Our Best of Florida Trip includes 2 days on each of the following operators. They are located near our group hotel and each offers their own take on "the Best of Florida diving". Come see for yourself!
- Pura Vida
- Emerald Charters
This topic will compile the dive sites each operator typically visits or can visit upon request. With a full boat we have all the leverage we need to maximize our experience. Come join us!
Depth: 85 feet
Length: 167 feet
The Captain Tony a.k.a. M/V Becks was sunk on October 22, 1996 in 85 feet of water where she sits upright with her bow to the South. Originally named the M/V Becks, this Dutch freighter was renamed the Captain Tony in memory of Captain Tony Townsend a local dive charter captain. There are numerous opportunities to penetrate the wreck with reasonable safety. Look for several large Jewfish aka Goliath Groupers that sometimes hangout in the engine room.
Depth: 95 feet
Length: 169 feet
This coastal freighter was built in Germany in 1968 and used to transport dry goods between Florida, the Bahamas, and Haiti. She was sunk on 7/16/87 where she sits today, upright with her bow facing South. Formerly named the M/S Havel, she was renamed the Budweiser Bar after Budweiser donated money to sink her as an artificial reef. Before sinking, the aluminum wheelhouse and Deutz diesel engine were salvaged for scrap metal. There are two swim-throughs cut into the hold.
Depth: 110 feet
Length: 285 feet
Width: 37 feet
Height: 50 feet
The M/V Castor was sunk on December 14, 2001 in 110 feet of water where she sits upright with her bow to the South within 60 feet of the surface. For safety reasons, all hatches and doors have been removed. The boat ties a line into the wreck so you can safely descend and ascend holding onto the rope to prevent the effects of any surface, midwater or bottom current. You can then use the wreck to hide from the current if present or simply swim around enjoying this flagship dive and year long home to the Goliaths!
On reef dives, you drift dive in small groups, each group carrying it's own flag and float. Captain Adam and the Starfish crew are waiting for you when you surface. Cool! Here are a few of our favorites:
This reef features alternating 2 to 3 foot high ledges that occasionally jut up to 10 feet high. Another distinguishing feature is the soft sand that bounds the reef to the West. The soft sand is a favorite resting place for Southern Stingrays.
The Delray Ledges are located South of the Boynton Reef system off the coast from the city of Delray Beach. The reef structure is spectacular! There are long stretches of 15-20 foot high ledges with room-size chunks of broken reef in the sand. There are also several vertical cracks and tunnels in the reef that provide a great background for photo ops. Diving this reef is easy. Just follow the ledge along the top edge or explore the broken reef area just West of the reef.
Horse Shoe Reef is named for its hooked shape. You have the choice of diving along the very inside edge of the reef or on top of the ledge about 50 feet to the East. While the top of the ledge is an attractive alternative, you run the risk of missing the Horse Shoe if you stay on top of the ledge too long. If you are new to this dive, stay on the very inside edge until you get to the Horse Shoe. You?ll see huge schools of Grunts and Yellow Tails. Sometimes there are so many fish, you?ll forget you?re diving on a reef. This is the dive where you?ll see one of everything!
Gazebo is named for its gazebo landmark. It is a favorite among locals. Just West of the main reef at 60 feet you will find numerous scattered coral heads and low-lying ledges. This is a great place to look for Nurse Sharks. Go East of the main ledge and at 45 feet you will find a 2 to 3 foot high step ledge that runs parallel to the main ledge. Here you will find a wide variety of marine life including Jacks, Squid, Angelfish, Trumpet fish, and Moray Eels.
PURA VIDA CHARTERS
Known for its dramatic profile, Juno Ledge offers divers a glimpse at schooling gamefish, goliath grouper, moray eels, and soft corals associated with Palm Beach County’s deeper reefs. This ledge starts at 68-feet on top of the reef, and extends 20-feet down to the sand to a depth of 92-feet.
Northwest Double Ledges
Frequently referred to as ‘Shark Dive’, Northwest Double Ledges routinely offers divers an opportunity to drift with reef and nurse sharks as well as the occasional bull, tiger, or hammerhead. With a spectacular set of twin ledges, you will typically encounter gamefish, massive tropicals, turtles, and soft coral in the deep undercuts and extensive crevices on this 87-foot dive. After ‘viewing’ sharks in the amphitheater, you will drift north along the upper ledge amongst the massive erosion.
Often referred to as ‘My Favorite Dive’, Jolly Jacks is a favorite among our divers and staff. With extremely deep undercuts and massive erosion, you will find a diverse abundance of tropicals as well as sea turtles, moray eels, and rays on this 82-foot dive. Beginning gradually, it transcends into a 12-foot ledge until it starts to slope northwest.
North Double Ledges
Offering divers a diverse array of possible big animal encounters and definite tropical fish, you will enjoy drifting along this set of double ledges at a depth of 87-feet in the sand. The lower ledge typically offers the largest abundance of marine life with a well-defined profile as the massive erosion transcends into the sand below.
South Double Ledges
Typically a great site for divers looking for the elusive spiny lobster, you will drift this phenomenal coral reef with massive tropical fish and frequently sighted gamefish. Diving South Double Ledges, you are able to follow either the lower or upper ledge as it curves northeast at depths ranging from 68 to 87-feet.
With a shallow profile of 16 to 22-feet, Cable Crossing is often a spot for introductory dives and snorkeling during your surface interval. A relatively short coral reef located immediately south of the Breaker’s Hotel, there is always the opportunity to encounter manta rays, sea turtles, and nurse sharks as well as tropical fish cruising the shallow waters.
This spectacular coral reef ecosystem offers divers miles of continuos 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 will 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! The dive sites listed below are selected portions of the greater Breaker’s Reef.
Located on the offshore side of the north end of Breaker’s Reef, you will find yourself mesmerized as you explore the deep undercuts and crevices on this 72-foot dive. With long fingers extending east, you will likely encounter moray eels, rays, sea turtles, spiny lobster, barracuda, and loads of tropical fish.
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.
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, you will find masses of tropical fish, sea turtles, moray eels, and nurse sharks. With depths of 45 to 59-feet, you will 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 will be able to hear the ocean.
A well-defined and relatively straight ledge at a depth of 45 to 57-feet, you will 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 massive undercut where you will 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.
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.
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 to distinguish between the corals and the tropical fish as you watch thousands swaying amongst the dense soft and hard corals. Typically, an excellent for divers searching for the elusive spiny lobster as well as underwater photographers in search of large aggregations of marine life.
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 is 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, you will find Bath and Tennis proves itself as a playground for divers. Whit 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 its offshore location. It is directly offshore of the Bath and Tennis Club of Palm Beach.
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.
Discover Palm Beach wreck diving as you drift… wrecks in excess of 400-feet… multiple wrecks on one dive… big game… great visibility… active artificial reef program…
Palm Beach Counties newest artificial reef. The Danny sunk February 22nd, 2013 just north of the Lake Worth Inlet due to the combined efforts of the McCauley Family, Palm Beach County Diving Association, and Palm Beach County Artificial Reef Program. This 130ft ice class tug sits in 85ft of water and is now home to Goliath grouper, tropical fish and new sponge growth. Forever known as the Danny McCauley Memorial Reef, this wreck memorializes the short life of a local teen and is already a local favorite. Follow the link for video of the sinking and check it out for yourself!
In February 2002, Palm Beach County’s Artificial Reef Program expanded with the intentional sinking of the Shasha Boekanier. Known as the Shasha to local divers, this 184-foot coastal freighter was the first of three former drug smuggling vessels seized and sunk off Palm Beach County. Following the Shasha was the St. Jacques (180-foot) and the Gilbert Sea (170-foot).
Almost as a gift to divers, Palm Beach County added the Thozina to Governor’s Riverwalk Reef in December 2002. This 174-foot coastal freighter was donated to Palm Beach County’s Artificial Reef Program, and now lies with the others in 90-feet of water. The wrecks are quickly becoming a haven for game and tropical fish as they rapidly become overgrown with coral and algae.
As a dive site, Governor’s Riverwalk Reef is an excellent training site for advanced recreational and introductory technical training.
This is definitely one of the best dives in Palm Beach County. The bulk of the corridor is composed of three wrecks (Mizpah, PC1170, and Amaryllis) that line up to form an amazing 1700 foot drift dive. The first wreck, the Mizpah, was sunk in 1968 and lies in ~85 feet of water just a few minutes north of the inlet. She’s a 185ft Greek luxury liner, showcasing three distinct levels that Goliath grouper love to congregate in. Next in line is the PC1174, an old patrol craft measuring 160ft in length. Also sunk in 1968, the PC1174 is split in two pieces under the bow of the Mizpah. Following a large rock pile, the Amaryllis is the third in line on this dive. Only the hull and bottom deck of this 450 foot ship remain as the other decks were removed to salvage the boat after it washed ashore during a hurricane. The China Barge is the fourth in line on this amazing site, although most divers don’t reach it before needing to ascend. As a dive site, The Corridor is an excellent training site for advanced, deep, and wreck specialties.
This 350 foot car ferry used to carry over 200 passengers and cars over the Chesapeake Bay. Sunk in the early 1990’s, this wreck sits in 100-110 feet of water and is home to large schools of jacks, barracudas, groupers, and the occasional bull shark. The last few hurricanes broke apart some of the super structure on the Princess Anne, but there’s still an amazing reef just north of the wreck that makes this site a must-see. Be prepared to fly like superman as this site usually has quite a strong current.
Located just a few minutes south of the inlet, this freighter (also called the Owens) sits in close proximity to the Phillips Barge and the Rolls-Royce. This area is home to many Goliath Grouper, and several shark species frequent the area. This dive site is also referred to as the Triangle. The site is best on a low-current day allowing divers to travel back and forth between the wreck, the barge and the Rolls-Royce.
Spearman’s Barge comes complete with it’s own local murder mystery. Located on top of Mid-Reef, a popular reef dive, this wreck sits in about 70 feet of water and is home to a variety of fish species. Hawksbill and loggerhead turtles are frequent visitors and green moray eels are regularly spotted here. Photographers love this site! Check out a video from this amazing site!
Toybox and Playpen
This dive site begins as you drift onto a large barge sitting perpendicular to the current in 60 feet of water. It’s filled with large boulders which hawksbill turtles love to frequent. Goliaths and the occasional bull shark frequent this wreck. Following the wreck is the Playpen, an artificial reef composed of concrete culverts and telephone poles. Divers always report schools of barracuda, colorful tropical fish, and droves of spiny lobsters. Here’s a sample dive report from this site!
Located north of the inlet, this site rests in 85ft of water and is spectacular! The dive site starts with massive rubble piles from the demolition of the Royal Park Bridge. As you drift along the ruins, look for Goliath groupers, eels and turtles hiding around every corner. As you drift left and west, you’ll come to the Spud Barge at the end of the site. This barge sits upon rock piles and hosts of hundreds of Goliath Groupers during the fall spawning season. The exposed cross beams of the wreck provide the divers the opportunity to swim through from one side to the other. An exceptional site for advanced and wreck diving students. Check out the video!
At Emerald Charters, we know how to find the sharks. Here in Jupiter, we see a variety of sharks on a regular basis. While we can't guarantee that you'll spot sharks on every dive (since they are wild Pelagic creatures), we almost always see a variety of sharks. Some of the species we've seen include, Bull Sharks, Hammerheads, Tigers, Lemon sharks and more. We've even spotted Whale Sharks and Manta Rays as well. The drift diving in Jupiter is like no other around. It's a swift current with clear blue waters. If you're nitrox certified, then set your sights on this great dive experience with us Emerald Charters
WHERE THE SHARKS PLAY...
To those that frequent scuba forums and track the buzz of Jupiter Scuba Diving, then you will be familiar with the name Area 51. There are many myths on how it got it’s name and every skipper will give you their take, for Jupiter Scuba Diving, let’s just say it’s better than Baskin Robbins 31 flavors of ice-cream because here you can sample 51. You want to see it underwater, it’s most likely here. Sharks, Eels, Turtles, Tropics, Sting Rays and even the occasional Mermaid, they are all here. Area 51 is part of the Juno Ledge system which offers large a breath taking 20ft profile face. So many crevices for exploration and so much variety. If you must choose between all of the incredible diving in Jupiter due to time restraints, ask for Area 51 and go sample the Baskin Robbins of the Sea.
Jupiter Wreck Trek
If you only have one opportunity to enjoy Jupiter Scuba Diving, circle, mark and highlight your calendars mid August through September. This is the heart of the annual Goliath Grouper Aggregation and in our humble opinion the best diving period. Why is that relevant to a Dive Site description?? Ah ha, enter the Jupiter Wreck Trek--home of the infamous aggregation. This site is made up of 3 wrecks which lay in 90 ft of water all within swimming (drifting) distance of each other. Your dive begins on the Zion, a small freighter listing on it’s port side. Your dive continues as you make way slight North East towards an upside down barge known as Miss Jenny. As you leave the Miss Jenny counter back to the west and you will intercept the star of the show the Esso Bonnaire. She sits fully upright and is the largest of the three ships. In addition to the Goliath Grouper activity the wrecks also attract Hammerhead Sharks, Bull Sharks, Spotted Eagle Ray and numerous other large aquatic life.
Welcome to the mecca of Jupiter Scuba Diving. The dive site that has been labeled “Tunnels” sums up World Class Diving at it’s best. Jupiter Scuba Diving has become known for it’s large aquatic life encounters and this diving great explains why. From your initial entry to the opening swim through (hence Tunnels) you will be greeted by multiple Reef Sharks, Goliath Grouper and the traditional Southern Stingray. Patience is indeed the key to diving this ledge correctly. Most divers kick North up the reef and by pass all the action that tends to congregate at the beginning of this dive. For the diver that understands slow and steady wins the race and has the awareness to not just get fixated on the ledge itself but scan to the east and to the west, they will be rewarded with some of those most amazing up close large aquatic life encounters than anywhere else in the world. You may also hear many locals talk about “the Donut”, which is a section near the end of this reef that the Caribbean Reef Sharks have made claim. Though seeing these magnificent creatures parade in and out of the “Donut” hole like a clown car is an amazing thing to witness, don’t get baited into going for broke and bypassing all the goodies between the opening Tunnel and the “Donut” itself. Again the patient diver is rewarded with a World Class dive that can only happen in Jupiter, FL. Request the Tunnels on your next visit to Kyalami Charters, you may indeed just witness some World Class Diving.
The 147 foot tanker Esso Bonaire was built in 1926 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Esso Bonaire was seized after U.S. Customs found 55,000 pounds of marijuana on board. The vessel was purchased with money from the Economic Council of Palm Beach County and was sunk off Jupiter Inlet as a fish haven. Two attempts were made to sink the tanker. The first on July 22, 1989, was canceled due to rough weather. The next day, the weather was better, but the stubborn vessel still took nine hours to go down.
The Esso Bonaire sits straight up on her keel in 85 feet of water, four miles east northeast of Jupiter inlet. This wreck has a good coating of gorgonias plus loads of tropical and bait fish.
This site is a personal favorite of the SHARKS & GOLIATHS and can easily be REPEATED WITH NO LOSS OF EXCITEMENT OR ADVENTURE!! Every dive is a NEW DIVE ON THIS AMAZING WRECK and HOME TO THE GREY SUITS!!!!
BLUE HERON BRIDGE aka Phil Foster Park/ Blue Heron Bridge Dive
No trip to south Florida id complete without a dive at the Blue Heron Bridge! A state treasure and for many a "National Treasure" to the US...this site is like no other. Protected by Singer Island forcing a protected lagoon impacted only by tides and divers... this area has become home to some of the most interesting diving in S. Florida! Because it is tidal you can only dive it certain times of day when the tide is slack. However its worth the effort. Try to avoid the weekends as the site is part of the state's park system and so is VERY busy on the weekends.
Nowhere will you find more critters than this dive site! A photographers dream! Frogfish, seahorses, starfish, garden eels…you name it, it’s there! Depths range from 5 to 20 feet maximum. “I consider this one of the most exotic shore dives in the United States,” says Ned DeLoach, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) founder and President of New World Publications. “…just under the seafloor and around the pilings is a prolific community of sea life including many species of fishes and invertebrates seldom seen anywhere else,” adds DeLoach.
The entrance to the park is on the East side of the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge just as you exit Singer Island from Pura Vida's diveshop. The park offers plenty of parking, fresh water showers, restroom facilities, picnic tables, and even a playground for the non-diving youngsters.
Enter the water under the bridge via the small beach on the west side of the bank. There are two options:
Either swim to the right and go back under the large western bridge from south to north. Continue past the bridge to the foundation of the old bridge. There are old concrete columns that lie just north of the old bridge foundation.
Swim to the left outside of the swim zone and head toward the east bridge where there are several small sunken boats along your journey as well as some sunken dock debris.
AREA CAUTIONS: Do not swim too far to the west or south into the boat channel. Don’t go west of the fourth set of bridge columns. Be considerate to fisherman on the bridges. There are strong currents except at Slack Tides.