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

Key Dives/Breezy Palms Resort, Nov, 2011,

by Eric A Frick, IL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 27 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 6362 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Great Lakes, Hawaii, Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 30 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments 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. (www.keydives.com), they offered three hotels for my consideration. I selected the middle hotel pricewise. I opened the door of my room (#202) at Breezy Palms (www.breezypalms.com) 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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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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