Giant groupers swim with divers in Palm Beach, Fla.
In Palm Beach, Fla. you can swim with 800-pound gentle giants called the Goliath groupers, which can grow to be the size of a smart car.
Jena McNeil, a PADI-certified rescue diver and Palm Beach County’s artificial reef coordinator, told USA Today, “They understand that they’re bigger than you and most of the other marine life in the ocean, so they’re not scared and allow you to swim quite close.”
These gentle giants are so calm they will let divers just swim right next to them, but during mating season they will most likely ignore humans. If divers get into a grouper’s personal space, it will let the diver know using its defense mechanism, which sounds like a barking dog. Divers are warned to back away if they hear this sound.
These groupers can be found hanging out in wrecked freighter boats like the Zion Train and the Esso Bonaire. They can be found in groups of dozens at a time.
For anyone interested in swimming with these groupers, it is $70 per person, and a certified diver leads the group to a wreck site. “On the Esso Bonaire is where you see the most at one time … as you come into the bow of the wreck you can see two or three dozen and you’ll see a few more inside the stem of the wreck. It’s incredible!" Hamilton Mason with the Jupiter Dive Center told USA Today.
These groupers aren’t the only thing you will see going diving in Palm Beach, Fla.; you can also see loggerhead turtles, stingrays, and brightly colored fish such as the Cero.