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Dive Review of HMS MINNOW in
The Continental USA/Florida Keys

February, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Gregg Gaylord, WI, USA (4 reports)
Report Number 1573

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Reporter
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
PACIFIC, THAILAND, SOLOMON ISLANDS, CARRIBEAN, LAKE MICHIGAN, BAHAMAS

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
70   to 73    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
5
Water Visibility
12   to 50    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
NONE  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
Schools 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
N/A
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
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
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
5 stars   
Advanced
3 stars    
Comments  
THE HMS MINNOW is a six pack that leaves from the 100 mile marker in back
of the Holiday Inn at Key Largo.  I dove with a friend that had called to
book months in advance and we were greeted at the dock by the friendly
Captain Jeff Jarvis and his wife Betty exactly at the appointed time.  We
had asked for and received Nitrox for two-tank/day dives for 4 days.  He
helped us load our gear and we settled into the routine of setting up our
gear.  The Nitrox fills were all fine at 31.3-32%, and the fills were all
over 3000psi.  We were offered weights and belts.  The boat was clean with
limited but ample fresh water and had a forward cabin that was small but
also ample to keep us out of the wind during the 30 minute trip to the dive
sites from the dock as well as shelter us from the wind during surface
intervals.  No heads on this boat, but it was well equipped and smartly set
up for divers with a center dive bench to strap in our tanks.
We dove the Spiegel Grove twice, Turtle Ledge, Snapper Ledge, French Reef,
Mollases, and The Duane.  The day we dove the Duane, we were the only two
divers and Jeff allowed us to do both of our dives at this site.  The Duane
was seated upright in about 125 at the sand and there was a
"resident" school of about 100 barricuda hanging out at the bow
near the sand.  A Spanish Hogfish was busily occupied cleaning a school of
about  25 Blue Runners each eagerly bumping in front of the other to get to
the small hogfish.  There was no current on the Duane this day.  The
Spiegel Grove was somewhat barren of fish life, but the massive props and
shafts made it well worth the trip.  It should be a great dive in 10-15
years.  The reef dives were typical shallow Keys reef dives with lush
corals, large schools of a large variety of tropicals, occasional turtles
including a massive Loggerhead that didn't seem to mind our presence, a few
Nurse sharks and rays, and beautiful soft corals (though the coral at Looe
Key were more abundant and perhaps in slightly better shape).
The water temp was too cold for our 5mm suits and we added beanies, hooded
vests, gloves, boots and still managed to shiver twenty minutes into our
second dive every day until we added a 2mm neoprene vest.
The  Captain of the Minnow gave brief but satisfactory dive plans but we
were "on our own" in the water as he didn't dive and didn't carry
a crew.  A dive guide could be arranged upon request.  A request we didn't
make.  I don't recall hearing a "time limit" for a dive.  Depth
limits weren't necessary as all of the dives were within recreational
limits for our Nitrox.
I highly recommend the HMS Minnow.  They have no "shop".  Contact
Jeff Jarvis at hmsminnow@msn.com, call toll free 800-366-9301. local
305-451-7834, or check the web page www.hmsminnow.com.  Gilligan, the
Skipper, A Millionaire and his Wife, Ginger, the Professor and Mary Ann
need not apply
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All The Continental USA Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to The Continental USA
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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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