Pretty local shore town. Has some fabulous restaurants, shopping and night life. Liked that we did not have to take the car out in the evening. Just strolled around most of the time when not diving. There is a Publix and a Winn Dixie under 1/2 mile awat from where we stayed at Santa Barbara INN. Click here for 10% off details. There is a package store by Publix and also Walgreens which is right across from Deep Six Dive Shop. 7-11 on the corner of Datura where I got my caffeine fix in the am and a quick muffin.
Ricks on the main strip
Great Italian fresh cooked. $13.95 early bird 3-6 menu. Includes salad, drink, dinner, desert.
Fabulous Carbonara, incredible garlic bread, and did I mention the garlic dressing? Full Liquor
Keese’s (next to deep six Dive)
They deliver as well. Good gyros, fried fish and something called the chicken best wrap. Don’t prder the calamari, it was frozen. Great fries, but no beer, wine or liquor. Open late when other restautants are closed.
Datura and Hibiscus Ave
The area off Datura Avenue beach is regarded by many as the “Best Shore Dive in Florida.” In a recent survey by REEF, over 300 species of fish were noted by shore divers. This site is ranked #5 in species diversity for the Tropical Western Atlantic with the first four are shore dives in Bonaire.
Depth is 18 ft on sand, 12-15 ft on top of the reef
25-30 ft of visibility (Usually morning is best)
Water Temperature 72°F winter, 84°F summer (80-82 when we were last there)
1-2 foot waves – you can et lucky in the am if you dive early.
Slight North current at bottom (.25 knots)
Surface current from same direction as wind
Light surge (consistent with wave size)
If you are staying at Santa Barbara Inn, bring over your equipment and repark your car at Inn. Carry your cylinders and gear the archway and there are a couple metal benches for ewasy gearup. Assemble your SCUBA unit. Shower if you need to to cool down. Then proceed to water’s edge. Careful of the mushy ledge as you go in and out of water. You sink a bit.
Shipwreck Snorkel Trail – This was created in 2002 because of Datura Avenue’s popularity among divers, the Marine Archeology Council (MAC) and South Florida Reef Research Team (SFRRT) spent four years obtaining the permits necessary to place the Shipwreck Snorkel Trail just before the first reef line. This site is a replica of what would be left from a shipwreck in the early 1800s. All artifacts are within a 100′ x 20′ area. A set of two concrete replica cannons is on the North side and three on the South side of the site. An authentic anchor has a pile of ballast stones in the middle. The ballast stones, made from limestone, have become home to a variety of juvenile tropical fish. Get your light out and spend some time looking around the pile and see how many different fish you can find. During the day you can find “Manny” the Mannytooth Conger Eel seeking shelter deep in the pile until dusk when he heads out to feed. We saw this guy! Pretty nice size.
Drop down about 10 foot past 2nd bouy from pier. This is where we descended each dive, nice point of reference.
You then have the 1st reef – good for little macro life. Lots of nudibranchs and juvie fish. Christmas trees and little crabs are plentiful.
followed by the infamous Cheese – great area, saw two turtles, plenty of lobster and an incredible variety of fish. Tons of sea urchins of all sizes.
The Desert – you have to go over about 75 feet of sand – no man’s land! About 50 kicks out to the what I like to call the boneyard. A small area before the 2nd reef you can look for shells and bits of coral. Lots of conch.
Second reef – the furthest point we went. Nice ledges and 2 alien probes with two old tires in the middle. Larger fish and incredible amount of angelfish. Another diver told me she saw a nurse shark out there as well.
I found this map on Fillexpress.com