- Published on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 20:15
- Written by editor
By Craig Dietrich - Local Diver
With amazing beaches and fantastic diving, Florida is a draw for divers excited for bright colors and amazing critter watchers. Located between Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Pompano Beach is not one to miss when listing good spots to dive! The area is currently listed as the country’s top vacation home market. Find out why Pompano Beach is one of the great dive destinations Florida has to offer!
While we would love to have the space to print the entirety of these dive sites, we have linked them all below -- so click through to read more!
The Ancient Mariner
The former WWII Coast Guard Cutter “Nemesis” was a Nazi submarine chaser turned floating restaurant prior to being renamed “The Ancient Mariner” in the early 1980s. Donated to Broward County’s Artificial Reef program, it was sunk in June of 1991 as an artificial reef of Deerfield Beach. Huge barracuda inhabit the wreck, and lots of fish and invertebrates colonize it, which tend to attract larger carnivores. Due to the wreck’s proximity to the reef, fish maneuver easily between the two. A large goliath grouper visits the wreck and can usually be found in the wheelhouse. Pompano Beach: The Ancient Mariner
Anglin’ Pier Reef
Interesting coral and rock formations, along with tropical fish of blazing colors hiding in the endless holes, ledges and mini mountains covered in all sorts of pastels, are simply a short walk off the beach! An excellent selection of bait and bottom fish with sport fish that come in to feed. Barracuda, jacks, chub, yellowtail and mackerel are seen in season. Hard and soft coral, sponges, and many invertebrates adorn the reef. Pompano Beach: Anglin' Pier Reef
The Captain Dan
The Captain Dan is covered with fish and beautiful colors, and is considered one of the most popular dive sites in the Pompano Beach area. A resident grouper, large barracuda, grouper, amberjack, and other schools of fish frequent this wreck. There have been a few whale sharks sightings on the Dan. Pompano Beach: The Captain Dan
The Copenhagen is perfect for nostalgic diving thanks to a wreck site over one hundred years old. Usually divers see large schools of bait fish being chased by the rest of the food chain, but lobster, snapper, and eels are common. Nurse sharks are occasionally seen here as well. Pompano Beach: The Copenhagen
The Hydro (aka The Hydro Atlantic)
As divers approach the wreck they will notice there is so much growth on the outer hull the wreck almost looks alive due to the thick blanket of sponge and hard and soft corals. The swim throughs are also covered in corals, and schools of fish often form a circle as divers pass through. Large schools of jacks swarm the wreck, while thousands of tropical fish dart in and out seeking refuge from larger predators. Both barracuda and sharks are common. Pompano Beach: The Hydro aka The Hydro Atlantic
Mark’s Ledge Reef
This reef is a very good spot for colorful reef fish and invertebrates. Eating fish are scarce, but most other marine life is abundant here. Sport fish are under heavy pressure from both divers and fishermen. Occasionally, grouper, snapper, chub, hogfish, pelagic sport fish and lobster can be seen. Pompano Beach: Mark’s Ledge Reef
Pompano Third Reef Ridge
A continuation of the outer reef, Pompano 3rd is a very nice broken reef with cliffs that provide good cover for marine life. The cliffs have good cover and the scenery is excellent--a favorite among underwater photographers. Coral, basket sponges, whips, and fans are common. The outside ledge has good lobster crevices, and several types of fish bait, tropical and sport fish are common. Grouper, barracuda, and chubs swim through the undercuts. Occasionally large grouper can be spotted along the edges of the reef. Pompano Beach: Pompano Third Reef Ridge
The RSB-1 (aka The Jim Torgerson)
The RSB1 is covered with soft corals and sponges and surrounded by schooling fish. While here, divers will likely encounter French angelfish, goliath grouper, grunts, and many other marine tropicals. Spear fishermen frequent this spot for her abundant jacks (one reaching 5’ has been reported) and grouper. A large sea turtle has been seen in the hold and basket starfish and other marine life have made this wreck their home. Pompano Beach: The RSB-1 (aka The Jim Torgerson)
The Sea Emperor
Home to rich and diverse sea life, including goliath grouper, eels, nurse sharks and hundreds of other fish, the Sea Emperor is known as a photographer’s paradise! Residents include two stingrays known as “Ray” and “Stubby”, a moray eel called “Baby” and a couple of goliath grouper known as “Fred” and “Barney” are regularly sighted here. At one point, divers could expect to interact with as many as nine stingray on a single dive, rivaling Stingray City in the Cayman Islands. This wreck has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows worldwide. Pompano Beach: The Sea Emperor
This 186-foot Freighter was sank in 164 feet of water on May, 17 1987 off Pompano Beach. Parts of the wreck can be reached by recreational divers but this wreck should only be visited by properly trained, experienced divers. In 1957 a German refrigerator cargo vessel: the Mini-horn went in service for almost 30 years before her sinking. During that time she was given two other names, with her final one being Miller Lite, for the sponsor that helped finance her sinking. The Broward Department of Natural resource Protection has one of the largest artificial reef programs in the world. In 1987 it obtained ownership of the vessel, cleaned it and the ship was sunk during the yearly Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo. 200 boaters and 1,000 people on the shore watched the explosion which could be seen for ten miles. Short no-decompression dives can be enjoyed on the upper deck of this wreck. With proper training longer dives can be achieved and the beautiful wreck enjoyed to its full potential. ■
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About the Author/Photographer
Born and raised in a small New Jersey town, Craig Dietrich always knew he wanted to express himself artistically. He discovered photography in high school and after graduation joined the Navy. Dietrich had the good fortune to be accepted into photography school and eventually served as a Naval Photographer during both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Dietrich was also assigned as personal photographer to dignitaries such as General Norman Schwartzkopf and newsman Dan Rather when they visited the ship.
Leaving the Navy after five years, Dietrich knew he wanted to carry his love of photography back to civilian life, becoming a successful children’s and family photographer eventually owning his own business. After working nonstop for years, Dietrich decided to indulge his inner adventurer and tried scuba diving and ultimatelym arried the two passions. “Learning to take photos while diving in cold water was a welcome challenge,” Dietrich says.
Walking into Pompano Dive Center in Pompano Beach, FL, it’s immediately apparent Dietrich has embarked on something special. A generous amount of space is dedicated not only to his passion of underwater photography, but also in sharing the art with others. Samples of Dietrich’s work adorn the shop both in framed prints and gallery wrapped canvases, and a video slideshow of his images runs continuously during the day for customers to admire.
“I believe we have a really unique idea here,” Dietrich says. “Underwater photography is becoming a major part of the dive industry and we make it accessible for a larger group of people.”
Pompano Dive Center accomplishes this by offering not only sales of underwater photography equipment, but also top of the line rental camera systems.
Dietrich welcomes divers of all skill levels to take his classes, which range from beginner to advanced underwater photography and can be taught on an individual basis or in a group setting.