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Dive Review of MV Ocean Explorer/Sands Harbor Marina in
The Continental USA/Pompano Beach Florida

MV Ocean Explorer/Sands Harbor Marina, Feb, 2005,

by al, ny, usa (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 1606.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving East Coast USA, Costa Rica, Roatan Honduras
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 70 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions generally accepted technical diving community standards
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I am a beginning UW photographer and this was a deep technical trip. However the operation would be accomodating to any level of photograper.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This is the second time i have dove with this operator. the goal of this trip was to dive deeper extended range wrecks in the Pompano beach/Ft Lauderdale area. The boat offers both liveaboard and dayboat trips. these would be daytrips with sleeping onshore at the hotel associated with the marina.

The boat is a 55ft fiberglass boat that is fairly seaworthy and in general a good platform for diving. it has two ladders, including a t bar ladder preferred when climbing with stages. They have an onboard compressor which came in handy on days when we did two dives. All diving gases were provided as a package by the operator which made it easier to dayboat. we didnt need to move gear on and off each day. Trimix and deco gas fills were done accurately by the boat staff. Unfortunately the boat was short staffed during our stay. each day the first team was asked to set the hook by the boat as they only had one mate. This also meant that each team had to help the others in and out. At this level each should be able to do this, but those expecting premium service might be dissappointed. Such is techdiving. The captain was experienced at finding the wrecks and at overseeing drifting deco dives, which are required by the gulfstream currents in this part of offshore florida.

We dove the Hydro Atlantic,Lowrance,RBJ,and Skycliffe during the week. Each is a spectacular dive, with good vis and light current. I attempted some uw photography inside these wreks, i need to learn to deal with floating particulate rust and backscatter, otherwise the diving was fun.

The hotel was another matter.During the high season they are apparently overbooked and consider divers to be offseason trade. They told me i would have my room moved on the first night, because they had my room booked to another party. Every other day i was summoned to the front desk to be informed of the status of my room. The method used was to shut off my electronic room key, denying my access to my room. During the week i was never moved. The other members of my party were not so lucky. They returned after the third day to find that the staff had moved their possessions without informing them. Their stuff was placed into garbage bags and moved during the day. Except for the roughly four grand that my friend had in the in-room safe. A room that was then given to another couple.
My friend had to wait until the others returned to the hotel and discovered their key was turned off to get his money out of the safe. The manager refused to provide any accomodation for this treatment, remarking that we should be happy to get a good rate <$90 us per day)and stop complaining and giving new jersey a bad name.

The rooms were somewhat rundown and smelled of mold. The maids were seen only on the last day, apparently they only deal with rooms after you leave.

All in all we will return to florida and probably dive with this boat, but not stay at the same hotel.After several years of being an undercurrent member this is my first report. I am used to seeing apparently angry members seek revenge by posting about their misadventures, and while i have been amused by them in the past,i will be reconsidering them after this experience. Happy diving to you!
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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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