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Hi. I am a certified but relatively inexperienced diver. I have an opportunity to bring my 16 year old daughter down to the Key Largo area of the keys (or elsewhere in FL if I can drive to Orlando in under 8 hours) for 5 full days. She did four supervised dives in St. Kitts last year and loved it.
I was hoping to let her get certified, while I either tagged along or did the advanced open water course.
I have looked at a lot of operators on line, and spoken to some on the phone, but it's hard to get a sense of who the better ones are. If it is appropriate, I'd love advice on the following:
My daughter could complete the PADI on line course before we come down. Some shops have suggested this, so she could get open water certified in three days, and then do the advanced course in two (Dad would tag along on the former, and take the advanced). Some have even suggested that I would have time for a Nitrox course.
One shop, that seems well regarded, does not approve of the PADI on line, and would certify her in five days (she can't take a classroom before we get there) and let me do the advanced separately.
I am looking for personal and competent instruction, friendly people, good equipment, and good diving. It's been a rough year, but I can pay extra if the experience is worth it. I'd like a clean and comfortable place to stay, with access to food (I don't go on vacation to cook).
I would really appreciate advice on operators, and hotels. Key Largo vs. further. How much to attempt in the way of certification? Have to book in next couple of days. This was really spur of the moment.
Thank you. Please tell me if this was the wrong forum to ask in. Feel free to PM me if you would prefer.
Right forum. I don't know a whole lot about diver certification in the Keys. Especially when it comes to teenagers. I do know of several good dive operations down there that I would use for diving. That being said I dove once with Conch Republic Divers on my last trip to the Keys. CONCH REPUBLIC DIVERS VOTED #1 DIVE SHOP IN FLORIDA KEYS..2006 & 2007
They had two different groups of divers on board that were working on their OW certifications. Eventhough we went off and did our own thing, I was extremely impressed in the way they handled and interacted with the group of three teenagers that were working on their certifications while I was aboard.
I noted to myself that when my kids were old enough that Conch Republic would be one of the ones I would be comfortable with them certifying on Scuba.
They can also help out with discounts on accomodations. They found a good deal for a place that my non-diving wife would be happy at while I was off getting wet.
Don't know if this is possible for your daughter, but it is common to do the book and pool work near home, then do the open water cert dives at a resort destination. This requires a official stamp of approval from the instructor who does the first part of certification.
On-Line training is an excellent way to get the book work out of the way prior to your daughter getting her pool training followed by her Open Water dives. We have a lot of students that are doing that kind of training which makes it very convenient, as well as, interesting for the student that likes to hang around a computer.
Basically the on-line course takes you thru the book and administrators the required testing so that when the student arrives they are ready to get wet. If, of course, the student has any issues during the on-line portion they can always call with questions.
Looks like you're also interested in getting some extra training, which we could schedule along with your daughters. We can also help with lodging to suit your needs. If we can help you with any arrangements, please don't hesitate to contact us.
I'd say do the book and pool at home and get a referral for the checkout dives. A classroom is a classroom, a pool is a pool, but Key Largo is perfect for OW checkout dives (lots of stuff to see with shallow, low stress diving). Lots of good ops in Key Largo. I did my checkouts with Silent World.
Won't have time for classroom, but daughter could do on line. Thanks for the recommendations so far, hard for me to tell them apart. Would also welcome opinions about how much training to try in a week. I was thinking about doing Advanced, maybe Nitrox for the heck of it. But I do want to spend time with daughter. Suspect it would be pushing it to plan more than Open Water, and then some fun dives for her.
The three shops mentioned above, all seem to be well regarded here. Hard to tell the difference on line or on phone. PMs are fine. Does anyone have experience with Ocean Pointe (2 bedrooms) or something else with decent beds, sheets, but a little more character than Marriott?
We have been staying at Ocean Pointe for the last 7/8 yrs. Great place to take the family.
We are heading back in 3 weeks. Real nice to have the option to cook some meals in and the gated community is great for the teenagers to have some freedom.
We are spending the entire week diving with Conch Republic Divers. My daughter is doing her advanced class with them this trip. Great operation and also can't beat the location if you are staying at Ocean Pointe Suites!