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Dive Review of Horizon Divers in
The Continental USA/Key Largo, FL

February, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Mort Rolleston, VA, US
Report Number 1506
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, North Carolina wrecks, St. Lawrence River Canada wrecks around
Brockville, New Providence Bahamas, Sail Rock Thailand
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
70   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
On shallow dives - one hour time limit strictly enforced (they have to keep
to their schedule).  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    

Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised at the diving at Key Largo and
would have to probably rate it my most enjoyable diving overall to date. 
Key Largo had huge schools of fish in open water (and I like my fish -
especially larger pelagics, which Bonaire totally lacked as did Nassau
except for the great shark dive I did there).  The baitballs (of what I
assume are silversides) near Spiegel Grove wreck had to have contained
MILLIONS of fish in tight formations that were more than 100 feet in
diameter being dined upon by charging jacks, barracuda, and grouper.  
There were also large schools of grunts, goatfish, and schoolmasters at
most sites.  We also saw several nurse sharks, a huge manta ray, a spotted
moray, a HUGE jewfish, regular grouper, barracuda everywhere (singletons,
small packs of 2-3, and one large school of a dozen), jacks, and spiny

Key Largo also has great wrecks.  The Spiegel Grove wreck (a Navy
amphibious ship sunk deliberately just a few years ago) was easily the best
wreck I have dove in my young diving career and was amazing even without
the gazillions of surrounding fish.  It is an astounding 550 feet long and
80 feet wide sitting on the bottom on its side in 130 feet of water.  I
believe it is the largest wreck in recreational diving depths in the world.
 Being in the water with something THAT huge is just awe inspiring.  

Coral was not quite as healthy and prolific as Bonaire (where it is
definitely world class), but it was surprisingly in great shape.

Visibility was extremely good (80-100 feet plus) at the Spiegel Grove and
the Molassas Reef sites.  The French Reef site and City of Washington wreck
was decent viz (maybe 50 feet?) and was downright murky at the shallow
Jesus Statue site (current was churning up the sand).  The sites were 20-40
minutes out from shore via dive boat mostly at the edge of the national
marine sanctuary.   Temps were mostly in 70s (with one cool day in low 60s
with 20-30 knot winds and 3-5 foot waves after a cold front blew through)
and water temps were in 70s - pretty nice for early Feb!  I was comfortable
in my 5 mm wetsuit.

Another plus is the shallow depths.  Except for Spiegel Grove and the deep
drift dive we did off Molassas Reef, all other sites were 20-40 feet,
allowing for very long bottom times.  The only limitation on our dive time
was the artificial one set by the dive operation at an hour so they could
keep to their schedule (two dives in morning and two dives in the
afternoon).  I was coming up after an hour with 1100-1200 psi of air left
on those shallow dives and could have stayed 20-30 minutes more.  And of
course, nitrogen building is not a problem at these shallow depths
either...Indeed, there were actually more snorkellers on the boat than

It was also cool that we were there during their low season.   We basically
had most sites to ourselves and could basically dictate within certain
limitations where we dove (we submitted our request prior to arriving,
which the dive shop honored almost verbatum).    And kudos overall to
Horizon Divers....

Now, the shore part isn't as good as other places I've dove (it not really
a town at all, but a typical American-style endless line of strip malls
along a busy highway for most part - except for the harbor part with its
many boat canals), but it was adequate.  There are some decent restaurants
around.  But the land distractions are totally secondary to the diving!   

Another plus:  getting down there was very easy (hour south of Miami
airport) and very inexpensive (there are always cheap airfares to Miami and
car rentals are hardly anything).  Hotels are also very reasonable...
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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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