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Dive Review of Conch Republic Divers in
The Continental USA/Florida Keys

Conch Republic Divers, Jun, 2007,

by Ray Simpkins, MI, USA ( 2 reports). Report 3394.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Great Lakes, Caymans, USVI, Hawaii, Germany, Meditaranian, Florida, Florida Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 10 to 15 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments they had one small rinse bucket on boat. no more than 2 cameras with lights could fit without risking collision with other cameras

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This was my third trip with Conch Republic Divers and the first for the rest of my party. The weather was isolated t-storms and showers. We scheduled the Spiegel and Molasses Reef. I have dived the Spiegel 3 times with CRD. The morning boat was unable to do the Spiegel due to current. They made the call to move to the Duane when other boats on the same frequency said the Spiegel was undivable. We heard this at the dive shop while waiting to load the afternoon boat. We left on time but not before a role call and equipment check. On the way out we saw a couple of water spouts. Our captain said that we shouldnt worry about them because they fill up with water and disappear. A meteorologist and a dive boat captain in one! We continued right into the same storm. Thankfully the spout vanished as my wife was nearly in tears worried we would be swallowed up. When we got the 10 minute warning there was only one 6-pack boat moored at the Spiegel. My wife, who has 60 plus dives, is for the most part advanced but has not taken the course for the official certification. She was required to pay for a DM to take her on the Spiegel. The original plan was that her DM was going to jump in and check the current. If it was too strong we were going to head to the Duane similarly to the morning boat. The captain came down to address the divers and said we are going to do a drift dive on the Spiegel and come up on a line for pick-up. This plan was different than the one explained by the DM going down with my wife. Within a few minutes the captain and the other DM on board was yelling Dive! Dive! Dive! I was tossed in ahead of my group. We drifted back to a mooring ball behind the boat and grabbed onto the line tied to it. After everyone entered, my wife and DM headed down the line first. My wife got to a depth of 20 ft. and signaled to the DM 5 times that she wanted to go up. The DM pulled her down the line by her BC. My wife wanted to call the dive because the current was too strong for her to pull herself down and clear her ears holding on to the line with one hand. The current was really ripping. She signaled for the rest of us to climb over her to go down to the wreck and then she surfaced. A husband and wife team eagerly pulled themselves over her and disappeared out of sight in about 15 ft. Our group, including the DM went down to the wreck after my wife surfaced and grabbed a line to pull herself back to the dive boat. When we got to the wreck I had about 1900 psi in my tank. Within 7 minutes the DM was signaling that we were going up. At that time I had 1400 psi. She put another diver on her octo and we started climbing a line. We did a good 5 minute stop at 15-20 ft and surfaced, pulling ourselves back to the boat. When the diver who was on the octo reached the ladder and went up, he fell forward to his knees on the deck of the boat. The captain grabbed his first stage and bc and dragged him back to his station on his knees. Seeing this in the water I thought something serious had happened. When I pulled myself to the boat and asked my wife if the diver was Ok she said yes, that he fell, and the captain just wanted to get him out of the way. After talking to the DM, she said he had 300 psi in his tank when we were down on the wreck! Everyone except the husband and wife team that passed my wife made it back. Everyone started looking for divers at the surface. After 10 minutes, a rescue diver on our boat and the other DM went back down to look for the missing divers. The captain radioed for other boats in the area to look for the missing divers as well as the Coast Guard. Two of the dive crew was talking during the search and made comments about the skill level and incompetence of the missing divers to each other. I could not understand why they were making these excuses. To make matters worse, other experienced divers on the boat were making comments like their out of air now, they are dead for sure. After 2.5 hours the Coast Guard chopper spotted the divers on the surface and delivered them back to the dive boat. The boat then headed back to the dive shop aborting the second dive. When we returned to the dive shop, one of the owners made a joke when we pulled up Its glad to SEE ALL OF YOU. We spent the next 30 minutes cleaning our gear at the rinse tanks. I was hoping that someone would approach me and offer to reimburse me for my missed dive or apologize for the experience. No such luck, only a joke by the owner saying with a smile interesting day, huh? The next afternoon I took the initiative to call and ask if I was going to be refunded. They did not have an immediate answer and had to call me back. They reimbursed me 25%.
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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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