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Dive Review of Paradise Charters/Island Reef Diver in
The Continental USA/Key L argo, Florida

Paradise Charters/Island Reef Diver, Nov, 2004,

by Andrew Levin, MA, USA . Report 1443.

No photos available at this time

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 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments I signed up for a half day with Paradise Charters based on earlier reviews on Undercurrent. My first inkling of trouble was when, following the directions I received on the phone, I found an abandoned tent marked "Paradise Charters". A local told me that they had moved. I telephoned again, and received new directions to another address in Key Largo. When I finally found it, the sign said "Island Reef Diver". The staff informed me that the assets of Paradise Charters had been acquired by this operation. Of course they didn't tell me that the liabilities had also been acquired, which became a little clearer in short order. The boat set out with a few divers, divemaster and captain. When I casually inquired about weights to see what they had on board, they were able to turn up a total of 13 lbs - just enough for me, but no one else (luckily, the others had their own). First site was the Benwood, a shallow wreck mostly disintegrated, but a good artificial reef. The divemaster was my buddy. We circled the Benwood, where I found plenty of fish to look at, from schooling grunts to lizardfish, in tunnels and under ledges in the wreck. After about 40 minutes, the DM showed me that he was running short of air, and asked me to surface with him. I surfaced with 1,000 psi still in the tank. The DM said that "once we circled the boat once or twice, there wasn't anything more to see". Welcome to the "been there, done that" school of diving. We moved on to the second site, French Reef. Beautiful spot with swim-throughs and that day, lots of smaller reef fish. The DM didn't give me time to explore a swim through, but paddled along between the coral heads seemingly oblivious to the local residents. He managed to knock the regulator out of my mouth at one point. Once again he ran short of air and asked me to surface after about 40 minutes. His comment was "nothing to see. where were all the fish today ?". I guess his time was more valuable than mine, even though I had paid $68 for a two-tank dive and still had about a third of my air supply left over, unused. Key Largo is a great place to dive, but you can do a whole lot better than Paradise Charters/Island Reef Diver.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Cape Ann, Catalina Island, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Hawaii, Brazil
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas choppy, noCurrents
Water Temp 81-0°F / 27--18°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-50 Ft/ 12-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Had to follow an inexperienced divemaster
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments This operation is not set up to support UWP
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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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