Posted on Leave a comment

The Best of Both Worlds: Diving and a Safari!

The Best of Both Worlds: Diving and a Safari!

Can’t decide between a dive trip and an African safari? Now you don’t have to choose! Join Jupiter Dive Center for a spectacular trip that starts underwater and ends on safari! The safari is optional, but you’re already in the neighborhood and once you see what we have planned, you won’t want to say no.

The Diving

The adventure starts with a night in Johannesburg, and then a quick transfer the next day to the stunning sub-tropical sea fortress of Saint Helena, Britain’s most remote and beautiful island. Spend the next several days exploring the clear warm waters beyond the seawall diving with enormous manta rays and other fascinating marine creatures and swimming with whale sharks. At night, relax in a British pub or enjoy fine wine and food. Enjoy a tour of the island and visit Napoleon’s grave and house.

Enjoy two dives a day for five days, two whale shark tours, two afternoon dives, three group dinners and an extensive island tour.

The Safari

Dry off your fins and prepare to enjoy a Zambezi river cruise, guided game park drives, great food, huge tented rooms with western style facilities, a small pool to cool down after a full day, and a fully stocked bar to ease into the evening. And then there are the animals: hippos, crocodiles, myriad birds, African elephants, and more!

This portion of the trip starts with a short regional flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The evening festivities include a 2-hour sunset river tour. The next morning, you’ll visit the glorious Victoria Falls, where water thunders from a height of 355 feet.  That afternoon, you’ll board the classic Stimela Star train and enjoy a comfortable sleeper car for the overnight trip toward Hwange National Park.

The next couple of days offers a range of activities, all in the heart of the park. Enjoy game drives with members of our group and be on the lookout for lion, buffalo, kudu, giraffe, zebra, and a stunning number of birds. Crocodiles guard the waterholes, so be sure to watch closely for movement!

The packages

Saint Helena includes:

1 night in the City Lodge Hotel Johannesburg Airport

Flights from Johannesburg to St. Helena and returning to Johannesburg

Airport Transfers on St. Helena Island

10 guided morning dives

2 guided afternoon dives

2 afternoon whale shark snorkel tours

1 full-day land tour in St. Helena

Shared accommodation in the Mantis Hotel St. Helena including breakfast

3 dinners

*Non diver package includes: 2 whale shark snorkel tours, daily breakfast, 3 dinners, and 1 full-day island hike with guide.

Hwange National Park extension includes:

1 night in Johannesburg Airport Hotel with breakfast

Transfer flights from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls to Johannesburg

Road transfers to Victoria Falls airport and Victoria Falls town and hotel

1 night lodging in Victoria Falls Lodge

1 evening river cruise on the Zambezi with transport included

Transfer from Victoria Falls hotel to Dete / Stimela Star train station

1 night full board accommodation on sleeper train Stimela Star into Hwange

National Park

3 nights inside Hwange National Park in Bomani Safari Camp with all meals, soft drinks, park fees, activities, guides, and rangers included in either twin or double tented room

Road transfer from Bomani Campin Hwange NP to Victoria Falls Airport

Flights from Victoria Falls Airport returning to Johannesburg.

Call Jupiter Dive Center for additional information and to reserve you space on this incredible trip before it’s too late.

Posted on Leave a comment

Proper Weighting Techniques for Optimal Scuba Diving Buoyancy

Proper Weighting Techniques for Optimal Scuba Diving Buoyancy

The benefits of being properly weighted while scuba diving are obvious: increased safety, improved air consumption, and even a better chance of seeing more wildlife because you won’t be bumping across the reef or silting up the environment. So, what is the perfect amount of weight for you to wear for optimal buoyancy while scuba diving? Well…it depends.

Think back to your open water class. You learned a general guideline for how to calculate the weight you needed that took into consideration the type of water you were diving in (fresh or salt), the thickness of your exposure suit, the type of tank you used, the weight of your gear, the buoyancy (or lack thereof) of your fins, and your body weight. From there, it was a matter of fine-tuning the amount by doing a weight check in the water.

Now that you are a certified diver, you should have a decent idea of what to wear for the various conditions you encounter. But we’re all creatures of habit and it’s easy to become complacent and use the same amount of weight regardless of conditions. Proficient divers can control their buoyancy even if they are poorly weighted, but it isn’t optimum. New divers that are poorly weighted often find themselves dragging across the reef, or are unable to control their ascents. Not only is that not optimum, but it can be dangerous as well.

So, let’s review.

An easy rule of thumb is to take about five percent of one’s body weight, add two pounds if wearing a wetsuit, add or subtract two pounds for the type of tank. That’s going to get you into the ballpark, weight-wise. PADI’s weight guidelines is more complex, but potentially more accurate.

But with all the variables here are a few things to remember:

Body weight is the biggest factor to consider when determining the amount of weight to use when diving—but not all body weight is created equal in the water. Muscle is more dense than fatty tissue. Women tend to be more buoyant than men.

Scuba tanks are usually aluminum or steel—and size matters. Steel tanks are heavy, and the bigger the tank, the less additional weight you’ll need to add to your kit. Some divers choose steels for exactly that reason. Aluminums, on the other hand, are lighter. And all tanks gain buoyancy as they empty, so it is better to start the dive a tad (emphasis on a little) over-weighted so by the end of the dive, you can comfortably complete a safety stop during your ascent.

Wetsuits. Basically, the thicker the neoprene, the more buoyant the suit. That said, there are wetsuit manufacturers who have increased the exposure rating without increasing the buoyancy of their materials. Neoprene also compresses—at depth and over time. A new suit tends to be more buoyant than an older suit. Diving in cold water? Adding a hooded vest, hood, gloves, thicker booties, or extra layers under the suit all add buoyancy.

Dry suits and rebreathers can also greatly affect buoyancy. The guidelines issued by the manufacturers will help you figure out how to properly weight yourself with their equipment.

Now it’s time for a weight check. Gear up, and as a safety precaution, add some air to your BCD in case you are over-weighted. Breathe through your regulator and enter water that is too deep to stand. Completely deflate your BCD. Hold a normal breath; if you float at eye level, congratulations! You are properly weighted. If not, adjust according in small increments. Once properly weighted, merely exhaling should be enough to slowly start your descent.

Still having a tough time? Jupiter Dive Center offers Peak Performance Buoyancy courses that will have your buoyancy optimized in no time. After all, mastering this fundamental of diving will increase your safety, protect the reef, improve your air consumption—and that all adds up to a better and more enjoyable dive!

Posted on Leave a comment

Palm Beach County Artificial Reef Fundraiser

Palm Beach County Artificial Reef Fundraiser

As divers, we all know the value of artificial reefs. They provide habitat for marine species, which in turn improves the health of our oceans. Artificial reefs also offer divers new and vibrant sites to explore. And now you can help. Join Jupiter Dive Center at the Palm Beach County Diving Association 2019 Artificial Reef Fundraiser on October fifth!

The Details

Grab your buddies! This year’s family-friendly fundraiser will be at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, located at 14200 U.S. Hwy 1, in Juno Beach, Florida. The festivities start at 6p.m. and conclude at 9p.m.

Enjoy good food, cold beer, wine and live music—all included in the $20.00 entry price. There will be a live raffle where you can bid on a variety of items that include dive excursions and vacation packages! If a silent auction is more to your liking, check out the wreck memorabilia, dive gear and yet another epic dive excursion you can bid on!

Tickets can be purchased by going online at https://divepbc.com/events/  If you can’t make the fundraiser, please consider making a donation and lending your support from afar.

Palm Beach County is Florida’s largest county with 45 miles of coastline. The waters offshore are populated with a diversity of marine life that makes for world class diving. At various times of the year, you’ll encounter sea turtles, sharks, goliath groupers, and a host of other fishes and creatures—large and small—drawn in by the nutrient-rich Gulf Stream current. Add in an abundance of wrecks and you can see why we love diving off the coast of Jupiter and are passionate about promoting the reefs and surrounding underwater habitats as a sustainable resource.

Now’s your chance to be a part of something big—help support Palm Beach County artificial reefs and join Jupiter Dive Center on October 5, 2019.

Posted on Leave a comment

Scuba Fins: How To Get Where You Want To Go!

It’s no secret. The divers who look the most comfortable underwater are those who maintain neutral buoyancy, keep their arms quiet, and maintain a steady, even kick. A poor kick is inefficient. One of the quickest ways to extend your air consumption is to improve your kick–and that requires the proper fin. Jupiter Dive Center can help.

Three Kick Styles

Scuba divers typically use three different types of kicks for propulsion, often switching between them as circumstances dictate.

The flutter kick is what divers learned in their open water course. The kick is from the hip and with very little bend to the knees. It is an efficient kick, but when done close to the sand or in a silty environment (think of your last swim through), it can stir things up with a single stroke. Not something the person behind you will appreciate.

The modified flutter kick is just that. It still has the up and down motion of a flutter kick, but this time, the diver bends his or her knees sharply so the fins are elevated while keeping the thighs in line with the body. This reduces the possibility of stirring up silt.

Lastly, divers may use the frog kick. This is the kick swimmers use during breaststroke. It, too, keeps the fins relatively elevated and is the kick of choice for technical divers in a close environment.  It’s also very efficient, rivals—and may even surpass—the speed of a flutter kick, but may take a bit of time to master.

 

Twin Jet Fin Black

Let’s Talk Fins

Fins come in a variety of configurations, blade lengths, and weights, but they all amplify a diver’s kick and increases his or her propulsion abilities underwater. The proper fin is also tailored to the diver’s size, experience, and fitness level. The two major distinctions are whether they are full-foot fins or open heel fins.

The full foot fin is designed to slip over a diver’s bare foot (although a swim sock cuts down on friction). These fins are often used for snorkeling or scuba diving in warmer waters. They tend to be more flexible and lighter.

The open heel fin doesn’t have an enclosed foot pocket, but rather a strap that rests above the diver’s heel to keep it snug. This type of fin requires divers to wear a bootie—an advantage when diving in colder water or walking across rocky terrain when shore-diving. The blades tend to be longer, thicker, and less flexible—all which contribute to a more forceful thrust when kicking.

The Blades

Divers have an incredible array of choices when it comes to their fins, and most of the innovations are found in the blade. There are wing blades, split fins, articulated joints, propulsion vents, and attachable skegs—not to mention a variety of colors (and let’s be honest, color matters). So how do you know which fin is right for you?

Seawing Nova Blue

 

Try Before You Buy

 The proper fin is tailored to the diver’s size, experience, fitness level and destination (Yes, there are travel fins available that are lighter weight and easier to pack!).

With all these variables, being able to visit our shop, talk to a knowledgeable staff member, and try on a variety of fins really pays off. And we’re happy to help you find the perfect fin!  Jupiter Dive Center is a Scubapro Platinum Dealer and we have everything you need to get the fit and propulsion you want.

Posted on Leave a comment

Sea Turtle Awareness Course Offered August 23rd!

Sea Turtle Awareness Course Offered August 23rd!

It’s turtle time along the Jupiter Coast, but if you don’t know the difference between a loggerhead and a hawksbill you can’t fully appreciate one of the area’s wonders. Jupiter Dive Center can change that. We’ve partnered with Loggerhead Marinelife Center to offer a Sea Turtle Awareness Specialty Course on August 23, 2019.

Five species of sea turtles can be found in our area and all are considered endangered. The three most abundant species are the loggerhead, green, and hawksbill. Less abundant are the leatherbacks and the Kemps’ Ridley sea turtles.

The beaches along Jupiter, Florida host one of the densest sea turtle nesting populations in the nation. That means chances are good that divers will encounter sea turtles whenever they dive, but between March and October, the likelihood of seeing one or more of these fabulous marine creatures’ skyrockets.

Because of their love of the ocean, divers often become some of the staunchest marine advocates. Our friends over at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center share our enthusiasm and are dedicated to promoting the conservation of ocean ecosystems and focus their attention on threatened and endangered sea turtles. Together, we provide an in-depth Sea Turtle Awareness program that will help ensure that the magnificent turtles we see today will continue to delight divers well into the future.

The Class

The class begins at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center where experts share their knowledge regarding the role sea turtles play in the marine environment, the issues they face, and the steps diver can take to protect sea turtles. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center also provides sea turtle rehabilitation care, and students will be able to see hatchlings as well as adult turtles at the facility.

Following the presentation, students will have time to grab lunch on their own before certified divers will meet at Jupiter Dive Center for an afternoon two-tank guided dive. Divers will focus on identifying the sea turtles they encounter, locating the types of habitat they prefer and noting any visible human impacts affecting the sea turtles.

Divers who complete both the classroom and dives will receive a Sea Turtle Awareness certification.

Jupiter Dive Center is offering this class August 23rd. So, what are you waiting for? Call (561)745-7807 to reserve your space in the next Sea Turtle Awareness course!

Posted on 2 Comments

Dive with the Giants—Goliath Groupers!

Dive with the Giants—Goliath Groupers!

One of the joys of exploring the Jupiter Wreck Trek is encountering the many goliath groupers that shelter in and around the individual wrecks. As the summer progresses, even more groupers arrive in the area to spawn.  These gentle giants are truly spectacular creatures and you can see them for yourself by joining Jupiter Dive Center on one of their weekly Wednesday Wreck Trek charters!

Diving With Goliaths

You’ll probably hear them first, a deep bark that booms for long distances through the water. As you drift closer to the wrecks, prepare yourself—they’re big!  How big? When these gentle giants attain maturity, they can stretch up to eight feet and weigh in at 500 pounds.

Goliath Grouper

 

Goliaths groupers were declared critically endangered in 1994, and the harvesting of groupers was prohibited in both state and federal waters. Historically, goliaths ranged far beyond our state, but their habitat has shrunk and now they are found primarily in southern Florida waters.

Every year, between July and September, goliath groupers gather off the coast of Jupiter to spawn. Seeing sixty or more of these behemoths is truly an experience that only a fortunate few get to experience. Although a push was made last year to reopen a limited sport season, there wasn’t enough data to show the goliath population had rebounded enough. The effort failed—much to local divers’ delight.

Want To Learn More?

Jupiter Dive Center is proud to offer an exclusive Goliath Grouper Specialty course where you will learn all about goliath grouper identification, habitat, range, diet and role in the marine ecosystem. It starts in the classroom in the morning. Lunch is on us. Then in the afternoon, it’s off on our boats for a two-tank charter where you get to put your newfound knowledge to use accompanied by your instructor. Divers who complete both portions of the class will receive a Goliath Grouper Specialty certification.

Your Next Adventure 

Goliath aggregation has begun, so there’s no better time to book a spot on one of the Wednesday Wreck Trek trips.  Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with these gentle giants of the ocean! 

Reserve your spot now by calling (561)745-7807 or visit our website here!

Posted on Leave a comment

Lobster Sport Season: How to catch your dinner safely 

Lobster Sport Season: How to catch your dinner safely.

Spiny Lobster Sport Season opens at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday July 24 and Jupiter Dive Center is ready with special charters! So, grab your license and reserve your spot now!

Love it or hate it, Lobster Sport Season is two days when it seems the entire population of Florida floods the waterways in search of their next dinner. Increased boat traffic, inexperienced hunters, and alcohol add to the crazy factor of mini-season. But there are steps you can take to increase your safety. 

Equipment:

If you haven’t been diving since last mini-season, you need to make sure your equipment is in good shape and serviced before you hit the water. All the diving off Jupiter is drift diving and divers are required to have their own surface marker buoy.

On the boat:

Listen to the boat briefings! Jupiter Dive Center crews will discuss the conditions, the site, boat procedures and what to do in an emergency—all to make sure your dive is safe and enjoyable.

In the water:

Either pull a float or be with someone who is. All Jupiter Dive Center charters have an in-water guide who pulls a float so you don’t have to. But lets face it, it’s lobster season. You and your buddy may splinter off from the guide or need to ascend before the guide. Carry—and know how to deploy—a surface marker buoy. More on that later…

Watch your gauges. In the thrill of the chase, it’s easy to go deeper and stay longer than you intended. And speaking of keeping an eye on things, pay attention to your buddy. Hunting or not, the unexpected can still happen.

At the end of the dive:

Make sure to start your ascent with enough air in your tank to complete your safety stop. As you ascend, listen for boat traffic. The waterways see more private boating during these two days than probably any other time of year. Because sound travels four times faster in water, it is impossible to guess a boat’s direction of travel. Look up and make sure your path is clear. And remember to inflate your surface marker buoy!

The Charters:

We’re offering additional charters during sport season that leave earlier and offer 3-tank dive options. These charters fill quickly—make your reservations now! (add links)

Wednesday:   2-tank charter departs at 7:30 a.m. (Please note the earlier time)
3-tank charter departs at 7:30 a.m.
2-tank charter departs at 12:30 p.m.

Thursday:      2-tank charter departs at 7:30 a.m.
3-tank charter departs at 7:30 a.m.

Lobster Sport Season Rules:

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers are out in force during sport season and it is each diver’s responsibility to know and comply with the regulations.

The daily bag limit is 12 lobsters!

Minimum size limit: Carapace must be larger than three inches, measured in the water. Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times.  And just in case you don’t already know, here’s how to measure a spiny lobster.

Make sure you have a current recreational saltwater fishing license and a lobster permit to harvest spiny lobster. The harvesting of any egg-bearing lobster is prohibited. Likewise, don’t use any device that is going to puncture or crush the shell or flesh of the lobster. Undersized lobster must be released unharmed.

 

And finally, if you didn’t get your limit during the sport season, don’t worry.  Regular lobster season opens on August 6th and we’re dedicating both our morning and afternoon trips on August 6th and 7th to lobster dives. After the initial opening, we will continue to dedicate our Wednesday and Friday afternoon charters to lobster hunters for the rest of the season.

 

So what are you waiting for? Reserve your spot today and on July 24th, you can be dining on fresh-caught lobster!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Return of Wreck Wednesdays at Jupiter Dive Center!

The Return of Wreck Wednesdays at Jupiter Dive Center!

Summertime is officially here and that means it’s time to dive the Wreck Trek with Jupiter Dive Center!  Beginning July 10th, we’ll be resuming our Wreck Wednesdays. With plenty of large marine animals to see and wrecks to explore, it’s drift diving at its finest!

Wreck Diver

 

The Wreck Trek

The Wreck Trek is a series of three wrecks that include the Zion Train, Miss Jenny, and the ESSO Bonaire. Goliath groupers love to hang out in the large nooks and crannies of the ships and the wrecks have become a popular aggregation site.

Jupiter Dive Center offers charters to the Wreck Trek every Wednesday mornings and by request. In August and September, we’ll add in a dive on the MG 1-11 to capitalize on viewing the goliaths. Remember to bring your camera, because diving with these gentle giants is a bucket-list experience!

A bit about the individual wrecks: 

The Zion Train is 164-foot cargo ship that rests on its port side in 90 feet of water about a mile north of the Jupiter Inlet. Built in the Netherlands in 1962, it moved European cargo for years. Its history tells a bloody tale of docking in Miami where five of its nine Haitian crewmembers were shot and killed by pirates. Three months later, the ship ran aground off South Beach. The ship was seized by Federal authorities and sold to a salvage company. It was scuttled June 2nd, 2003. Today, hurricanes and currents have torn the ship open and resident groupers are often found inside the broken bow. East of the Zion Train, at 90 feet, is a pile of concrete beams, which draws its own share of large marine life.

 

Zion Train Wreck

The Miss Jenny’s history is far more demure. The Maritime Tug & Barge Company donated the 55-foot dredge barge for use as an artificial reef and it was sunk north of the Zion Train. It is currently upside-down and is home to goliath, gag, and black groupers.

From there, set a 340-degree course to the ESSO Bonaire. Hailing from Tegucigaipa, Honduras. the 147-foot oil tanker was seized by U.S. Customs after agents discovered 55,000 pounds of marijuana on board. The Economic Council of Palm Beach County stepped forward and purchased the boat and it was purpose-sunk as an artificial reef on July 23, 1989. The largest of the three wrecks, she sits upright and her deck is about 75 feet below the surface in 90 feet of water. An easy wreck to explore, her holds are open and the cabin area at the stern may be safely penetrated as long as the diver does not go into the lower areas. Again, don’t be surprised to come face-to-face with a goliath grouper.

And now, a bit about goliath groupers:

If you haven’t yet seen one of these huge fish, they are a bit surprising. At maturity, they can reach 700 pounds and attain a length of eight feet. Imagine encountering a VW Bug underwater, and you get the idea. But don’t worry, goliaths are the gentle giants of the sea. Want to know more? Check out our Goliath Grouper Specialty Course!

 

So what are you waiting for? Grab your buddy and come dive with us. The water’s fine–and there are wrecks to explore! Call Jupiter Dive Center at 561-745-7807 or book your dive online, today.

Posted on Leave a comment

A 4th of July Night Dive & Fireworks Celebration!

A 4th of July Night Dive & Fireworks Celebration!

Celebrate Independence Day with a dive and fireworks! Join Jupiter Dive Center on July 4th as we celebrate our country’s independence with a 1-tank night dive followed by a front row seat to the holiday fireworks display.

There’s no need to fight for parking as we have a private lot and our comfortable boats are steps from the shop. The charter departs at 6:00 p.m.

Bring your favorite after-dive refreshments and snacks. We’ll have a special cooler to keep everything cold for you while you dive.  After you surface, relax and enjoy the show from the deck of the boat.  Once the firework display is complete, we’ll head back and the evening will conclude around 10:30 p.m.

Remember on night dives, divers must have a primary and backup light, tank light, a whistle or signaling device, and a surface marker signaling device.

Cost for this special event dive is $85.00 per person. Interested in having all your friends join you? A full-boat charter is available. Check with the shop for details.

Claim your spot on this popular dive, now. Call 751-745-7807 and start your celebration under the water and finish it among the stars. Happy Fourth of July!

Posted on Leave a comment

Travel Lineup 2019 and Beyond

Travel Lineup 2019 and Beyond
Divers are some of the most well traveled people. Why? Divers enjoy exploring areas above and below the waterline. Jupiter Dive Center understands. We also know that planning a dive vacation can be daunting. That’s why we do it for you—and here’s what we have planned.

Solomon Islands, October 14-25, 2019
The walls, reefs, pinnacles, and coral gardens of Solomon Islands support an amazing variety of sea creatures—from small reef dwellers to large pelagic marine animals. Popular with underwater photographers, “muck dives” reveal small and unusual critters such as Manta shrimp, ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses and more.

This trip includes 10 nights accommodation, up to 5 dives a day, meals and snacks.

Add on Fiji! You’re already in the region, why not make your dream of diving in Fiji come true. Stay an additional three nights at Treasure Island and you can add on three more 2-tank charters. 

Truk Lagoon May 9-16, 2020
Join us as we travel with Odyssey Adventures to see the ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon. Often cited as the best shipwreck destination in the world, this location offers a glimpse into history. Many divers go merely for the wrecks, but the area is also home to vivid tropical fishes, anemones, sponges, and larger marine life. On this trip, divers can choose to dive on their own or with experienced local guides for a truly memorable experience.

This 7-night live-aboard trip includes six days of diving—and divers can dive up to five times each day. The price includes nitrox (for those divers with enriched air certifications), meals and snacks. 

Little Cayman June 13-20, 2020
Little Cayman is a perennial favorite, but you have to book fast—our 2019 trip sold out quickly. Why is it so popular? One reason is the Bloody Bay wall—a pristine underwater site rated as the best diving in the Caribbean by National Geographic. But that’s only the beginning. Seventeen boat dives, an optional day trip to Cayman Brac, concierge diving with Reef Divers, and lodging and meals at Little Cayman Reef Resort make experience a holiday many of our divers return to year after year.

A word about insurance
There is a difference between dive insurance, which covers the diver, and travel insurance, which covers the trip. (Here’s a post that explains  more about travel insurance.) Jupiter Dive Center requires that traveling divers have DAN dive insurance or similar insurance to cover any dive-related health emergency. While not compulsory, travel insurance is highly recommended.

Ready to embark on your next adventure? The hardest decision is deciding where.  After that, Jupiter Dive Center will take care of the rest. Call us today at 561-745-7807.