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Dive Review of Quiescence Diving Services in
The Continental USA/Key Largo (upper Keys)

Quiescence Diving Services: "Spiegel Grove in Key Largo - Great Dive!", Mar, 2017,

by Ed Vaillancourt, NM, US ( 1 report with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9528 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Was in Key Largo for meetings and I snuck away for a day of diving with my favorite dive buddy (my wife) we're both Divemasters and have been lucky enough to dive in many different places. We hate poor dive operations and/or a boat full of divers. Even the best dive location can be ruined by either of the above.

So, Quiescence was a great choice with guaranteed low diver count onboard (6 or less) on their 6 pack boats. The good ratings from other Undercurrent diver reports sealed the deal and so we walked into their dive shop hoping for the best. Kate greeted us and she was delightful, and it was the start of a great day. The rest of the staff were equally as friendly and helpful. So far, so good.

We were between two storm systems and the weather was good (today only) and more good luck, they had two other divers who also wanted to dive the Spiegel Grove that day; so we were good to go. They usually need at least four divers to dive the Spiegel Grove and we all were qualified.

Water temp (March 23) was a cool 75 and visibility 30-40 ft. Surface calm, 85 degrees and sunny becoming partly cloudy. Big storm later that afternoon, so all good for morning dives.

Captain Tim Shaw drove us out to the wreck with nothing more than a compass and a good dry sense of humor. Besides being the captain, he was a dive instructor and had his own dive shop in Texas. He retired back to Key Largo, where he captained at Quiescence when he wasn't chartering his own 52 foot sailboat. Are all the staff this qualified? It seemed that way.

We arrived with two other boats already moored to the wreck, probably at least 15 divers, but they were finishing their dives and (amazingly) we were going to have the 510 foot Spiegel Grove to ourselves. We were 2 dive teams with the other buddy team being an experienced father and son who jumped in the water about 5 minutes before us.

The rules were simple, be back in 50 minutes, follow the mooring line down and come back with 500 psi.

Yes, it's a good sized ship (US Navy Thomaston-class dock landing ship) and you could probably really cover it in about 50 dives minimum.

Supposedly it was the largest ship ever sunk intentionally when she went down in 2002, about 2 football fields in length and she rests upright at 130 ft on the bottom, with an average depth of 80 to 90 feet and 60 feet at the very top.

Sunk in 2002, it's an amazing story (the sinking did NOT go well) with the ship landing on its side; but then amazingly, she was righted by Hurricane Dennis some 3 years later. There are numerous websites detailing her life and sinking so I'll skip that part [start here: [ link]) ]. Lots of fascinating details worth knowing before you grab your camera and get wet.

Down on the deck, we found the usual suspects: Great barracuda, LARGE Nassau grouper (no Goliath), yellow tail and black fin snapper, blue tangs, sharp nose puffer, damsel and butterfly fish, bristle worms and more. There are over 150 species that hang out on and around the ship and my dive buddy was very busy counting.

This ship is a wreck divers mecca, but that was not our purpose on this dive; so we peeked in various openings and lit them up with our video lights. This is a ship you can dive on again and again, seeing new things each time. Great dive.

We explored from 90 feet to 60 feet and used up all of the 50 minutes allotted. Back on board we met up again with the other dive team whom we never saw while on our dive. It's a BIG ship. This won't be our last dive on the Spiegel! It's said that 10,000 divers a year see the Spiegel Grove. Thanks to good luck and a great dive shop, we got the wreck to ourselves that day.

We finished up with a 2nd dive on Horseshoe Reef. Named for its shape, with a nice patch of Elkhorn coral; it had the regular reef fish and dozens of solitary barracuda doing their usual quiet stare as you swim by. A large Green Moray (~ 6ft) was laid out fully underneath an overhang. Didn't seem to care as we shot video for several minutes. Another hour underwater flew by and we were headed back to the dive shop.

I'd rank the Quiescence dive operation right up in the 5 star range for its laid back friendliness, efficiency and full scale operation: they do hydrostatic tank testing, certified reg repair on most brands, instruction, snorkel trips, charter trips; and... the other dive stores (eg Divers Direct) will send you here if they don't have the part your looking for. Plus their dive operators are professional,friendly and happy to see you.

If you're going to dive the Spiegel Grove, you'll need Advanced Certification, deep dive experience, more than 25 dives and have been diving within the last 2 years. Worth the trip!
Websites Quiescence Diving Services   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Solomon Islands, Fiji, Galapagos, Philippines, Fernando de Naronha, most of Caribbean, both coasts of US, Palau, Truk, Yap
Closest Airport Key West Getting There We drove down from Orlando, about 4.5 hours

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 75-75°F / 24-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-40 Ft/ 9-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions On wreck, 50 minute max, back on ship with 500 psi.
On the reef, same thing.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments My ratings here are for photography only. As a dive boat it was just fine, had shade and room, was clean, etc. Our boat had rinse capability for camera, but no rinse tank (it's a 6 pack with limited trip distance). Dive sites were well worth photographing. Their other boats might have more photographic facilities.
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Greg Bruce in WA, US at Apr 03, 2017 11:54 EST  
Thanks for the detailed report and for posting.
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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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