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Dive Review of Key Dives/Ocean Point Suites in
The Continental USA/Islamorada, Florida

Key Dives/Ocean Point Suites, Apr, 2007,

by Scott Anders, VA, USA . Report 3360.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments We went on three two-tank trips with Key Dives. $75 guided 2-tank trip ($210 for 3 trips). Nice 42’ boat with 60 tank holders but in our 3 trips there was never more than 12 divers. Boat has a head. Mike runs a good operation and is very knowledgeable about diving anywhere from Hawaii to the British Virgin Isles. I arranged the dives over the phone with Lauren. She was very helpful and projected a certain excitement about diving off of Islamorada with Key Dives. Arranged for nitrox for the first dive of each of the three trips we booked ($8 for nitrox). They have it ready for you to analyze in the shop the morning of the dive. Elected to do this just for the first dive of each trip out since we were told the first dive on the morning trip would be the ‘deep’ dive for the day and I wanted to maximize my underwater time. There was a $2.50 trip fuel surcharge that I didn’t find out about until I went to pay. Requested the Eagle as one of the dive sites for our second of the three trips and the request was granted with enthusiasm. The crew will hall your gear from your car to the boat and set up your gear.-and they’ll rinse your wetsuit and BC afterwards. If you’re diving with them the next day they will store it for you and have it rinsed and ready to go. Dive briefings are good. There is a cooler of water and orange slices are served between dives. There is a camera bucket and a mask bucket. they should be separated as I saw a few people rinse their mask in the camera bucket. The general drill is giant stride off the back, pull yourself up the granny line to the anchor line and start the dive when the divemaster determines everyone is ready. Dives are limited to about 45 minutes. I think it is because they want to get two dives in and get back for their ~1pm trip. A 60-minute limit would be much better (just leave the dock 30 minutes earlier). The seas were very rough (2’ to over 4’+) and the ascent and exit procedure accounted for it. We enjoyed the casual and playful atmosphere the crew creates, especially after they get to know you a little. Water temperatures started out a little chilly this week at ~71 F the first day. Currents changed and we had about 75 F for the rest of the week. During the week we dove with Key Dives, Rainbow Reef Divers, and Blue Water Divers.
1st trip out: 9 divers total; 3 students with one divemaster and 6 with divemaster Mike. 71 F. Maximum depth was about 60’ at this site. This was not a ‘deep’ dive and I would have skipped the nitrox if I knew ahead of time (and if I knew that the dive was limited to 45 minutes). The 45-minute limit took me off guard because I’ve always bragged that the Keys are a great place to dive because you can easily do 60-minute dives (previous trips were with Dual Porpoise, which doesn’t exist anymore).
2nd trip out: 7 divers led by one divemaster, Lauren. ~75 F. When we got to the Eagle there were fisherman on one mooring ball and Conch Republic Divers was on the other. There was a strong current and 4’ seas. Mike decided we would do a ‘hot-drop’ where we would all get ready and get off the boat as quickly as possible as a group and swim for the mooring ball. The plan sounded reasonable to everyone but the direction of the current plus swells was misjudged and we ended up having a long swim. Thanks to Conch Republic Divers we made it to their tow line and pulled ourselves to the back of their boat, then up their granny line and then, after a brief rest, down the mooring line. By that time their divers were coming up the line and we all had to pass each other while in a very strong current. The current let up around the wreck of the Eagle and we had an enjoyable dive. The dive was cut short for some of us since we all had to come up as a group (lowest on air determined dive time for all). Also, not all divers were on Nitrox. Two of the air divers were told at the shop that nitrox wouldn’t extend their bottom time because we would come up as a group.-If that is the policy then all divers need to know before booking and before getting nitrox! This would an over constraining policy for Advanced Open Water Divers. The second dive of this trip was a drift dive. It was a great choice. The briefing was good and the dive went smoothly.
3rd trip out: 12 divers, 6 per divemaster. ~75 F. The first dive site was Victory Reef. The second dive was a drift dive that began at the same location. There are many large coral heads, small sand channels through the coral, lots of nice big healthy sponges and a great variety of marine life. I would definitely go back to this site, especially if it was a drift dive. At the end of the first dive my wife and I were led around the site for another ~5 minutes while the other divers went through the process of getting on board. After having already been on two trips with them, I think Mike recognized that we expected a little more time underwater. We surfaced as the last divers were climbing the ladder.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving St.Lucia, Grand Bahama, Nassau, Hawaii, Dominica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, North Carolina, Virginia Beach, Cozumel, San Salvador (Bahamas), Roatan, Key Largo
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 71-76°F / 22-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 35-70 Ft/ 11-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the divemaster. Come up as a group. Come up with at least 500 psia. In general, dives ended at about the 45-minute mark.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots 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 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments
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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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