Winter is the time of year for skiing, snowshoeing, and …diving? It is in Jupiter, Florida! If you’re ready for a break from the cold, Jupiter Dive Center is here to help you take the plunge into a whole new wonderland!
But don’t just take our word for it, check out the incredible videos and photos our divers have posted on the Jupiter Dive Center Facebook Page. A huge thank you to each and every diver who has shared their experiences with us and our followers. We’ve noted the dates so you can see for yourself the wonders to be found in our winter waters!
Leatherback Sea Turtles
Leatherback sea turtles are seldom spotted by divers. Why? Because unlike the other four species found on our reefs—loggerhead, green, Hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley—leatherbacks are pelagic by nature. But like all sea turtles, leatherbacks return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs, giving divers the opportunity to see them in shallow waters.
Nesting typically begins in March, but as the video by Paul Dabill Photography proves, some are already here. So, how do you see leatherbacks? It’s simple: look up—or check out our Facebook post on January 24 to see one off the coast of Jupiter!
Few underwater encounters spark the imagination as much as seeing a shark while diving. This time of year, lemon sharks migrate from the waters of North and South Carolina and congregate along our reefs.
The sharks arrive in groups and favor a few specific locations (one aptly dubbed Lemon Drop).
We do not bait or feed sharks. Instead, divers and underwater photographers get up close and personal with the sharks in their natural habitat. While we have plenty of lemon shark posts, check out Daniel Morrison’s video from 12/28/22!
Dolphins—Lots of Dolphins
There’s something magical about encountering dolphins. Now imagine a whole pod of them! Playful, graceful, and fast!
They are social creatures, and their presence in any given area is a sign of a healthy ecosystem.
Check out Paul Dabill Photography’s footage posted on January 26, to see how even a strand of sargassum can start a game of keep-away among the pod.
Right Whale and Calf
Yes, you read that correctly (dare we say “right?”). On January 12th, photographer Daniel Morrison caught footage of a rare North Atlantic Right whale and her calf while heading out with Jupiter Dive Center to the day’s dive site. This whale species migrate from colder climates to southeast Florida to give birth, but they usually stick to deeper waters.
The duo has captured the local spotlight with its appearance so close to shore. For additional drone footage courtesy of Discover the Palm Beaches, check out our post on 1/11/23.
Tarpon are large fish (2-4 feet in length) sporting shiny stainless steel-colored scales. They feed at night, but school during the day and are typically unbothered by divers. When tarpon “roll,” they break the surface and take a gulp of air. Yes, they breathe predominately through their gills, but this gulp of air goes into their swim bladder which filters the oxygen from the air and distributes it throughout their body to help with low oxygen levels, buoyancy, and to mimic other rolling tarpons.
Speaking of magical, seeing a manta ray glide by is truly a bucket-list experience. But did you know that sightings of manta rays off the Florida coast are on the rise? A South Florida research group has identified a manta nursery and is conducting an ongoing study of juvenile mantas. The largest in the ray family, the manta’s triangular pectoral fins can reach an amazing 29 feet from tip to tip!
As is typical among rays, the manta is darkly colored when viewed from above, and lighter on its underside. Unlike other rays, their mouth is located at the front of their head, rather than on the underside. Two distinctive horn-shaped lobes (called cephalic horns) extend from either side of the mouth—which explains its nickname “devil ray” or “devil fish.”
Paul Dabill Photography shared footage of a manta in the Jupiter Inlet along with hundreds of blacktip sharks as they swam around the Juno Beach Pier during their annual migration! Want more? Check out the drone footage on 1/27/23 by the same wonderful photographer!
Even if you’ve never encountered a sawfish before, it is an easy species to identify—unsurprisingly their elongated snout (rostrum) looks like a saw with sharp transverse teeth lining the edges and can be as much as one-third the entire length of the fish. Also known as carpenter sharks, they actually belong to the ray family. Depending on the species, sawfishes commonly reach 10 to 11 feet in length. The smalltooth sawfish can be found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida.
Although still a rare occurrence, sightings of the sawfish are increasing along the Jupiter coast—a hopeful sign that the population of these endangered fish is rebounding. For a spectacular video of a sawfish, check out the footage taken by our very own Dive Master Hellen on Bonnie’s Jan 21, 2021.
Lemon sharks aren’t the only sharks you’ll see on Lemon Drop. Five minutes into the dive on 2/17/23, Sean Brennan noticed a shark with a very distinctive head cruising by and was lucky enough to catch a great hammerhead on video!
The great hammerhead is one of two types of hammerhead sharks that can be found in Florida—the other being the scalloped hammerhead. Both range in size from 5-14 feet and are usually found in depths ranging from 10-200 feet.
These are just a few of the many, many reasons to dive in Jupiter, Florida. Warm waters, pristine reefs, exciting wrecks—and no passport required. Let Jupiter Dive Center introduce you to the best scuba diving in Palm Beach County! Call 561-745-7807 or Book Your Dive today!