An Underwater Vacation—No Passport Required

The first thing to look at when planning a trip is the destination. Jupiter, Florida is a premier dive location for many reasons—including the fact that the nation’s only coral reef runs just offshore. Add to that an abundance of vibrant reef fish, large pelagics swimming in the Gulf Stream, and bucket list dives, well, you really can’t go wrong.

Logistics is another thing to consider.  Jupiter Dive Center is located in Palm Beach County, an area easily accessible by car or plane. Palm Beach International Airport is a mere 20 miles south of the shop, and an easy drive along the 95 freeway. There are oodles of place to stay in Palm Beach County from familiar chains to cozy boutique accommodations—and even more restaurants with outdoor seating or takeout options.

The change of seasons in Jupiter is less about fall foliage and snow and more about what you can expect to encounter while diving. In September be prepared to see goliath groupers—a LOT of them. From July through September, the goliaths aggregate to spawn. Typically, you can see upwards of 60 of the gentle giants. This year has been spectacular and on the Wreck Trek, a trio of three wrecks, there were 105 of them hanging out in the current. Considering they can easily weigh in at a svelte 400 pounds, that’s 42,000 pounds of fish!

While nesting season is winding down, sea turtles will still be plentiful off our shores through October, and our area has one of the largest sea turtle nesting populations in the nation! During this time, loggerheads, hawksbills and green sea turtles are abundant, but keep your eyes peeled for leatherbacks and the Kemps’ Ridley sea turtles as well.

Last year during November and December, we started to see a resurgence of sawfish! Identifiable by their elongated serrated rostrums these fish are endangered. Spotting one of these fish is truly a bucket-list experience.

If you are planning a trip early next year, you’re in luck! January through February marks lemon shark season. (More on them next month!) As the lemons leave, they’re replaced by migrating aggregations of blacktip reef sharks that stay through March—which happens to be the same month the sea turtles come back. Rays migrate throughout the year but in Jupiter, spotted eagle rays with their impressive pectoral wingspread are most often seen in the autumn months. Southern stingrays are abundant in Florida, and we tend to have more sightings in the winter months through February.

So, what are you waiting for? Jupiter has world-class diving. The Gulf Stream that runs along the coast of Florida means all the dives are drift dives. Follow our dive guide or explore with your buddy, the choice is yours. At the end of the dive, surface and the boat will come to you.

If you’re traveling with someone who doesn’t already dive, we also offer classes and are a PADI 5 Star facility. Contact Jupiter Dive Center for information regarding open water certification.

And of course, in the shop and on the boat, our crew is following the latest state safety protocols.

There’s really no reason to put off a destination scuba trip. It’s just time to look a little closer to home. Warm water, pristine reefs, and exciting wrecks. Let Jupiter Dive Center introduce you to the best scuba diving Palm Beach County has to offer!

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