Esso Bonaire – October 7, 2017

Water Temp: 80° F
Max Depth: 94 ft.
Start Time: 9:44 am
Dive Duration: 42 min.
Weather: Partly cloudy
Wind: SSE @ 10.5 mph

Air Temp: 86° F
Current: N @<.5
Visibility: 40 ft.
Seas: 4-6 ft.
Boat: Little Deeper
Lat/Long: 26°57.851/80°00.478

   The Esso Bonaire is a 147’ Harbor Tanker built in 1926 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She was seized after U.S. Customs found 55,000 pounds of marijuana on board. The vessel was purchased with money from the Economic Council of Palm Beach County and was sunk off Jupiter Inlet as a fish haven. Two attempts were made to sink the tanker. The first was on July 22, 1989 but canceled due to rough water. The weather was better the next day, but the vessel still took nine hours to go down. It is one of three wrecks that make up the drift dive known as the Jupiter Wreck Trek.
   The wreck is at a depth of 90’ and remains intact resting on its keel. It is covered with corals and gorgonians and is a very popular site for barracuda and sharks.
   The Team dropped in around midship and swam to the south to reach the bow. The bow sits in 95’ of water with surrounding sand slopping up to about 92’. It is 75’ to the top of the bow. The top of midship is about 78’ with the stern at 88’ to the sand rising up to 79’. Today there was about 15” of Stypopodium (green algae) at the stern so we were unable to note any scouring.
   There were extremely large mats of Stypopodium all around the ship. Add the algae mat with the surge and poor visibility; this created a very disorienting affect.
   No sharks were seen on this dive, but one was spotted at the surface during our surface interval. Two small – about 3’-4’ Goliath groupers were seen hanging out under the wheelhouse with about 3 larger ones – about 5’-6’, out swimming around the wreck. Hundreds of grunts were spotted on this dive, as well as Bar and Yellow Jacks, Scorpionfish, and several Lionfish (many of these were eradicated).

Coral – Black coral, Orange Cup Coral, Siderastrea siderea, Agaricia sp., Blushing Star Sponges – Lumpy, Red Orange Encrusting, Red Encrusting, Star Encrusting, Loggerhead, Leather Barrel, Branching Tube, White Lumpy, Stinker, Yellow Boring Tunicates – White Specked, White Condo, Strawberry Gorgonians – Deep Water Sea Fan Hydroids - Algae, Feather, Stinging Bush, Slender Feather Pearly Orange Briazoane


Julie's Reef – October 7, 2017

Water Temp: 80° F
Max Depth: 73 ft.
Start Time: 11:22 am
Dive Duration: 39 min.
Weather: Scattered clouds
Wind: S @ 10.5 mph

Air Temp: 89° F
Current: N @ .5 kts ,
Visibility: 20 ft.
Seas: 4-6 ft.
Boat: Little Deeper

   The goals for this dive were to video benthics and obtain fish counts.    Julie’s Reef is a low-profile reef with ledges full of nooks and crannies that offer amazing habitat for a myriad of fish.
   The mapping team found the marker for fish station number 4.
   A lot of loose Stypopodium (green algae) was covering the lower ledge area. Surge was also noted on this dive. At one area of the reef, 1’-1.5’ “waves” in the sand were noted, probably from the recent storms. A huge 2’ diameter piece of sponge was found floating loose on the bottom.
   Some fish of interest spotted on this dive were a Scorpionfish, Yellowcheek Wrasse, Yellowtail Snapper, Sheepshead Porge, as well as a large Green Moray Eel. A Hawksbill Turtle and octopus were also seen.

Benthics noted were: Corals – Maze, Great Star, Ten-Ray Star, Blushing Star, Massive Starlet, Mustard Hill Sponges – Red-Orange Encrusting, Red Encrusting, Pink Lumpy, Barrel, Leather Barrel, Branching Tube, Pink Vase, Black-Ball, Brown Variable, Yellow Variable Boring, Lavender Rope, Elephant Ear, Octopus Tunicates – Black Condominium Gorgonians – Sea Whip, Candelabra, Knobby Sea Rod, Sea Rod, Giant Slit-Pore Sea Rd, Sea Plum Algae – Turf, Red, Green


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