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November 18, 2000: West Palm Beach, Florida

"Princess Anne" - "Flower Gardens"
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This was the Rodale's group originally scheduled for October 14th.
Diving off of West Palm Beach:
  • Directions from Tampa: To get to WPB, I usually take I-75 to HW60, and then go south on I-95.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny and warm.

  • Personal Notes: The Princess Anne was a paddlewheel boat that was purposefully sunk, but they used a little too much dynamite. The top half of the boat sits right next to the bottom half of the boat about 95 feet down. The "Flower Gardens" is a reef that's perfect for drift diving; this was my second visit to the reef.

    Rudy, who was my buddy for these dives, lost his tank during our exploration of the Princess Anne. It slipped out of the tank strap and was dangling down a little. I stopped Rudy because he hadn't noticed, and for a while failed to understand what my hand signals meant ... until I grabbed his tank and showed it to him. A minute or two later, though, and I had him all set up.

    I could only wish for more time to explore, and maybe penetrate, the Princess Anne. A beautiful wreck, I would suggest swimming around the top half of the wreck rather than the bottom half. Though there's a lot to see (particularly the barracuda), I would guess that there's a larger variety of life around the top half of the wreck.

Pictures!

Some of the best I've had a chance to take ... not that they are my best shots, but just some beautiful (and large!) fish.
Princess Anne
A shot of one of the many large barracuda that were stalking the area around the wreck of the Princess Anne.
It took about five minutes of Rudy furiously thrusting his finger in the general direction of this plain-as-day scorpion fish for me to actually see the bugger ... and even then, he had to move before I saw him.  If you don't see him right off the bat, YOU CAN'T MISS HIM!  He's smack dab in the middle of the picture.
A honeycomb cowfish.
Another shot of the honeycomb cowfish.
John eating a snack, and my sister with a look that says "Get me to the next site now or I'm coming up there and mutinying!"
Flower Gardens
Though the picture is a little flawed, this is still a good shot of a (queen?) parrotfish.
A stoplight parrotfish hiding behind some coral.
A damselfish hiding in a sponge (?) bowl. I peered over the edge with my camera and snapped a shot of this little guy.
An angelfish.
This spiny lobster risks a look out from underneath his hiding place to see if any of the tail hunters are about. Lucky for this guy, they had moved on.
This little bugger (the white guy with the black dots all over him, just right of center) is a juvenile trunk fish, not even an inch long (so it's quite amazing that he came out as well as he did). When my sister pointed at him and wanted me to take photos, I was skeptical that it would come out ... so much so, that when I first saw the photo I thought, "What was I trying to take a picture of?" She saw the photo and pointed it out.
The trumpet fish were huge on this visit.  This is a pretty red one.
Here's a bluehead near a spotted moray.
A better shot of the spotted moray. There were at least two of these guys, probably three or four, throughout the dive.
Another big trumpet fish.
A french grunt right near the hidey-hole of a green moray.
Some french angelfish.
Sometimes it's cool to see the same things you saw on a previous visit to the same site. Seeing this old soul again was a joy, especially since I could snap a really good picture of him.  Alas, I ran out of film before I could take successful shots of the nurse shark sleeping by this guy's tail, under a ledge about 5 feet away.


Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
88 Princess Anne 95 feet 29 min. 77 F
89 Flower Gardens 55 feet 51 min. 76 F
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