Mar 17

Drift dive off of Jupiter (Florida)

Category: Florida,scuba,Travel

Another day, another dive.  I bought a seat on a “cattle boat” but it was a well-run cattle boat.  The weather was perfect, the water calm.  Today I learned my lower tolerance limit for a 3MM wetsuit – the water was about 73, which was OK for the first dive, but by the end of the second I was shivering.  It was just manageable, but I would have preferred using a heavier wetsuit or better yet, a dry suit.  The hood I used was a big help, as were th neoprene socks under my dive boots.  Everyone’s personal thermostat is set differently though; in my group there were a few dry suits, and a guy wearing a shortie!

The water is turbid at this time of year; you have to get right on top of animals to photograph them.  The limited visibility and current can be a little much for some novice divers; you have to be prepared for the spookiness of such conditions.  It is easy to get separated and lose sight of other divers.  Carrying a surface marker with a reel is mandatory, in my opinion (many dive operators require this too).

Scrawled cowfish, one of the most beautiful fish in the ocean.  I’ve seen them many times in Florida and in Cozumel.

Another scrawled cowfish, showing some color variation.

A spotted moray, Gymnothorax moringa, with an arrow crab in the background.

Check out those tubed nostrils.  I wonder if they help the eel discern the directions of scents?  Morays are supposed to have an excellent sense of smell.

A blue angelfish.

Yellowhead wrasse, terminal phase.  Many fish go through phases of develoment in which they take on radically varying appearances.  Until DNA analysis, observers thought that the juvenile and mature phases of some fish were different species.  Some fish have not only juvenile/mature phases, but other phases in between, where the fish might change sex.

Spanish hogfish.

An juvenile cocoa damselfish, about 3 inches long.

Harlequin bass

Brilliant yellow sponge.

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