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Dive Review of Ocean Divers/Holiday Inn Key Largo Resort in
The Continental USA/Key Largo, Florida

December, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Craig Wood, PA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 3114
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Key Largo, Maui/Lanai/Molokini,
Oahu
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
windy, cloudy  
Seas
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
76   to 77    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
40   to 60    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco, back with 500 psi, safety stop on deep dives, dive to MOD with
nitrox (pO2 1.4), 1 hr on shallow dives. Not enforced as no dive master in
water.  
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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 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  
Comments
Dry table, large camera tub
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
5 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
   My first opportunity to dive in Key Largo came in September 2004,
preceding a business trip to Miami. Based on Undercurrent reviews, I had
planned to dive with Captain Jeff Jarvis on the HMS Minnow. As he was going
to be vacationing the week of my visit, he suggested I dive with Ocean
Divers. I have been diving with them ever since and have now dived with
them seven times/43 dives, including a visit in September as well as this
current trip. Ocean Divers has a very informative website and communicates
well by email and phone.
   Ocean Divers has two 50 foot boats, the Ocean Diver and Santana. They go
to one deep wreck site and one reef site every morning and 2 reef sites
every afternoon Monday through Friday. On Saturday, they give a choice of
wreck/reef or 2 reef dives in the morning and on Sunday they do wreck/reef
or reef/reef both morning and afternoon. I try to make Sunday on all my
visits due to the enhanced wreck diving opportunities. They do a night dive
on Wednesday and Saturday. The boats are quite comfortable and include
fresh water showers, a dry table and camera tub, and a marine head. Deep
wrecks require AOW training or equivalent or 2 dives of 80 feet or greater
in the last 12 months. The deep wreck dives also require the purchase of an
Upper Keys Artificial Reef Medallion ($10 annually). Ocean Divers uses 80
cu ft steel tanks, the buoyancy characteristics allow for elimination of
about 4 pounds of weight relative to aluminum tanks. 32% nitrox is readily
available for $6/tank. There is substantial savings in buying a
multi-charter card versus purchasing individual dive trips. I have found
Ocean Divers willing to attempt sites in less than optimum weather
conditions and to go out with a minimum number of divers. To their credit,
they take safety very seriously and abandon a dive when the surface
conditions and current dictate. The dive masters do not generally dive but
are very helpful for all on deck activities.
   The gems of Key Largo diving are the two deep wrecks, the Duane and the
Spiegel Grove. The Duane is a 327 foot long, 41 foot wide US Coast Guard
Cutter built at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia and launched in 1936. The
Duane gained notoriety in 1943 when, in conjunction with its sister ship,
the Spencer, it sank the German submarine U-177 and rescued 22 of its crew
members. The Duane went on to serve in the Mediterranean, France, and
Vietnam in addition to the US. The Duane was decommissioned in 1985 as the
oldest active US military vessel and was sunk in 1987. It rests upright in
about 120 feet of water. The Spiegel Grove is a 510 foot long, 84 foot wide
Landing Ship Dock. It was built in Mississippi and launched in 1955. The
Spiegel Grove was decommissioned in 1989 and was sunk in 2002. It rested on
its starboard side in approximately 130 feet of water until it was set
upright during Hurricane Dennis in July 2005. Both the Duane and the
Spiegel Grove have numerous excellent swim-throughs. The majority of
shallow dives are on Molasses and French Reefs and on the wreck of the
Benwood, a 360 foot Norwegian freighter sunk in a collision in 1942, during
WWII.
   The sea life in Key Largo is quite prolific. I have occasionally seen
Reef and Hammerhead Sharks. Nurse Sharks, Barracuda, Green and Spotted
Morays, lobster, turtles, and an abundance of Caribbean reef fish are all
quite common. The water temperature varies considerably. I have had dives
in September in 85-86 degree water and dives in December in 75-76 degree
water. There is a link to NOAA and the buoy at Molasses Reef with air and
water temperatures and wind speed on the Ocean Divers website.
   The Holiday Inn Key Largo Resort & Marina is a comfortable hotel.
The rooms have refrigerators, coffee makers, and free wireless internet
access. I have become fond of the marina-view rooms. The hotel has a small
exercise facility and the breakfast buffet starts early enough to make the
morning boats. I often eat lunch and/or dinner at the Galley Restaurant,
upstairs and next to Ocean Divers. It has very good, inexpensive food and
good service by nice people.
   Key Largo/Ocean Divers/Holiday Inn is a great diving destination in the
US. I'm currently scheming on my return for an eighth visit.
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Diving Guide to The Continental USA
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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