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Dive Review of Jim Abernathy Scuba Adventures/Marriott Ocean Pointe in
The Continental USA/West Palm Beach, FL

May, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Richard Rodriguez, TX, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 1056
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cabo San Lucas, MX; Cozumel, MX; U.S. Gulf of Mexico; Maui, HI
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
77   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
With a computer, dive your own profile.  3-5 minute safety stop, exit water
with 300-500 PSI.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Lots of average Caribbean tropical fish, large schools of bait and game
fish, numerous turtles (both variety and number).  The boat did not have a
rinse tank for cameras, but did have a fresh water hose to wash equipment
off between and  after dives.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
We had planned on four days of two tank diving with Jim Abernathy's Scuba
Adventure, but boat problems (two were recently sunk in a crane accident at
the pier, the remaining boat developed a gas tank leak the day we arrived),
ended us up being farmed out to other dive operations.  Anna Abernathy was
very diligent about ensuring we did not miss a single dive based on the
reservations we made previously with her.  We were sent out with
on the first day and found this to be an overall disaster.  The boat was
overcrowded, weather was rough and viz very poor.  Although we were diving
with another operation, Abernathy's did provide the DM's.  Cicily, although
very nice, was lacking in many areas.  Very little briefing was given prior
to either of the dives and we were basically on our own while on the boat
and in the water.  She was more interested in diving with a friend who was
on the boat than attending to us.  She was back on the boat before we
finished each of our two dives that day, running out of air on the first,
then getting cold on the second. The boat, The Narcosis, is
purported by their website not to take out more than 20 divers, but our
charter had nearly 30 on board.  Capt. Ray Davis was very knowledgeable and
friendly. We dove Elevator, Breakers Reef and The Trench on our two tanks
that day.  Current was nearly non-existant, but surge was heavy and viz was
15-20 ft.  Corals appeared healthy and lots of tropical fish were found. 
It was turtle mating season, and we found several large males and females
resting on the bottom, presumably worn out between mating sessions.  We did
spot a large goliath grouper at the end of The Trench, before he slipped in
to a large culvert.  I will say that the chaotic nature of our first dive
day was likely due to last minute boat problems with Abernathy's, and Anna
should be commended for making last minute changes to ensure we did not
miss a day of diving.

The remaining three days were chartered with Pura Vida Divers.  Brian
Cripes was assigned as our DM the remainder of the week and proved to be
quite competent.  Brian is a college student from Michigan and was in
Florida for the summer to work.  He is an experienced wreck diver and it
showed.  He was very knowledgable about the dive sites in WPB and did a
good job of pointing out small creatures.  I can't say enough good things
about Pura Vida Divers and our captain and guide, Trevor Wichmann.  Trevor
is a transplant from Oregon, but has been diving the WPB area for some time
and is very knowledgeable about all the sites.  When Trevor says
"dive, dive, dive", you need to get in the water and under
quickly, as the surface currents are strong and could quickly take you away
from the dive site.  The Sirena is a very capable dive boat and we never
had more than ten divers on board.  On 5/17/04 we dove Mid-Reef and Toy
Box/Playpen.  Again, healthy reef was found, along with large schools of
fish.  Baracuda were prevalent and very curious, and we were able to
explore to the limits of our computer and air.  On 5/19/04 we dove Shark
Canyon and some wrecks, which WPB is noted for.  Trevor informed us that
sharks were not as prevalent since feeding them was stopped last year.  We
manged to see a nurse, lemon and very curious reef shark, none of which
came too close.  on our second tank we went down on the Mizpah and spent
time down in the open holds of the ship.  We found them to be full of all
kinds of fish and a few turtles.  One of our group spotted a large goliath
grouper.  Strong currents had resumed by today, so it was a short drift
over to the Amaryllis.  We found it to basically be just a gutted hull, but
it was large and full of coral, sponges and fish.  Our last day of boat
diving took us to Governor's Reef Riverwalk, Dive-A-Rama and Rockpiles. 
Governor's Reef Riverwalk is a group of four wrecks sunk about two years
ago at the order of Gov. Jeb Bush.  These boats were confiscated and sunk
after being caught as drug runners.  They are in much better use now,
providing lots of opportunities to see new corals and lots of fish.  Large
Angels (greys and queens), butterfly fish, trunkfish and spiny puffers were
abundant, as were large spiny lobsters and stingrays.

Don't miss out on making a night dive under the Blue Heron Bridge.  Check
the tide charts carefully, though, because you won't be able to get out
unless it is slack tide.  Marine life in miniature was abudant.  Quarter
size flounder, sargent majors, scorpionfish and other tropicals hung close
to and in between the bridge pilings.  I have also never seen so many
octopus in such a small area.  Most were very curious and allowed us to
handle them.  Be careful of the stingrays, not always easy to see at night,
guitarfish were also plentiful.  On the way back to the beach we also swam
with a foot long spanish dancer, what a sight!

WPB is good for drift diving (very strong currents may not be good for new
divers, some in our group had problems), wrecks and healthy reefs.  We saw
turtles on every dive, both under and on the surface.  bring seasickness
medication if you get queasy, seas on a calm day are 2-3', we had them at
6-8' on the roughest day.  
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