The Underwater Giants of Jupiter Florida

Numerous species of grouper call Florida waters home. They’re all noted for having strong, heavy bodies, large mouths, prominent lips, and a jutting lower jaw. But even if you don’t know your black from your graysby, chances are you’d recognize the goliath grouper.

As their name suggests, they’re big—the kind of big that stretches up to eight feet and weighs in at 500 pounds. Diving with one is an experience. Encountering upwards of sixty of them at one time is astounding. Best of all? Jupiter Dive Center can make that happen!

Three goliath groupers on the sandy seabed

Historically, goliaths ranged far beyond our state, but their habitat has shrunk.

While our offshore reefs host a year-round population of goliaths, between July and September their numbers surge as this protected species gathers to spawn. 

Groupers spend the first five years of their lives in mangroves while they mature, but even as juveniles, they can reach nearly four feet in length. As adults, they shift habitats and move offshore to the reefs or wrecks.

During aggregation, they often congregate on the Wreck Trek, a series of three wrecks—the Zion Train, Miss Jenny, and The Esso Bonaire, one of our popular charters. 

Groupers-on-Zion-Pat-Ford
Grouper-over-reef-Walt Stearns

If you are more interested in diving reefs rather than wrecks, consider Tunnels, a spectacular and very popular reef dive.

Goliaths like to hang out by the first of the three tunnels, while several more can be found under a substantial ledge that divers will encounter near the 25-minute mark of their dive.

Goliath groupers are docile giants but opportunist eaters. If you spear a lionfish they’ll be happy to eat it for you!

On night dives, they’ll let your flashlight beam find their next morsel—which is something to be aware of because, despite their size, they can materialize out of the darkness with surprising speed.

JDC Goliath under wreck & shark in background 600x360

Want To Learn More?

Grouper-in-the-blue-Alan C Egan

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

Divers who complete both portions of the class will receive a Goliath Grouper Specialty certification. 

The goliath grouper spawning aggregation draws divers in from around the globe, and Jupiter, Florida is ideally situated with plenty of quality lodging in the area. We hope you’ll join us, so you too, can say you’ve been diving with the area’s gentlest giants.

Are you ready? Call Jupiter Dive Center at 561-745-7807 and book your dive today.

A Reminder About New Certification Requirements

Diving is an inherently dangerous sport, but fortunately, it doesn’t take much to substantially minimize the risk, and diver safety is Jupiter Dive Center’s number one priority. Please remember that all divers are required to have a nitrox certification, a surface marker buoy, a dive computer, and appropriate certifications for depth. Many of our charters require an advanced open-water certification and that information is noted on the booking page under each dive. 

Lobster Sport Season July 24-25 2024

Lobster Sport Season is just around the corner and if you want to catch your dinner, there are a couple of things you need to know. (For some tips check out this blog post –but don’t pay attention to the dates, it’s from 2020), Our lobster dive charters require divers to be advanced open water and nitrox certified. During Lobster sport season, destinations are chosen with hunting in mind. Each diver is responsible for having their own recreational saltwater fishing license, any appropriate permits, and to practice hunting in compliance with season, size, and limits (here’s a link to the current regulations). We always maintain communal catch coolers on our boats. Happy hunting and bon appetit!

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