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Dive Review of Narcosis Dive Charter in
The Continental USA/West Palm Beach

Narcosis Dive Charter, Aug, 2012,

by Torsten Gross, NY, US ( 2 reports). Report 6691.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Key Largo, New York, Pennsylvania, Curacao
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 84 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Time. Captain would drop off experienced first
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I arrived at the marina at 9:15am, followed closely by Nelson, a super nice deck hand. I still had to confirm with Van, the captain whom I had left a message for that morning, whether they would take me out (or had anyone who could dive with me as I am in a wheelchair. I dont need anything different other than help in/out of the water). After a few calls, and assuring Van I could dive, he said come aboard (although no one asked for my C card or my Nitrox card!). Opposed to my dive the day before with the Jupiter Dive Center where Steve and I had talked, at length, about my diving needs, this venture into the blue was 100% foreign (and trial by fire.... or wave?) for everyone.
We boarded the boat at 930ish. After a long ramp to the dock, the crew had to lift me up three steps (4'), over the lip of the boat, and back down on the other side into the boat (3'). Glad they were strong guys. The boat was big, holding about 14 divers plus 5 crew on the boat with some room to spare (Pro 48 boat). The divers had very different skill levels which meant we couldn't hit anything too deep (everyone had been chattering about how amazing Zion was the day before, giving me a smile that I experienced the same wonder). However, the captain did drop off the experienced divers in a different location first.
We left the slip around 10am and hit our first destination at 1030. It was sunny, but I noticed the waves starting to build (on entry they reached 3'+). I was the first to get in the water since I would be diving with Chris (Dive Master) and Mandi (who led with the dive ball). They lifted me onto the transom; I dropped in and immediately started our decent to Rons Reef. The current was supposed to be going North to follow the reef. However, as we lowered to 45' it became evident that this was not a float-and-coast dive, seeing as the current went south. Chris, my dive buddy, had to hold the top of my BC and pull me along as I swam. Suffice it to say my contribution was probably less than he would have liked. Even Mandi, who held the dive ball so the boat could follow us, was exhausted at the end of the dive. Had the current been pushing north, this would have been an easy drift dive.
The reef was very flat at 45', with a quick drop at the end. We saw a loggerhead turtle which was magnificent. He slowly drifted around and it was clear he was curious as he would swim closer to inspect us (who can blame him. I'm incredibly attractive with a mask on). The visibility was around 40'-50' for most of the dive. At 52 minutes it became noticeably dark as we began our ascent. Chris was very safe and ascended very slowly. When we broke the surface we were greeted with pelting rain and a lightning storm. Now, lightning and water don't mix, so my heart started to race. My nerves were calmed to find out lightning disperses in water, so we were safe (lucky for the fishies too). The swells picked up to 4+ with some 6'+ thrown in. Add that to a very high transom (without waves the transom is about 2' off the waterline - the pictures are deceiving), making exit really tough. Two guys on the boat, plus Chris in the water using the stairs on step at a time, hoisted me back in.
During the surface interval, Captain Van did a solo dive to catch some lobster. The waves continued to grow so I, and one other diver, decided not to do the second dive. For stability, I retied myself to a metal bar in the front of the boat only to realize that, if the boat was hit by lightning, I would fry. So for the next two hours I held one of the seats tightly and hoped for the waves to lessen. Lucky for me I do not get seasick, or this would have been a hell ride.
This dive was ok. I learned how to communicate with people who had no idea how to handle an HSA (no pre-dive day discussions either), a very high transom and unfavorable currents. If I had my choice of dive shops in the area I would go back to Jupiter Dive Center.
(To note I am a diver in a wheelchair. For pictures that could help others in a chair, see www.divingwithoutfins.com)
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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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