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Dive Review of Quiescence Diving Services/Holiday Inn in
The Continental USA/Key Largo, Florida

November, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Eric A Frick, IL, US
Sr. Contributor   (27 reports, with 4 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6363
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Great Lakes, Caribbean, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, cloudy, dry  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
77   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 30    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
1-hour time limit.  Return to the boat with 500 p.s.i. or more.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
3 stars    
Friends and I planned a dive trip to the Florida Keys for a few days in
November.  When a too-inexpensive-to-ignore airfare popped up as I searched
for transportation down there, I grabbed it despite the fact that I had to
extend my time down there in order to qualify for the lower airfare.  This
report covers the days I spent with my buddies in Key Largo after a few
days on my own in Islamorada.

Five friends and I booked a diving/hotel package with Quiescence
(, staying at the Holiday Inn in Key Largo. 
Quiescence offers charter service that might not be comprehensive enough
for some divers but we find that it is just right for us.  Their three
25-foot boats have tank racks arrayed along the sides and a large padded
seat in the middle of the boat.  Appropriate oxygen and first aid equipment
is aboard but the boats do not have heads.  Each boat accommodates up to
six divers.  Quiescence captains get you settled on board, get you out to
the dive site, assist you with gear and get you into and out of the water
but they do not dive with you.  Boat trips from their dock to the dive
sites take up to an hour.

Days of wind and unsettled sea conditions reduced visibility on the reefs
but a wide variety of fish species were present in good numbers.  The size
of the fish still seems to be on the small side.  Jellyfish remained a
constant presence over the reefs, having remained in the area later than
they do in most years.  They hung out from the surface to a depth of about
12 feet.  Surfacing was a bit challenging but most of us were wearing
wetsuits that covered most of our exposed skin.  After surfacing from our
second morning dive on Saturday, I felt the call of nature, stripped off
the wetsuit and stepped over the transom onto the swim platform at the rear
of the boat since Quiescences boats do not have heads.  The 5 to 6-foot
waves made moving about the boat a bit of a challenge and that challenge
was too much for me as I stood on the platform.  One of the larger waves
came along and bumped the stern of the boat up a few feet and flipped me
off of the platform and into the jellyfish-filled waters with nothing but a
bathing suit to protect me.  The humor/horror of the situation hit me
immediately, as did the stings of the jellyfish.  I was laughing at my
clumsiness and yelping in discomfort as I felt the jellyfish stings all the
while setting a speed record for getting on the ladder and exiting the
water.  I felt the stings for the next 45 minutes or so but the pain
subsided almost entirely after by the time we got back to the dock.

Visibility on the wrecks was excellent at more than 50 feet.  The Spiegel
Grove is a fine wreck but the Duane remains the top dive in the area in my
opinion.  Depths, current and swells can make these deeper wreck dives a
challenge and on this trip we had all of these factors except current
stacked against us.

The Holiday Inn is a very decent choice in this area but it is not within
walking distance of Quiescence.  The diving/hotel package is convenient
since you book it all through Quiescence and it represents a decent value. 
We were told by Quiescence that they are considering dropping the
dive/hotel package since the hotel rates vary from day to day and it is
evidently sometimes confusing to have to explain that to customers.  When
we checked out at Quiescence after our trip, it did take a while to
calculate each of our bills since we were all paying separately and they
had us in their system in pairs since the rooms were double occupancy. 
There is a wide variety of restaurants in Key Largo from which to choose.
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