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Florida: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Sandro, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Sandro

    Sandro Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I still have to put all bits and pieces together as I do have a lot of footage to edit, however I do have a short video I made to far and some pictures to share with you of our (first in the sea) diving experience in Florida - Key Largo near Miami, in particular we dove at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park which is the first (and only as far as told) underwater park in the US.

    If you are planning a trip to the US I can definitely suggest this as destination, there are a tons of wrecks (we did only one) and the reef is beautiful with a large variety of fish. It is not exactly cheap, compared to other destinations the cost per dive is quite steep, however the dive locations are all at least 20 minutes boat away from shore. The team was great and sent the boat out in two occasions even if there were only me and my girlfriend diving, so a boat only for us!

    Current was weak, visibility over two days was good, temperature at 12 mt around 32 degrees (in October!!!).

    Short video (there are many fish, rays, eagle rays, turtles that will be added to the final version, damn editing)


    Benwood Wreck
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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    Sea Turtle on the bridge of the Benwood (she was scratching her head against that thing :D)
    [​IMG]

    The winch from the Slobadana sank on Molasses Reef in 1887
    [​IMG]

    Black Fins Shark...this is not a picture but a frame from the video, it was a beautiful sight (happy not to see one again in my life though lol) all other fish start swimming around him like if he was a royalty (despite the dead black eyes) he did not pay attention to us whatsoever.

    [​IMG]
     
    Wibble likes this.
  2. hawk

    hawk Doing It Rong
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    That looks great - it's on my list of places to dive as I am in the US a fair bit.

    I was down there a couple of years ago but the weather was awful and no boats (and I mean no boats) were going out past the reef. I snorkelled instead using my $5 John Pennekamp snorkel that I had to buy :)

    But if you want to talk expensive diving, never come to the Texas coast! $350 for a day boat or $650 for a 1 night liveaboard with 4 dives!

    I ended up driving 3 hours to get to Lake Travis in Austin instead - think poor man's NDAC but with better weather
     
  3. Sandro

    Sandro Member

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    As for some reason I cannot edit I am going to add the actual finished video :)

     
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  4. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Nice! The vis, the interesting flora & fauna. The warmth - no drysuits with gawd knows how many layers on underneath!
     
  5. Sandro

    Sandro Member

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    Yep it was very nice and unfortunately we did not have more than two days to dive there otherwise the sites, wrecks, reefs are really a lot (a bit pricy I have to say). It was popular in general there were quite a lot of boats around with a lot of divers.

    Temperatures were always over 30C (at 10 / 12mt) which was great!
     
  6. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Struth, I've had cooler baths!
     
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