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May 9, 2009: West Palm Beach, Florida

"Phil Foster Park"
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Nearly a year since the last time I had dived, my sister and I decided to do a cheap dive at Phil Foster Park.
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 - it quickly got hot ...

  • Personal Notes: Phil Foster Park is just over the Intracoastal bridge on Blue Heron Boulevard.

    Parking today was a bit tricky - there were a lot of divers and boaters and people just enjoying the park. The primary place for diving it seems involves walking under the bridge through the sand; there's a beach just on the other side of the bridge. There is an area set aside for "swimming", but this does not include diving and divers are advised to stay clear of this area. Bring a dive flag float to keep the boats above advised of your presence! I would suggest doing what you can to get a spot close to the beach area (and the showers) and gear up at your car, carting your fins into the water. Get them on, get below and go!

    I had done a dive at Phil Foster Park once before. I remember it as a fun shallow shore dive, where you could see octopus and tropical fish just off of the beach. Depending on where you go, you might not even break 10 feet!

    The surprise this time was finding a couple of wrecked boats that had been down for a while - a large sailboat and a smaller motor boat (still with it's outboard motor). We spotted a couple of octopi, several blennies, and even a shrimp living with a goby.
Lessons of the dives:
  • Shore diving can be tricky - do you gear up at the car? Or cart your stuff to a bench (providing you have someone to watch your stuff)? This time we did the bench. Heat and distance can figure in to your choice ...

Pictures!

All macros from the 30D - many of them were "quick fix" processed through my favorite image program (to fix color and brightness) and then resized and tagged using ImageMagick. I'm not sure what was up with the camera today - perhaps the shallowness of the dives was toying with the TTL on the strobes. Sometimes a shot would be too dark, and then another shot with no changes would be whited out. Got a few decent shots though ...
Phil Foster Park
One of the first things we saw was an octopus, looking out at us from his den.
A side shot of the octopus in his den.
One of the many many sea urchins.
Some form of wrasse.
I'm guessing this is a Bridled Goby.
Not sure - guessing it's some form of Wrasse or Razorfish.
It looks mostly like a Razorfish, but I can't find anything in my ID book that has markings that match.
I thought this was a Flying Gunard, but my buddy Paul says it's a Sea Robin, which is a close relative to the Flying Gunard.
Fireworm.
There were several of them.
A very close up shot of the spines on one of the fireworms.
Sand Perch.
Sand Perch.
Sand Perch.
I got a shot of this (Orangespotted?) Goby, and was getting ready to move on when I noticed ...
A miniature dune of sand being pushed out of his hole.
He had a Snapping Shrimp friend.
I spent a lot of time watching this pair, taking many pictures.
Here's a good shot of the shrimp by himself.
A shot into the den.
And the best shot of the batch - the two of them side by side.
Another octopus in a hole. He was very shy.
More Goby, possibly Orangespotted.
A couple of fireworms.
Hermit crab that was hiding out in the shadow of a boat.
A small barracuda (and a snorkeler behind him).
Arrow crab. This guy was very large!
This (I would guess) Seaweed Blenny was hanging out on the wreck.
This particular Blenny blended in well with his background.
I would guess he's a Seaweed Blenny.
I would bounce between the two. Though supposedly both "Seaweed Blenny", they had very different colorations. It's the markings on the head (and supposedly an "obscure" spot on the gill) that would ID them as Seaweed Blenny.
Same blenny as a couple of shots ago ... poking his head around the corner of the rock he was hiding behind.
An extreme closeup of a small part of a very large Sea Star.
A Striped Burrfish.
A Yellow Stingray that was hiding under one of the wrecks.
I suspect this to be a male Rosy Blenny due to the red on his chin.
Another shot of the male Rosy Blenny.


Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
399 Phil Foster Park 10 feet 59 min. 79 F
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