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Dive Review of Oriskany Dive Charters, "Wildkat"/Pensacola Beach condo weekly rental in
The Continental USA/Pensacola, FL

Oriskany Dive Charters, "Wildkat"/Pensacola Beach condo weekly rental, Jul, 2008,

by Lee Fenner, OH, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports). Report 4221.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Great Lakes, Florida (Keys + Destin), Galapagos, Roatan, Kauai, Kona, Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 82 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 8
Water Visibility 10 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Technical - one dive; recreational - two dives, no deco
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Small boat, no rinse tank, cameras secured in storage closet during ride to/from wreck.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Our dive shop stayed a week in Pensacola Beach to primarily dive the USS Oriskany. We had a total of 5 divers and 2 dove rebreathers for technical profiles. We selected Oriskany Dive Charters, Captain Alan Moore, "Wildkat", www.oriskanydivecharters.net, based on price and speed. Other charter operations wanted to charge a premium for technical diving even though the time over the wreck was the same as for a two-tank recreational.
We dove Monday through Friday taking Thursday off. 3 days were Oriskany and one was two inshore wrecks (Navy Boats - YDT-14 & Pete Tide II).
Weather permitting the "Wildkat" cruises at 30 knots (dual 225 HP engines) and can get to the Oriskany in 45 minutes compared to over two hours for the other operators. Alan charges $145 for the Oriskany (one technical or two rec dives) and $100 for inshore wrecks. While cruising you can either sit up front or rest in bean bags in the back or sides. It is billed as a six-pax and can handle that number without too much crowding. We had 7 on one trip and we managed OK. There isn't much shade so take sun screen, hats, and protective clothing. You can get roasted in a hurry! Munchies, water, and Gatorade are provided. Alan can coordinate gear or tanks with nearby dive shops. Alan, Mariah, and Roy run a safe and fun boat. Back roll in, ladder out.
Now diving the Oriskany. Unless technical, you can plan on two relatively short dives, say 35 and 25 minutes. Most divers want to go down to the deck at 135 ft on the first dive and then work back up to the island which tops out at 70'. Surface interval is 45 to 60 mins which only gives you 15-20 mins at the top of the island for the second dive. The boat ties into a submerged mooring buoy with a line leading to the island and also uses a tag/current line. During our week, 14-18 July, the top 30' had low vis of 10-25' with lots of jellyfish and algae strands at the safety stop depth. Visibility generally improved below 30' up to about 70'. Surface temp down to 30' was 82 and then a distinct thermocline below at 72-75. Currents were light during our dives but are variable so take all your safety gear. Due to the low visibility, you can't take in the immense size all at once, but exploring the island is good for several dives. A good selection of common Florida reef fish, bristle worms, octopus, jacks, and lots of large barracuda are present. It is eerie to see many 3-4' barracudas just at the limit of your vis at the safety stop.
Diving the Oriskany is something to definitely do once but unless you are a technical diver, you'll mainly be exploring the island area. It's neat but not much diving for your money. If you plan on going, take the "Wildkat"; shorter time in the boat the better!
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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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