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Dive Review of Force-E/Admiral's Club in
The Continental USA

Force-E/Admiral's Club, Mar, 2010,

by Paul Selden, MI, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 5678.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Caribbean, Vancouver Island, California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 64 to 70 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 2 to 20 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No remarkable restrictions. Solo diving okay.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments After each dive, you can rinse all gear with a fresh water hose and dry it on the dock. Cameras can be soaked in plenty of clean fresh water in the tub at your own apartment/room.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments If you want to dive Phil Foster Park in West Palm/Riviera Beach, you want the max convenience, arent allergic to a little pet dander from the owners dogs and cats, and dont mind a do-it-yourself, non-resort atmosphere, staying at the Admirals Club on Singer Island is the absolute best place to stay, and Force-E scuba center is the handiest scuba shop around. Admirals Club is a small (approx. 10-14) room apartment building on the intra-coastal waterway that caters to divers and rents furnished full-kitchen rooms to those who dont mind fending for themselves. Richard Baumgart, the owner/manager, has no website, doesnt check his email every day (admiralsclub@aol.com), but does return calls and emails eventually. We stayed in a roomy two bedroom plus livingroom/kitchen apartment for $900/week. One of the main attractions about the Admirals Club is that Richards dock is fantastic, with a view west directly of Phil Foster Park, and steps down into the intra-coastal that allowed us to enter the water any time we felt like it. In case you havent been reading the dive magazines lately, you may have missed that Phil Foster Park (and the nearby waters, including Richards dock) is home to some unusual marine life. The east end of the Blue Heron Bridge, which connects the mainland to Singer Island, by way of Phil Foster Park, is under construction. That may be keeping some divers away, since diving under this part of the bridge (where a lot of the weird creatures hand out) is off-limits. But there is plenty of good diving off the park, under the east piers, and off Admirals Club itself. I saw my first sea spider in the sands off Phil Foster Park on a morning dive, and saw my first beaded sea cucumber at night under a dock just north of the Admirals Club dock. The place was a macro-photo heaven. I was so fascinated by the marine life that I never bothered doing any ocean dives by boat (which are also well worth doing). Diving in the intra-coastal, dive times are totally governed by the tides. There are two main rules, and you learn them fast. First, you cant reasonably dive except for a period some 30-45 minutes before and after the tide turns, when the water is slack. At other times, the water flows like a river with high current. Second, the only time visibility is reasonably good is at high tide, when the ocean sweeps in; at low tide, murk, organic matter, leaves and twigs from the shallows sweep out, reducing visibility to a couple of feet or less. If you time things right, by luck or design, this means you can get in a couple of great dives per day, about 11-1/2 hours apart, so the time changes every day! I tried diving one low tide, but the visibility made it too tedious. Dives are shallow, only 8-20 feet, so one upside is that they are nice and long. I fell into a routine that usually included one morning, and one night dive. In the afternoon Id pick up a pair of fresh tanks from the nice folks at the full-service, well-stocked Force-E Dive Center (on the same road as the Blue Heron Bridge, about a quarter mile to the west) and go sight seeing with my wife. Important: bring your dive hood, even if you only think you need a 3 mil for sunny Florida. This past winter and March were exceptionally cold in Florida, and for the first few dives Id get very cold toward the end, even in my 7 mil. Buying a one mil hooded tunic at Force-E made all the difference between total comfort and having to tough it out. Topside, it was hot and great weather. We enjoyed driving around the island and looking at the beautiful homes along the seaside drives in the Palm Beach area. There are a lot of great restaurants in the area (we liked Johnny Longboats and the Sailfish Marina) if you dont want to cook for yourself. The public beach and walking paths on Singer Island are well kept. Be sure to see the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach. Henry Flagler was an oil tycoon who built the railroad out to Key West. His 55-room estate has been nicely restored. The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach is another gem. My rating for beginners is my opinion that beginning scuba divers might be bored by diving in the intra-coastal waterway or find diving at high tides to be too demanding, schedule-wise. But beginners would probably greatly enjoy a combo of boat diving with Force-E and a few dives in the intra-coastal around the park.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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