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

April, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Brent Barnes, OK, US
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 3 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6639
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
76   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
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  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
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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