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Dive Review of HMS Minnow Dive Charters/Amoray Resort in
The Continental USA/Key Largo

HMS Minnow Dive Charters/Amoray Resort: "Six Pack Diving in the Florida Keys.", Aug, 2014,

by Howard Kaiser, MO, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 7882 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Amoray Resort We normally would have used the Holiday Inn since the HMS Minnow docks directly behind the hotel. We chose to rent their large apartment which had an upstairs bed and bath and a downstairs bathroom and day bed. In addition, they had an enclosed screen porch in the rear for drying gear. Very well set up, clean and the fully equipped kitchen allowed us to make a hot breakfast and purchase sodas, snacks etc. We will definitely use this resort again and will inquire whether they have a smaller boat -a six pack ideally- we could try out.
HMS Minnow we've booked with the HMS Minnow for years; my wife and two sons would book several days of diving and we would generally do four tanks a day. That would mean running over to Wendy's during a very brief surface interval mid-day. Jeff Jarvis has recently sold his operation to John and the service and appeal of using the HMS Minnow continues. Aside from being a six-pack, Jeff and now John, leave the docks around a half hour earlier than the larger operations like Rainbow Reef that share berths in the canal. Having dived with the HMS Minnow at least a half dozen times over the years, I've been underwater on dives like the Benwood and surrounded by fish, rays etc only to hear the arrival of the bigger cattle boats and actually watch the fish scatter. We also love coming down for the lobster mini-season. We'd run across the alley to Diver's World...a huge commercial operation that has one of the largest selections of dive gear we've ever seen- grab our licenses for 10 bucks and then use the Minnow's nets and tickle sticks. It was usually the two boys versus my wife and I and we always had a blast. The Amoray resort was just a few miles up the road and we never felt pressed for time. We were only down for a few days and did four dives a day for two days.
The Diving I've maintained to anyone willing to listen to my rantings that the Florida Keys were among the fishiest places in this hemisphere to dive due to their having been designated a protected park for the last sixty years or so. There are clouds of grunt and yellowtail and we saw several packs of twenty to thirty midnight blue parrot fish in the 2 foot range swarm a reef ledge. On Molasses Reef, we saw several large snook, some permit and several sleeping nurse sharks. Over the years, we've seen some incredible stuff on Molasses, including an encounter around eight years ago with an enormous 10-11ft hammerhead cruising in 30 ft of water! One of the signature dives we talk about all the time. We've also seen reef sharks, eagle rays, spotted eels and cubera snapper. This trip I noticed some significant coral bleaching that severely impacted Pickles Reef and around the Benwood wreck. It also killed a good chunk of the pillar coral formations seen at French Reef, if my memory is correct. There is some re-growth showing, but it clearly was a bad year in that regard. We were pleased to see that lion fish are on the menus of several restaurants including the Fish House and the fancier Fish House next door- which we loved. The other pleasant surprise was that we saw not one lion fish over eight dives -all shallow. I understand that fisherman are pulling them up in nets from deeper waters so they clearly are going deeper these days. The same thing seems to have happened in Grand Cayman. If you haven't tried lion fish, it's very mild fish and makes a pretty dramatic plateful when deep-fried whole.
The Florida Keys continue to have some decent diving with lots of fish but a clearly stressed out coral system. I'd suggest that new moorings be platted out to relieve some dive pressure from sites like French and parts of Molasses Reefs. Along with the bleaching, there was also some significant fin damage especially to the beautiful purple sea fans we'd seen in the past.
Websites HMS Minnow Dive Charters   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Baja, Cozumel, Honduras, Belize, Bahamas, Hawaii , Grand Caymans
Closest Airport Use Ft Lauderdale Getting There connect via Charlotte or Dallas

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 83-°F / 28-°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions dives are unguided; depths to max of 50ft this trip
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 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 Dedicated camera bucket would be a helpful addition.
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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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