A Snorkeler's Tale: Diving at Phil Foster Park

A first-person account (and video) of a dive into underwater wonders

Any trip to The Palm Beaches should include a few hours of snorkeling in crystal-blue waters. We sometimes hear from visitors or locals about their dives, and in this blog entry we share one local snorkeler’s story written in her own words. Amanda Joy recently spent a morning at Phil Foster Park’s Underwater Snorkel Trail in Riviera Beach. Here are her thoughts about the beautiful sea life she encountered and the video she recorded and posted on YouTube.

It was raining before I left the house, but I was determined to snorkel at my favorite local spot, Phil Foster Memorial Park. I jumped in the water about 30 minutes before high tide, unsure of what to expect. As soon as I jumped in, I knew it was going to be a good day. A small school of barracuda were patrolling the shallow waters, and right in front of me, one of them caught a fish! I continued swimming out until I reached the Underwater Snorkel Trail, ready to seek out all that the submerged concrete pilings and natural boulders offer. Beautiful tropical fish were darting in and out of the artificial reefs. As I dove down to take a peek under some rocks, I found a beautiful spotted moray eel, surrounded by some yellowline arrow crabs. The excitement was just beginning!

 After getting some GoPro footage of the eel, I continued swimming the trail until I came across an adorable little octopus! It was an active little octopus. Even though it was just starting to regenerate two of its front tentacles, it kind of looked like he had a mustache.

I was excited when it started heading towards a brightly colored sea star -- what a shot! The current was bringing me under the east bridge, and I continued to go with it. Once under the Blue Heron Bridge, I was surrounded by schools of fish -- more than I could identify. I weaved in and out of the pillars, and dove down to swim with all the amazing marine life. This is why it’s my favorite place.

I swam back out from under the bridge, and was greeted by a small group of Caribbean reef squid. I had my GoPro pole extended while I chased them around the area. Just as I was getting a close-up of those playful squid, my snorkel buddy grabbed by arm, forcing me to look up. When I did, I was excited to see a juvenile manatee heading right towards us! I stayed still so it wouldn’t get spooked. To my delight, the little manatee came in for a closer look, right up to the GoPro!

As I came up for air, my manatee friend started drifting under the bridge. I let the current take me back under the bridge, too, so that I could watch my new little friend effortlessly swim right past some divers without notice.

It was a phenomenal day in the water! Just about every time that I snorkel at Phil Foster Park, I see something exciting. On previous snorkel trips there, I’ve seen a pufferfish, eagle sting rays, sea turtles -- you name it, I’ve seen it there! But this Sunday was my best snorkel out there to date. I can’t wait to jump back in! I love that this incredible dive spot is so close to home, and so healthy with marine life.

Phil Foster Park’s 800-foot-long artificial reef is a perfect spot for snorkelers of every level of experience. As Amanda describes, the water is teeming with sea life literally a few feet from shore.
Share your marine adventures with us by tagging us @PalmBeachesFL and #ThePalmBeaches.
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