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Heyward

Black Water Diving - West Palm Beach

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Black Water Diving off the coast of West Palm Beach is one of my favorite things to do. Here area a few photos from a trip earlier this year.

Nikon D850, 2 Kraken 3500 focus lights, 2 Inon Z240 strobes, settings are typically ISO 320, f25 - f29, 1/250s

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Cusk Eel

 

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Tripod Fish

 

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Seahorse

 

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Larval Harlequin Sea Bass

 

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Atlantidae Sea Elephant

 

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sea butterfly

 

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Carinariidae Sea Elephant

 

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Ctenophore digesting an amphipod

 

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Crab megalopa

 

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Squid

Edited by Heyward
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Wow, these are very cool! Nice work.

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Just had another closer look.  These are amazing!  Any idea what #8 is?

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Hi troporobo,

The 8th image in the series is actually a type of comb jelly called a Ctenophore (specifically Callianira bialata) that has an amphopod (hyperiid amphipod) in its digestive tract. I went back in my old photos to find an example of a ctenophore hunting and pulling in an amphipod and a photo of a free swimming hyperiid amphipod.

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ctenophore

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hyperiid amphipod

Thanks for the interest in my photos.

Heyward

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Love the Sea Elephant.. Could be a scene from a Japanese Ghost movie, right there. :-)

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Wow, beautiful images. Every one of these is a work of art.

Who do you dive with? How deep? How long are typical dives?

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Thanks "Water Buffalo"!

To answer your questions:

-There are 2 charters that do Black Water Dives in the West Palm Beach area. One is Walker's Dive Charters and the Other is Pura Vida.  They are both excellent and they have an alternating schedule for which company is going out on a given night.

-Depth - We go out into the Gulf Stream where the actual ocean depth is 600 - 700 feet - but the divers stay mostly in the top 50 feet with occasional excursions deeper if pursuing an interesting subject. While the current is moving quickly - you have no visual frame of reference, so it doesn't feel like it - we usually drift between 5 & 11 miles during the dive.

-Length of Dive - Walker's allows 2 hours for the dive before you need to be back on the boat (air time permitting) and Pura Vida wants you back on the boat in 90 minutes.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Heyward

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Amazing. Can you do black water from the shore in South Florida?

This is what I capture during shore dive in Monterey/CA this April: https://photos.app.goo.gl/haoCec1BpCxR645S9

We did have it for a week or tow and then nothing....

Can you consistently see those creatures in South Florida year around?

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leondurda, to your question doing blackwater as a shore dive, the answer is no. All blackwater dives in South Florida take place roughly 6 to 7 miles offshore, and the boats need to run a considerable distance south before they make the drop for the dive due to the northward flow of the Gulf Stream.

 

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Leondurda,

I would echo Walt Sterns comments regarding the diving. Everything in his response is absolutely correct - It is absolutely not a shore dive in southern Florida.

As far as consistency of what you see - it is quite variable. I have been many times at different times of year. I always see interesting things, but the types of creatures  I see are variable. Some nights you may see a lot of one type of creature and another night none of them,  but see other things instead. It is also variable night to night in the same week. Some nights are better or worse than others but it is always a bit different. Even on the same boat on the same night each diver's experience is different. I have gotten back on the boat after not finding a lot when someone else found something amazing and the opposite has occurred too when I was excited about something I saw.  That is part of the fun -  always looking for cool things to shoot. There are some creatures that I really want to shoot that I have not found yet - but I will be back to keep looking!

 

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Yes 60 mm macro is the best choice for blackwater. Shutter speed is usually the max flash sync speed - for me that is 1/250 and fstop is usually f25 to f29 to get some depth of field. I usually have strobes on manual & adjust as needed.

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