Mar 16

Blue Heron Bridge dive

Today I hooked up with a great guy I met on Scuba board.  Joe brought his friend (relative?) Lev and we all went in together.  Joe was kind enough to loan me a cylinder and some weights, the only things I don’t travel with.  Joe is clearly an old hand at the bridge and scuba, so was a natural dive leader.  For 75 minutes we dove the west side in water that never exceeded 13 feet and was a tolerable 74 degrees.  After all that time, I’d consumed only 1600 PSI of air (about half a tank).  That’s another wonderful thing about this site – endless bottom time, little danger.

The ocean has been disturbed by wind lately, so the vis was kind of bad.  You can see how many particles are in the water; it was only possible to take photos of things that were very close to the camera.  Some animals don’t like that!

I’ve written about BHB (as it’s known locally) once before because I dived there last year.  BHB is one of the easiest and most rewarding dive sites in this region.  It’s underneath a bridge on the east end of West Palm Beach.  There is a park – Phil Foster park – there, with bathrooms and showers.  Nothing could be simpler.  Dive up, park your car, gear up on a picnic table, and wade in.  There are only two gotchas:

1) Everyone else thinks that BB is great too.  There’s nothing like diving with, say, 200 of your fellow divers.

2) It’s only good for diving at slack high tide – the period just after high tide has finished coming in when the water i fairly still.  Otherwise, there is too much silt from the fresh water draining into the sea, and the visibility will be terrible.  Not to mention the current, which will carry you away.

To deal with these issues, we went on a Monday afternoon 20 minutes prior to slack high tide.

Here are the resulting photos:

This barred blenny is only about one inch long and is like a little fairy, because it has tiny little “antennas” (called cirri) and it pops in and out of hiding holes.  It’s adorable and fun to watch.  It will swivel its eyes paranoically at you and then instantly disappear, although the cirri will sometimes stick out of its hole.

This seaweed blenny reminds me of the dramatic gopher:

Red-tipped fireworm

Bearded fireworm.  I don’t know if they’re named “fireworms” because they are colored so brightly, or because they can sting (both are true).

Small yellow stingray, family Urolophidae

Crabs mating (blotched swimming cabs).  If disturbed, they will scuttle away together, locked in position.

One of the arrow crabs that are so abundant in this area.

A sharpnose puffer runs away; a gray angelfish is in the background.

I finally caught up with that sharpnose puffer, although it’s still pointed away from me…

A lantern bass;  it resembles a tiny grouper.

I kid you not, this juvenile wrasse is called a “slippery dick,” Halichoeres bivittatus.


6 Comments so far

  1. LY March 22nd, 2009 3:50 PM

    > Joe brought his friend (relative?) Lev

    No, just a customer.
    Great pics, I like the Hermodice (the fireworm) in particular.


  2. b.bittick October 24th, 2010 1:52 PM

    just a fan of the pics

  3. Dave January 7th, 2011 12:50 PM

    I have a reef tank and have something appear in there that looks like a fireworm. Are these reef safe and will it harm my corals and other fish?

  4. Dan Greenspan January 7th, 2011 2:21 PM

    Dave, I don’t really know – I see them in the wild and identify them, but I’ve never had a captive one. I’d be interested to know the answer to this question! I suspect that they are safe, as they don’t eat fish or coral. I almost always find them on sand or on algae, where I suspect they are eating microscopic things or detritus. For all I know, they might even be “cleaners” for your tank. The fact that one can live in your tank (if it survives) suggests that you have a nice, balanced ecosystem.

  5. Ashley October 24th, 2012 9:54 AM

    I was diving in Cozumel and got stung by a fireworm! the bristles break off into your skin and they keep pumping toxins, I went in July and i still have a mark from where i got stung! i would not suggest having them in a tank because if a fish brushes up against the fireworm and it stings it.. it may kill the fish :(

  6. Dan Greenspan October 28th, 2012 5:42 PM

    Thanks for your post! i figured that they were called fire worms for a reason… I am a big fan of gloves, having been given a variety of coral reef rashes from a number of creatures.

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