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Dive Review of Paradise Charters/Island Reef Diver in
The Continental USA/Key L argo, Florida

November, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Andrew Levin, MA, USA
Report Number 1443
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Cape Ann, Catalina Island, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Hawaii, Brazil
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
81   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Had to follow an inexperienced divemaster  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
This operation is not set up to support UWP
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
1 stars    
I signed up for a half day with Paradise Charters based on earlier reviews
on Undercurrent.  My first inkling of trouble was when, following the
directions I received on the phone, I found an abandoned tent marked
"Paradise Charters".  A local told me that they had moved.  I
telephoned again, and received new directions to another address in Key
Largo.  When I finally found it, the sign said "Island Reef
Diver".  The staff informed me that the assets of Paradise Charters
had been acquired by this operation.  Of course they didn't tell me that
the liabilities had also been acquired, which became a little clearer in
short order.  The boat set out with a few divers, divemaster and captain. 
When I casually inquired about weights to see what they had on board, they
were able to turn up a total of 13 lbs - just enough for me, but no one
else (luckily, the others had their own).  First site was the Benwood, a
shallow wreck mostly disintegrated, but a good artificial reef.  The
divemaster was my buddy.  We circled the Benwood, where I found plenty of
fish to look at, from schooling grunts to lizardfish, in tunnels and under
ledges in the wreck.  After about 40 minutes, the DM showed me that he was
running short of air, and asked me to surface with him.  I surfaced with
1,000 psi still in the tank.  The DM said that "once we circled the
boat once or twice, there wasn't anything more to see".  Welcome to
the "been there, done that" school of diving.  We moved on to the
second site, French Reef.  Beautiful spot with swim-throughs and that day,
lots of smaller reef fish.  The DM didn't give me time to explore a swim
through, but paddled along between the coral heads seemingly oblivious to
the local residents.  He managed to knock the regulator out of my mouth at
one point.  Once again he ran short of air and asked me to surface after
about 40 minutes.  His comment was "nothing to see. where were all the
fish today ?".  I guess his time was more valuable than mine, even
though I had paid $68 for a two-tank dive and still had about a third of my
air supply left over, unused.  Key Largo is a great place to dive, but you
can do a whole lot better than Paradise Charters/Island Reef Diver.
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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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