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Where to go in Florida


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#1 cronix

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 07:52 AM

I am planning a trip to Florida early next year (beginning of March). I want to visit the Manatees and other interesting dive/snorkel destinations in Florida.

Normally Google is my friend, but now I find it very difficult to find the right dive centers that can help me with this trip. I am interested in at least the following:
  • Cavern diving
  • Other fresh water diving possibilities
  • Diving at the Keys

At least some of you, active on Wetpixel, should live in Florida. Can anyone of you help me with this?
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#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:16 AM

Blue Heron Bridge/Phil Foster Park in West Palm Beach is a must. Also a weekend there is a great chance to meet up with lots of local UW photographers - who will be full of suggestions of where else is hot!

Alex

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#3 Phil Rudin

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:56 AM

If you dive north Florida for the manatees you will be within a short driving distance of several cavern dives, one of the most popular being being Ginnie Springs also Devils Den and many state parks. To dive the state parks you will need Cave or Cavern cert. to make the dive. You need go no further south than West Palm Beach to find some of the best diving in the state. As Alex said if you are a macro fan Blue Heron Bridge is outstanding. Several local dive boats can also be found within a mile of the bridge.

Phil Rudin

#4 diver dave1

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 03:49 PM

If you dive the Blue Heron Bridge, you might consider obtaining a guide for the first dive. A good option is Jim Abernethy's shop which is very close. The critters around the bridge area hide well and having guide was great for me. By the time I would finish photo'ing one subject, Laz would have found more. Costs a bit but was sure nice to have. Once you see the places to look, you might venture on your own afterward.
You can only dive the bridge at high tide based on currents and vis. You can add a boat dive during the other times from that area as well.
laz217 is a member here and is the guide I used and I thought he was great but they have other guides as well.
Just some ideas to consider.

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#5 cronix

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for your replies. I will check it out. I have rented a camper van for two weeks. That makes it easier to get around and it's a good place to put my one year old twin girls in :-).
D2X, 10.5mm, 12-24mm, 60mm, 105mm, SB800 in Subal housing, Seacam: housing, S45 viewfinder, Fisheye dome, superdome, wet diopters, 250 TTL Digital strobes (2)
The website of André Crone can be found at http://www.elysia.nl

#6 rwe

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 02:07 PM

I am planning a trip to Florida early next year (beginning of March). I want to visit the Manatees and other interesting dive/snorkel destinations in Florida.

Normally Google is my friend, but now I find it very difficult to find the right dive centers that can help me with this trip. I am interested in at least the following:

  • Cavern diving
  • Other fresh water diving possibilities
  • Diving at the Keys

At least some of you, active on Wetpixel, should live in Florida. Can anyone of you help me with this?

  • Cavern diving: Ginnie Springs, Blue Grotto, and Devils Den are probably the most dived and are easily accessible.
  • Other fresh water possibilities: You could dive some of the small rivers in north and central FL fanning for artifacts but this is something that many people don't care for. You find more in the black rivers but even less people like this. It has been a long time since I lived in FL and there are some locations where this is not allowed and you can get your equipment confiscated so be sure to check with a local dive shop before doing. Also have to be very careful of boats in any rivers that are big enough for boats.

You could dive Weeki Wachee Springs (no real cavern and only during the day) and possibly be lucky enough to see some mermaids in training. There are also manatees here during the late fall and winter but less likely in the spring when you are going.

  • Keys: Pennekamp Park off Key Largo is the most dived location in the world. Many, many dive boats available. Lot of shallow reefs and a few nice wrecks. General good visibility unless the wind gets high. Lots of fish and good photo opportunities. Don't miss the Duane but plan on current. The Spiegel Grove is more variable with respect of visibility and current but is huge and takes many dives to cover. I usually go to the Keys about once/year and prefer Island Ventures (http://www.islandventure.com/).
  • Other possibilities: There is really good drift diving from Jupiter to Ft. Lauderdale on the southeast coast. Many dive boats and shops on the web. In general (but not always) the reefs tend to get a little deeper as you go north and the current tends to increase as you go north. More soft coral in the north and more hard coral in the south There are also many wrecks in southern region around Pompano Beach. I have dove from many boats in this strip and only had issues on a few occasions.

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