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Dive Review of Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort in
The Continental USA/Key Largo

Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort, Jun, 2013,

by Paul Selden, MI, US (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 7194.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I dove at Amy Slate’s Amoray Dive Resort seven years earlier, but it was still a rude shock to re-enter the world of being assigned to random, inexperienced buddies (since my wife is a snorkeler, not a diver). At Amoray I could be paired up with a diver whose experience might include a few warm water recreational dives per year. But that’s a fact of life in a resort located in a major tourist destination that is easy to get to, with so many great restaurants nearby. We had a reasonably priced apartment-like accommodation (W1B) with a small working kitchen, literally only a few steps from the Amoray Diver, their 49 passenger catamaran dive boat. Amoray’s dive schedule means that squeezing in four boat dives per day, where the transit takes up to an hour each way, dictates that whomever is driving the Amoray Diver must run a tight ship. By the end of the week I turned from the selfish view encouraged by more “coddling” resorts (“This is MY vacation”), toward a genuine respect and admiration for what this operation absolutely must do in order to keep so many divers safe--and business insurance rates reasonable--in conditions that were not always ideal. I felt myself becoming a little paranoic for the sake of the resort. Some divers would blow through their air or did not speak English. Others might drop their reg from their mouth while still hanging on the line waiting for their turn on the ladder, even in dangerously choppy conditions. In the bad viz (sometimes little more than 10 feet) with no guide, getting one’s buddy back to the boat safely was an unasked-for job, but one not to be taken lightly. During our somewhat windy visit the seas were stirred up and the viz was not so great. Currents were sometimes very uncooperative even on a few of the shallower dives, and I didn’t find an abundance of subjects to satisfy my underwater photography hobby. In the surge that these shallow sites experience during wavy conditions, holding a camera steady could be difficult. This is not to say there were no memorable moments. There was true magic on several dives. On a number of reefs millions of bait fish sought shelter and schooled in huge bait balls swirling like a living cloud of mercury around the contours of the reefs. Lurking in holes and swim-throughs, scores of larger predators--bar jack, groupers, and schoolmasters--waited for their moment. Swimming slowly, hardly moving, I could shadow the reef; the bait fish would let me pass through them, cloaking me as I watched and completely entranced. Diving the Duane was a bit of an eye opener--an inexperienced diver got spooked in the current and depth; the entire group's dive ended after one swim-through. Diving the wreck of the Spiegel Grove was great. I dove it three times. Only two were scheduled. The third, planned in detail by “Cpt. Mike” Daugintis (and verbally rehearsed over and over by my dive buddy and me during a lengthy surface interval) was to retrieve my UW DSLR camera. A buckle on its strap had pulled loose in a very strong current during my safety stop on the previous dive, falling from my arm without me even feeling it drop. Cpt. Mike made a great treasure hunter—he was optimistic; his eyes were lit up during at the prospect of recovery. One by one, entire group agreed to make a second dive of the afternoon on the Spiegel Grove. I’m pleased to say we recovered it. My dive buddy (an experienced spear-hunter off oil rigs), receives full credit for having an “aha” insight during the last minutes of our dive; he made the final plunge to 130 feet to pick our quarry off the sand next to the hull. Drama above water was interesting, as well. Justin Minichino, Amy’s brother, still runs the six-diver Just-In-Time to sites of client's choosing for an extra fee. I dove with him on this trip and found him to be a very experienced diver; he guides his smaller groups well. Justin had mellowed somewhat over the past seven years. Away from the resort, he relaxed even more; his exuberance rose to the surface when he sang with the music on board. His care-free nature can lead to difficulties, however, since it sometimes meant that AM divers on Just-In-Time who have booked PM dives on the Amoray Diver, return to the dock after the Amoray Diver is scheduled to leave. When we were there this could frustrate the Amoray Diver’s skipper, who needed to run things with less ambiguity and “by the book,” given the number of inexperienced day-trippers. Cpt. Mike sometimes had to keep more than 20 divers cooling their fins at the dock while they waited for late arrivals from Just-In-Time. The younger staff and instructors at the resort easily offset this sort of tension with a great sense of humor and very pleasant personalities, and thoroughly enjoyed their company.
Websites Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, West Palm Beach, Vancouver Island, California, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Galapagos, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Utila, Roatan, Andros, Belize, Playa del Carmen, Ceynotes-Akumal, Dominica, Holbox
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 78-84°F / 26-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-65 Ft/ 3-20 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dives were limited to 55-60 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments I think the setup for UWPs is not bad, it's just that the subjects I would like to have photographed were not particularly plentiful on this visit, for whatever reason. Had conditions not been so rough, the water clarity might have been better and subjects more plentiful. Being able to swim in and through a number of bait balls was the highlight of the diving and UWP on this trip.
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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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