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Dive Review of Rainbow Reef/Ramada Inn in
The Continental USA

Rainbow Reef/Ramada Inn, Sep, 2007,

by Pat Sinclair, FL, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 3595.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Jamaica, Cozumel, Curacao, Roatan, Gran Cayman, N. Bimini(Bahamas), Statia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, surge
Water Temp 84 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions I dove with the DM, and the reefs are shallow, so there was no enforcement on depth.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 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
UW Photo Comments Lots of opportunity to take nice pictures, got a great shot of a green sea turtle on this trip.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I left Tampa at 7:30 AM on Sunday, Sept 2nd, in order to avoid the major holiday traffic of the 1st. However, once I was on the 18 mile stretch things slowed to a crawl and then finally a stop. The 18 mile stretch alone accounted for 1 hour of my 6 hour trip. The drive, other than that was easy and nice. I checked into the hotel (Ramada Inn) and found since I was tired from the 18 mile stretch took a nap and then ordered room service from Coconuts for dinner. First thing in the morning I grabbed my gear and headed down to Rainbow Reefs tiny shop to check in. I decided to do 4 dives on Monday (Labor Day), 2 morning and 2 afternoon dives.
The dives averaged about 30 feet of water and the viz on the reefs was between 30 and 70 feet. The viz on the earlier days diving was at the greater range, while the viz on the last day dropped to 30 feet. As I had no dive buddy, I dove as a buddy with the divemaster on each of the trips while there for the week. Both boat Captains and the mates were extremely helpful, and both divemasters were very good in pointing out the various life in the area. I ended up doing 16 dives in 6 days of diving and other than the last day, when the current kicked up and the moon jellies came rolling in, I had a great time. Managed to swim with a turtle (a green) and saw several free swimming nurse sharks, many rays, the usual reef fish and some interesting things, like a Ocean Triggerfish in 25 feet of water (not super common to see) and a new species for me, the wrasse blenny, which for some reason I had never seen before. I managed to get some nice pictures and also a lot of sleep (since on days I did not do 4 dives, I spent the afternoon napping.)
Jesus, the DM I spent the most time with, is a true DM in the Cozumel and Roatan sense, in that he changed your gear over between dives, ensured you had water and cookies in between dives on a trip, helped you with getting yourself and your gear on and off board and in general was a great guide underwater. He found more scorpionfish that I have ever seen before in a weeks diving. He was and is a most pleasant young man and fun to dive with, and due to him alone, I would dive with Rainbow Reef any time I wish to dive in the Key Largo area.
I managed to get in, as I said 16 dives in 6 days, and on the first days the seas were like glass and viz was great the best I have ever seen in Largo at about 70 feet. By Thursday the seas were kicking up a bit, storms were rolling in on and off during the days and nights and the viz dropped to about 30 feet on Fridays 2 dives. All my dives were done on Molasses Reef and French Reef with small trips to Sand Island Reef and the Bentwood wreck and other small reefs in the area. Molasses and French are both so large, and have so many mooring bouys, you could dive there for weeks and still not see it all.
I enjoyed the easy diving and while the deepest I went was 50 feet, the amount of stuff I saw rivaled just about any dive I have done anywhere other than Cuaracao. In short, I will be returning to dive either Key Largo or the Tavanier area, and when I do, I will be doing the diving with Rainbow Reef. It is fabulous to me to finally have a dive Op in the Keys that uses the DM in the water, as I have gotten used to with all Dive Ops in the Caribbean that I have visited in the last 5 years
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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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