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Ok here we go, just returned from great LONG weekend to Key Largo and wanted to share some of the information. We signed up for weekend getaway with local dive shop (Sunny Seas Scuba) for couple 2 tank dives on 10/22 & 10/23. The wife and I decided 4 dives just wasn't enough so we left 1 day early and decided to add some more dives since we were making the 5 1/2 hr drive.
Day 1 - 10/21 we were scheduled to dive with Sea Dweller on a rain check from a previous trip but they didn't have enough for a boat so we moved those dives to sunday morning. we decided to go to the dive op we were scheduled to dive with the rest of the weekend and see if we could get on the afternoon boat. The folks at ( Conch Republic Divers) said no problem and got us on the boat. There was only 5 divers on the boat a couple from Alabama ( Sheila & Karl ) that were getting her wreck cert. and Andy the DM.
Dive site - The Duane and Snapper reef
Both were Great dives 1-2' seas 50-60' viz water temps 79 at 106' on The Duane and 82 at 29' on snapper.
The Duane was a great wreck with MANY HUGE barracudas and tons of fish everywhere. The current was ripping and made for a challenge with a flag flying saftey stop.
Snapper Reef they sure named this place right. Snappers everywhere along with all the reef fish. There were so many fish you had to swim thru them. Unbeliveable.
Day 2 - 10/22
4 dives on tap for today with Conch Republic Divers. 8:30 and we are off to do a couple of shallow reef dives. Met some new folks LuLu and Steve that we dove with the rest of the weekend. Steve was getting certified (CONGRATS for getting your open water Steve) boat had 12 divers.
Dive sites Morning - Fire Coral reef & Backside of the Moon
Both great shallow reef dives. seas 1-2' viz 50-60' water temps 80 both sites.
Fire Coral Reef was a beautiful reef with lots of life. Highlights were Nurse shark and Scorpion fish. The fact that at only 25' you could suck and hour plus dive out of your tank was a very nice extra.
Backside of the Moon this reef did not impress us on the first trip there maybe it was just less than the previous sites. However another hour + plus dive due to 23' depth.
Dive sites Afternoon - Davis Reef and Backside of the Moon
seas 2-3' viz 40-50' water temps 80-82
This trip was with our local dive shop and some of the locals. 18 divers on the boat this time and Lobster was the main goal for most folks.
Davis Reef very nice reef with lots of life and coral. Seen the usual suspects and had a blast watching folks chase lobsters. Was another nice shallow dive at 23' and hour + dive time.
Backside of the Moon we were not thrilled about going here again since we were there earlier that morning but it just goes to show . SURPRISE SURPRISE you would have thought it was a totaly diffrent reef. Sharks,Morays and rays and once again watching folks chase lobsters.
Day 3 - 10/23
Again 4 dives on tap with Conch Republic Divers. 8:30 and we are off to dive a wreck and reef. All our new dive friends and some locals are onboard belive it was 12 divers.
Dive Sites Morning - The Eagle and The Aqurium
seas 1-2' viz 50-60' water temps 79-81
The Eagle was a Great wreck dive was lots of fish and some good shots of wreck broken into 2 sections. We had very little current which made it a very enjoyable and let us take our time exploring the boat. We were told that 2 goliath grouper make this their home but nobody seen them.
The Aqurium Reef was as the name lead you to belive TONS of life and very nice ledges to find all kinds of life. More Nurse sharks,Moray and Spotted eels also found Spotted Drum along with usual suspects.
Dive Sites afternoon - The Benwood and Sand Island
Our local dive mates and some of the morning folks with local made diver tally 14
seas 2-3 viz 20-30 on Benwood 40-50 at Sand Island water temps 81
The Benwood was getting attcked by 6 dive boats when we arrived but since our local group requested this site the captian obliged. We were hot dropped to the site as all the bouys were occupied and were told to use the bow to surface he would tie the boat there. Viz was bad and there was about as many divers as fish LOL. However I have been here before and it is usualy a great dive with lots of fish. Even with the conditions we still found lots of life you just had to get off the main area.
Sand Island was a BEAUTIFUL reef with tons of life. 2 types of reefs here long ledge type and big coral head islands. Why they call is Sand Island I have no clue. Highlights 2 Nurse Sharks , 2 Green Morays , Rays both yellow and southren , 2 Scorpion fish , Spotted Drum and Cleaner Shrimp. Also more fun watching watch the lobster hunt.
SIDE NOTE: When we returned to the dock and started saying goodbye and exchanging info with our new found dive friends. LuLU , Steve , Karl and Shelia we learned Karl had proposed and he and Shelia were gonna get married on the Night Dive. GOOD LUCK YOU TWO we were VERY bummed that we couldn't make the dive to see the cerimony but with 4 dives already it really wasn't an option for us. HOPE IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.
Day 4 - 10/24
2 dives only today we gotta go home after them We are diving our rain checks at Sea Dweller dive op diver tally was 14.
Dive sites - Permitt Ledge and Winch Hole both on Molasses Reef
Seas 3-4' viz 40-50' water temps 73-77 overcast had rained most of the night.
Permitt Ledge was just like the rest of Molasses reef BEAUTIFUL even with over cast skies the color and life here great. Highlight of the entire trip happened here as we seen 250-400 lb Goliath grouper totaly in the open HUGE FISH. He swam under a big coral head and when I followed for more pictures I discovered that there was another one ( smaller 100-150 ) under there with the bigger one. We also saw a huge school 40-50 of Midnight Parrot fish. Great coral formations here and lots of life.
Winch Hole was a spot couple 100 yards south on molasses and just as BEAUTIFUL with lots of huge coral heads and undercuts. Great swim thrus between coral and tons of life again. Highlights Nurse shark, 2 Green Moray and huge Spotted Drum also Scorpion Fish. Name of this spot comes from big old Winch in the center of the reef.
Key Largo Inn 10/21 this is a non-smoking hotel but cheap and clean with everything a diver needs. Great price and we will use them again.
Ocean Point Resort 10/22 & 10/23 great place to take family for a week stay they have evrything and the rooms have EVERYTHING you could possibley ask for with full kitchens and whirlpool tubs. VERY NICE and was included in the local package we got from Sunny Seas scuba.
Sea Dweller:They run a nice boat offer a good hotel / dive package.
Conch Republic Divers: These folks are doing it RIGHT and will get our money when return for more diving. Very DIVER FRIENDLY and great boats ( Republic 7 & Osprey ). They go the extra mile with OVERNIGHT bins and drying racks for your gear. GREAT FEATURE. You never lug any tanks and are never rushed. No follow the leader dive guides unless you request one. All site were given good pre-dive briefing and the crews and captains were top notch. THANK YOU ( Gary,Brenda,Andy,Justin,Chris,Wolfgang) is was our pleasure to dive with you and we WILL see you in the future .
SIDE NOTE : To the Sunny Seas Gang it was great to dive with you all. Mark and George you were great roomates it was a blast.
4 days 12 great dives 11hr 37mins logged met a bunch of great folks.
LIFE IS GOOD