Misc Key Largo diving questions...

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crgravitt

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Atlanta Metro Area
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We used Rainbow Reef for 7 dives in May and will be returning to them for Labor Day weekend. I found them very professional and Captain Bill took great care of us - even got us to the Spiegel Grove well ahead of the other boats to get us a prime buoy. I haven't used any of the other charters in the area so my opinion is a bit jaded, but I wouldn't be going back if I didn't feel comfortable and think it was a good value.
 

Kksmama

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Florida
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This thread was helpful to me while planning our weekend trip, so I'm happy to report that we had great experiences with Rainbow Reef. We booked the Ramada through them for a better rate than we could get on our own, and took two trips on their Tropical Explorer boat. We experienced the benefits of a six pack but on a roomier boat and with a dive guide in the water. Offering bottled water and cookies is a very nice extra, and all the crew members were friendly and competent.

I'd read such great things here about Conch Republic that we dove with them our last day, they were fine and safe but not particularly hospitable; the dives were rushed and we felt nickle and dimed on the nitrox fills and use of the boat's lobster license.

During the weekend I talked to Jeff from the HMS Minnow and to Silent World and Quiescence, we'll be looking for one of them to take us to Carysfort next time. All in all, I'm thrilled to be an easy half day drive from such great diving with many quality operators.
 

ScottFritz

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I'm confused.........I think I was on the same Conch Republic Divers boat as Kksmama. Our experience with both the dive shop and dive boat staff was very positive. Our dive team (2 couples) had just the opposite experience and would like to share our thoughts on this dive operator. Conch Republic Divers was very accommodating, helpful and at no time did we feel rushed or nickel and dimed to death. We waited on divers on three different dive trips to get on the boat and setup. Many operators would have left the dock if you were not there and ready. Many of the dive sites were selected based on individual requests or needs, and there was no rush by the crew to get you in or out of the water. The boat wasn't packed to the gills. They assisted with equipment issues, dive site knowledge, setting up and donning equipment, as well as, entry and exiting of the boat. On one trip a dive guide went with an individual that requested it. They even had vinegar for stings, and shampoo to wash your hair with after the dives. They talked to the divers during slack time. So I think there were very hospitable.

It's typical for dive operators to charge more for nitrox fills and that was explained to us. At the depths we were diving nitrox wasn’t needed. We have been coming to the keys for lobster season for many years. We appreciate the opportunity to save money on the license fees. It was explained to us that we can use their license or pay per person with the Florida Fish & Game commission as we have done in the passed. They told us the cost up front and we compared it to what we were spending in the past and found it to be cheaper. None of us were told we had to use their license. So I think there was a misunderstanding of what the dive operator was offering.

I have dove with Conch Republic Divers for several years and highly recommend them to all divers. Two of our dive team members turned us on the CRD and have dove with several other dive operators in the Key Largo and convinced us they were the best. I hope this post will be helpful to DivingPrincessE.
 

SC_Hoaty

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I am very much looking forward to my first trip out with Conch Republic later this week.

With that said, Florida Keys Dive Center is an excellent shop with great boats and a very friendly staff. They are worth at least a phone call before you head to the Keys.

+1 on FKDC. Been with them for 21 dives on 3 separate trips to the Keys. They are the preferred op for one of my LDS (who arranged each of these trips). Nice Newton boats, good crew, friendly folks.

I seem to recall some snorkel only boats at MM100. The one I used a decade ago is no longer there.
 

DivingPrincessE

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I have dove with Conch Republic Divers for several years and highly recommend them to all divers. Two of our dive team members turned us on the CRD and have dove with several other dive operators in the Key Largo and convinced us they were the best. I hope this post will be helpful to DivingPrincessE.

No, it's not really. I don't like CRD or the owners.
 

DJR

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Hollywood, FL
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Went to Molasses with Rainbow Reef this past Monday morning. Friendly and professional crew, fair rate. Nice to have the dive guide included when you don't know the reef. Our guide Jessica knew the reefs well. The crew all but insisted on changing over the gear in between dives. Recommended.
 

krawlings

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