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Dive Review of Conch Republic Divers/Ocean Pointe Suites in
The Continental USA/Tavernier

Conch Republic Divers/Ocean Pointe Suites, May, 2006,

by Richard Sziede, VA, USA . Report 2490.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Florida Keys, Belieze, Bay Islands, Saba, Turks & Caicos, Cayman, Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 77 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Could use a better rinse tank.

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The sixth time is the charm. The Spiegle Grove has always been my bad-luck dive. Previous attempts all came a cropper. First try the damn thing hadn't sunk. Second: flooded camera. Third: Wilma.

Conch Republic Divers had three Speigle Grove dives this weekend. I merrily did all three. Finally overcome my jinx.

All three Spiegle dives had wicked current. Up and down on the mooring line, hung out like flags, attended by a school of curious (I hoped not hungry) barracuda.

First dive I missed the mooring line for the ascent. My computer was deep into the yellow zone, so rather than spend time hunting for the line, we came up free. Current put us way out of swimming distance from the boat. Scenes from "Open Water" began playing in the back of my mind. Another dive boat sent a swimmer with a rope, and we were soon reunited with Conch Republic. The dive masters were kind about my blunder. Pointedly kind.

The second and third dives we kept the mooring line in sight. My jinx held for the second dive. I had rigged the video housing very slightly off. It didn't leak, but I couldnt turn the camera on: a fact I didnt learn till I was in water. I no longer have the right to make fun of Perkin Elmer for not performing that end-to-end test on the Hubble before launch.

Finally got good footage on the last dive.

Conch Republic runs a tight boat. In and out on time, no slip-ups, cheerful and helpful crew. Two-man crew handled a crowded boat with aplomb. An additional hanging rack for dive skins and BCDs would be nice. Last boat in had no place to hang wet gear other than over the stuff already hanging there. The shop didn't see this as a problem.

Fish life seemed thinner than my last visit. Fewer 'cuda and Grouper. The huge green moray I remembered from my last dive on the Benwood was on vacation. The schools of Atlantic Spadefish were entirely absent. But there were plenty of Striped Grunts, File Fish, Pipe Fish, and other little guys.

A Goliath Grouper is in residence in Speigle Grove's wheelhouse. (Some wag wondered if Florida would rename Jewfish Creek.) Most shallow sites have a compliment of Nurse Sharks. Got good footage of a High Hat patrolling a coral cave right under the nose of a Green Moray. Lobsters and crabs came out to pose for my camera.

Ocean Pointe Suites had some negative reviews on travel sites. They lived down to them.

Seafood lovers can't go wrong in the Keys. Fishing boats bring their catch right to their favorite resturants. In DC you have to go to 3-star joints to get fish from "day boats." In the Keys, just go to Fish House, or Snappers. Don's Diner in Key Largo provides a belly-bustin' breakfast.

Atlantic's Edge in the upscale Cheecha Lodge is not much more expensive than Fish House, with a big step up in ambiance. A wedding in the lodge presented a South Florida fashon show that was a refreshing change from Washington DC's boring business suits. Many guests wore Florida's high-maintenance woman uniform: dress too tight, makeup too thick, tottering on Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Love the Keys, liked Conch Republic. Won't use Ocean Pointe again.

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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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