Diving West Palm Beach

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West Palm Beach, USA

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Country: USA  Area: Florida

Water Temp: 23 - 30°C (73 - 86°F)

Visibility: 7 - 50m (23 - 164 ft)

Depth Range: 15 - 30m (49 - 98 ft)

Loggerhead Turtles Nesting May July
Goliath Groupers Spawning August September
Lemon Sharks January February

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Palm Beach County Florida is famous for it’s great year round weather, many golf courses, diving, shopping on Worth Avenue and City Place and an abundance of activities for all ages. As a tiny island located just north of Fort Lauderdale and on the edge of the Gulf Stream, Palm Beach makes provides visitors with sensational diving and tourism opportunities alike. While the city is a favourite among American elite – given that it is the third wealthiest city in the USA – it still remains an accessible destination for travelers with all budgets and wallets.

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The city can quickly become an exercise in glamorous consumerism as you stroll through the high-end boutiques, the world-class restaurants and through some of the most elaborate mansions in the country. Furthermore, the people watching here is completely unbelievable and unique! Golfing at some of the world’s first class club attracts many, while shopping on the sensational Worth Avenue draws in many others. For those less attracted to the lifestyle, the city also boasts a great zoo, a stunning botanical gardens and – of course – the world’s largest croquet museum. Restaurants, clubs and bars are abundant and further cater to nearly all interests and desires.

West Palm Beach, FL is famous for drift diving in the Gulfstream which comes closest to land at our inlet.  Dive sites are less than a mile offshore so the boat ride to the dive sites is short.  It’s due to the close proximity of the Gulfstream that makes the diving good year round.  We see sea turtles on just about every single dive, mostly Hawksbill, Loggerhead & Green Turtles although we do see an occasional Leatherback and Kemp’s Ridley too.  This is in addition to all the usual tropical reef fish.

West Palm Beach, Credit

Climate

Palm Beach is located in sunny South Florida so the weather is tropical year round.  December-April the air temp during the day is in the 70’s-low 80’s while May-November is in the low to upper 80’s.  Hurricane season is June-November with the height being in September.  It’s rare to see any hurricane activity before September. 

Water temperature January-April is low to mid 70’s while May-December it’s upper 70’s to mid 80’s.    

Marine Conservation

There is a fairly wide variety of marine conservation initiatives that are based out of West Palm Beach and focus on the surrounding marine environment. Initiatives are run by a collection of scientists, non-profits, dive shops and local businesses.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is one of the larger conservation organizations, that focuses on the protection of loggerhead turtles and their environments. They run a variety of beach clean up projects, educational workshops and eco-tours, in addition tor running a center for injured or ill turtles. The center itself can be visited as part of a trip to West Palm Beach.

Other organizations such as Reef Rescue focus their efforts on protecting and conserving the local reefs.

Dive shops also play an important role in overall conservation. Most work in line with PADI’s AWARE iniative, and a number stretch far beyond that program offering up educational activities, reef clean up dives, and by hosting researchers including REEF.   

Other Year round Marine life

French Angelfish, Gray Angelfish, Blue Angelfish, Queen Angelfish, Barracuda, Nurse Sharks, Moray eels, Lionfish , Goliath Groupers.

 
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Wildlife Calendar

                               
                           
                         
                             

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Shore Diving

There are a number of shore dives off to coast of Palm Beach. These sites generally have a depth range between 5 and 20 meters, and they can be accessed by divers and snorkelers alike.

Singer Island has some of the most famed sites off its beach, including the Phil Foster Park and Blue Heron Bridge Dive. Here, you’re likely to see loads of critters, including seahorses, starfish, frogfish and garden eels. The limestone boulders that form the mitigation reef is also an interesting place to dive. On calm days, you might also consider heading to Ocean Reef Park, where the rocky outcroppings off shore make for excellent spots to see turtles and large schools of fish amidst swim thrus.

Palm Beach Scuba Diving, Credit

Boat Diving

There is a rich variety of dive sites off Palm Beach, which range from shallow dives to deep dives, and reefs to wrecks. Sites cater to beginners and experienced divers, with average depths that range from 50’ to 80’.

Breaker’s reef is an extremely popular site that includes multiple ledges, undercuts and a series of patch reefs. Sightings of rays, eels, sea turtles, parrotfish, angelfish are all common, amidst a backdrop of hard and soft corals. Furthermore, there are a series of geographic highlights that you can choose to explore – including the Statue, the Fourth Windows and the Elevator Shaft.

For those interested in diving with sharks, it is best to head to the Northwest Double Ledge, where sightings of nurse sharks are common, with the occasional bull, tiger or hammerhead swimming past. The North Double Ledge by contrast is a wonderful spot for large animal encounters, while the South Double Ledge is known for its population of spiny lobster and game fish. 

There are eight wrecks accessible from Palm Beach. The Govenor’s Riverwalk is a series of intentionally sunken ships, that are a sanctuary for game and tropical fish, along with plenty of coral and algae. The Mizpah Corridor is another series of wrecks that make up a 1700-foot drift dives. The three wrecks that are included in the corridor sank in the 1960s, and make for excellent training sights for deep, advance and wreck-diving specialities.

Palm Beach underwater, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

West Palm Beach is a popular departure point for liveaboards setting out to explore the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Rarely do operators focus exclusively on the American waters during a liveaboard trip.

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How to Get There

West Palm Beach can be accessed through a number of transport options.

The easiest, is to fly into Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) which is located only 15 minutes from the city center. It is also possible to fly into Fort Lauderdale (FLL) or Miami (MIA) which are both an easy driving distance from Palm Beach.

A number of American bus companies also connect the city to various destinations within and beyond the Florida borders. Major companies include Coach and Greyhound – though Redcoach is a favourite budget provider within Florida and the southern USA.

Amtrak Train West Palm Beach Station, Credit


 

 

 

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Where to Eat & Drink

Palm Beach has a massive range of restaurants, bars and clubs throughout the city. The majority are located in the open air City Place in the city center, with the rest located along the shoreline.

Some of the city’s most famous institutions include Breakers Hotel – a place frequented by the rich and famous. A drink here provides a great ocean view, along with phenomenal people watching. The Palm Beach Grill is another local favourite, which maintains an ambiance of old-world wealth with its dark wood, dim lights and ice cream sundaes. That said, meals here do come at a price. For a less expensive version of the classic American experience, check out Buccan (and don’t forget a reservation). Otherwise, a wander around the streets is sure to reveal a variety of restaurants and diners that serve up an international variety of dishes.

Downtown West Palm Beach, Credit

Bars and clubs too are richly varied in Palm Beach. While the most glamorous tend to gravitate towards private parties, clubs like the Leopard Lounge tend to attract the odd celebrity. The O Bar is a favourite with the hip and wealthy, while Cucina Dell’arte has a slightly more relaxed vibe.  Feelgood’s is owned by Motley Crue’s frontman and boasts a massive dance floor complete with a snake in the rafters. BB King’s by contrast offers that classic Mississippi Delta- theme and is in fact owned by BB King himself. Like the restaurants though, a stroll through City Place and Clemantis Street is sure to reveal a variety of appealing options.

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Other Activities

Plenty of people visit Palm Beach without even considering it to be a diving location – meaning there is no shortage of on-land activities to do!

Golfing is one of the largest draws to the region, given that the area has more first class golf courses than pretty much any comparable place worldwide.

Snorkeling off Peanut Island north of West Palm Beach, Credit

Sport fishing too is hugely popular, and the city is known to be the ‘Sailfish Capital of the World’. Its location of the Gulf Stream makes for some truly unbelievable catches.

Boating, sailing and cruising are also all very popular. You’ll be able to jump on anything from a luxury sunset cruise to a gambling-themed boat at all times of the day.

Within the city, you can also visit a multitude of famous sights. Top among them include the Bethesda by the Sea church, where Donald and Melania Trump were married, and the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum – a sensational mansion built during Florida’s golden age. Unsurprisingly, with all this glitz and glamour, the shopping throughout Palm Beach is fantastic as well. Worth Avenue – or simply ‘the Avenue’ – stands as perhaps the most exclusive shopping destination in the city.

At the zoo, Credit

For those who wish to get away from the intense consumerism and wealth of the city, a trip to the Palm Beach Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, or the National Croquet Center might provide a bit of reprieve.

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Tips

Most of the city’s activity revolves around City Place – an outdoor mall in the city center.

Booking your trip outside of peak tourist seasons (Christmas and Spring Break) helps to keep costs down in this generally pricey city. Mid-winter and late spring are some of the most economical times to visit the city (while still avoiding hurricane season).

There is a Recompression Chamber available right in West Palm Beach if the need arises.  

West Palm Beach Library, Credit


 

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