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Dive Review of Key Dives/Breezy Palms Resort in
The Continental USA/Florida Keys

November, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Eric A Frick, IL, US
Sr. Contributor   (27 reports, with 4 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6362 has 1 Helpful vote
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Great Lakes, Hawaii, Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry  
Water Temp
77   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 30    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
3 stars    
Friends and I planned a dive trip to the Florida Keys for a few days in
November.  When a too-inexpensive-to-ignore airfare popped up as I searched
for transportation down there, I grabbed it despite the fact that I had to
extend my time down there in order to qualify for the lower airfare.  This
report covers the few days I spent on my own in Islamorada before heading
up to Key Largo to join my friends.

As I made my diving reservations with Key Dives, Inc. (,
they offered three hotels for my consideration.  I selected the middle
hotel pricewise.  I opened the door of my room (#202) at Breezy Palms
( and took in a big lungful of clean-smelling,
well-cooled air.  Online reviews of the property had mentioned road noise
as a concern since it is right off of Highway 1, the main route through the
Keys.  When I made my reservation, the person who took my call said that
202 was three rooms removed from the road and was the standard motel room
that was furthest from the road.  I found this to be true but those who are
bothered by traffic noise might opt for a larger, more expensive room that
is further from Highway 1.  Breezy Palms, located on the ocean side of the
highway, isnt fancy.  The towels are thin, the patio door took both hands
to open and close and there was rust on a couple of the fixtures but the
place was clean, they have a nice little beach, the room was not expensive
and they were a 10 minute walk from the dive shop and a few restaurants. 
The coin-operated onsite laundry made it easy to do a mid-week wash, thus
keeping down the number of clothing items I had to pack.

Key Dives, Inc. was responsive when I telephoned to make reservations. 
When I arrived in town the day before my diving was to begin I visited the
dive shop to do some paperwork and verify my reservations.  Although they
had been friendly and prompt on the phone, my e-mail to them a week earlier
and my telephone message from a couple of days before had not been
returned.  I neednt have worried, all my reservations were in place.

The Giant Stride is a beautiful 42-foot Newton featuring seating along the
sides, a table in the center of the deck for storing gear items, a rinse
barrel dedicated to cameras, a marine head, plenty of cover to get out of
the sun and an upstairs bridge.  The boat captain provided a complete
safety briefing before each trip where he pointed out the life raft, oxygen
equipment and first aid kit aboard.  The dive master then provided a good
safety presentation about the dive and the lines that would be out for the
use of divers as they began and ended the dive.  On deep dives they plan a
one-minute stop at the halfway point between the deepest point of the dive
and the surface, a safety practice I appreciated.  They called the name of
each diver expected to be on the boat for the trip before casting off.  On
the day when the number of divers exceeded that which could be conveniently
counted at a glance, they called the name of each diver after we had
climbed back aboard to make sure no one was left behind.  I did find the
very brief surface intervals between dives a bit challenging and the
admittedly conservative programming of my Suunto dive computer did not like
them at all.

Our first dive on two of the three mornings was on the wreck of the Eagle. 
Our other dives were on and around Alligator reef off of Islamorada. 
Recent wind activity had stirred up the water and the viz was about 20 to
30 feet.  However, the fish life was abundant and all the usual fish
varieties were present though not many of the big guys were around.  I did
encounter large groups of moon jellyfish as I surfaced from the reef dives,
a little unusual for this time of year.  These jellies do carry a sting but
it was pretty easy to avoid them, even in the 2 to 4 foot seas.  The water
temp was 79.

On the morning of the second day, we were off to dive the Eagle again and
dive shop owner Dave came aboard for the dive  along with his spear gun. 
Ive never done any spear fishing and I have to say I am not a fan. 
Nevertheless, he let us know he planned to be away from the wreck.  It was
another great dive and as the divers moved toward the aft portion of the
wreck to ascend the stern mooring line, I saw Dave returning with two
hogfish held at his side on a stringer and a large amberjack making quite a
commotion on his spear and giving Dave a pretty good battle.  He was coming
back toward the wreck to try to ascend and to try to shake off a couple of
bull sharks that had been attracted to his quarry.  As interesting as this
was, I did not want to stick around and ascended for a brief stop at 50
feet and then a safety stop at 15 feet.  The amberjack escaped, probably to
be consumed by the sharks shortly thereafter.  The rest of the Islamorada
dives featured more marginal viz and waves but lots of fish.  We did see
many lionfish at one location and the dive masters dispatched them with
Hawaiian slings.  This is a nonnative invasive species that is multiplying
quickly in the Caribbean.

When we were not diving the Eagle with Key Dives, we dove the local reefs. 
Fish life was abundant but viz remained between 20 and 30 feet due to wind
and waves.  At a site called No Name I saw a wonderful 4-foot red Great
Star Coral.  We did catch sight of a manta toward the end of one of our
reef dives.  That was a first for me in the Keys.  After diving on the last
morning, I threw my wet dive gear into the car and drove up the Keys to Key
Largo for the second half of my trip.
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