As the year winds down and fall approaches, divers on the Treasure Coast can expect great diving provided the weather cooperates. Autumn brings cold fronts and shorter weather windows so divers are wise to stay prepared to take advantage of calm seas when the opportunity arises. Additionally, many divers are excited to see how the large swells from Hurricane Florence may have affected the local reefs. After a period of choppy weather, a little scouting will help determine conditions beneath the surface and make for a more enjoyable day
Summertime has passed but visibility and water temperatures are still nice on the Treasure Coast due to the proximity of local waters to the warm Gulf Stream current coming up from the Caribbean. Passing cold fronts with strong winds can make area inlets challenging or even treacherous and visibility poor near shore, but just a few miles out visibility quickly returns as divers near the gulf stream waters. The generally north-bound current does a great job of flushing away turbid water and replacing it with clear conditions rather quickly.
Weather windows this time of year maybe short and calm seas may only last for a day or two. Divers should stay prepared by having tanks filled in advance, dive sites selected, and gear packed so when conditions cooperate on short notice they can take advantage.
During October visibility reports could be scarce and divers may have to do some reconnaissance when planning the next trip. The Titan Tug out of Stuart is a great dive site to test visibility, temperature and current since it is directly east of the St Lucie Inlet and just a few dozen feet from the Six Mile Reef. A quick bounce dive to determine conditions could prove beneficial: if visibility is bad, head south towards the Loran Tower ledge or reefs off Hobe Sound. If visibility is good, dive sites closer to shore may be better, including the Donaldson Reef area, Guardian Reef, Pipe Barge or the Cement (concrete) Barge.
This time of year brings changes to local reefs in the form of more frequent strong winds and cold fronts. When conditions allow though, divers can make great dives if they remain prepared and poised to take advantage of narrow weather windows when they arise.