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Dive Review of HMS Minnow/Key Largo Holiday Inn in
The Continental USA/Key Largo

October, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Dean Knudson, MN, US
Contributor   (15 reports)
Report Number 2261
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Mexico, Bonaire, Honduras, Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
77   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Captain makes a personal assesment of your skill level, Advanced Open Water
not mandatory for the Spiegel Grove.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Boat is small, but there is a table and a rinse tank. The skipper is
careful with photo and video gear.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Best dive operation in the upper keys.  The boat is small, but the sites
are close, and the boat is on the ocean side, minutes from the dive sites. 
The morning trip departs 7:30 a.m. sharp (Jeff will call your hotel room
himself to move you along if you are holding up the others!!) to have first
choice on the mooring balls.  Key Largo diving can be hit and miss,
visibility wise, and the skipper reserves the right to eyeball a few sites
before selecting the spot.  Let him do it, he knows the area well. The boat
is limited to six passengers, service is very personable.  Jeff doesn't say
much initially, but when he warms up he has the unvarnished wisdom and
gentle humor of an ex-cop retired in the tropics.  
Spiegel Grove dives without advanced certification are a possiblilty, but
Jeff has to watch you for a bit before he decides to take you there, and he
might want to take a peek at your log. If the Spiegel Grove was not in the
area, there would be precious little there to attract intermediate or
advanced divers.   Since that wreck flipped upright in the hurricane, it
has become one of the best wreck dives I have been on, rivaling the C-52 in
Cozumel, and better than the Hilma Hooker in Bonaire. Talk to Jeff when
booking about the days he might anticipate making a run there.  We were
some of the first divers on that wreck since it flipped upright.
Space is very tight on this relatively small boat, watch the aisles and
keep your bench tidy.  The reefs are somewhat green with algae, but the
fish life in the marine preserve is consistently good year to year.
Excellent beginner diving, if you have a newly certified diver in your
family or group.
The Key Largo Holiday Inn is comfortable, reasonably priced, has a nice
pool and tiki bar, and the rooms are 100 feet from the HMS Minnow. Very
convenient.  The Island Grill, about 10 to 15 miles west on the highway, is
an excellent and charming restaurant, with a great view and nice solo
guitar music some evenings.
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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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