Trip Report Trip Report Key Largo June 20-24 2022

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DiverDave65

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Kansas City MO
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Just returned from a great scuba trip to Key Largo. Four days of diving with Rainbow Reef Dive Shop. If you don't want to read my whole report: I recommend Rainbow and thought overall they did a great job of getting us out to a variety of reefs and wrecks. They are a bit of a "cattle boat" operation, but their boats are pretty big (42 foot Newtons, I think) and well staffed with good Captains, "mates" and dive instructors acting as underwater guides if you want one. My first time there, so humbly accepted the dive guides and was mostly glad I did, especially on the wreck dives.

Over the week my dive partner (newly certified AOW but with mostly Florida springs experience) and I did 12 dives each, several to the usual reefs (French, Molasses, Conch Ledge, Pickles) and 5 dives on the Spiegel Grove, one each on the Duane and the Bibb. As a life long Caribbean diver I thought the reefs were a bit plain and boring...very flat, not much coral development, but lots of sea life. Saw a few nurse sharks, some rays and turtles and big groupers. My dive buddy was thrilled.

I thought the wrecks were SPECTACULAR!!!! We got to double dip on the Spiegel twice, and one day did the Bibb followed by the Duane on the same boat trip!! Vis on the wrecks was usually pretty good, around 60 feet or so, and almost no or minimal current. Water temps around 79F (coldest on the deep wrecks) up to 83-84F everywhere else. We both wore 3/2 shorties for the wreck dives and I was happy to have it on for those dives...on the shallow dives I wore a rashguard and very comfortable.

We dove on air on day one, four total dives on the reefs. After that we used Nitrox for any dive that included a wreck and that was a good idea, especially on the double dip dives!!

Stayed at the Marina del Mar close to the dive shop....decent place, nothing spectacular, but least expensive close hotel. I would stay there again.

I will try to attach a few pics.....I'm not a great GOPRO photographer so forgive my efforts.
 

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CajunDiva

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South Louisiana
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Glad to hear you had such a great time! We've been diving with Rainbow Reef for numerous years now and still enjoy every single trip :) When we're not staying at a vacation rental with friends, Marina del Mar is our favorite place to stay. There's just something about it...many great memories I guess!
 

deeper thoughts

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Glad you enjoyed your trip
what kl lacks in coral it easily makes up for in fish life
 

drrich2

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As a life long Caribbean diver I thought the reefs were a bit plain and boring...very flat, not much coral development, but lots of sea life. Saw a few nurse sharks, some rays and turtles and big groupers.
Congratulations on getting in a Key Largo trip. I was there in 2013 and hope to go back someday. I, too, approached it from the perspective of some Caribbean diving. While I thought the reefs look a bit patchier, I liked them better than you may've. I recall the viz. at around 50 feet (how was it for you?), not on par with Bonaire or Cozumel (but plenty good enough), but the 'fishiness' was nice...with more medium-sized fish where some Caribbean locations had more small ones (e.g.: where I might see a school of French grunts in Bonaire, it might be a school of blue-striped grunts in Key Largo). Does that sound like what you saw on your trip?

Glad you got to do the Spiegel Grove, Duane and Bibb. Unless things have changed, due to depth I assume those were fairly short, largely square profile dives? Did you see any goliath grouper hanging out near the wrecks?

The shallower reef dives I recall being over a bottom, as opposed to over a sloping or vertical wall to the deeps, which might be a nice plus if someone where bringing along young divers with recommended depth limitations.

Richard.
 

Hojo in SC

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Location
South Carolina
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Glad you enjoyed your trip, I was there last week visiting my son (Air Force) and had some great dives, also with Rainbow Reef. Last week was actually my 3rd trip down there and every time I've been very pleased.
 

smrg697

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Strasburg, VA
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We just returned from the Keys and my daughter got her OW cert with Rainbow Reef. We had a great experience with them; instructors, guides, mates, captains, shop staff, EVERYONE! They have big boats but we didn’t have huge numbers on them. Couldn’t ask for more!
 
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