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Palm Beach dive spots

Stephen Brown

 Corridor Wrecks (Amaryllis: 26 7.296 N; 80.00.976 W)

Green turtle at Corridor Wreck dive, Palm Beach - photo by Bryan Clark

    A mile northeast of the Palm Beach Inlet and just off the shores of Singer Island lie four shipwrecks and debris fields that are frequented in the annual goliath grouper spawning every August and September.

   The wreck site contains the Mizpah, a 185’ Greek luxury liner built in 1926, and sits at a depth of 86’ (only 65’ to the deck). The hatches and cables have been removed, making it safe to explore the decks (3), cargo holds and passageways. Roughly 300 yards to the north sits the notorious Amaryllis, which ran aground off Singer Island in 1965 during hurricane Betsy. The Amaryllis weighs in at 440’ long, and sits 80’ deep. 

Goliath grouper spaning at the Corridor Wreck dive site, Palm Beach Inlet - photo by Bryan Clark

   Two lesser wrecks accompany the Mizpah and Amaryllis, rounding out the Corridor Wreck site. PC1170 (or PC1174) sits between the both major wrecks, but has been mainly reduced to rubble, though still flush with fish. A barge also sits to the north of the Amaryllis. The West Palm Beach Fishing Club sank the ships in 1968 to create an artificial reef for fishing purposes. Now Corridors is a no-collect area, so spearfishing, lobstering and shell collecting is prohibited. 

Goliath grouper up close - photo by Bryan Clark   The Corridor Wreck site is a great drift dive, but should be dived with caution; Advanced Open Water Certification (PADI) is strongly recommended. The current is strong, so getting behind the wreck can take some maneuvering, but once in place the sea life is amazing, with large moray eels, reef, sport and tropical fish and the aforementioned goliath grouper. Forty to 50 goliath grouper make an annual trek to the Corridors, where they spawn. Some reaching up to six to seven feet and weighing in at 500-600 lbs., the fish are a sight to see, usually accompanied by swirling masses of bait balls seeking refuge from schooling jack.

   “They are really cool fish,” says Clark. “They will ‘bark’ at you by slapping their gills against their gill plate. It sounds like a bass drum.” 

  • Drift and wreck dive
  • Access: boat
  • Four individual wrecks: Amaryllis, Mizpah, PC1170 and the barge; often a two-dive site
  • 60’-90’ deep
  • Roughly 1 mile off shore of Singer Island/Palm Beach Shores
  • Note: wrecks can be dark with stirred up silt, dive light could come in handy if exploring wreck
  • Species of note: Goliath grouper, moray eels, corals and sponges, sport fish (snook, barracuda, cobia, sailfish, jack), tropical fish, migrating shark (spinners, bull, hammerhead), lobster and other crustaceans

 

Shark Canyon

Caribbean reef shark at Shark Canyon dive site, Juno Beach - photo by Bryan Clark   Just half a mile south of the Juno Beach pier sits a dive that will terrify some, exhilarate others. Shark Canyon is, as the name implies, the place to see sharks. Once the site of shark dive operators, who would chum the waters in order to attract the apex predators, this practice is now outlawed but the sharks still congregate.

   One of the best places in the county to see Caribbean reef sharks, and the occasional bull if spearfishing or out during the spinner shark winter migration, Shark Canyon is also a great place to see turtles (loggerhead, greens, and the occasional leatherback).

   Comprised of a double ledge, the reef starts around 65’, drops to 74’ where it plateaus, then drops again to 90’. Larger sport fish frequent the dive, as well as rays and goliath grouper.

   “This is by far the highest concentration of Caribbean reef sharks in the area,” says Clark. 

Green trutle at Shark Canyon, Juno Beach dive site - photo by Bryan Clark - Palm Beach County SCUBA diving sites

  • Drift dive
  • Access: boat
  • Natural reef and double ledge
  • 65’-90’
  • Half mile south of the Juno Beach pier
  • Species of note: Caribbean reef shark, rays (spotted eagle, manta and sting), turtles (loggerhead, green and leatherback), bull shark, hammerhead shark, moray eels, jack and spadefish.
  • Spearfish with caution, sharks will come and investigate.

 Continued on page 3

 

Dive certification: Bryan Clark, PADI dive instructor/dive master (www.adeeperblue.com)

Dive charters: Narcosis Dive Charters, Riviera Beach Marina (www.narcosisdivecharters.com, 561-630-0606)

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