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“3 tank dive is all they have going for them”

Key Largo Dive Center
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The Dive Shop is located at MM 106.5 Bayside, next to the Tower of Pizza
Reviewed October 27, 2010

Dove with Garden Cove for 2 days.

On day 1 we arrived at the shop at 8am for check-in. It was interesting that even though their website boasts 3 dives for the price of 2, you are required to sign a 3 dive policy stating that the third dive is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the captain. While I can understand the reasons behind such a policy, it is nowhere to be found on their website and was never mentioned to me during the 3 conversations I had with the shop in the weeks preceding our trip. We were given directions to the boat for an 8:30 departure. We arrived at the marina at 8:15 and did not see the boat captain until 8:45. He did not apologize for being late but did admit it was due to oversleeping. Upon his arrival, he realized that no one from the shop had brought tanks to the boat. He got back in his truck and went to the shop. Came back about 15 minutes later and we helped him load tanks. Then, he realized that he couldn't find the keys for the boat so back to the shop he went. The boat ended up leaving the marina at 9:45 after the captain and another diver "hot-wired" the ignition because the keys were still lost. There was no safety briefing conducted or introduction for that matter. I am not sure what his name even is. Being in Key Largo, the dive sites were very good. We did 3 shallow reef dives.

For day 2 we booked a lobster specific trip. We were charged an additional $10 per person for this trip. I called ahead to confirm why and was told that it was due to the boat having a license for lobstering and because they have additional fuel costs because they go to reefs farther from the marina that are not dove as much. Before leaving the dock, I asked the captain if there was a cooler with ice to put the lobster in or if I should grab a cooler from my truck. He stated that "if" we get any lobster, we can just put them in the rinse bucket. First site was decent. A lot of undersized bugs but a good dive. Second dive was horrible. There were two divers bug hunting and one just sightseeing. We saw a single bug on the second dive. This site was actually closed to divers at the time we went there according to the buoys we saw when we arrived. Captain said that most of the reef was closed but we could dive around and if we "accidentally" went into the closed area there was really nothing anyone could do about it. Third "lobster" dive was to Pickles Reef, a very popular dive site in Key Largo. Saw 1 undersized bug.

Safety Briefing: Non-existent. Captain never introduced himself nor did he go over safety equipment locations or specific boat procedures. We felt more like passengers on a ferry as opposed to paying customers on a charter dive boat.

Boat: This has to be one of the least maintained boats in Key Largo. The dive platform is tubular with no anti-skid paint or tape. What they do have zip tied to the dive platform are pieces restaurant kitchen style rubber floor mats. The fiberglass engine cowling is crumbling which made the noise of the diesel engine much louder than it should be.

As many other divers, I was enticed by the claims of 3 dives for the price of 2. I now understand why they offer this “deal” and will NEVER make this mistake again.

4  Thank BDTRVL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 - 81 of 84 reviews

Reviewed August 27, 2010

I used this charter for a couple of days diving in August. The diving was first class. What I particularly liked about this operation is the low number of divers they take out. The boat is big enough to hold 12-14, but they take a maximum of 6 and a minimum of 2. This gives you plenty of room to spread out your gear. I've been on boats that tend to pack people in, so it is nice to be on one with enough room. Captain Terry was our captain and he knew his stuff. In fact, we went to the wrong slip to begin with and asked the dive boat we saw where our boat was (they were already loading people on). We found our boat, and loaded our gear while the captain loaded the tanks. We got out to the reef and were about finished with our first dive before that other boat arrived.

They also do 3 tank dives for the price of 2. So, at shallow depths, you're getting about 3 hours of bottom time.

The boat also has its own lobster hunting license, so you don't have to have your own. If you're lobster hunting, also consider that you've got a maximum of 6 people looking for lobsters in one location whereas you might have as many as 24 divers looking for lobsters in one location with the other dive charters.

I found the boat to be in good physical condition. It pump out the fumes though. And while I thought the dive part of the operation was very good, I wasn't too impressed with the store front. Also, you should note that because of the number of divers they are not required to send you out with a dive master. In other words, you're diving with just your dive buddy. That worked out great for us, but I know that would scare some people, especially at the deeper depths.

Bottom line is the price is right, the boat is roomy and the diving is great.

1  Thank jim662
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2010

Very good dive center and shop, it's going to be my 3rd time with these guys and I am very happy. 3 dives for 75US$ (ALL the other dive shops charge 80$ for 2!).
Check spots and prices on their website.
Very nice people, they moved the shop last week down to mile 100.6 close to Tower Pizza, still bayside.
The Captain of their boat is professional and friendly. Very good choice of dive spots.
I recommend this dive center expecially for the multiple-days-divers.

Thank porcelaincrab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2016
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Thank Jean-Baptiste P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2016
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Thank valcous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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