Keywest Dive and Accomodations Recommendations Needed

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DocWong

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Hi, my wife and I will be at Key West for a few days in September and would appreciate diving and accommodation recommendations.

She would like medium high level hotels and I would like to know where to dive.

Diving experience: over 1000 dives in the SF Bay Area, scooters, tech, etc. My wife is a new diver so maybe I'll do more challenging dives on her non dive days. So what's a good outfit to go with? Also is there shore diving?

Thanks!

Harry Wong
 

Jaan

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The Vandenburg is an amazing dive. We know folks that have done hundreds of dives here. 6 Mooring buoys, 523 ft in length. Part of the fun is a swim through where you emerge out of the radar dish :wink:. You might consider a guide (as most Florida dive boats don't include a guide unless you pay extra, a surprise to us when we first dove here, but actually quite liberating once you know the site not having to keep up with a group).

If you have a car you can get up to Key Largo in a couple of hours. Scenic drive and another great dive there is the Spiegel Grove.

A couple of articles from my wife's blog (some years back) but might give you some inspiration for various activities in the area.
Diving the 2nd and 3rd Largest Artificial Reefs in the World
The Florida Keys & Key West

I've really only tried the Marriott's out there to use up points. None were anything to brag about, but they did the trick. Everything seems expensive nowadays.

For dive shops: We used Rainbow Reef in Key Largo (great). We used Captain's corner in Key West and they were also great. We had an excellent young university student guiding us who knew the site well.

Enjoy your trip :)
 

Hoag

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A few things to do when you are not diving:

Visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Watch the sun set at Mallory Square
Eat a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
Go to "Sloppy Joe's" where Hemingway used to hang out
Go to the "Hog's Breath Saloon" where as they say it is better to have Hog's Breath than no breath at all.
And potentially the most expensive, visit the Peter Lik Gallery (IIRC, it is next door to Margaritaville.)
 

Tripp

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FYI: Please get your rental car first, if you need one, because they are scarce. Also, check rates. Currently the entire Keys are in a hotel-rate-bubble with rooms at Key West in the $700-1000 per night range! I think overseas travelers are choosing the keys as an option during COVID. Grrrrrrr
 
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DocWong

DocWong

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Great, thanks for all the feedback! I'm making calls now for car rental, diving and hotels. My main goal is to make it fun for my wife....so we can come back and do more diving. ;-)

I've had many dives on the Spiegel Grove, Dwane, Bib in Key Largo and look forward to diving the Vandenberg for the first time. My wife is a competent diver for a relatively new diver (about 50 dives). I'll take her down on the Vandenberg after a shallow shake down dive to see how comfortable she is as I'm transitioning her to a backplate/wing system which I think will be easier for her to dive in.

What are the currents like on the Vandenberg? Anything I should watch out for more inexperienced divers?
 
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DocWong

DocWong

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Also, is there any decent shore dives in the Key West area?
 

Wookie

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No shore diving in key west. Currents on the Vandenberg are like on the Spiegal Grove, ranging from none to not diveable for any diver.
 

oly5050user

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Great, thanks for all the feedback! I'm making calls now for car rental, diving and hotels. My main goal is to make it fun for my wife....so we can come back and do more diving. ;-)

I've had many dives on the Spiegel Grove, Dwane, Bib in Key Largo and look forward to diving the Vandenberg for the first time. My wife is a competent diver for a relatively new diver (about 50 dives). I'll take her down on the Vandenberg after a shallow shake down dive to see how comfortable she is as I'm transitioning her to a backplate/wing system which I think will be easier for her to dive in.

What are the currents like on the Vandenberg? Anything I should watch out for more inexperienced divers?
Does she have advance certification? If not and diving with captains corner you may be required to hire a guide. Good operator but their boat, their rules.we are there first week of august. We stay at the galleon. It’s a easy 5 minute walk to captains corner boat.
 
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DocWong

DocWong

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Awesome, I'll check that out. So after speaking to my wife, she's not so enthusiastic about spending most of our time diving the Vandenberg. So I've decided to instead fly to Miami, rent a car and stay in various places in the Keys.

Key Largo and Key West are a given.

Any suggestions on places to dive/stay inbetween?

I'm thinking Islamoralda and Marathon.

TIA!!
 
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