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Dive Review of Jupiter Dive Center in
The Continental USA/Jupiter

Jupiter Dive Center, Aug, 2012,

by Torsten Gross, NY, US ( 2 reports). Report 6692.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Key Largo, New York, Pennsylvania, Cuaraco
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 84 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 65 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments At 8am I checked in with Steve Metcalf who is a dive master at Jupiter Dive Center. As part of the dive, Steve asked two Dive Masters in Training (Lauren and Daryl) to join us for the dive (from moment one I felt at ease. Super nice folks, just as excited about diving as I am). After signing the dont-sue-us-if-you-die-because-you-did-something-wrong-you-moron paperwork and reciting my Im-nervous-but-humor-will-mask-reality jokes, Lauren and crew moved my gear and tanks (Steel 100s) to the boat. The dock, located behind JDC, has small 3 steps down to get to the boat. The guys lifted me down with no issue (I am in a wheelchair). Then Daryl and Clay (one of the great deckhands) backed me down a ramp which, during low-tide, deserves the double-black diamond rating (vs a green bunny slope when we returned with high tide). Once on the boat, I strapped myself to the ladder so that I wouldnt be thrown around during our trip to the wreck. I must have gotten lucky, because we only had 10 divers on the boat, a luxury for any diver (and they were all great people. With that much luck I shouldve played the lottery!)
Our first location was the Zion Train. Sandy, the dive guide, gave a great safety briefing and explained the plan. Zion Train is a make-up of 3 wrecks: the first is the Zion, a small tug listing on its side, the second is Miss Jenny, an upside down barge, and the third is the Esso Bonaire, a large, upright barge. All the divers dropped first. I rolled to the back of the boat, retied by chair to a rail (don't want it going over with me), and was lifted down onto the transom. We snapped on my BC and I did a roll forward into the water. As this was my first deep dive (91'), we descended slowly onto Zion. I don't recall the Zion because I was concentrating more on the process than the view. After a few minutes we rose out of the shadow of the boat where I could feel the current. It wasn't fast, but nice enough to know that I could drift alone without a problem. We drifted to the next wreck passing a large (30-40) group of Goliath Grouper (up to 300lbs). Peering into some of the openings you could see Groupers that (in my estimation) were so big they couldn't get out of the wreck! As we approached the top of the wreck, covered by a beautiful green blanket, you could see straight into the hull. I had never breached a wreck, so this was an exciting moment. There wasn't all that much to see inside the hull, but never the less a good practice run for what was to come.
We continued on and explored the Captains Bridge and the aft of the barge. I peered into one of the openings and felt the urge to go in. As it was a tiny opening, we entered through another entrance (something I rarely say: we "used the stairs"). Being 6'5", broad shoulders with a tank attached to me and not being the most graciously nimble swimmer (but what the heck right?), heading into the opening was calculated (read: trying not to hit everything). I exhaled and descended down the steps into the passageway with Steve in front of me. We made our way to the back of the barge into the crewmans "lounge". It's really interesting to see something that has been suspended in time, sprinkled with ash and sea life. Entering a wreck, with such a small opening, was exhilarating.
At the end of the dive Steve pointed out a shark, sleeping under the cover of a sideways sheet of metal. During my first conversation with Steve I asked "what should one watch out for with Sharks?". His reply "don't wake them up. They don't react kindly to that". Now, I didn't (and still don't) know if he was kidding. All I could think, while looking at this shark, is Elmur Fudd tiptoeing whispering "Be Vewy Vewy Quiet. It's human season".
After 44 minutes we surfaced. Since we had one diver on Air, we had a longer surface interval (the rest of us were on Nitrox).
The second dive took us to MG-111. This dive was a bit less exciting. We dropped 60' to see a huge cluster of Goliath Grouper around some steel posts. One of the highlights was watching Steve catch a lobster with his hands. Sadly no sharks on this dive. I'm chalking this dive up to experience.
All in all this was an amazing day. The drift currents can be fantastic for HSA divers since you don't need to exert that much energy to get around. With that said, if the current is not drifting in the right direction (even a little bit), it can be difficult (more on that in my next write-up of my dive on Rons Reef). My suggestion is to use a Steel 100 tank and get Nitrox certified before you go. With so much beauty, and at that depth, you'll want it to last as long as possible.
(To note I am a diver in a wheelchair. For pictures and a video that could help others in wheelchairs (and pedestrians too!), see www.divingwithoutfins.com)
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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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