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mpd525
01-10-2008, 21:56
Well, my wife is getting mobilized on March 1st for a year. So it really messes up all of our plans for our dive trips. SO, we are gonna do an improptu trip to key largo in feburary about 2 weeks before she leaves. I've looked around on the net a little at ops, and motels, but was curious if anyone could help point me in some direction. We're trying to keep the cost somewhat low, but i would like a smaller boat, and a decent place to stay, so if anyone can give me some reccomendations i would appreciate it.

mpd525
01-10-2008, 22:25
Has anyone used Sea Dwellers, it looks like they have pretty good deals? I was also looking at ocean divers, and horizon, and a couple of others.

texarkandy
01-10-2008, 22:26
Went there for Thanksgiving week. Got a good deal through Travelocity on an airfare/hotel/car package. I presume you'll go from (or through) DFW so you'll want to look at both Miami & Fort Lauderdale as arrival airports (which one is cheaper seemed to vary from day-to-day when I was surfing for the airfare)

We stayed at "The Suites At Key Largo". A bit older but clean, reasonable, friendly front desk folks, two story townhouse type affairs & you get a kitchen & a screened in balcony. Your balcony overlooks the boat canal. Most of the sit-down type nice restaurants are fairly pricey, so a kitchen is nice to have if your trying to keep costs down. (We finally realized we came to dive, not eat overpriced fish dinners - & were glad to have the kitchen)

I've heard Ocean Pointe Suites further south is nice too, but you don't get a kitchen.

We dove with Conch Republic - no problems - nice people - they threw a free Tgiving dinner at their house & deep-fried three turkeys. Minor downside was we had to drive there every day six or seven miles from the Suites.

There are quite a few dive ops within walking distance on the same canal as "The Suites" & I will probably try Ocean Divers & Rainbow Reef next time just to get some variety of experience with different dive-ops. I've heard good about both.

Rainbow Reef seems to be the cheapest around & you don't pay any extra for a dive-guide, but they are also into taking out boatloads of snorkelers as much as they are taking out divers.

While walking around I stopped in and visited with Ocean Divers and they seemed very professional & freindly. Nice looking boats.

For a small boat - Blue Water seems to come highly recommended. Contact "BlueWaterBrent" on ScubaBoard.

I don't know what the first week of March is like, but we caught quite a bit of wind on our November trip. It was pretty rough on a couple of fairly new divers, (particularly the getting on the ladder part - was actually kind of scary on one dive). Was also rough on our seasickness-prone snorkeler. (one lesson learned was - if you wanna just snorkel, don't get on a dive boat, get on a snorkel boat)

BusDiver
01-11-2008, 09:04
Pay a little bit more and get away from other divers. Check out HMS Minnow and Pleasure Divers. The Minnow is out of the harbor before 8 am and on the sites before anyone else. It is a small six pack and very rarely are there six divers on the boat. Pleasure divers is a little bit more, has a nicer boat, and Jan will dive with you (and feed you).

Also check out the numerous other threads listed about lodging in Key Largo and operators.

I would rather spend $10 more for two dives with only a couple of other divers (if that) then be on a big boat with 10 to 15 other folks.

The Minnow onced dropped my wife and I off on French Reef at 8 am and we had a magical dive. When we surfaced a little over an hour later the tour boats were just arriving. We watched the hordes jump in as we headed out to another site.

ReefHound
01-11-2008, 10:05
There are few bad operators in the Keys because there is so much competition that divers won't put up with it. The ones you mentioned, Conch Republic, Blue Water, and Ocean Divers too. You get better prices per dive from most operators if you buy a multi-trip card.

I like Blue Water because I usually go in a group and they will accomodate our dive plan and give us more flexibility and control. For them and Ocean Divers you can stay at Holiday Inn or Marina del Mar for about $100/night. It's really nice to be able to walk to the dock from your room.

Ocean Pointe condos are very nice and they DO have kitchens. Full kitchens with stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. You'll have to drive to the dock but it's only about 10 minutes away.

I prefer flying into Ft Lauderdale (FLL) because it's a much smaller airport, less walking, less crowded, and rates usually cheaper.

BusDiver
01-11-2008, 10:28
I second flying into Ft. Lauderale. It is just an easier airport to fly into and only 20 miles further away then MIA.

Kokomo
01-11-2008, 20:06
We dove with Cristal Clear and they were great. Nice boat and staff. eager to please. A couple locations so not too much driving time.

mpd525
01-14-2008, 18:38
Well we ended up setting up our trip with conch republic, for quite a few reasons. But i've talked to both the owner and his wife and they seem like great people. Me and the wife are excited about going. Now i just have to buy 2 bags, a new PCa lite, SMB's, Whistles, and Signal Mirros. And then i think we will be ready to go.

BuzzGA
01-14-2008, 20:52
Have a great trip. We dove w Rainbow Reef the day after Christmas and it was great knowing that our family in Ill and CT were enjoying the chilly temps while we basked in the 76 degree water temps

sidneydiver
01-14-2008, 22:37
I have been on 2 trips with Conch Republic. They're great, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Fireplug
03-08-2008, 17:49
We dove with Cristal Clear out of Key Largo in Sept. My dive instructor told me the other day that they are now out of business, sold the boats, etc. He said that Captain George is now with Conch Republic. Totally recommend Captain George and Mate Jason. Great with new divers and old salts both.

We're going down end of March to Ft. Lauderdale for a week and a 4 day weekend at Key Largo. Anybody have any recommendations for diving at Ft. Lauderdale? My group is fairly familiar with Key Largo but know not a lot about Lauderdale.

Can't wait to get out of this crap. 28 degrees and 8" of white stuff blowing around!!!

terrillja
03-09-2008, 20:31
We dove with Cristal Clear out of Key Largo in Sept. My dive instructor told me the other day that they are now out of business, sold the boats, etc. He said that Captain George is now with Conch Republic. Totally recommend Captain George and Mate Jason. Great with new divers and old salts both.

We're going down end of March to Ft. Lauderdale for a week and a 4 day weekend at Key Largo. Anybody have any recommendations for diving at Ft. Lauderdale? My group is fairly familiar with Key Largo but know not a lot about Lauderdale.

Can't wait to get out of this crap. 28 degrees and 8" of white stuff blowing around!!!
Just dove with Captain George and Mate Jason at Conch Republic last week. Great Captain and Mate, great operation, I look forward to diving with them again.

I did 17 dives with Conch Republic last week (should have been 18 but I had to abort 1 due to gear failure), so I met most of the people that work for them and all were great.

terrillja
03-09-2008, 20:37
Correction, 15 with Conch Republic and 2 with silent world. My dad and I did one trip with silent world, which operates out of the north end of the island so we could dive on the christ of the abyss. Silent World's boats are both the same size as CR's small boat, so if there is much of a sea you are going to have a much more rough time. I never felt crowded on the large CR boat since there is no doghouse in the center like smaller boats, and there are 2 ladders, so lots of space to gear up and get back in.

Also if you ask, Dean will show you how to catch and prepare a spiny lobster. I learned a lot watching him that I will use to catch our Maine lobsters off MA.

mpd525
03-10-2008, 18:46
I agree George and Jason are great guys, easy to talk to, and the boats were nice. we also did 2 dives with Silent world, good people smaller boats. And the seas were horrible when we went 4-7ft., about everyday.