Jim & Sherri Memorial Day 2007 West Palm Beach Trip

Memorial Day 2007, West Palm Beach - Sherri and Jim recently got back from a week in West Palm Beach, Florida. The weather was beautiful but the seas were not as calm as in previous years. During the week prior to arriving in WPB, the winds had been blowing at 20-30 knots and this had built up 7-9 foot seas (YIKES!). The winds continued for the entire week we were there, although they did abate somewhat (down to about 15-20 knots!). The photos included below are from the Canon EOS 30D with a Sigma 17-70 mm macro lens. This is the same camera used in Bonaire on our honeymoon, but with a zoom lens - we got tired of having the wrong lens on the camera (a wide angle when you need a macro and vice versa). For this diving adventure we decided to shoot all our photos in "raw" mode and WOW, what a difference this makes. Of course, this means I'll either have to get a huge compact flash card or a few more mid-size ones, right Sherri? Hmmm, I'm (Sherri) not so sure about that one, although you (Jim) do have a birthday coming up.

On this trip, my sister, Ann Marie and her friend, Dave, joined the group. While Dave has done some diving elsewhere, Ann Marie has only been diving in the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Boston (i.e., nothing above 55 deg F), and she's not used to being able to see anyone, much less the whole group of divers (i.e., vis > 10 ft). There were a few other subtleties of warm water drift diving that she learned during the week (being warm and being able to see real live fish to name a couple).

The following daily logs describe the wonderful time we had - to jump to a particular day, select from the following pull down list

Day 1, Thursday - We flew into WPB on Wednesday, and while we were relaxing and eating lunch, we got a call from Jim Abernathy's SCUBA letting us know that our trip for Thursday was cancelled because of predictions of 7-9 ft seas. However, they were nice enough to hook us up with Pura Vida Divers who were doing a single tank dive under the Blue Heron Bridge Thursday afternoon from their boat, Sirena. They even handled all the arrangements so all we needed to do was show up on Thursday afternoon - while we didn't get to dive with Abernathy on this trip we've always found them to be excellent and would recommend them to anyone going to WPB. It was probably a good call as the day dawned with the predicted seas and 20-30 knot winds.

The Blue Heron Bridge dive was actually a good way to get our feet wet. Since you wait for the changing of the tide, there is little current (it's dying down as you enter the water) and since we're not on the ocean, its flat and calm. On the boat ride to the bridge we spotted a Manatee swimming along near shore and watched it for a few minutes. After we anchored in place and waited for the tide to change and conditions to be right to jump in, we hit the water for a very enjoyable first dive (68 min/20 ft/79 deg). It turns out there is quite a bit of diverse life under the bridge, Southern Stingrays, Starfish, Sea Urchins, Lobsters, Grey Angels, Jeuvenile Angels, Highhats, and the vis was around 25 ft.. There was even a sunken sailboat which had settled under the bridge - this was the home to the lobster and a few other denizens.

"Garbage Collecting" Sea Urchin Cushion Sea Star Banded Sea Star
Juvenile Highhat Sharpnose Puffer Juvenile Angel
Life Under Sailboat Flounder Another Urchin

Day 2, Friday - Friday dawned windy and with high seas, resulting in our first boat trip being blown out. After Esat, and Doug (the owner and boat captain from Diving Solutions) took a boat trip out to check on the conditions that morning, we got a call and an invitation to participate in the afternoon 2-tank dive trip if we "weren't faint of heart". A number of folks chose discretion and stayed ashore Friday afternoon while some of the more foolish folks (like all 4 of us) decided to enjoy the high seas. They were running at approximately 5-7 ft with a 20-25 knot wind, so it was a rather "interesting" time. Even though the "Corbo clan" took some Triptone to counteract sea sickness, it turned out not to be enough medication and some folks were feeding the fish. Due to the roughness of the seas, we decided not to take the camera in so that we could focus on getting out of the water when we surfaced (and what a chore that turned out to be!).

The first dive (78 ft/30 min/81 deg) was on Back of Breakers with Esat as our divemaster with 50 ft vis. The second dive (61 ft/47 min/81 deg) was supposed to be on Front of Breakers but we had a few issues hitting the reef even though we had 50 ft vis.

The Turbulent Ocean The Usual Suspects Our Chariot

Day 3, Saturday - Ahhh, the day dawned bright, sunny, and windy with the seas running in the 2-4 ft range with occasional 6-7 foot (yes!) waves. We headed out in the morning for Back of Flower Garden for our first dive (70 ft/39 min/79 deg) and we had a vis of 80 ft - yea! Since the seas had settled down we were able to bring the camera in and got some nice photos (see below). Our divemaster for this dive was Randy and the Gnome and we saw some great sights: Turtles, Blue Tangs, Grey Angles, Townsend Angles, Black Margates, Trunkfish, Scrawled Filefish among others.

Our second dive (53 ft/51 min/79 deg) was on Front of Flower Garden with Mary and the Gnome. It was great, we had visibility of 60 ft and saw all sorts of sea life: a large loggerhead turtle, baracccudas, banded butterflies, cowfish, atlantic spadefish, goliath grouper, porcupine fish, large green morar eel, grey angel fish, scorpionfish, spanish grunt.

Green Moray Eel Blue Tang Baloon Fish (Spiny Puffer)
Grey Angel (same) Grey Angel Atlantic Spade Fish
Porcupine Fish Dive Master Mary Scrawled File Fish
Black Margate Sherri Fish Scorpion Fish

Day 4, Sunday -

Day 5, Monday -

Relaxing Between Dives

Day 6, Tuesday - Travel day, boo hoo. This was the last day of vacation and our travel day.