This is just a super quick post which will be updated with photos later.
Dove Wabasso Park, North of Vero Beach, Florida yesterday. This is right by the Disney Resort. My first time scuba diving in this location. Very clean, good amenities that include showers and restroom facilities. They have stairs down to the beach drop and also a ramp for wheelchairs. I thought about using the ramp instead of the stairs when we finished dive to get back to parking lot but the stairs were small baby steps and while they were steep, not bad at all with tank and gear on.
Wabasso Park reef system is different that the Riomar and Pepper Park reefs. stay tuned
Water was approx 83 degrees.
calm easy entry
didn’t see jellies but Rich caught 3 tentacles on face through dive.
Viz 15-20 depending on depth. better in middle reef, going out to outer ledge of second reef structure it drops to about 7 foot viz, we turned around.
Dive time 2 hour 5 minute, went in with 3750 psi and came out with 11oopsi
Met Jim, Paul and Chris there from the Vero Beach Scuba Club. They were going to be spear fishing for the day. We hung out and waited a bit but decided to go ahead and hit the water before them. Not a very patient person to go diving.
Paul told us to head North of the beach, out of the swim area. Rich gave the lifeguard a little wave to let him know we were diving. I always recommend this when shore diving close to an area where there are lifeguards. Respect their turf, they have a job to do and they will generally let you go about your business.
From the pics, you will see that it is a drop down to the beach and then there are houses to the North with seawalls. This area has been hit pretty bad with beach erosion and the seawalls are the only thing keeping the houses up. We walked down to about the 4rth house North and walked in. Nice easy entry, no ankle deep shelly surf to deal with like LBTS. You only have to walk about 20 feet to be chest deep which is what we did and then stopped to get fins on and organized.
From what Paul told us, reef was closer than Pepper Park but further than Riomar.
We back kicked out about 200 yards, thought we had to go further and decided that we were going to drop and swim out to the reef. Fortune had it that we dropped and landed right on the start of the reef. This appears to be a Phragmatopoma lapidos worm reef system. They look like big honeycombs under the sea. Don;t step on them, while it might sound fun, you are killing these creatures and the homes they build. More on that later in another post but the tube worms really help protect against beach erosions.
To me, there appeared to be an inner small reef system (worm reef) with algae and seagrass on the beach side. We spotted a nice size lobster. Pretty much straight away just waving at us. There is lots of scroll algae, green feather algae, and green grape algae in the first worm reef area.
We decided to head out further, nothing ventured, nothing gained. We small out for about 10-15 minutes and didn’t see too much other than a boneyard full of shells and broken coral bits. Rich motioned to surface so we popped up to get bearings. I would say we were way the hell out, probably 1500 yards or so. I was getting a little frustrated and we opted to submerge an go 5 minutes, if we didn’t see anything to turn back.
This is part of the fun of diving a new area for the first time. You have no idea what to expect and no real guide to show you the way. I have to admit that it also can be very frustrating as you have to learn the lay of the land before you can really explore and get adventurous. As luck would have it, the dive gods were with us again and we descended pretty much right on the first ledge. This area has deep nooks and cranny and plenty of places for tasty lobsters to hideout. We saw a red snapper, a school of good size sheepshead, porkfish, french and queen angelfish plus plenty of the usual “pretty” aquarium fish like damsels, baby hogfish, jack knife. There are also sea cucumbers here but not nearly as many as Pepper Park area. I did search for seahorses as there was plenty of algae but I couldn’t locate any.
We swam straight out to sea for a while until we hit the ledge at the edge. Alot of sediment was floating in the water here. Ir is evident from some of the photo with the back scatter that could not be avoided. I was searching around some ledges and almost stepped on a nurse shark. Scared the crap out of me until I realized it was just a nurse shark. I tried to get it on camera but he was pretty irritated with me for disturbing him. I turned around to show Rich and found him laughing at me ever so nicely. On the far side of the outer reef ledge, I would say that the temp dropped a good 10 degrees, pretty chill water temperature.
Wabasso Park is an interesting different reef to explore. The massive worm reef -with it’s clusters of oval, table-like mounds consist of all sorts of sediments consolidated by a mucoprotein cement produced by the worm. This reef was in the intertidal zone and extended into the subtidal zone. It is not very colorful as a reef but the platforms that grow upward and outward from the durable substrate from which their colonies develop are great feeding and browsing grounds for a diverse community of marine organisms and an ideal home for attaching plants, sponges and shelter-seeking animals. This is the area that I saw most of the juvie fish and aquarium type fish hanging out. The ledges were also nice holes for crabs and lobsters. We saw numerous stone crab claws and empty shells. Richard also found an empty horseshoe crab shell. Another highlight was a frisky green moray eel.
At around 1000psi, we decided to head back in and South. We were pretty far North by about 20 houses down. We got to about 8 houses down and closer in there was terrible viz and lots of flotsam to dive thru. We resurfaced and saw we were still a good 400 yards from shore. we decided to nav in on heading of 240 and just swim through. The good news is that it only lasted about 30 seconds and then you were in the clear.
A few things to note.
- There is not a lot of colorful coral in this location. It is mostly rocky ledges and worm reef structures. I did notice and you will be able to tell that there were many new growth sections of what I believe to be coral. There were patches of small yellow stalagmite things 1-3″ poking up in patches in between the outer reef and the worm reef.
- There is plenty of algae, I would definitely explore more for seahorses next time in the section at the start of the worm reef up close.
- I have had reports of numerous shark sightings in this area, so make sure you keep your eyes open.
I will update more later today with pictures but all in all a good dive, nice to be back in the water. I did get a text from the other group( Paul, Jim and Chris I believe) attempting to dive, we were curious when we did not see them upon hitting the beach but apparently one of the guys blew a bc valve and the dive turned into a rescue dive instead. Good think it really isn’t too deep. I hope it was not the new guy diving with them.
I am thinking of Pepper Park for tomorrow early around 9 am.