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Jupiter ranked in the top 10 best places to dive

Gulf Stream makes unique underwater adventures in the Palm Beaches
Posted at 7:25 PM, Sep 21, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An article in this month's Scuba Diver Magazine ranks Jupiter as one of the top ten places to dive.

Underwater wonders from Singer Island to Jupiter await tourists looking to dive.

Mike Winkles is a professional underwater photographer based in Jacksonville. He has a viral video on Tik Tok of him swimming with Goliath groupers off the coast of Singer Island. The video has 4.3 million views so far.

"Not many people can say they swam with fish that are four times bigger than the size of a beetle bug car maybe," said Winkles. "We're pretty fortunate that [the Goliath grouper’s] migration patterns bring them right to Florida right to us."

"Palm Beach County is really lucky because we sort of stick out right into the Gulf Stream where the closest spot for it to travel by,” said Shana Phelan, owner of Pura Vida. "Divers based out of Singer Island, we never know what we're going to see but it's always good.”

"The Gulf Stream is really like a river of warm water and it's just the highway for all kinds of incredible sea creatures," said Michael Patrick O'Neil - Author/Photographer of 'Meet Me Underwater,' which features Florida’s waterways and debuted at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center on Saturday.

Palm Beach County’s tourism arm, Discover the Palm Beaches took note of the unique marine life provided by the Gulf Stream and came up with a marketing plan.

"We decided to work with Mike [Winkles] for the Goliath grouper video because his content was great," Beril Gutierrez, Senior Manager of Social Media for Discover The Palm Beaches

The goal was to create a video to attract eco-tourism dollars. Eco-tourism is big with millennials. Discover said their grouper video is working. "It gained 20,000 followers overnight so it was a massive success," Gutierrez said.

Hopefully, inspiring vacationers to book their trips here.

Phelan said there are new things to discover all year long, "It's seasonal, so we have sea turtles all summer long. We have Goliath groupers in the fall, we have sharks in the winter and spring."

"[Eco-tourism is a major eco-tourism draw this time of the year, and they put in a lot of money in the local economy," said O’Neil.

Michael Patrick O'Neil is also an underwater photographer and says while the Goliath groupers are down. "Florida is a beacon of hope, worldwide because this animal has been eradicated everywhere, and here they're doing so well."

Other appealing reasons for divers is drift driving, being pushed along by the Gulf Stream.

“You go down a wreck, and then you drift down to another wreck, and then maybe even another wreck,” said Winkles. “Kind of like being on a joy ride, floating down the reef to see everything."

"You can just drift along and float by the critters and then when you come up the boats are there to pick you up," Phelan said.

Winkles said another benefit to drift diving is, “your tank lasts a lot longer and you can export further and see more stuff.”

Another draw to diving the coast of the Palm Beaches is Blackwater diving, done at night in the shallows to see microorganisms that come up for feeding.

"All these funky weird creatures come up from the depths and feed in the shallows and we're there to see them and take photographs of them," Phelan said.

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