Diving - Dove with Dive Charters International run by Leo Sands firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.flinet.com/gulfstream/deeper (888) 340-DIVE. Small boat with a 14 diver max. They also drop in groups of 2-4 and drop the different groups in different spots on the reef so that you are not in the midst of a herd. Unless everyone on the boat wants to dive a wreck, it will be drift diving on the local reefs. They dive a 60-60-60 profile (60 minute max dive, 60 minute SI, 60 minute max dive) and given the depth of the reefs (60-80FSW) this is a case where NITROX can significantly extend your bottom time. By the end of the day (4 dives) we were pushing the limits on our computers and had to shorten our dives or go into decompression. They offer DNA at the boat for those certified for slightly more/fill. The fill station is right on the dock so there is no long trek with tanks. Likewise, any gear you need will also be dockside. Cost was about $50/2 tank trip (including tanks and weights) and they make 2/day on the weekends leaving at 8:30AM and 1:30PM. Water temperature was 86F at the surface but there were two thermoclines (25FSW and 60FSW) that took it down to about 81F at depth. I wore a skin, one of the divers with me wore two layers of polartec, and the other a 3mm shorty over a polartec. Visibility ran from about 100 feet the first day to about 80 on the last trip. We did two daylight trips on July 3, a morning trip, and a twilight/night dive trip on Friday, and a morning trip on Sat. Currents were generally light but by Sat were kicking up a bit. On one dive, the current switched about 3 times. I can only imagine what the boat captain was thinking as floats would go S then N then E, etc. During the surface intervals, they pull close to shore where there is a small patchy reef in about 20FSW suitable for snorkeling. Snorkeling during a surface interval here we saw tarpon, nurse sharks, rays, lots of FLRF, and a small flotilla of squid (about 25.)
Sites we dove:
Del Rey Ledges
and several others. By far, the most spectacular was Sea Gate (or Gates.) Lots of coral, sponges, and other sea life. On all the dives there was a great variety of life and things to see. We saw lots of very large loggerhead turtles and several large nurse sharks. On the other end of the spectrum, there were lots of opportunities for micro photography. For the great white hunters, there were lots of fish large enough to go after (hogfish, snappers, etc etc.) Things I would change: For safety's sake. I would ALWAYS have a full set of gear on board for the DM working the boat. There was not and had the need arisen during the second dive of any given trip, there would have been no or very little air available for the DM to make a descent. This is not to suggest that there was any hazard, there was not, but there was also no way for the DM to respond to an emergency situation in the water. Better site briefings. Tell me where I am and what I should expect to see. Maybe a small erasable white board on the bulkhead with site names, depths, etc. Let us pay for the whole days diving in one go rather than having to go into the shop between trips. Customer convenience is all this amounts to. I consider these to be minor problems and highly recommend DCI.
One of the local divers on the boat the first trip owns a Cuban restaurant in Boca Raton. Ask anyone at the shop how to get to the Cuban Cafe (about a 20-30 minute drive down US1.) It is worth the trip. The Zarsuela de Mariscos is excellent. If you are making both the AM and PM trips, the Two Georges at the end of the dock has pretty good fish and chips (one serving is enough for two) and reputedly also has pretty good burgers. There is also a sandwich shop in the strip mall across the road. We divvied up the duties. I played tank boy and equipment handler, someone else paid for the trip, and a third person went and got lunch between trips. We then had lunch sitting on the boat waiting for the PM trip.
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