The Flower Gardens
Aboard the M/V Fling
Picture yourself over 100 miles from land, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico where all you can see is water. There beneath you lie three of the most beautiful coral reefs in all of the world. You'll potentially see manta rays, whale sharks, coral heads bigger than cars, and hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates!
The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is one of 14 federally designated underwater areas protected by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the only site located in the Gulf of Mexico. Situated between 70 to 115 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Flower Garden Banks sanctuary includes underwater communities that rise from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico atop underwater mountains.
Experience the Flower Garden Banks with Underwater Adventures aboard the M/V Fling live-aboard dive vessel and be prepared to have all of your expectations exceeded. Our two and three day sport trips will provide you with excellent dive opportunities in one of the world’s most pristine coral reefs.
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and consists of three separate areas: East Flower Garden, West Flower Garden and Stetson Banks.
The two Flower Garden Banks are 12 miles apart and located 100-115 miles directly south of the Texas/Louisiana border. Stetson Bank is located about 70 miles south of Galveston, Texas, about 30 miles northwest of the other two banks.
The coral reef cap begins at about 55 feet (~ 17 m) in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and continues to a depth of about 160 feet (~ 49 m). But, that’s not the bottom of the sanctuary. A variety of other habitats are found deeper than the reef cap, where depths range from 160 to 476 feet (~145 m) depending on your location within the sanctuary.
|Bank Name||Maximum Depth||Location|
|Stetson Bank||59 m / 194 ft||surrounding plain|
|West Flower Garden Bank||135 m / 443 ft||base of southern mound|
|East Flower Garden Bank||145 m / 476 ft||eastern edge of bank|
East and West Flower Garden Banks are known for their large boulder corals, primarily brain and star corals, which cover about 50% of the available surface area on the reef cap. Around the reef, you will see many of the same reef fishes common to more familiar Caribbean dive sites, but not quite as much variety. If you are fortunate, you may also see some of the larger residents such as manta rays, sea turtles, and whale sharks, to name a few.
At Stetson Bank, you will see upthrust ridges of rock covered in corals, algae, and sponges. In many ways, this makes it easier to see all the variety of reef fishes and invertebrates that call the northwestern Gulf of Mexico home. By looking in all the nooks and crannies you will certainly find eels, urchins, shrimp, lobsters, and shellfish. Large spotted eagle rays and mantas are known to frequent the outer edges of this area, as well.
2 days of diving - 4 dives per day! Great Experience builder!
Tanks and air fills
All meals inculded
Clean and comfortable rooms
$585 per Person
Nitrox is an additional $65 for the two-day trip
The boat divemasters will give a thorough briefing the night you board the boat, and tell you all about the in’s and out’s of diving off a large boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Site-specific briefings are conducted at each new dive site. The dive times are set by the boat crew, and will be approximately 7:00 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 5:30 pm and 9:00 pm on a 5-dive day. 4-dive days usually start at 8:00 am. Boat crew does not dive with the passengers, but instead is on deck during all dives to assist with entries and exits, as well as any surface assistance that is needed in-water. The trip leaders will be diving with the passengers.
Upcoming Flower Gardens Trip Dates
The boat boards promptly at 8:30 pm the evening prior to the trip date, so you should arrive around 8:00 pm to unload your gear and get ready to board. We usually return to the dock between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm on the last trip day.
Fling Charters Dock
702 West Second Street
Freeport, TX 77541