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

September, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Pat Sinclair, FL, USA
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 3595
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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

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, surge  
Water Temp
84   to 87    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
I dove with the DM, and the reefs are shallow, so there was no enforcement
on depth.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
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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