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Dive Review of MV Spree in
Puerto Rico/Mona Island and Desecheo Islan

MV Spree, Apr, 2012,

by Brent Barnes, OK, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 6639.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 76 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive with a buddy,no planned decompression dives, must come up with at least one breath of air left, otherwise no restrictions
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Extensive camera equipment table with multiple levels. Ample charging stations for recharging batteries. Crew extremely knowledgeable and careful with cameras. Two large and separate rinse bins for cameras.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I did a 5 day liveaboard on the MV Spree to Mona and Desecheo Islands of Puerto Rico out of Mayaque. I had wanted to dive Mona for some period of time and it is very difficult to get to as there are really only 1 - 2 land based diver operations that ever go to Mona from Puerto Rico and that is rare due to the distance and weather in crossing the rough Mona passage to get there. Thus, it is difficult to plan a trip to Puerto Rico and be able to definitely get to Mona so I jumped on the opportunity to go to Mona on a boat I have been on before. First, I would highly recommend any trip aboard the MV Spree. I have been diving on the Spree for years in the Flower Gardens in the Gulf of Mexico. The Spree is now largely based in Key West and does trips to the Tortugas but also does some trips to the Oriskany out of Pensacola, Mona and Desecheo Islands in Puerto Rico and occasionally the Flower Gardens in the Gulf of Mexico. Simply check their schedule on their web site. The Spree is not a luxury liveaboard but is very functional, especially for the experienced diver. Owners Frank and Melanie are oustanding and simply fun to dive with. I have been very impressed by the changes they have made to their boat over the years in response to diver feedback. For instance, they used to take up to 32 divers per trip which could be crowded, they now limit trips to about 18 which makes for ample room. Nitrox is included. The lodging is bunk beds with three inside heads. Frank added a wonderful "outside" head right on the dive deck with a great hot shower. It is a great place to rinse and change afte a cool dive. The food is not gourmet but is excellent and plentiful. There are virtually no diving restrictions other than diving with a buddy unless you are solo-certified and diving planned no-decompression dives are not allowed. There is no air or time limits. They have excellent space for photographers. They have a wonderfull sun deck with ample space and the boat never seems crowded. There are typically 4 - 5 dives per day. This was my first time to dive Mona and Desecheo and though the Spree was its usual outstanding operation, the diving was somewhat disappointing. The first dives of the day were done as drift dives with all divers dropped over the wall in a short time frame and then each buddy pair was picked up by the Spree when they surfaced. Divers were not picked up by pangas but by the Spree itself and it was somewhat intimidating to see the 110 foot Spree barreling down on you to pick you up but Frank was a master at guiding the Spree to pick up drifting divers. I was extremely impressed with the wall off of Mona which would rival any of the other major walls in the Caribbean such as the Cayman Islands, San Salvador or Cozumel. The coral was very healthy and the visibility at Mona was incredible, routinely exceeding 150 feet. The disappointing feature was a complete lack of large fish and pelagic life. Other than a couple of nurse sharks, we did not see a single shark over a trip of 18 dives. No dolphins, no whales and little pelagic life at all. We did see several eagle rays and a few turtles but other than that there was no big animal action at all. Smaller fish were somewhat plentiful, but there were few large fish. I was amazed at the small number of larger grouper and jacks. Clearly, fishing pressure has had an impact on Mona and Desecheo. Overall, I will keep an eye on the Spree's upcoming schedule and will not hesitate to jump on the Spree for future trips. It is a great dive operation. However, though I am glad I have added Mona and Desecheo to my "done it" list, I would probably not return due to a lack of large fish.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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