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Dive Review of Key Dives/Breezy Palms in
The Continental USA/Islamorada

Key Dives/Breezy Palms: "Nice Time diving in the Keys", Oct, 2014,

by John kirkenir, NJ, US (Contributor Contributor 12 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 7824.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We did a group dive trip to the Keys. There were 12 divers in our group. We stayed at the Breezy Palms. This could be a really charming resort but as it sits right now it's in dire need of rehab. Everything is really old and tired. The layout is nice right on the ocean with great views of Alligator Reef Tower. The beach area is nicely furnished. It's a Keys beach so no really sandy areas or waves. But fun though. The pool area is nice but the furniture around it is old. The oceanview suite we stayed in was nice but the bathroom was just gross. Old beyond the point of cleanable. The kitchenette was useful but the old formica tops and pressed wood cabinets have to go. No dishwasher either (what?). A good cheap place to stay with the guys on a dive trip but not the place to go on a vacation with the family or bride.

On to the diving. We dove with Key Dives which is about a quarter mile down the road from the hotel. They have a very nice shop and the diving was done from their 46' Newton. The shop is well organized and clean and so is the boat. We got there on a pouring rain morning at 7 am and asked if diving was still on. Of course it was so we dropped off our gear, signed the necessary paperwork and went to get a bite to eat down the road at the Midway Cafe (great breakfast and lunch spot). When we got back our gear was on the boat all set up and ready to go. The diving was typical Keys reef diving. First a 50-60 ft spur and groove reef followed by shallow (30ft) patch reef. All of the dives are led by a Guide (DM) but it's a fairly loose arrangement once they get to know you. The divers are split between 2 - 4 Guides. Normal diving safety rules were followed. We did a total of 8 dives over 3 days. One of the dives was to the Eagle Wreck. The wreck sits in about 110ft of water. about 70ft to the top, 80ft or so to get below the gunnel (wreck sits on it's side). We saw a pretty good sized Goliath Grouper on this dive. On our other dives we saw a bunch of nurse sharks, green turtles and Hawksbill groupers. We also saw an array of Morays and the usual colorful reef fish.
Between dives the staff switched over your tanks for you and at the end of the day they took care of all your gear. When you got back the next morning it was all washed and set up on the boat (next to your dive buddy's gear - nice touch). At the end of the last dive they washed and hung everything out to dry for you to pick up before your trip home. A well run operation. All in all a nice experience. There were a few things though we thought could be improved upon.

Dive Briefings - There seems to be a lot of pressure to get back to the dock. As a result the dive briefings have to be done underway. for us old guys it's too hard to hear. On one of the briefings I was asking the person next to me if he could hear what was being said. I was actually scolded for not listening. I explained I can't hear a word your saying so what's the point of listening. He proceeded to shout for 2 or 3 words then went back to inaudible volume. They need to wait til the boat stops and give the briefing. this is not real technical diving so a 3 minute briefing shouldn't kill the schedule.

Getting back on the boat - The Guides and Captain are really nuts about the fact that you MUST take your fins off on the tag line away from the boat. They will yell if you break this golden rule (unless you are a pretty young woman that swims up to the ladder to take off the fins then it's ok). Most of the divers in our group have hundreds of dives, many off the coast of New Jersey or North Carolina. We know about pitching boats. On the drift dive we were told to grab the line when the boat comes up and take the fins off right away. Of course the boat then drifted on top of us and with no fins we couldn't swim away. they really need to lighten up on this one.

Surface Intervals - Again due to the tight schedule (even when there was no afternoon trip going out) the surface interval was about 5 to ten minutes. The second dive was always shallow (which limits options) because of this. It felt kind of rushed and unnecessary.

Guide Hunting trip - The guides seemed obsessed with looking for lobster and Lionfish. While the were nice enough to offer any catch to the customers at the end of the day that wanted some the dives had way too much time spent watching the Guides in hunter gatherer mode and not enough time leading the dives. You don't get to see the entire dive site when all your doing is looking for dinner.

Reef Etiquette - As part of the hunting the Guides would routinely lay on, tear at, poke at and rip apart coral and sponges to get at a fish or lobster. Bad example to set. They also harassed sea life (turtles, eels, sharks, etc) to get them to swim out passed the group. Less interaction and more observation is called for. This was a real turn off to some of the people in our group (myself included). I like to be shown things and get educated but I like to be an observer not harass wildlife and damage the reef.

Would I dive with Key Dives again - yes. The next time though I would be more assertive and insist on them not hunting while leading my group and or go off on my own (it's hard to get lost on a patch reef). The lesson learned is to speak up. I'm sorry I didn't.
Websites Key Dives   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Miami Getting There Newark to Miami drive 2 hours to Islamorada

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions return to boat with 500 psi, computers for everyone
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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