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Dive Review of Ocean Divers, Sea Dwellers, Conch Republic Divers/Bayside Resort in
The Continental USA

Ocean Divers, Sea Dwellers, Conch Republic Divers/Bayside Resort, Oct, 2006,

by S.A. Harmer, CA, USA . Report 3063.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 0-25 dives
Where else diving Southern California, Western Pacific, Caribbean,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 84 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 25 to 55 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Time (60 min) Wrecks (fat logbook or guide)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

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

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Key Largo: Bayside Resort: Ocean Divers, Sea Dwellers, and Conch Republic Divers, September 30-October 10, 2006, Jay & Sheila Harmer (jbsaharmer@prodigy.net), Burbank, CA Experience: >1000, 275 dives. vis 25-55 Feet, water 84 Fahrenheit, Currents 1-2 knots, except on wrecks. All these operators all have good boats w/t marine heads, fresh water showers, oxygen, etc. and all provided full fills. Ocean Divers had the friendliest crew w/t complementary fruit drinks, and used steel tanks, Conch Republic the best diver briefings, in fact sometimes to long and detailed, with Sea Dwellers, the best overall. We dove the reefs of Penekamp Park that are all about 30-45 minutes from the dock to the moorings. All these operators limited the reef dives 60 minuets with the bottom at 20-35 feet. All good dives but I was surprised the general lack of marine life in an area that has been protected so long. We were weathered out two days due to wind and chop. In addition, we dove three times on the Spiegel Grove, a purposely-sunk U.S. warship that had been extensively prepped for diver safety, at 70-110 ft and could have gone deeper. These dive sites took about an hour to reach and always had some current in the 2-4 kts. range and once with a sharp thermo cline to 72 F.

Bayside Resort was clean, well managed, reasonably priced, & diver tolerant with tile floors & plenty of towels. Not much room for gear to dry but the outside railings were acceptable. It has easy parking, small pool to swim or test gear, small sand patio area and dock for sunset celebrations and a good central location with several dive operators, grocery, drugstore, laundry, & ATM all within four-block distance. Nice music & entertainment provided by waterfront restaurant next door.

Surprises: To dive the wrecks (Grove, Duane, Bibb) you need a fat logbook >100 dives (indicating a dive of 80ft or greater in the last 60 days) or advanced diver certificates. If you do not meet the above requirements, you must arrange for a guide at extra cost. In addition, we were suppressed at the $10 charge for a medallion permit to dive the wrecks. While we believe that dive operators and the wreck association have every right to set unique conditions for their diving operations we wish these restrictions were stated in their advertisements.
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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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