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About St. Andrews Jetties, Panama Beach Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
1,260-acre coastal park; 110ft, 40ft viz, 60-80DegF; for more information, call St. Andrews State Park at (850) 233-5140<br> <u>Park Fees:</u> Admission Fee--$5.00 per vehicle; $1.00 for the following: Pedestrians, Bicyclists, extra Passengers, Passengers in vehicles with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Permit<br> <u>Facilities:</u> Picnic pavilions, bath-house, restrooms, beach chair rentals (in season), Park store with limited lunch food items for sale plus drinks, snacks and souvenirs. Beach on tidal pool with no waves and beach on main beach area where waves are located. Boat shuttle (fee charged) available to Shell Island (sand island) across channel from park. No facilities on Shell Island.<br> <u>Dive Shop Concession on site:</u> Jetty Dive Shop 850-233-0197 On site air fills when compressor is working. Some rental tanks, but limited availability. Nitrox usually not available.<br> <u>Closest offsite Dive Shop:</u> PC Dive Center at the corner of Front Beach Rd and Thomas Drive just outside the park at the first redlight.<br> <u>Dive Rules:</u> Follow Florida State dive laws. Dive flag required for diving anywhere outside the jetty tidal pool.<br> <u>Best time to dive:</u> At "high slack tide" Check local tide tables for time.<br> <u>Dive Conditions:</u> strong currents can exist due to incoming/outgoing tide. Best time for lowest current and best visibility is at high slack tide. Depths to 65 feet in main channel. Beware of boat traffic above and use a dive flag as required by law. Fishermen sometimes fish on jetty rocks, so beware of line entanglement or being hooked. Best to carry a cutting tool just in case.<br> <u>Accommodations:</u> Camping available at park or hotels/condos available outside park. <u>Hours of Operation:</u> 8:00 AM to sunset<br> <u>Driving Directions:</u> From Hwy 98 turn South on to Hwy 3031 (Thomas Drive) and follow it straight to Hwy 392 and turn left to enter into the gates of St. Andrews State Park. St. Andrews State Park is located approximately 3 miles east of Hwy 392.
Jan 11, 2004, 12:00 AM
Not really the jetties, but the rocks inside the state park to make the "kiddy pool". I snorkeled it last summer not realizing that would have been the perfect opportunity to scuba alone. Very shallow, many families up on the beach, lots of people in the water, but not so many near the rocks because the depth is over your head. Very snorkelable, but would have been even better on scuba. Lots of sergeant majors, some grouper, one a really good size. Lots of mullet, some plant life, some sponge life. Pretty decent get-a-way if you are on a 4 day vacation with your in-laws! The stone crabs were releasing their eggs when I was there, Fathers' Day weekend 2003. That was really neat. Must research if they do that in accordance to lunar phases like coral. Hmmm...Definitely going back Fathers' Day weekend 2004! Shore entry very easy...no waves! Bottom condition, it's not the Bahamas, but there are some cool things to look at. Facilities...the restrooms were a bit of a hike away from where you enter the water, but there are fresh water showers closer to the water. I would do a night dive here, but not alone, because I am chicken! Those more advanced and/or experienced in different sites may be bored with this site. Visibility was about 15 or so feet when I was there, but I could see that conditions here could probably go downhill very quickly with an afternoon thunderstorm or tide change. The current gets really bad if you attempt to go through the opening in the rocks to go to the other side. I tried on snorkel but chickened out. ;) Yes, I am a girl and I was alone! :)
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