Key Largo - PennyCamp, Slates, Kelly's! 24-Apr-99

For this trip, we left from work Friday night, drove to Florida City (the end of the turnpike) and stayed at the Super 8. This Super 8 is a small, very clean motel. Sat, we picked up and went to Key Largo, dove with Capt. Slate. Slate has three boats. We went on the smallest, a 40', single engine dive boat - good size, with lot's of room for the divers. We then camped overnight in Pennycamp Park. I dove with Kelly's Aqua Nauts on Sat morning. Kelly's has two new (4 years old) 42' twin engine dive boats. These are the largest and widest and most room dive boats I've been on! They far surpass the typical Largo Pontoon Cattle Boats (Amy Slate, etc). Orginally, Aqua Nauts was gonig to dive the Eagle (big freighter at 120'), but due to engine problems, we dove the Duane. There were 12 divers on board - Lots of room!!!

Dive Trip Report to: Key Largo
Purpose: TO DIVE

Dive Reports:

Dive #1: Saturday, 24-Apr, Late Afternoon Dive. My Dive # 189
A. Dive Boat / Location: Capt. Slate - Carysforth The Lighthouse
B. Conditions:
Visibility: 20' - 30'
Seas: 1" to 6"
Water Temp: 72 - 74
Skies: Sunny Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: 80 - 90's
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 67' for 35 min , Me: Analog - 68'.
Air consumption: Me: 3700 lb to 2000 lb (120 cu ft)
Current: Light to Medium on the bottom!
Description: Well, Em chartered the whole boat so we-all could go to Carysfort Reef. This reef is one of the Northern most reefs in the Key Largo Stretch, so most of the Largo boats don't want to go there!! We anchored within a few hundred feet of the Lighthouse. I've been there before and at that time, it was one of the most colorful and coral filled reef's I've been on!!! Well, it's not longer like that! There's lots of dead coral. It's still a pretty reef. My dive partner had problems getting into the water and I hitched up with two others. We headed for the deeper water (60 - 70') and followed the ledge for a while then headed back to the dive boat! There were some Baracuda, lots of fish, one bug and lots and lots and lots of dead coral! They say the storms over the past year has taken its toll on the coral???....!!! Capt.. Slate's Dive Boat did not have water on board, so there was no way to put a hose to you to cool off with the wet suit on while waiting to get to the dive site or to wash off afterwards. Otherwise the Dive Boat was very well organized and had ample room for the divers. There was not problem gettng off or back on! The crew gave every diver individual attention when they returned to the boat!
As mentioned in Em's report. We got slammered by the no-see-em's of jellyfish. I had on a full 3 mm wet suit, but had the top zipper opened. Well the next day, I was all red and itching from the stings!! When diving in the Keys, either cover your whole body with a full wet suit or a Lycra suit! That will protect you from most of the stings!!

Dive #2: Saturday, 24-Apr, Noon Dive. My Dive # 190
A. Dive Boat / Location: Capt. Slate, Carysfort South (Ball CS-2)
B. Conditions:
Visibility: 50' (vis was much better)
Seas: 2" to 6"
Water Temp: low 70's
Skies: Hot, Sunny, Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: 80 - 90's
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 19' for 36 min (a real deep one) , Me: Analog - 19'.
Air consumption: Me: 3000 to 1800 (80 cu ft)
Current: None
Description: Carysfort South was the reef that I wanted to come back to ( See previous Dive Trip Report ) . Well, again, there was a lot of dead coral, not the colors from a few years ago! It still was a beautiful dive. Upon entering the water, we saw two big (4-5' across) spotted eagle ray's! Hopefully, I got a few pictures of them! While swimming around, there were several large Grouper. One of our threesome spotted a 6' nurse shark - yea, hopefully there's a picture of it also. Lot's of Baracuda! This was a very pretty dive and worth the trip to go to! It's quite different from West Palm Beach (65' vs 19'). You can spend a lot of time at 19' with a tank of air.

Dive #3: Sunday, 25-Apr, Morning Dive. My Dive # 191
A. Dive Boat / Location: Aqua Nauts, Duane
B. Conditions:
Visibility: 50'
Seas: 1' to 2'
Water Temp: 72 on the bottom
Skies: Sunny, Clear Blue Skies
Air Temp: 80 - 90's
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 124' for 18 min , Me: Analog - 123'. Dive Partner: Cochran Capt.ain Dive Computer (Unreliable) - 119 for 18 min (Hmmmm, Cochran) Dive Partner: Analog - 127'
Air consumption: Me: 3000 - 1600 lbs (120 cu ft) Dive Partner: 3000 to 1000 lbs (80 cu ft)
Current: Medium to Strong
Description: Well, I orginally wanted to dive the Bibb, but upon asking around could not find any dive boat going there. I stopped into It's-A-Dive, I dove with them a lot in the past, and the woman behind the counter was not very friendly!!! Sam had sold out a year ago and now they seem to have lost their friendlyness. Their prices also went up from $160 for 5 dive trips to $240. Well, $160 is a steal and $240 is still reasonable for the Keys! She did recommend trying some dive boats up the road. So, we stumbled on Kelly's! They were going to do the Eagle! If you look in Scuba News - it looks like a fun dive. A big freighter on its side at over 100'. All the holds are open. Well, half way the Eagle, one of the 6 cyl desil's had a problem! The Capt. swung the boat around and headed for the Duane. I've dove the Duane before, my partner hadn't! It's a great dive.
We followed a rope from the boat to the mouring bouy! Then we followed the rope to the bow of the Duane. The current was going from the bow to the stern (not a very good situation). As a note, this is a bad situation, because after going down to the rest of the ship, as your running out of air and computer time, you must get back against the current to the bow to follow the rope to the surface. If you let go, you'll be in North Carolina in a few hours!!!
Well, we headed for the Stern and down to the prop. There we got some pictures holding onto the prop at 127' Staying only a few minutes, we headed back to the bow. On the way, we swam through some of the door openings to the other sides. As we approached the bridge, we were running out of computer bottom time and we were about 20' above the deck. This was a very unwanted situation. If we were on the deck, we could pull ourself's to the bow and the rope to the top. We did not have enough bottom time to go down the 20', so we swam real real hard the 50' to the rope. Looking down, we could see that we were making very very slow progress! It was a bad situation, but we did have plenty of air! We had discussed this situation prior to the dive. This kind of discussion is a must on this dive with the strongs currents.
Well, we did see some big fish, dive partner saw a big grouper, I saw a monster blue parrot fish and lots and lots of angle fish and baracuda!
This is a great dive. You must discuss the dive beforehand to be safe! You really do need computers!

Dive #4: Sunday, 25-Apr, Late Morning Dive. My Dive # 192
A. Dive Boat / Location: Aqua Nauts / Elbow Reef - Christ-The-Statue
B. Conditions:
Visibility: 40'
Seas: 1'
Water Temp: 79 (twas warm)
Skies: Same CBS
Air Temp: 90
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 23' for 53 min , Me: Analog - 24'. Dive Partner: Cochran Capt.ain Dive Computer (Unreliable) - 21' for 51 min Dive Partner: Analog - ??
Air consumption: Me: 2700 to 1500 lbs (80 cu ft) Dive Partner: 3000 to 1400 lbs (80 cu ft)
Current: None
Description: Well, at first I was not very excited to go to the Christ Statue! But, the reef around it was great. Lot's of relief. Lots of big, I mean really big Grouper! We saw one monster Baracuda (hopefully there's a picture), two big Grouper (100 lbs) sitting on the bottom with their mouths open getting it cleaned out by those little cleaning fish! We stopped and watched one cleaning for a few minutes. We were wondering how to Capt.ure that Grouper and sneek it on the dive boat!! And of course, there were two bugs - again, hopefully some pictures!

Last Updated: 01-Aug-2002

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