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Blue Heron Bridge - West Palm Beach, Florida

Blue Heron Bridge

Phil Foster Park

West Palm Beach, Florida

Pura Vida Divers

Book a dive at Blue Heron Bridge with Pura Vida Divers

Scuba diving at the world-renowned Blue Heron Bridge, also known as Phil Foster Park, is something every diver who visits West Palm Beach, Florida should experience. The Blue Heron Bridge was chosen in 2013 as the best dive site in the world by PADI’s Sport Diver magazine for good reasons. Its diversity of marine life and its easy accessibility are just two of the many important traits of this terrific dive site.


When you dive Blue Heron Bridge you encounter numerous sea creatures that are a rarity to find throughout the world. Seahorses and pipefish in all sizes and colors make the top of the list at this amazing dive site. Octopus, including the mimic octopus, can be found while diving here. Add to the list the odd marine life such as sea robins, flying gurnards, batfish, frogfish, stargazers, and over 100 different species of nudibranchs to name a few.


Dive Blue Heron Bridge and see something new each time.  It will leave you yearning for more! Paul Humann and Ned Deloach, authors of the Reef Fish Identification books, call the Blue Heron Bridge, “Florida’s exotic critter capital.”

Text and images courtesy of Pura Vida Divers

Wreck Dives of Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon

Wreck Dives of Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon

Wreck information courtesy 


Blue Lagoon Dive Resort

Chuuk Island, FSM

Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon has over 60 wrecks, many only recently discovered. Ships, aircraft, battle tanks, vehicles, and a large assortment of World War II armament. Some of them took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor and Midway Island operation. Listed below are a selection from the most popular wrecks of Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon.

Kimiuo Aisek opened the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop on November 13, 1973 and it was the first dive operation on Chuuk.  Blue Lagoon Resort and Blue Lagoon Dive Shop


Depth: Superstructure 150 feet /45.7 meters, bottom 205 feet / 63 meters 
The San Francisco Maru was built in 1919. When World War II began, she was taken out of semi-retirement by the Japanese Navy and pressed into service carrying military cargo.

One of the San Francisco's most striking features are the three Japanese Type-95 light tanks that still remain on her deck. The Type-95 tank was manned by a crew of three. It possessed ½” armor. It weighed 7.5 tons and carried one 37 MM main gun and 2-7MM machine guns. It was powered by a six-cylinder air cooled diesel engine which could propel the tank up to 30 mph. During "Operation Hailstone", the San Francisco Maru was damaged by dive bombers and photos show her stern on fire before she finally sank. The San Francisco Maru was discovered in 1972. The wreck sits upright. The cargo holds contain sea mines, torpedoes, bombs, artillery, aircraft engines, anti-tank and small arms munitions, and many other artifacts.

San Francisco Maru


Depth: Hull 40 feet / 12 meters, bottom 120 feet / 36 meters
The Heian Maru was built in 1930 as a large passenger cargo liner. Her maiden voyage was from Hong Kong to Seattle. While on a routine voyage in August 1941, she was abruptly recalled to Japan. Upon her return, the Japanese Navy converted the ship for use as a submarine tender.

It is the largest ship in Truk Lagoon. The Heian Maru was sunk on the second day of "Operation Hailstone". A torpedo struck her amidships and because of damage already sustained during the earlier raids, the Heian Maru sank quickly. The Heian Maru lies on her port side. The cargo of the Heian Maru contains many of the deadly efficient Japanese Long Lance Torpedoes, as well as submarine periscopes. Many artifacts can be found throughout this wreck.


Depth: Superstructure 130 feet / 40 meters, bottom 210 feet / 64 meters
The Aikoku Maru functioned as a submarine tender, cargo and troop transport ship. On the day of the attack, she was carrying various high explosives in her forward holds including ammunition, aerial bombs, mines, and her own shells. A large anti-aircraft gun is located on top of the aft deckhouse. The explosion that destroyed the Aikoku Maru was so violent it also destroyed the attacking U.S. Navy aircraft.


Depth: Superstructure 100 feet / 30 meters, bottom 200 feet / 61 meters
The Amagisan Maru was originally constructed as a cargo/passenger ship. The Japanese Navy acquired the ship in 1943 and used it as a special transport. In February 1942, she sustained damage during a torpedo attack by a U.S. Navy sub. During "Operation Hailstone" the Amagisan Maru was sunk by bombs and aerial torpedo. Among her most interesting features are the pilot house, a bow gun, torpedo holes, staff cars, and on the sea floor, a tank truck. The Amagisan Maru was discovered in 1973.


Depth: Superstructure 50 feet / 15 meters, bottom 110 feet / 34 meters
The Hanakawa Maru was built in 1943 as a special transport for the Japanese Navy. The ship was sunk on the second day of "Operation Hailstone". Her cargo contained aviation fuel that ignited during the attack. The ship was sunk by a torpedo hit on her starboard bow. She now lies a few hundred yards from the shore of Tol Island. The Hanakawa Maru rests upright. A large variety of coral and marine growth is quite abundant on this wreck.


Depth: Superstructure 3 feet / 1 meter, Bottom 70 feet / 21 meters 
Years ago when you saw a poster for Truk Lagoon, this small freighter was the featured wreck. The bow gun was the most recognizable part of the wreck. Snorkelers can easily glide under the gun. The ship was struck by two large bombs and sent to the bottom.


Depth: Superstructure 30 feet / 9 meters, bottom 112 feet / 34 meters
The Fujikawa Maru was built in 1938 by the Mitsubishi Company as a passenger and cargo carrier. The Japanese Navy took possession of her in December 1940 and converted the ship to an aircraft ferry. The conversion included a compliment of six-inch guns on her bow and stern. These guns were remnants from the Russo-Japanese War. Just prior to "Operation Hailstone," Fujikawa Maru arrived in Truk and off-loaded thirty "Jill" B5N2 bombers onto Eten Airfield. Since these aircraft had been disassembled for shipment, they were unable to help defend Truk and were destroyed on the ground. The cargo hold still contain Zero fighters. Today the Fujikawa Maru has an abundance of colorful soft coral and large formations of hard corals. It is regarded by many divers as the most popular wreck of Truk Lagoon.


Fujikawa Maru


Depth: Superstructure 120 feet / 37 meters, Bottom 170 feet / 52 meters
Like many of the wrecks of Truk Lagoon, the Fujisan Maru has historic significance. Built in 1931, her pre-war duties consisted of carrying crude oil from the US to Japan. In late 1941 The Japanese Navy acquired the ship and utilized it as a "Fleet Oiler." She participated in the Battle of Midway as part of the Aleutian diversionary task group and, due to her fast speed, was also part of the "Tokyo Express."  Fujisan carried a cargo of 1900 troops in a desperate attempt to reinforce New Guinea. A B-17 managed to hit her with a bomb in December 1943, but she was back in service by early 1944. During "Operation Hailstone", the Fujisan Maru was one of the few vessels underway. She was attacked by aircraft and struck with 1000 lbs. delayed action armor piercing bombs. Her engine order telegraph still signals for FULL AHEAD. Machine guns with ammunition scattered about, testify to her futile attempts at defense.


Depth: Hull 8 feet 2.4 meters, bottom 100 feet / 31 meters
The Gosei Maru was built in 1937 as a coastal freighter. The Japanese Navy acquired the ship and utilized it as a supply ship for Sixth Fleet submarines. She carried torpedoes and depth charges. In 1976 many of her torpedoes were destroyed to eliminate possibility of detonation. During "Operation Hailstone," Gosei Maru was sunk by a torpedo. She now lies on a slope. The depth ranges from 8 feet at the stern to 100 feet at the bow. The rudder and propeller of the Gosei Maru make for excellent photographic subjects. 

Gosei Maru


Depth: Superstructure 110 feet / 33 meters, bottom 175 feet / 53 meters
The Hoki Maru was built in 1921. Originally christened the British-New Zealand ship M/V Hauraki, under the ownership of the Union Steamship Corporation of New Zealand. When hostilities began on December 7, 1941, Hauraki was on a run from Fremantle, Australia to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The ship was captured by Imperial Japan's Aikoku and Hokoku Maru (also sunk at Truk). The crew of the M/V Hauraki were interned in the Ofuna Work Camp until their liberation in 1945. The Japanese renamed the ship the Hoki Maru on December 31, 1942 and designated her as a special transport for war material. In late January 1944, she left Yokohama with coal, supplies and personnel for Truk. Much of the construction equipment in her holds is thought to have been captured in the Philippine Islands. The wreck of the Hoki Maru sits upright with a slight list to port. The cargo includes Caterpillar tractors, stack bed trucks, tow tractor, dump trucks, steam roller, and other construction vehicles. Other artifacts include aircraft engines and propellers, ship propellers, bombs and their fuses, and many other items.

Hoki Maru

Wreck information courtesy 


Blue Lagoon Dive Resort

Blue Lagoon Resort and Blue Lagoon Dive Shop

News from Manta Ray Bay Resort - Wishing on a Star

News from Manta Ray Bay Resort

Wishing on a Star

Greetings from Bill at Manta Ray Bay Resort on Yap, 

Hope all is well with you, your family, friends, and dive buddies. As for conquering the Covid-19 pandemic, the US is heading in the right direction, Europe seems to be getting things under control as well, while here on Yap we have about 40% of the population fully vaccinated. FSM president has set a 70% vaccination rate before stranded FSM citizens would be repatriated, however last week the first batch of stranded citizens were repatriated to Pohnpei. Although this by itself is a good sign, we do not anticipate reopening until early 2022.
With that knowledge I must announce that that MantaFest 2021 program is officially canceled. There is no way, in my opinion, that both the FSM Government and the Yap State Government are going to agree to open the borders anytime soon and even if they open, there will undoubtedly be all sorts of restrictions placed on arrivals that no one can affectively come for a vacation. 

This breaks my heart as I miss everyone, and I miss the diving. Who could ever believe that I have been unable to travel and there is no end in sight? It is an extraordinary situation that I am still not used to. Every morning, instead of going to the resort and diving with our friends from all around the world, I am checking the news hoping that the end of the tunnel will be insight soon. There is light, but no green light yet and that is very frustrating. I’m very sorry having to email this message, but it wouldn’t be responsible and fair towards you to give you hope that we could all be together for MantaFest this year. Even the changed dates in October are just not realistic anymore. It is sad but that is the reality we are forced to deal with.
Please keep following my blog. I hope you are enjoying reading the updates from our beautiful island as I certainly enjoy updating you. I am very much looking forward to the day I write the blog with the headline “Yes, we’re open again”.

Although our reopening date is unknown, please have a look at our “Grand Re-opening Specials”. As a MantaFest participant in 2022, you can benefit from our “Get 3 Extra Nights for Free” offer when booking our 7, 11 or 14-night MantaFest package.
Finally, please help us spread the word that Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers IS the dive resort to visit once things are back to normal again. Cast your vote in the Scuba Diving magazine’s World's Best Diving Resorts & Liveaboards Reader's Awards by following this link 
Friends, adopted family and buddies, please stay safe and healthy! My family and I, as well as our staff, cannot wait to have you as our guests again. 
All the best,
Bill, family & staff


The Normalization of Deviance (aka “Short Cut Mentality”) - Dan Orr

The Normalization of Deviance (aka “Short Cut Mentality”)

Dan Orr / Dan Orr Consulting

Originally Published in the Scuba News

I had the opportunity to listen to the live broadcast of the meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) where they discussed the results of their investigation into the tragic fire aboard the dive boat, Conception, where 34 divers lost their lives. During the meeting’s 4+ hours of discussion, they reviewed all aspects of the incident as they were preparing their final report and recommendations. There were several issues identified as board members and committee heads discussed details, some very hard to listen to, of things that contributed to the catastrophic loss of life. 

Of all the things that were discussed, “normalization of deviance” struck a chord with me. I saw that it had direct application to diving safety leading me to the creation of this article. Normalization of deviance means that people become so accustomed to a conscious deviation from a standard procedure that they no longer consider those changes as being deviant.  

During my nearly 50 years as a diving professional and 23 years working at Divers Alert Network (DAN), I have read and reviewed many diving accident reports involving divers from all over the diving world. Understanding what turned an enjoyable recreational dive into a tragedy is an important step in learning how to avoid the same fate. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Many case reports detail a series of actions and habitual behaviors, which appear so far beyond comprehension that they defy our definition of “diver error.”


In 2008, Dr. Petar Denoble at DAN, reviewed nearly 1,000 diver fatalities. Part of his research identified triggering events that initiated a cascade of circumstances that transformed an otherwise enjoyable dive into a fatality were listed (Denoble, P., et al, “Causes of Recreational Diving Fatalities” UHM 2008, Vol. 35, No.6). Those triggering events were:

  • Out of Breathing Gas              41%
  • Entrapment                             21%
  • Equipment Problems             15%
  • Rough Water                            10%
  • Trauma                                      6%
  • Buoyancy                                  4%
  • Inappropriate Gas                     3%

Looking at this data, you can see that over 60% of the identified triggering events (Out of Breathing Gas, Equipment Problems, Buoyancy and Inappropriate Gas) were either directly or indirectly related to equipment preparation and use. Before going any further, let me comment on one of the triggering events, “Equipment Problems.” From my experience and the review of the circumstances surrounding diving fatalities, I believe that “Equipment Problems”. is more likely to be “Problems with Equipment.” In other words, user error rather than a flaw in the equipment design. Using a checklist and a consistent pre-dive ritual can increase the likelihood of identifying and correcting errors before diving. The problem seems to be that divers, even some with extensive diving experience, may decide to take short cuts or deviate from standard safety procedures due to some sense of time pressure, complacency or just feeling that standard procedures may not apply to them.  

DAN’s Annual Diving Report has interesting data regarding experience levels for diving fatalities. One graph (below) shows the number of openwater dives a diver has done within the 12 months preceding a diving fatality. In the graph below, you will see two distinct spikes in the number of fatalities. One spike involves divers with fewer than 20 openwater dives. This spike in the number of fatalities might be explained by the fact that these divers have limited experience in openwater diving, and their skills may not be sufficient to appropriately deal with a crisis underwater. Another spike in the same graph shows an increased number of fatalities with divers that have made more than 300 openwater dives in the months preceding a diving fatality. It may seem incredulous that divers with that much recent experience would get themselves in a situation where something occurred that initiated a series of events from which they could not recover. 

One possible explanation for a high number of fatalities among very experienced divers could be that they may have routinely deviated from standard safety procedures so frequently that these deviations became “normalized” because in all previous instances nothing occurred reinforcing the use of these shortcuts. Even then, the question that should come to mind is how can trained, equipped, and experienced divers, with more than 300 individual diving experiences in the 12 months preceding their death in a diving accident, get themselves into a situation where their skills, abilities and equipment were not sufficient for them to survive an underwater diving emergency. 


Reading through the details of many of these “accidents” found in the annual DAN Diving Accident Reports, causes you to naturally reflect on your own diving experiences and makes you realize that this could happen to you, just as it has happened to a number of highly trained, experienced and apparently qualified divers.

Clearly any of the divers found in the DAN annual Diving Reports were fully capable of following proper diving procedures and had done so on many previous openwater dives. When giving seminars on diver safety, one concept that is always brought up is “complacency” as one possible contributing factor in diving accidents. This is certainly true in many cases, but there may be another explanation, “normalization of deviance.” Normalization of deviance, in this case, means that certified and qualified scuba divers may have become so accustomed to a conscious deviation from standard diving and safety procedures that they no longer consider them as being a departure from the norm. Divers grow more accustomed to the deviation from standard procedures the more frequently they use them. To others, the deviation from a standard procedure would be seen as incorrect but to the diver, and possibly even others they regularly dive with, the incorrect procedure might seem like a normal part of the diver’s diving skills. When a deviation is made and the outcome is successful without any negative consequences, it subliminally reinforces the use of that deviation. In other words, the diver may experience a subconscious reward for doing the wrong thing because it worked.  

The term “normalization of deviance” was coined by sociologist and Columbia University professor Dr. Diane Vaughn in her book, The Challenger Launch Decision. She detailed the decisions made by NASA that led to the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. There had been problems with the “O” rings in the solid rocket boosters on previous launches without incident. Therefore, it became “normal operating procedure” to make launch “Go” decisions with identified issues with the “O” rings. NASA, unfortunately, did not learn from the Challenger disaster and fell victim to it again when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated when the heat shield failed upon re-entry in 2003. Apparently, there had been heat shield issues during previous re-entries without serious incident, again, leading to issues with the heat shield being considered within “normal” operating parameters. 

In order to learn from these space flight tragedies and other, more recent, catastrophic incidents within the diving world, we should fully understand the dangers from deviations from safe operating procedures when they become “normalized.” The first step in avoiding “normalization of deviance” is awareness. In diving safety, we discuss the concept of “situational awareness.” Situational awareness is where we are constantly monitoring those things going on as we prepare for a dive, during the dive and afterwards. This includes the pre-dive period as our diving companions are preparing and configuring their equipment. During the dive as we monitor our depth, bottom time, breathing gas consumption and anytime changes occur that could increase our risk during a dive. Post-dive as we observe our diving companions looking for signs of issues that could have been the result of the dive. When we identify anything that could negatively impact our diving experience, our knowledge and skills should alert us to take some sort of action. 

There are many factors which may increase the likelihood of normalization of deviance. For example, there are divers, even those with lots of experience, who often develop shortcuts or neglect proper procedures, including those steps found on accepted checklists from training programs, or even those considered as standard safety procedures. The justification for conscious rule breaking often comes where the rule or standard is perceived as ineffectual. In charter boat or liveaboard diving, time pressure may be an issue that would seem to justify skipping a few steps that may be considered inconsequential.  Saving a few minutes in preparation may seem to be the right thing to do when others are waiting for you but would seem less important when things go terribly wrong once in the water. Divers may also learn a deviation without actually realizing it. Diver training only covers part of what a diver needs to know to dive, especially in some of the more challenging diving situations. Some divers will adopt modifications from other, apparently more experienced, divers that have worked for them in similar situations. They may do this without questioning or completely evaluating these modifications in procedures. And, finally, diving in a culture that permits mistakes to go uncorrected. There is a popular saying nowadays, “See something, say something.” This philosophy may certainly have value in terms of accident prevention. Diving companions may be afraid to speak up when they see something about a pre-dive preparation or even a diving skill that deviates from proper procedures or techniques. Even though we are certainly not our brother’s keeper, we do have an obligation to our diving companions to help identify something just doesn’t seem right and thus, preventing an accident. There is no problem with simply asking questions about something that is different than what we expect or different than what we’ve seen before. In fact, it is a way we may learn. You may have actually discovered a new and better way of doing something or you may have brought an error to the attention of a fellow diver, possibly preventing an unfortunate situation from occurring. One caution, however: never take anything at face value when it comes to diving or safety. Evaluate anything that is different from what you know to be correct and ask others with more experience or expertise.

Resisting the tendency to deviate from proper procedures or techniques that were developed to keep our sport and divers safe requires a willingness from every diver to always follow the skills, techniques and procedures that they were taught. One approach to combatting deviations from safe diving procedures is to develop and maintain a culture of diving safety. A safety culture is the enduring value and priority placed on safety by every diver at every level. All divers must commit to personal responsibility for safety; preserve, enhance, and communicate safety concerns as soon as they are identified; actively learn from past mistakes and the mistakes of others and apply safe behaviors based upon lessons learned. Anything less than a full commitment to a safety culture would allow deviations from proper procedures or techniques to become part of normal operating procedure that will, possibly, lead to a tragic outcome from what should be a truly wonderful diving experience. 

In order to address accidents in the use of closed-circuit rebreathers (CCRs), the technical diving community came together in 2012 at Rebreather Forum 3.0 and developed a series of recommendations to improve CCR safety. One of these recommendations was the use of checklists. The use of checklists, however, should not be confined to rebreather diving. The use of a checklist to reduce the likelihood that some critical aspect of pre-dive preparation is not missed should be an essential part of every diver’s repertoire.  Unfortunately, diving accident data and post-accident diver interviews show that checklists may still not be considered part of many diver’s safety procedures. The lack of checklist use could, in many cases, have possibly prevented a tragedy but, not using a checklist was considered, by many, normal operating procedure. While checklists should be considered a standard part of every diver’s preparatory procedures, I would also suggest combining the use of a checklist with a consistent pre-dive ritual for equipment preparation. Getting into a strict routine will certainly help prevent equipment configuration and preparation errors. 

Whether we are diving with friends, family, or others enjoying the same sport and dive site, we all want to enjoy the wonders of diving without ending up as a DAN statistic. We can all agree that a diving fatality is terrible for the sport, the industry and the loved ones that are left behind. Taking short cuts as a regular practice where these changes become “normalized” can certainly compromise our safety and the safety of our diving companions and risk taking away our most precious gift, life.

Our thanks to Scuba News, Dan Orr and Dan Orr Consulting for allowing us to republish this article.

Occidental Cozumel All-Inclusive Summer Deal

Occidental Cozumel 

All-Inclusive Summer Deal

Must Book by July 15, 2021

Get our package deal at the Occidental Grande Cozumel Resort. All-inclusive at the Occidental means Deluxe room accommodations, all meals, ALL beverages (including alcoholic), and a dive package provided by Pro Dive. Dive package includes 5 dive days with 2-tank boat dives each day.

Must book by July 15, 2021- Valid for travel August and September 2021

Diver rate $1070 per person double occupancy  -  Non-diver rate $595
Single diver rate $1378 -  Single non-diver rate  $903



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