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

Jim Abernathy Scuba Adventures/Marriott Ocean Pointe, May, 2004,

by Richard Rodriguez, TX, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 1056.

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

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions With a computer, dive your own profile. 3-5 minute safety stop, exit water with 300-500 PSI.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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 DivingR.us 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 DivingR.us 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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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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