Diving in Florida

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  Diving in Florida.

"I'm going to be in Orlando for a week of vacation."
"Is there any diving nearby?"

I live in Orlando, Florida, the tourist center of the known universe. I get these questions frequently either in person, or from email and newsgroups. The dive pages of WadesPage are to share the information that I've learned over the years as where to dive and which operators I use when diving here in Florida. With the ocean to the southeast and the springs northwest, there's certain to be something of interest.

A big stingray on a Boynton reef.
World class either direction.

Orlando is located within 3 hours of two different world class diving environments. Travel in either direction is nearly all interstate or turnpike, so it's easy to do a one day dive trip out of Orlando.

To the southeast are the gulfstream warmed coasts of West Palm and Boynton Beaches. Drift diving in ocean waters that reach 84F in the summer lead to frequent sightings of turtles, moray eels, jacks, barracuda, grouper and an occasional shark. There are many large schools of grunts and snappers, and tropical fish of all sizes. The bright coral and sponge colors add to the show as the diver drifts along with the current on the 60 foot deep reefs. I believe the variety and quantity of underwater flora and fauna is as good here as any place in this part of the world, including the Carribbean.

Dana at Alexander Springs.

In the opposite direction, to the northwest, is the limestone karst area, with its myriad of crystal clear springs and their cavern and cave systems. The springs areas offer fresh clear water of stunning visibility, interesting geology, easy staircase access, and year around 72F water temperature. They offer OW divers a sample of the overhead environment, and for those who suffer from mal de mer, there's no seasickness here. There are picnic tables for easy gearing up, and rental equipment for those who couldn't bring their own. C-cards are required for diving.

The Florida Keys also offer excellent diving for beginners through advanced, but need a multiple day trip to be enjoyed fully. For those inclined to take a boat trip, I'll soon add pages on diving around Grand Bahama, the Biminis, and the Abacos in the nearby Bahamas. If you can't make any of those, there's always the aquarium at EPCOT. While a bit pricey, it offers twice daily dives to small groups, and you don't even have to be a park visitor to do it.

Use the Diving Page menu to surf through your options. There's a lot of diving to be done in Florida.