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Dive Review of So. Florida Diving Headquarters/Sands Marina Hotel in
The Continental USA/Pampano Beach, FL

So. Florida Diving Headquarters/Sands Marina Hotel, Mar, 2008,

by Marjorie Griffing, GA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 3966.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Minnesota, Wisconsin, Great Lakes, Bermuda, Cozumel, Bonaire, Florida Keys, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 75 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25 to 35 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 45 minutes max, depths to 35 feet
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 1 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments We booked a boat that could hold no more than 12 divers and was to go to a wreck to 60 feet and then to a 30-40 ft drift dive. We showed up at their offices at the Sands Marina and were asked if we planned do dive. When we said yes, we were told the afternoon boats left from another location. No one told us this when we booked. When we arrived at the other location, they told us there were not enough divers to run the trip we had booked. Instead, we were assigned to a boat holding about 40 people, 30 of whom were snorkelers. There was no attempt to contact us before hand (we have VOIP - there is no record of a call.) The divers were assigned to spots in the back in the corners where it was impossible to set up gear and get geared up. The first dive was to 35 feet. We came up with 1800 PSI after 45 minutes - the max time limit. The second dive averaged about 11 feet. We had 2000 PSI left. Had we known this was the profile, we would have only needed one tank each, not the two we paid for. They charged for weights. The crew was no help. They rushed us off the boat, rushed us to switch over our tanks between dives because we "only have 5 minutes." Dive briefings were of no use - no description of the topography or suggestions of where to look for things or how to navigate the site. The only reason to book with this outfit is that they are the only outfit going out on a Friday afternoon. The bait and switch tactic was not appreciated. If you book with them, be aware that you likely will not get what is advertised. We've confirmed with others that this is a common practice of this operation.

We did see two nurse sharks and a large eel, but that didn't make up for the lack of consideration for the divers.
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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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