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Spring Break in Key Largo
KevinD - 3/21/2008 8:57 PM
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Category: Travel
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This is a recap of our 15-25 March trip to Key Largo. We (my family) flew into Miami and rented a car for the drive down to Islamorada. We rented a house were my family (3), my AI’s (Patichi) family (4) and out DM candidate stayed. It was a great house and had lots of room for all of us. Patichi drove down from Virginia, which took them about 18 hours. He carried some of my gear and the scooters, which we never got to use. We had nine OW students, one advance student and a few fun divers. We dove with Horizon Divers, which for the most part, is an outstanding group. Captain Bob and crew (Andrea) are a great bunch. Day one (Sunday) we dove on Molasses reef: Eagle Ray Ally on dive one. (74 degree water temp) We saw a spotted ray that was 6-10 feet, lots of fish but the vis was only about 30-40 feet. Better then the quarry but not well for the Keys. The second dive was at the aquarium. In the afternoon a few of us dove the Spiegel Grove on dive one. Since we had dove Nitrox all day (31%) we had lots of bottom time at 100ft. vis, not so good. The current was fairly strong, and made our safety stop a bit of a challenge, since a few of use ended our dive at about the same time. Wish I had my Jon line. A few divers came up on the wrong boat, none of my group, thank goodness. The Benwood also had a good current on it but it had LOTS of life on it. There was a 5-6 foot moray eel a few feet from the mooring line. The same group came up on the wrong boat, again. They were in a wreck class….I had a 2nd stage failure. The O ring between the reg and the hose blew. The best I can figure is that the hose came lose. Never had that happen before. I lost VERY little air and we did not call the dive. I got it down to a small bubble stream. My belief is that: If I cannot self rescue in 40 feet of water I need to stay out for the water. I got cold before I ran low on air. One thing I did notice on the day’s dives. People seem to like to touch things. What ever happened to not touching? They touched the reef and the wrecks. Also, if you are going to take pictures learn buoyancy control FIRST. The old me would have swam up behind these people and smacked them. This time I just made a few comments loud enough and close enough to the individuals in hopes they would hear me. However, I am sure they did not think I was talking about them. Day two (Monday) the weather turned on us. Captain Bob did get us to a good location. I cannot remember the name but it was a ledge so it kept the current at bay for our training. Dive 2 was at No Name Cave(water temp was 71 degrees) Again, great dives but the vis was low. The seas were also quite high but everyone did a great job getting in and out of the water. While we were tying off to the mooring ball we did have about ankle deep water wash over the bow. We finished up the surface skills in the canal. We scrubbed the afternoon dive since the conditions got worst. We did have a nice cookout for the group at the house. Day 3 (Tuesday) the weather was terrible. SO we took 2 of the student to Jewels Underwater lodge. Not a great place but kind of cool, everyone should check it out once. You can stay over night in the underwater lodge. There were lots of classes going on so the vis there was also low. Most of the classes were over by the time we got started. The best part was when a Manatee found its way into the cove. My son and Patichi’s sons were on the entry platform and the manatee almost laid on their laps, kind of surprised them, to say the least. He was about 7 feet long, looked good and had no damage that I could see. After I finished with the certification dives I dove with my wife and son. He was not too keen on the low visibility but he got more comfortable with it. It was my wife’s first OW dive in about 10 years. Day 4 (Wednesday) we drove down to Key West since we were totally blown out. We visited the Pirate, the Wrecker, and the Mel Fisher Museums. A good time was had by all. We had diner on Sunset pier and we came in first in the coconut race. We picked a number, 00, they set up a race lane and released the nuts. We won a $50 gift certificate which we used to off set diner. The second race we were pretty much a non start. Day 5 (Thursday) the weather improved a lot. There was some confusion before we left the dock and part of our group (my AI) could not dive. Not a story I need to share or fully understand, but since he was the trip leader he made the sacrifice. My wife’s regs did have a catastrophic failure before we left the dock but the crew gave her one of their sets. The seas were only about a foot. Very nice. I dove with my newly certified son and my wife, both did a great job. I forgot the names of the areas we dove but we did see a 6-7 feet green moray eel, a bunch of baby spotted sting rays. Vis was still low, 20-30 feet, maybe. We had a different crew and they were not as …dynamic as Captain Bob. Day 6 (Friday): We got up and drove back to Miami for our 1:20 pm flight. Vacation over!