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Old 02-15-2011, 07:55 PM
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I've lived in Fl for 7 years now, and sadly have never been further into the keys than Key Largo. My finace and I decided to take a quick trip to Key West this Monday thru Thursday.
I plan on diving(it was not an easy decision to choose diving over kiting, but I can kite here in St Pete) and was looking for opinions on dive operators and dive sites. Ideally I'd like to avoid cattle boats with crews that are just looking to put people in and out of the water.
Also I'll take opinions on places to stay, remembering I have to keep my fiance happy.

Richard
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:00 PM
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Most of my diving has been off Key Largo through Atlantis Dive Center, http://www.captainslate.com/ Slate does run larger head boats but I like his operation. We met in our dive instructors course in 1976! He stayed in instruction, I got out. If you are a fairly experienced diver the Speigel Grove is a nice dive, as is the Duane. You can find videos on all these wrecks on here through key word searches.

There are many dive operations throughout the Keys, some 6 pack (passenger) operations too. As far as Key West, if you are a fairly experienced diver you should consider diving the Vandenberg. It is in 140 ft., is massive but real interesting. In Key West you could contact http://www.subtropic.com/ . There is a post on Keys diving operations that you may want to checkout at: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/flo...eys-guide.html If you have questions, ask them as I may know the answers or where to send you. Been diving down there since 1971 but most of that off Key Largo again. Have fun down there.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:41 AM
greg meintjes greg meintjes is offline
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Default key west

Hi, Subtropic is a great company to go through, there are a number of other companies available if they are full or not going out , prices start at $65. if you have your own equip and go up to $125. if you need full equipment. As far as I know all morning dives are to the VANDENBERG, this is an advanced dive due to the depth of the wreck. All the afternoon dives are a two tank two reef dive and are good for gegginers upwards. Do yo have you accomodation sorted out yet ? I will be working at the visitor center in Key West this morning, you are welcome to give me a shout and I will see what I can find for you if you need help. The prices are not cheap at the moment as it is high season , the average price yesterday was around $180.00 but we did find some deals around $139.00 a night. My tel number at the visitor center is. Hope this helped, there are also specials going on with some watersports companies in town where ladies are half price at the moment, give me a call if you want more info.
305 -296 - 8881

Regards Greg
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:54 AM
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Thanks for all of the help. I did sort out our acoomodations. It took a while because everyone was full. Sometimes last minute plans are the best, and sometimes you're searching for rooms at the last minute.
I'll probably check out subtropic. I know historically I've heard lots about the Duane and Spiegel Grove, but it seems like everyone's going to the Vandenberg now. I've been diving for 15 years with advanced certification, I just haven't been in about 2 years due to work, but I don't think I'll have any issues with any of the sites.

I'll look into some of those links. Thanks again.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSUkiter View Post
Thanks for all of the help. I did sort out our acoomodations. It took a while because everyone was full. Sometimes last minute plans are the best, and sometimes you're searching for rooms at the last minute.
I'll probably check out subtropic. I know historically I've heard lots about the Duane and Spiegel Grove, but it seems like everyone's going to the Vandenberg now. I've been diving for 15 years with advanced certification, I just haven't been in about 2 years due to work, but I don't think I'll have any issues with any of the sites.

I'll look into some of those links. Thanks again.

If you can throw in the Speigel Grove, I would do it. The decks on the Vandenberg and Speigel (both with the bottom at about 140 ft.) are at 70 to 90 ft.. So, you don't have to hit the bottom as the sides of the hull are the least interesting aspects anyway. You can go deeper in interior ship features on both wrecks, so it would be good to pick a hard bottom depth and stick with it. Both dives can become challenging if higher current develops, a common thing and/or if visibility drops a lot possibly complicated by air issues if you allow them to occur. I would candidly talk to the shops and see what they say with the current conditions. If you go, I would avoid penetrations on either, some divers have taken themselves out on the Speigel that way. In clear, low current conditions both wrecks are amazing.

Free diving the Vandenberg the first day it was opened to the public to dive:
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=6019

Free diving the Speigel Grove
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=8547
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=4490

and the Duane if you can fit it in
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=8833

By the way, as much as I like free diving these wrecks with a scooter, I don't recommend that others do it. At least not without a lot of preparation and training over a long period, safety gear, etc..

Have fun!
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Last edited by RickI; 02-16-2011 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:27 PM
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I'm definitely going to do a little more research as to who to go out with. I called subtropic and they were exceptionally helpful and great, but because of my recent lack of diving, they require I take a refresher course and go with a divemaster. I have absolutely no problem diving with a divemaster for the minimal extra price($30). I actually think its a benefit as I'll be diving alone on what sounds like an advanced dive, and it's nice to know my buddy would be a DM and not some random dude that doesn't watch my back. Plus I'll be taking pictures and it would be nice to basically get a guided tour of the wreck. The requirement of a refresher course is a little excessive I feel though. I completely understand that their goal 100% is safety, but I think its a little much. I was certified about 15 years ago and advanced OW certified 12 years ago. Since then I have about 50 dives to 60 dives. I also took a refresher course 2 years ago because I was going on a trip out of the country and didn't want to be surprised by being told I couldn't dive at the resort. The concern that subtropic had was that I haven't had any dives deeper than 65-70 feet in about 4 years. Most of my dives have been about 50-60 lately, simply due to the location. I again understand their concern for safety but feel as though I have enough experience to safely dive guided by a divemaster without also having to take a refresher course there.
I actually considered just going on one of the shallow reef dives instead to avoid the whole headache, but I think I'll be disapointed.
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:27 PM
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You might talk to Atlantis and see what they have to say if you could fit a dive in on the Speigel Grove first. That would give you one or more recent dives on your log book. That may or may not alter Subtropics perspective. They run a ton of divers out there, know the wreck and conditions well. They have to place the line somewhere. Sorry for the hassle but ultimately they are trying to look out for the security of everyone.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:26 PM
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I may do that. I definitely agree with and understand their position on safety, and its nice to see a company stand by their decisions, but their requirements seem much higher than the other companies. I'll let you know who I choose to go with and how it goes.
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