The Realm of Wrecks and Big Animal Dive Sites (Click on image for more details)
The region from Miami to Palm Beach is one of the most heavily developed coastlines in the United States. Just offshore of the region's glittering resorts and palatial oceanfront mansions is a diverse and exciting underwater landscape that actually has more to offer in the way of wrecks and marine life than many of the famous dive destinations of the Caribbean. Because both the Continental Shelf and the currents of the Gulf Stream come closer to shore than anywhere else along the Eastern Seaboard, most dive sites are just a few miles from shore and easily reached from all-weather inlets.
It is no accident that there are more than 50 dive-able wrecks along the coast of southeastern Florida. For more than three decades, organizations in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management, have been involved in putting down ships ranging from 50 to more than 240 feet in length. A majority of these wrecks sit within the accepted depth ranges of sport diving practices, there are also a number of deeper wrecks.
“The Great Carrier Reef” – On May 17, 2006 the 911′ US Aircraft Carrier was sunk approximately 26.5 miles southeast of Pensacola pass making it the world’s largest intentionally-created artificial reef. Nicknamed “The Mighty O”, USS Oriskany is truly a world class dive. The massive carrier lays in 212′ of water with the top of the “island” sitting at around 84′.
Although fossil shark teeth can be found in many locations across all of North America, Florida, and in particular the waters off Venice in the Gulf of Mexico, is an ideal location to find these fossils.
The Hydro is a sea going dredger 300' long and 64' wide. Most of the deck is around 150'. A spectacular dive, it is a shame it's not in shallower water. As you approach the wreck it almost looks alive there is so much growth on the outer hull. The swim throughs are encrusted with soft corals. Schools of fish form a circle around you as you pass through. Large schools of jacks swarm the wreck.
The Corridor Wreck Trek is a drift divers paradise This area is full of amazing animal encounters including Goliath Groupers, sea turtles, stingrays, and in the distance a lurking reef shark. Some of the wrecks in this line up where sunk some time ago so they are covered in corals and sponges which create beautiful habitat for fish in the Palm Beach area.
The Lady Luck is 324 ft. long, 50 ft wide tanker that rises to nearly to 60 from the surface at her mast. You will notice on your descent the Lady Luck logo on each side of her stack.
USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) was a Thomaston-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was named for Spiegel Grove, the home and estate in Fremont, Ohio, of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States. The Spiegel Grove Wreck is one of the most popular artificial reefs in the world for scuba divers and is located off shore of Key Largo, Florida Keys.
Scuba diving at the world renowned Blue Heron Bridge, also known as Phil Foster Park, is something every diver who visits West Palm Beach, Florida should experience. The Blue Heron Bridge was chosen in 2013 as the best dive site in the world by PADI’s Sport Diver magazine for good reasons… Its diversity of marine life - Seahorses, pipefish, mimic octopus, frogfish, Batfish, Sea Robins to name a few.
Don't be fooled by the name "Devil's Den"-- the pre-historic underground spring is actually quite lovely. But how did this magical-looking place get such a sinister name? According to legend, early settlers to Florida saw steam rising from the rock formations around the perpetually warm spring, and they, assuming they had discovered a portal to the netherworld, christened it Devil's Den.
The Captain Dan Wreck rests upright in 117 feet with her bow pointing south. The top of the wheelhouse is in about 77 feet of water with the deck at 106 feet. The ship is intact and has been overhauled with large entries for certified wreck divers to penetrate. between all her levels, passage ways and cabins, the Captain Dan Wreck is a very popular advance open water dive.
The Vandenberg wreck measures 10 stories high in the water column, the keel the deepest, at 140 feet. It is at the top of the structure that most of the ship's interesting attributes are located, some purposely cut from one part of the ship and welded elsewhere to make attention-getting dive spots from bow to stern, all trimmed to reach within 40 to 50 feet of the surface.
The U-352 was a German submarine that was used during the notorious U-boat attacks in WWII along the NC Coast. On May 9, 1942 it was sunk by the Coast Guard Cutter Icarus. This site was discovered in 1974 by Boat owner and Captain, George Purifoy, and several friends. The history behind this site has been televised and featured on the History® Channel and is one of North Carolina's best-known dive sites.
Ginnie Springs is one of the world's most popular fresh water diving locations and provides an array of excellent diving activities. From shallow spring and river diving to excellent cavern and cave dives Ginnie has something for divers with a variety of experience. Ginnie Springs is a 200 acre campground and diving facility complete with a fully stocked dive shop, air compressor and rental equipment. Due to a high spring discharge from seven springs on the property this region usually has 200'
The huge cavern area with prehistoric fossils embedded in the walls makes every dive interesting and enjoyable. The strata of prehistoric limestone that was once beneath the sea are clearly visible as you make your way around the large water filled room and at every turn more fossils are revealed. Be sure to take your time because there are so many things to see. Clear water and 72 degree constant water temperature make Paradise Springs a year-round destination.
Dive the largest clear water cavern located in the heart of freshwater spring country in Williston, Florida. The Blue Grotto lets you dive down to a depth of 100 feet (30 meters) in crystal clear water all the way down at a water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) all year round!
Welcome to Hudson Grotto, your very own dive destination right here in Hudson, Florida. Hudson Grotto is a prehistoric limestone sink, most likely the oldest inland body of water in Pasco County. This unusual water feature is part fresh, part salt water and descends to depths 100-155 feet. Thermoclines, Hydrogen Sulphide layers.