Scuba Diving: Goliath Groupers Are Here in Numbers
September 6, 2016 | Richard Sites
Scuba diving in Jupiter is among the best in the Florida and certainly among the best in the country. We do “drift diving” here because the Gulf Stream comes in close to shore and creates a northern current. So, unlike scuba diving in the Florida Keys or Key Largo where the dive boats anchor in one spot, here the surface dive boat follows the divers as they drift along in the current. One of our big attractions is the seasonal aggregation of Goliath Groupers.
Goliath Groupers can attain a size of 8 feet and weigh several hundred pounds. Tagged with a bad reputation for eating “everything in sight”, these are really gentle giants with a slow metabolism so they don’t vacuum up the other tasty critters, like lobsters or snappers, off the reef or wreck. Lionfish are the real nuisance and do eat lobsters. Goliaths eat mostly crabs buried in the sand.
Curious by nature, these giant fish will swim right along with you during a scuba dive to see what your are up to and maybe grab a little snack along the way. You can see more of this action on my friend’s You Tube channel.
But each year in September and October they gather offshore on the wrecks, called artificial reefs, to spawn on the new moons of these months. This aggregation only takes place here and off the coast of SW Florida. You can’t find it in Miami or the Keys, only Palm Beach County.
This is known as the “annual aggregation” and scuba trips take divers out to the wrecks to see these enormous fish in large numbers.
If you are a diver, check out one of our local dive shops like Scuba Works, Force-E or Narcosis and go on one of these trips of a lifetime. A 2 tank dive will run you about $80 exclusive of rental gear.