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Key Largo in June, who should I dive with?

Discussion in 'Florida' started by White Chocolate, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    3,697
    2,918
    113
    Thanks for the information. I need to find a new destination for regular yearly or twice yearly trips. Bonaire has become way too difficult to get to and way too expensive. I tried a number of other places and have not found them worth diving. I got spoiled by Bonaire and I don't have the stamina for long distance travel. I know there are really fantastic places - that I'll never see.

    I can get a direct flight to Ft. Lauderdale and do some diving there and then drive to Key Largo and do more diveing. No customs, a direct flight, and inexpensive flights. Accomodations will be more expensive but you can't have everything.

    I got beat to a pulp in Belize on small boats with ladders just hung over the side in 3-7 foot waves. No room to extend legs on a backroll on a bouncing boat meant smashing my calves and the ladder swinging wildly while I got my equipment off and handed it up beat the crap out of my upper body, knees, and thighs. I am way too old for more of that.

    Now I just need a plan for where to stay in Ft Lauderdale & Key Largo and how long in each place. Hotel & eat out, AirB&B/VRBO and cook. I'm leaning toward treating myself to eating out. I'm thnking October - a bit more wind than June-August, but a bit less heat and humidity.
     
    IncreaseMyT likes this.
  2. caruso

    caruso Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Long Island, NY
    1,662
    1,186
    113
    I couldn't agree more I've just returned from FLL which is also a short direct flight for me and although the diving in SE Florida might not quite compare to other diving destinations, when you consider cost, time and convenience it's my favorite place to dive.

    Inexpensive lodging can be found in the Keys such as Marina Del Mar at around $100/nite. Includes continental breakfast and some or all rooms have a kitchen. Don't forget there's great diving north of FLL in Pompano, Boynton, West Palm and Jupiter. Especially if you like rusty metal.
     
    Kharon, IncreaseMyT and sportxlh like this.
  3. NelleG

    NelleG Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sunapee, NH
    61
    54
    18
    This is what we did last month. Flew into FLL, grabbed a rental car and drove to Key Largo. Easy peasy. We booked dives and hotel through Rainbow Reef. Their packages made the hotel about $100 less per night than had we booked independently. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, nothing special but adequate for our needs. We weren’t planning on spending much time at a hotel. Next time we’ll try the Marriott just for comparison.

    The only glitch was our rental car, which I booked through Priceline. The car ended up being with Executive Rentals and their shuttle never showed up. Next time I’ll just book through one of the better known companies and be done with it.
     
  4. noj3333

    noj3333 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Albany, New York
    861
    392
    63
    @Kharon... I'm also a fan of Key Largo for the reasons you mentioned... easy and cheap to get to, relatively cheap diving (RR when doing multiple 'trips'), and relatively cheap accommodations.

    If diving with RR be prepared to follow their rules...
    -Short 50-55 (MAXIMUM) minute dives. Don't even think of diving your air...
    -Follow the leader dives, some DM's are speed demons underwater, others like to take a nice leisurely stroll around the reef. This can be remedied by diving unguided with just your buddy...
    -Overall very 'safe' and cautious... A staff member has to escort you to the rear of the boat... about 50% of the time you can't descend without the DM's signal to go down... etc. These rules are fine by me, even though they're slightly annoying, but just be aware of what you're getting into when you book with them...

    With all the above, I'd still happily dive with RR, but at the same time I'll be looking to expand my experience with other Key Largo operators...

    *EDIT*
    I'd also add the diving is far from the best, even when compared to other Caribbean locations, but it's warm, clear water, with good fish life and an ok reef...
     
  5. seadweller

    seadweller Dive Charter

    190
    75
    28
    Who ever you choose , enjoy your diving in Key Largo . All the operators are great people
    and will show you a good dive experience . Safe travels and good diving !
    Sea Dwellers
     
    Key Largo Dive Center likes this.
  6. carobinsoniv

    carobinsoniv Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Moultrie, Georgia
    684
    123
    43
    I enjoy using Horizon and Silent World, mainly because of relationships with various staff. But my first dives in the Keys in December 1980 were with Sea Dwellers ( @seadweller ). Something to be said about a company in business for 39+ years. As mentioned above, hard to go wrong with most operators.
     
  7. White Chocolate

    White Chocolate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Bellingham, WA
    18
    24
    3
    Thanks for all the advice. I’m currently booked with Quiescense this Saturday for both a morning and afternoon trip! Hoping to get out again Monday morning with Horizon to get on a wreck also. Should be fun!
     
    OrcasC205, 020NE and carobinsoniv like this.
  8. White Chocolate

    White Chocolate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Bellingham, WA
    18
    24
    3
    As an update, I was able to dive on a Saturday morning and afternoon with Quiescense out on elbow reef. They were absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend them. Morning dives were still kinda limited to the 60 min mark due to having to get back for the afternoon trip and the longer boat ride from their dock, but that was fully understandable and I had a great time. Plus chilling on the boat motoring though the mangroves is pretty enjoyable! The afternoon dives were a little looser with only 4 divers on the boat. Captain Steve just dumped us in the water and let us do our thing until it was time to head up. I loved every second of it.

    I also went out for a 2 tank dive on the Duane with Horizon Divers. They were also a top notch operation and very well organized. We went out in a thunderstorm that was forecasted to quickly blow through and even though it was stormy we got in for the first dive. Vis was around 30 ft due to the storm (felt like I was at home on a good day in the Puget Sound lol) but we got to do most of the swim throughs and saw some big anglefish. After we surfaced the seas were actually worse and the lighting was closer so they had to (wisely) call the second dive and head in. It was a little bit of a bummer because that was my only other opportunity to dive on the trip, but obviously that was in no way Horizon's fault! I did eat some key lime pie from Publix and had a lunch beer right afterward to make up for the disappointment so the day wasn't a complete wash. While I didn't really get to have a solid time on the wrecks like I had originally hoped for, the diving was still a blast and I just need to make it back down again for another try.

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    grantwiscour likes this.

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