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Dive Review of HMS MINNOW in
The Continental USA/Florida Keys

HMS MINNOW, Feb, 2005,

by Gregg Gaylord, WI, USA . Report 1573.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving PACIFIC, THAILAND, SOLOMON ISLANDS, CARRIBEAN, LAKE MICHIGAN, BAHAMAS
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 70 to 73 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 12 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions NONE
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments THE HMS MINNOW is a six pack that leaves from the 100 mile marker in back of the Holiday Inn at Key Largo. I dove with a friend that had called to book months in advance and we were greeted at the dock by the friendly Captain Jeff Jarvis and his wife Betty exactly at the appointed time. We had asked for and received Nitrox for two-tank/day dives for 4 days. He helped us load our gear and we settled into the routine of setting up our gear. The Nitrox fills were all fine at 31.3-32%, and the fills were all over 3000psi. We were offered weights and belts. The boat was clean with limited but ample fresh water and had a forward cabin that was small but also ample to keep us out of the wind during the 30 minute trip to the dive sites from the dock as well as shelter us from the wind during surface intervals. No heads on this boat, but it was well equipped and smartly set up for divers with a center dive bench to strap in our tanks.
We dove the Spiegel Grove twice, Turtle Ledge, Snapper Ledge, French Reef, Mollases, and The Duane. The day we dove the Duane, we were the only two divers and Jeff allowed us to do both of our dives at this site. The Duane was seated upright in about 125 at the sand and there was a "resident" school of about 100 barricuda hanging out at the bow near the sand. A Spanish Hogfish was busily occupied cleaning a school of about 25 Blue Runners each eagerly bumping in front of the other to get to the small hogfish. There was no current on the Duane this day. The Spiegel Grove was somewhat barren of fish life, but the massive props and shafts made it well worth the trip. It should be a great dive in 10-15 years. The reef dives were typical shallow Keys reef dives with lush corals, large schools of a large variety of tropicals, occasional turtles including a massive Loggerhead that didn't seem to mind our presence, a few Nurse sharks and rays, and beautiful soft corals (though the coral at Looe Key were more abundant and perhaps in slightly better shape).
The water temp was too cold for our 5mm suits and we added beanies, hooded vests, gloves, boots and still managed to shiver twenty minutes into our second dive every day until we added a 2mm neoprene vest.
The Captain of the Minnow gave brief but satisfactory dive plans but we were "on our own" in the water as he didn't dive and didn't carry a crew. A dive guide could be arranged upon request. A request we didn't make. I don't recall hearing a "time limit" for a dive. Depth limits weren't necessary as all of the dives were within recreational limits for our Nitrox.
I highly recommend the HMS Minnow. They have no "shop". Contact Jeff Jarvis at hmsminnow@msn.com, call toll free 800-366-9301. local 305-451-7834, or check the web page www.hmsminnow.com. Gilligan, the Skipper, A Millionaire and his Wife, Ginger, the Professor and Mary Ann need not apply
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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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