Our first dive was to a site known as Area 29. The divers stepped off the stern in rapid succession, and we descended to 28m and began our flight over the low-lying reef.
It was January, which is lemon-shark season in Jupiter. Each year during the early winter months lemon sharks aggregate there and can be seen reliably on several of the dive-sites.
Within minutes, several bulky sharks swam by in the ocean current and, thinking of the condos and hotels above, we smiled in astonishment.
As much as we were enjoying our encounters with 2-2.5m sharks, it was another set of visitors that quickly diverted our attention.
A Goliath grouper with its retinue of remoras.
Emerging from the edge of visibility were several Goliath grouper. These fish are as enormous as their name implies; some were the size of Smart cars.
Swimming languidly in the ferocious current, they seemed perfectly at ease in the fast-moving water. Some carried their own retinue of remoras, clinging to their sides in hopes of catching the remains of a meal.
We travelled quite a distance on this dive, and before long we were on the surface amid a garden of red SMBs from our group of divers, and happy to see the dive-boat bouncing through the waves in our direction. As we waited, none of us could contain our excitement about the encounters on the dive.
Next up was a dive at Juno Ledge, a pretty dive-site that comprises an undulating ledge running south to north and amounts to a mini-wall of about 2.5m. As we cruised over the ledge in the Gulf Stream current, we were able to spot green moray eels poking their fearsome-looking faces out of crevices in the reef.
We also passed large schools of grunt, snapper and porkfish taking refuge under the protective cover of rock ledges and overhangs. For underwater photographers, the reef itself is not as photogenic as in other parts of the world, but the diversity and amount of life is astounding. Squirrelfish, spadefish, spiny lobsters, bream, angelfish and many other species kept the cameras humming and the memory cards filled. It was a great day of diving off Jupiter.
Our second day of diving was a continuation of our drift-diving adventures. Scarface was our first site, named after a particularly gnarly-looking moray that once lived there.
Scarface might have passed on but there are multitudes of other photographic opportunities at the site.