Our Best Dives Ever: Scuba Joe in Jupiter, FL
IN THIS SERIES OF POSTS, EACH MEMBER OF THE CREW RECALLS SOME OF THEIR BEST DIVES THEY'VE EVER EXPERIENCED.
THIS PARTICULAR STORY COMES FROM JOE SMITH, DIVE INSTRUCTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE. ENJOY!
Jupiter, Florida is by far my favorite place to dive. So when I was asked about my favorite dive I've had aboard the Kyalami, I thought "all of them"! That was until the Goliath Grouper aggregation this year.
I love seeing Goliath Grouper in the water, and there are tons here in Jupiter's waters during the aggregation. Last year, we only got to dive a few times at the dive site known as the MG-111 during the aggregation before Hurricane Irma hit our area. For a couple months after that the water was stirred up to the point that visibility was so low, we couldn't dive. I missed my chance to get back in the water with big groups of these giants until this year.
Large numbers of Goliath Grouper aggregate in certain areas that are great for diving. My first chance to get in the water during this years' aggregation at one of those sites was recently on the Zion train wreck trek. Janine Chouiniere was the dive master in the water that day, and what a fantastic job she did leading us from wreck to wreck!
The first wreck was the Zion where we immediately started seeing Goliaths, both at the wreck and slightly off in the distance. I was immediately excited to see the Goliaths in large numbers. We hung out taking pictures and video for a few minutes before moving on to the Miss Jenny. Even more Goliaths were hanging out on this wreck.
The visibility was about 50ft or so and it was just amazing to watch people and Grouper move around the wreck together. Some of the Goliaths are so mellow that they let you come right up and take pictures. While I thoroughly enjoyed spending time at the Miss Jenny, I was ready to go see one of my favorite wrecks in Palm Beach County... The Bonaire.
The Bonaire is an imposing figure in the water and as we moved up to the wreck, the Goliaths came out to meet us. There were also large groups of 20 or more of them just off the wreck drafting off each other in the current.
If the wreck and Grouper were not amazing enough, we had a couple lemon sharks show up! So, at this point I was pretty much geeking out! If you know me, you know I love sharks and diving with them. The lemons swam through our group and up and down the wreck. Occasionally they would leave the Bonaire and swim through the groups of Goliaths and often draft in the current with them. I have to say, that was way cool to see!
As we began getting low on air, I was sad to be leaving the Goliaths, the sharks and my favorite wreck. But as I was starting to ascend to my safety stop I grew excited again; to see the video I had captured that day and at the thought of returning soon to bring other divers down to see these beautiful giants.
Everyone should experience the Grouper aggregation at least once in their dive travels here in Jupiter!