Blue Heron Bridge Dive – And Some Gear Tinkering

I recently met with another diver from the Gold Coast Scuba Meetup group for a dive at the Blue Heron Bridge. The Blue Heron Bridge is considered by some to one of the best dives on the east coast of the US. The bridge is to the north of Peanut Island less than a mile from Lake Worth Inlet. The West Palm Beach area also happens to be where the Gulf Stream runs the closest to shore.

For this reason the bridge is full of life and has a greater diversity of life in than many other dive sites. It was also a great opportunity to try out some new…and old gear.

blowfish

Dive Plan

Diving at the Blue Heron Bridge is done from off the beach at Phil Foster Park, a small island that sits right under the bridge between Singer Island and Riviera Beach. We entered the water from the far west side of the beach and worked our way west until we got to the main channel, before turning back, for an hour-long dive.

The maximum depth is about 20′ and that’s only right near the channel. For most of our dive we were at 15′ or less. The amount of life we saw was amazing, including some strange creatures that I’ve never seen before, like a Batfish.

Camera Testing

batfish
Batfish at the Blue Heron Bridge

When I did my paddle around Peanut Island I got a tiny amount of salt water on my camera in the housing. I’ve never had a leak before, and it was especially strange since I didn’t even have the camera in the water. So I really wanted to get back in the water to test the housing out.

After our dive there wasn’t even a drop in the housing and the camera was completely dry. My only guess is the problem from my paddle was due to condensation. I did have the camera sitting in the sun when I started out and the view finder did fog up a little. The salt taste to the water was probably just from salt in the air.

Getting Weighted

sea star
Giant sea stars like this one are very common in the Palm Beach area

My last dive was at John Pennekamp in Key Largo. Towards the end of that dive I lost all of my weights and had to cut the dive short. This dive also allowed me to try out my new trim weights. Rather than going with pockets I wanted to keep it simple, especially since I dive without a wetsuit in the summer, so I don’t use weight.

My new setup is simply a weight belt that I cut short with 2 rubber coated hard weights on it. It goes around my tank in between the 2 cam straps, with the weights adjusted to sit close to my back, right against my back plate. It worked perfectly! The weights didn’t move at all during the dive.

Saving The Best For Last

The last thing I wanted to try out was my new light, the Big Blue VTL 2500P. I need to do a little fine tuning with the handle that came with it, but otherwise it worked perfectly. The Big Blue put out an amazing amount of light considering its small size. Besides being my dive light I also used it for my photos in place of a strobe. For close up and macro shots it did great.

It didn’t light the subject up as well as my old strobes, but the size and weight were well worth the trade-off. Having it handheld as opposed to on an arm made thing even easier and allowed me to position the light exactly how I wanted it. The photos in this post were shot at the Blue Heron Bridge with this new setup.

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