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

September, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Howard Kaiser, MO, United States
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 5049
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Caymans, Belize, Bahamas, Cabo, BVI, Honduras[Unspecified]
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  

stay within computer limits
Buddy Dive,   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
[None]Camera Bucket dedicated
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
5 stars   
3 stars    
We've dived with owner Jeff Jaevis for a number of years and have found
this operation to be perfect for our purposes. Boat is a 6 pack and Jeff is
always first to the dive sites...I can tell you that there have been
numerous occasions over the years, including this past month, where we saw
large schools of fish and a variety of pelagice- tarpon, amberjack, black
tip reef and bull sharks- even a hammerhead at Molassses in 2005- that
disappeared once the larger operators arrived and dumped their divers. This
trip we stayed at the Marriott -using some points I'd built up..we
generally stay at the Holiday Inn where Jeff's boat is moored since it's so
convenient but found we liked the better amenities at Marriott enough to
warant a few extra minutes' drive. We do 4 dives a day with Jeff- which is
exhausting so it's necessary to plan your day...strong currents from an
earlier tropical storm closed down both the Duane- my favorite wreck and
the location of several bull sharks- as well as the Spiegel Grove. So lots
of diving Pickles and the deeper sites...our very best diving came the
third day when visibility opened up and currents calmed down enough to get
to Molasses. We dove the southern-most buoys and were amazed! First dive
may be one of the finest dives I've done in 10 yrs of Keys diving...saw
several decent sized 4-5 ft nurse sharks, a small loggerhead turtle as well
as a green turtle- which you don't often see in this area. Two small
schools of spadefish, two amberjack, a large snook and a school of permit
cruised by as we made our way over to the swimthroughs. Inside, schools of
grunts and snapper gave way to several impressive clouds of  glassy
sweepers. On several occasions we ran into goliath grouper hiding under
ledges and in the swimthroughs. These protected animals have made a great
comeback thanks to the marine park designation. They are unmistakeable-
like grouper on steroids! The dive concluded with a pair of large eagle
rays skimming by as we crossed a sand flat. I was also able to find two
green morays as well as a spotted juvenile swimming out in the rubble. The
volume of fish on this early morning dive was impressive. Jean and I
believe that certain dives in the Keys rival Caymans and Belize for the
quantity and diversity of fish life. We think the HMS Minnow and Jeff
Jarvis are exceptional values for diving and the Florida Keys in general is
a great spot for a family dive vacation that won't explode the budget.
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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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