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Dive Review of Horizon Divers in
The Continental USA/Key Largo

Horizon Divers: "FINALLY, After 7 Attempts I got to dive the Speigal Grove", May, 2018,

by James Devine, MD, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 10619 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was by far the most difficult place I ever tried to dive in 40 years. FIRST, I had a trip scheduled with Pleasure Divers but on the day of the dive I was told I couldn't go because I didn't have an Advanced Open Water certification (I have over 500 logged dives all over the world), This was the first time I had ever been asked for such a card... Nor would they let me go with a paid guide either. Strike 1. The next day, after 2 other dive shops also shot me down, I found Horizon Divers who agreed to take me if I paid for a guide. The next day, the sun was out but the wind was up and the dive was scrubbed Strike 2. The day after that, same thing, strike 3 and the day after that as well strike 4... so a 4 day trip to Key Largo in June 2017 and I never got off the dock and had to return home to Maryland. Cut to April 2018...back to Horizon divers. Booked a 7 AM trip while staying in Miami (and paid for a guide). Got a call the night before and was told not enough people booked the trip so they were scrubbing... strike 5.... I called them early the next day and they said there was room on a 1 PM trip so I said book it and drove down to KL and finally got off the dock... we motored out to the SG annnnnnd... dive master said current was too strong on the wreck so we were aborting the wreck for a reef dive... strike 6... Booked another try for the NEXT day annnnnd WE MADE IT. Two dives good viz, slightly cool temp; 3 mm wetsuit was just right...stroooong currents... holding on the down line your legs are out there like a flag flying in the a strong wind... Saw a turtle and a shark, a few large cuda's and other fish. Not teeming but just a cool underwater experience. Stayed around the main deck (by the flag) and got to 110 max, also did some easy swim troughs.. very enjoyable. Made a video that I placed on YouTube (USS Spiegel Grove swim through 10Apr2018). I would very much like to go back and cover more of the wreck.

HORIZON DIVERS: They will take you to the Speigal Grove when others will not...I couldnt get dive shops in Key Largo to take me out to the Speigal Grove wreck (May 2018). They all required me to have an Advanced Diver certification which I never bothered to pursue in my 40+ certified years with 500+ open ocean dives. In fact, during all those years nobody, anywhere in the world had ever asked me to produce such a card. I went to 3 different shops and none would take me without that card, not even after I offered to pay for a dive guide. Then I tried Horizon Divers who would and did (with a paid guide) and so I will ALWAYS go with them whenever I dive Key Largo again.

RANT START: I understand the request for that Advanced card from an insurance liability perspective. However, I also think its kind of a scam for cert agencies and dive shops to extract income from new divers. For example, here near Baltimore Maryland, an advanced PADI card requires a couple of weeks of classroom training followed by 5 dives in a FRESHWATER QUARRY! Really?! 5 dives in a quarry with one deep dive (deep being defined as 60 ft max depth, meanwhile I was at 180 ft in Truk) Puhleeese.. Five dives in a quarry with max 60 ft depth (and the deadliest creature being a lake trout) does not an advanced diver make. I've made hundreds of ocean dives in every conceivable visibility, surface condition, temp, sea life, depth and lighting condition and faced adversity on more than several occasions. But I cant go the the Speigal Grove even with an experienced guide while some teenager with 6 freshwater quarry dives can go off on their own on that same wreck?! Something just aint right about that. END OF RANT.

SO, Thank You Horizon Divers, it was a GREAT trip and I will be back again someday.

Websites Horizon Divers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Belize, Keys, Cozumel, Cancun, NY/NJ, California Channel Islands, Truk, Palau, Bahamas
Closest Airport Miami Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas surge
Water Temp 73-74°F / 23-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-60 Ft/ 15-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]MOST operations require advanced diver cert.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available?

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments A large rinse tank for photo equipment
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By John S Maiers III in MD, US at Apr 07, 2019 16:16 EST  
Totally agree with your rant. I am a divemaster with over 40 yrs experience.
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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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