Cet article est aussi disponible sur Le Cahier
Have you ever thought of West Palm Beach as a diving destination? No? Then you might be amazed at how much the region has to offer enthusiasts of this increasingly popular aquatic sport.
I’ve been hooked on diving since January. All it took was a somewhat stressful leap of faith. In fact, my first dive took place during a storm in Tahiti (you can read more about it HERE). I immediately fell in love with the sport and decided, right there and then, to obtain Open Water Padi certification the following month in Hawaii (you can read more about it HERE). Since then, I’ve taken every opportunity that presents itself to indulge in some deep sea diving in order to immerse myself in the little known world that lies at the bottom of the ocean. I spent five heavenly days diving in Barbados in July. Shortly thereafter, I received an invitation to do some diving as part of a press trip in the Palm Beach area. To be perfectly candid, I felt less than excited by the prospect. I assumed it would be rather dull in comparison to my adventures in Tahiti, Hawaii and Barbados. Well, I was wrong. Diving in Palm Beach is a blast! The sheer diversity of the area’s marine life boggles the mind.
Who should you dive with in Palm Beach?
I dived with Pura Vida Divers as well as Jim Abernethy’s team and would highly recommend them both.
I jumped upon the opportunity for a night time dive with Pura Vida Divers when I arrived in Palm Beach. We dropped into the water at the very limit where the ocean becomes substantially deeper. There, we admired turtles and numerous schools of fish. We let ourselves drift underwater but the current in that area is strong, making it difficult at times to stop and enjoy the view. The boat returned one hour later to pick us up. The following day, the Pura Vida team guided us on an exploration of 5 shipwreck sites. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense groupers who live near the shipwrecks. They’re actually bigger than me!
My next diving excursion was with Jim Abernethy’s team. We went on the search for large marine animals such as sharks or turtles. It’s his specialty and an adventure not to be missed! Jim is a photographer for National Geographic and is passionate about changing the way we see sharks by diving among them without a cage. Jim has devoted his life to the discovery and preservation of underwater life.
Is it cold?
I recommend wearing a 4/3 wetsuit for the waters of Palm Beach. Although chilly, I never actually found myself shivering during my first two days of diving. The third day was more challenging for me. As a matter of fact, I had difficulty descending more than 65 feet from the water’s surface because of the intense thermocline. I kid you not, you can get cold, really cold, in Florida!
When diving enthusiasts choose a destination for their next trip, it’s usually with the area’s marine vegetation and life in mind, knowing how much fun they can have out of the water makes Florida especially enticing! Florida is hardly unknown to Quebeckers. It’s a place where good food and entertainment are readily available. So, whether you spend time underwater or on a boat or on the mainland, you can be sure of one thing… you’re going to have loads of fun!
Speaking of hotels, I was fortunate to be a guest at the Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront, centrally located on Riviera Beach and within walking distance of Pura Vida Divers. I also spent some time at the Waterstone Resort and Marina in Boca Raton. I couldn’t do any diving on my last day in Florida due to potential safety concerns; however, I enjoyed visiting a few of the nearby towns.
As for restaurants, I recommend a visit to either, or both, Coconuts on the Beach and the Guanabanas Restaurant. Both establishments have a gorgeous terrace and the meals are plentiful. When in Boca Raton, I recommend a stop at the Kapow Noodle Bar which offers fine fast food. I must admit however that my favourite spot is The DaDa in Delray Beach, reputed for its original and refined cuisine!
I did some snorkeling on my the last day in Florida. I couldn’t do any more diving because divers must allow for a certain period of time, as a safety precaution, prior to boarding a plane. While I did enjoy seeing schools of small yellow fish swimming near the water’s surface, I must admit that I much prefer diving. I feel like an invader when I’m snorkelling; whereas when I’m diving, I’m part of a larger universe, one where I feel like I belong.
PSST: All of the swimsuits I’m wearing in these pictures come from Bikini Village.
Jewelry Talk - Why do we Wear Jewelry?