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Dive Review of Key Biscayne Park, John Pennekamp Park/none in
The Continental USA/South Florida

Key Biscayne Park, John Pennekamp Park/none, Feb, 2005,

by Betty & John Nevelus, FL, USA . Report 1561.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments Wish we hadn't gone with either park's staff and had chosen independent dive shops over park operations! (Typical government incompetence, rudeness, and laziness!) If you live outside the USA and want to visit our marine parks in South Florida, take heed and beware!!! These people simply do NOT give a final damn whether you enjoy yourself or not! At Pennekamp, our two divemasters were totally at odds with each other over dive procedures and constantly contradicted each others' (and, as shown below, their own) instructions. The younger of the two seemed chiefly interested in entertaining two scantily-clad young ladies he brought along to work. He could have cared less if any of us DROWNED! The other one kept insisting I carry more weight than I knew I needed and then bitched about how much weight I was carrying when I returned to the boat after my new (and, of course, USA made) BCD malfunctioned! The younger man simply sneered, "Looks like you'll be snorkeling the rest of the day, hehe!!!!" (There's never any extra equipment provided by these operations. You are lucky if they load enough tanks for everyone!) Our second day was even worse. The divemaster was a hungover, typically snide Miami Smartass who provided me with an ancient rental BCD that I wouldn't have loaned, much less rented, to my worst enemy!!! When my partner and I complained, he said we "obviously knew nothing about dive equipment" and threw us off the boat, while he insisted on sticking this relic of a BCD in our dive bag! (If he thinks we will pay postage to return it to the park, he is sorely mistaken. It's going back COD!!!) He kept screaming at us like a nut that he had had us two "incompetents" before on a trip before and he wasn't going to "put up with us again!" (I think we may have been to the park once ten years ago, and we certainly never met this character!) To top it off, the boat's driver insisted on regaling us with tales of his life, including sexual conquests and other tidbits we certainly weren't at all interested in. No assistance was offered or given in loading our equipment, including the tanks we rented, onto the boat. We were finally able to get our money back. At least the desk clerk was accomodating. (She gave us the very strong impression that she most definitely did NOT enjoy working with this pair of, well, "you-know-whats".) It was the worst two days we have spent diving in thirty years and over 1000 dives apiece around the world. We have endured English Nazi divemasters on Grand Cayman who snarled if we kept them on the water more than one minute past THEIR precious alotted time and the surly and since replaced dive shop manager at the Barracuda Hotel in Cozumel. We've had some definitely overly "laid back" diving experiences in Malaysia and Thailand, but nothing to equal the frustration of these past two days in our own country and our own parks. These guys certainly aren't entitled to our tax dollars! Others should give these guys a wide berth and dive with someone who works for a living! I can't help but wonder what these characters do to unsuspecting foreign guests (and there were a lot of them at these parks the past two days)who might not speak or understand English that well. I guess it's"sink or swim" for them!

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Egypt (Red Sea), Malaysia, Thailand, Australia (Great Barrier Reef), Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Belize, Cozumel, Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 68-72°F / 20-22°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 25-50 Ft/ 8-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions We were pretty much restricted to the immediate area of the anchor line of the boat at Pennekamp on Molasses Reef. We never got to dive at Key Biscayne.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments I know that reader's comments in UNDERCURRENT are usually concerning the quality of diving experiences outside the USA. However, after our horrible experiences these past two days at two of South Florida's better known underwater parks, I can't help but wonder what some foreign guests think about OUR services and how they would rate them! After our experiences the past two days, they probably think we are worse than the very worst Third World dive destinations!
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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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