26 Nov 2006 14:41:49
Jason
Where to dive in the keys?

greetings all,

I will be visiting Key West at the end of December and am hoping to do
some (natural) reef diving.
I'm a novice diver and have so far only done cold water dives (Monterey
Bay).

>From what I've been able to gather on the net, it sounds like the reef
experience is a lot better in the upper keys than it is down at the Key
West end (I'm specifically thinking of Key Largo, but it also sounds
like Marathon might be decent too).

So my question is this.

Is the diving in the Upper Keys enough of an improvement over what you
can find in Key West to be worth the drive? Or can you do some
reasonable reef diving right out of Key West?

Many thanks for any thoughts.

-jason



26 Nov 2006 20:13:30
Lee Bell
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

Jason wrote

> I will be visiting Key West at the end of December and am hoping to do
> some (natural) reef diving.
> I'm a novice diver and have so far only done cold water dives (Monterey
> Bay).
>
>>From what I've been able to gather on the net, it sounds like the reef
> experience is a lot better in the upper keys than it is down at the Key
> West end (I'm specifically thinking of Key Largo, but it also sounds
> like Marathon might be decent too).
>
> So my question is this.
>
> Is the diving in the Upper Keys enough of an improvement over what you
> can find in Key West to be worth the drive? Or can you do some
> reasonable reef diving right out of Key West?

Interesting question. Generally speaking, people fly into Miami and drive
into the Keys, experiencing the northern islands first. That, of course,
makes the normal question, is Key West worth the trip down. If diving is
the only criteria, my answer is no. If, on the other hand, some very unique
party opportunities and a big chunk of history are a factor, Key West is one
of those must see places.

Personally, if I were flying into Key West, I would not drive to Key Largo
for the diving. I would drive the 30 miles or so up to Cudjoe Key. The
reefs in and around Looe Key are some of the best shallow reefs in the Keys.
Marathon is also very nice. Key Largo, except for cites rarely visited by
the tourist boats, is heavily impacted and not worth a several hour, 100
mile trip each way.

Lee




27 Nov 2006 06:22:54
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

Out of all the dives in the Keys, Looe Key was my favorite and not
overly dived like some other spots. I went out with Tavernier Dive
Center, they were great. In the non-protected areas, these guys also
know where the lobsters hang out, so bring a catch bag for your dinner
that evening. I wrote this review five or six years ago:

Looking for a dive operation that is efficient yet very friendly? It's
not easy, but I managed to find one. In the Keys, people are extremely
relaxed, which can be great, but not if it negatively effects the
operation of customer service-based businesses like dive centers.
Unlike some other dive shops in the Keys whose attitude toward customer
service is a bit lax, the Tavernier Dive Center boasts a wonderful
staff of cool people who are relaxed in attitude, yet extremely
efficient at running a first-class dive center. I was impressed with
every facet of our dive. It's no wonder they have been voted one of the
top 5 dive operators in North America by the readers of Rodale's Scuba
Diving Magazine for 1997, 1998, 1999 and again this year.

The dive center is so clean you could operate on the floors. It's also
well-stocked with gear, books, and various diving-related stuff. The
Shadow is a custom-built 40 footer, roomy and spotless. They have a
large ice-filled cooler for you to stash your drinks and food, and they
provide divers with cold water and fresh juicy pineapple, which was a
nice treat. Accompanying us were Chris and Norm, Rick. Chris briefed us
on every safety issue imaginable, including minor details like the
locations of fire extinguishers and what do do in case of unlikely
emergency situations. They also did pre- and post-dive roll calls --
not just a head count -- to make sure no one was left behind. Chris
told us about a recent incident involving another local dive center
which accidentally left behind a couple in their 50's. They had clung
to a buoy overnight in choppy seas waiting and waiting to be rescued.
Extra caution is always appreciated when one hears nightmare stories
like this. We dove with another operation the previous day, which
didn't discuss any safety issues, much less do a roll call.

Captain Bob led us to amazing sites. They were uncrowded yet teaming
with beautiful critters. Thankfully, we were not given a time limit
(which is really annoying when you pay so much for your dive trip) but
instead they asked to return with 700 psi. Again, the divers' safety
seems to be Tavernier's main concern. The tanks, by the way, were way
way full, so the dives lasted a nice long time. Kudos to this fine
operation. Tavernier sets a high standard of professionalism that other
centers should try to attain. I'd dive with them anytime!



27 Nov 2006 15:49:31
Marshall Karp
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

Check out my Key West Joe's Tug Dive video for an idea.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6463960296284954241

"Jason" <jaebarker@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1164580909.583988.113690@f16g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> greetings all,
>
> I will be visiting Key West at the end of December and am hoping to do
> some (natural) reef diving.
> I'm a novice diver and have so far only done cold water dives (Monterey
> Bay).
>
>>From what I've been able to gather on the net, it sounds like the reef
> experience is a lot better in the upper keys than it is down at the Key
> West end (I'm specifically thinking of Key Largo, but it also sounds
> like Marathon might be decent too).
>
> So my question is this.
>
> Is the diving in the Upper Keys enough of an improvement over what you
> can find in Key West to be worth the drive? Or can you do some
> reasonable reef diving right out of Key West?
>
> Many thanks for any thoughts.
>
> -jason
>




29 Nov 2006 18:32:42
Chris
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

Check out Wannadive.net at
http://www.wannadive.net/spot/North_America/USA/Florida/Keys/index.html
There are some good dive sites described, may help you finding the best
dives sites in the Keys...
Chris


29 Nov 2006 17:44:53
Johnny T
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

I have dove key largo many times and found it a nice dive location there are
many different reefs, depths, and wrecks to choose from. lots of dive shops
in the area to gwet info... there is a bar/ resterant that serves stone crab
all you can eat it is ...very good i think it was called Holligan or
bagyholi it is south of the napa store just ask any nativer, 38 dollars
and that is cheap. Miami (montys) is charging 98 dollars.
"Jason" <jaebarker@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1164580909.583988.113690@f16g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> greetings all,
>
> I will be visiting Key West at the end of December and am hoping to do
> some (natural) reef diving.
> I'm a novice diver and have so far only done cold water dives (Monterey
> Bay).
>
> >From what I've been able to gather on the net, it sounds like the reef
> experience is a lot better in the upper keys than it is down at the Key
> West end (I'm specifically thinking of Key Largo, but it also sounds
> like Marathon might be decent too).
>
> So my question is this.
>
> Is the diving in the Upper Keys enough of an improvement over what you
> can find in Key West to be worth the drive? Or can you do some
> reasonable reef diving right out of Key West?
>
> Many thanks for any thoughts.
>
> -jason
>
>




30 Nov 2006 19:46:19
Jason
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

Thanks for info everyone. Great video Marshall! It's amazing how much
damage hurricanes do even at depth. Even though at some level I know
better, it's hard to avoid the naive idea that what's going on at the
surface somehow isn't reflected throughout the water column.

I realize I'm doing things a bit backwards in terms of location, but my
mom recently retired to Key West, so having a free place to stay
definately makes that my base of operations for the forseeable future
:)

Since I will have the ability to return here relatively often, I think
what I'm going to do is check out both a Key West and Looe Key dive
while I'm there. Very helpful to know that it isn't worth the slog up
to Key Largo.

thanks again everyone. I'll chime in with a report on what I find
after the New Year.



01 Dec 2006 06:17:48
Lee Bell
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

"Jason" wrote

> Thanks for info everyone. Great video Marshall! It's amazing how much
> damage hurricanes do even at depth. Even though at some level I know
> better, it's hard to avoid the naive idea that what's going on at the
> surface somehow isn't reflected throughout the water column.

You have no idea. Andrew, which came through Florida almost 50 miles south,
broke the Nuola Express, a previously intact wreck at over 199 feet, in
half, picked the stern section up and put it down on top of a smuggler's sub
placed as a dive attraction, then picked it up again and set it down a few
feed from its original location. One of the Tenneco Towers, pieces of oil
rig sunk as an artificial reef, isn't in divable depths any more. It's
amazing.

> I realize I'm doing things a bit backwards in terms of location, but my
> mom recently retired to Key West, so having a free place to stay
> definately makes that my base of operations for the forseeable future
> :)

That does make a difference.

> Since I will have the ability to return here relatively often, I think
> what I'm going to do is check out both a Key West and Looe Key dive
> while I'm there. Very helpful to know that it isn't worth the slog up
> to Key Largo.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's not worth the trip, it's just that the
diving in the northern part of the Keys is no better, and often, not as
good, as it is in the middle portions. Just like it was worth it for those
of us that start from the north, to travel to the south, it's worth it to go
the other way . . . eventually. You just don't want to pass right by a
bunch of great dives you've never done to get to the few good ones further
north.

Lee




16 May 2007 16:03:04
someguy469
Re: Where to dive in the keys?

Other than the wrecks, the reefs are in poor condition. I would say stay
away from the keys and go to west palm for better reefs.

"Lee Bell" <pleebell@bellsouth.net > wrote in message
news:57Ubh.35219$K9.15948@bignews4.bellsouth.net...
> "Jason" wrote
>
>> Thanks for info everyone. Great video Marshall! It's amazing how much
>> damage hurricanes do even at depth. Even though at some level I know
>> better, it's hard to avoid the naive idea that what's going on at the
>> surface somehow isn't reflected throughout the water column.
>
> You have no idea. Andrew, which came through Florida almost 50 miles
> south, broke the Nuola Express, a previously intact wreck at over 199
> feet, in half, picked the stern section up and put it down on top of a
> smuggler's sub placed as a dive attraction, then picked it up again and
> set it down a few feed from its original location. One of the Tenneco
> Towers, pieces of oil rig sunk as an artificial reef, isn't in divable
> depths any more. It's amazing.
>
>> I realize I'm doing things a bit backwards in terms of location, but my
>> mom recently retired to Key West, so having a free place to stay
>> definately makes that my base of operations for the forseeable future
>> :)
>
> That does make a difference.
>
>> Since I will have the ability to return here relatively often, I think
>> what I'm going to do is check out both a Key West and Looe Key dive
>> while I'm there. Very helpful to know that it isn't worth the slog up
>> to Key Largo.
>
> I wouldn't go so far as to say it's not worth the trip, it's just that the
> diving in the northern part of the Keys is no better, and often, not as
> good, as it is in the middle portions. Just like it was worth it for
> those of us that start from the north, to travel to the south, it's worth
> it to go the other way . . . eventually. You just don't want to pass
> right by a bunch of great dives you've never done to get to the few good
> ones further north.
>
> Lee
>