appreciate the detailed write-up.

I've done 2 recent trips to Tavernier/Key Largo and really enjoyed it, thinking of WPB or Boynton this year.

I've not done drift diving to this point, would either boynton or wpb be a better intro to drift diving in your opinion? I do uw photography (wide angle mostly) any advantage for either there? THanks
Many of the operators in Jupiter and West Palm put a guide in the water, who you can follow if you choose. I use Jupiter Dive Center, Walker's Charters, Narcosis, and Pura Vida as examples. This frees you up from having to carry a flag or from buddying up with folks you do not know. This might be an easier intro to drift diving, as none of the operators in Boynton Beach put a guide in the water.

The photos at the end of my recent trip report were all taken in Jupiter and West Palm with ambient light and a compact camera, Canon G7X Trip Report - Back in SE FL 2021 part 6 I have other reviews with photos in this forum
 

scubadada

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For 2021 I have 95 dives in Boynton Beach, Jupiter, and West Palm. I may even have dived with @Ironborn. For clear reasons, I do not discuss politics or religion on the dive boats. The only exception is to correct obviously inaccurate information I overhear regarding Covid-19. I can't help myself, I am a physician with a specialty in Infectious Diseases.

I agree with much of what Ironborn has written, his political comments have no place in a regional trip report. Moderators with a role in a thread do not take editorial action.
 

Divin'Papaw

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As for your first drift diving in Palm Beach County: Boynton Beach would have the advantage of usually milder current than West Palm Beach, but the inconvenience of potentially having to carry a dive flag (which is not fun when you are also carrying a camera). West Palm Beach operators generally carry the flag for you, but the current may also be stronger there and thus impede photography.

Boynton can have current just as strong as Palm Beach and Jupiter. They can all have ripping current, or just a trickle, on any given day. The key benefit to starting in Palm Beach (south of the inlet) is (1) a dive guide carrying the flag for you and (2) shallower depths than Palm Beach north of the inlet and Jupiter. For anyone wanting to get started drift diving in SEFL, I always recommend Palm Beach south of the inlet (off of Palm Beach proper/Breakers) for the above two reasons.
 

Ana

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I'd like to further highlight the OP's comment about the Pompano reefs. They are in bad shape with very little to see, and all divers should skip the location all together.
Pompano's reef are bad and it is worse topside, people should stay away.
 

Jake 10

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Great information about Florida dive shops and diving places. I'll keep it as bookmarked when we decide to move down to FL in the future.
 

Skeptic14

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Did you see any significant difference between diving from Tavernier and diving from Key Largo proper? Or was it more or less the same? Was there a particular operator in Tavernier that you would recommend?

As for your first drift diving in Palm Beach County: Boynton Beach would have the advantage of usually milder current than West Palm Beach, but the inconvenience of potentially having to carry a dive flag (which is not fun when you are also carrying a camera). West Palm Beach operators generally carry the flag for you, but the current may also be stronger there and thus impede photography.

As for shooting wide angle in either place: Boynton Beach will have more large schools of fish, whereas West Palm Beach may have more interesting individual animals. Check out my Instagram profile for an idea of what to expect.

Hey @Ironborn I used Conch Republic both trips, and thought they did a good job, I'll most likely stick with them on future trips. Locals like @deeper thoughts can probably answer better regarding general site differences between tavernier vs further north toward key largo.

Molasses (further north) is a good site, probably the most coral/reef topology of sites I dived, but snapper ledge and davis seemed fishier too me (further south).

Just followed you on IG, lots of good stuff, will check it out see how it compares to my keys trips based on your photos.
 
https://xf2.scubaboard.com/community/forums/cave-diving.45/

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