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Dive Review of Oriskany Dive Charters, "Wildkat"/Pensacola Beach condo weekly rental in
The Continental USA/Pensacola, FL

July, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Lee Fenner, OH, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports)
Report Number 4221
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Great Lakes, Florida (Keys + Destin), Galapagos, Roatan, Kauai, Kona,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 72    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Technical - one dive; recreational - two dives, no deco  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
Small boat, no rinse tank, cameras secured in storage closet during ride
to/from wreck.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
3 stars    
Our dive shop stayed a week in Pensacola Beach to primarily dive the USS
Oriskany. We had a total of 5 divers and 2 dove rebreathers for technical
profiles. We selected Oriskany Dive Charters, Captain Alan Moore,
"Wildkat",, based on price and
speed. Other charter operations wanted to charge a premium for technical
diving even though the time over the wreck was the same as for a two-tank
We dove Monday through Friday taking Thursday off. 3 days were Oriskany and
one was two inshore wrecks (Navy Boats - YDT-14 & Pete Tide II).
Weather permitting the "Wildkat" cruises at 30 knots (dual 225 HP
engines) and can get to the Oriskany in 45 minutes compared to over two
hours for the other operators. Alan charges $145 for the Oriskany (one
technical or two rec dives) and $100 for inshore wrecks. While cruising you
can either sit up front or rest in bean bags in the back or sides. It is
billed as a six-pax and can handle that number without too much crowding.
We had 7 on one trip and we managed OK. There isn't much shade so take sun
screen, hats, and protective clothing. You can get roasted in a hurry!
Munchies, water, and Gatorade are provided. Alan can coordinate gear or
tanks with nearby dive shops. Alan, Mariah, and Roy run a safe and fun
boat. Back roll in, ladder out.
Now diving the Oriskany. Unless technical, you can plan on two relatively
short dives, say 35 and 25 minutes. Most divers want to go down to the deck
at 135 ft on the first dive and then work back up to the island which tops
out at 70'. Surface interval is 45 to 60 mins which only gives you 15-20
mins at the top of the island for the second dive. The boat ties into a
submerged mooring buoy with a line leading to the island and also uses a
tag/current line. During our week, 14-18 July, the top 30' had low vis of
10-25' with lots of jellyfish and algae strands at the safety stop depth.
Visibility generally improved below 30' up to about 70'. Surface temp down
to 30' was 82 and then a distinct thermocline below at 72-75. Currents were
light during our dives but are variable so take all your safety gear. Due
to the low visibility, you can't take in the immense size all at once, but
exploring the island is good for several dives. A good selection of common
Florida reef fish, bristle worms, octopus, jacks, and lots of large
barracuda are present. It is eerie to see many 3-4' barracudas just at the
limit of your vis at the safety stop.
Diving the Oriskany is something to definitely do once but unless you are a
technical diver, you'll mainly be exploring the island area. It's neat but
not much diving for your money. If you plan on going, take the
"Wildkat"; shorter time in the boat the better!
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