Dive Trip Report to West Palm Beach then to Key Largo (4 Days, 14 Dives).

Sunday, 29-June-97, Dive Trip, West Palm Beach, The Rampage (1-800-525-0876)
a. Dive Location: The Princess Ann, a partially intact ship, a real beauty to dive.
b. Conditions: Typical Florida Clear Blue Skies (CBS), calm seas and Clear Blue Water (CBW), @ 85 deg air temp.
c. Dive Information: 88’ for 31 minutes, 72 degrees on the bottom. After my novice dive buddy ran out of air, I teamed with the dive master and he lead me on a tour to Penetrate The Princess. It was a great tour, we could see openings at all times to exit, the inside tour was of large rooms only - real pretty!! If you’ve never visited the Princess and are Advanced Open Water Certified, this is a must dive. You can easily reach 100’ and deeper by the prop (if properly certified et al), I limit myself to 100’! If the currents are calm, you have enough bottom time at that depth to swim around the entire ship before your max bottom time runs out. The vis is usually 100’ or more, it was only 50’today, clear blue water, lots of fish, really bit barracuda - a real pretty wreck to visit.

a. Dive Location: West Palm Beach - The Trench , a man made trench 20’ across with a 10’ drop and 100 yards long.
b. Conditions: CBS, calm seas, CBW
c. Dive Information: 58’ for 37 minutes. After returning from the tour of the trench, our dive team met with three other dive teams that had just dropped in - it was a real traffic jam! We then started to drift dive. During the drift, we saw two boat anchors in the coral, both of which were doing extensive damage. Capt. Bob stated that he would notify the Marine Police to keep there eyes out for this problem.


When this author first arrived at the Riviera Beach Marina, a Brown Porsche was noted parking on a diagonal in a handicapped parking spot at the Marina Parking. The Porsche did not have a license plate or a handicapped sticker. A woman was taking some dive gear out of the car and walking to a dive boat. I approached her and reminded her that it is illegal to park in a handicapped parking spot without a special blue sticker. In the state of Florida, it is a $250 fine. She stated that she was in a rush and there were no other close parking spots. She refused to move the car. The problem was mentioned to my dive boat Capt. and he commented to a person on another dive boat about moving the car. The car was not moved from 7:15 am, when I arrived to after 8:15 am when our boat left the dock. Upon returning from the dive trip at @ 12:30 (noon), the Brown Porsche was in the same handicapped parking space. I again talked to the woman with no positive response. She did identify herself as -BLEEP- and as the owner of the Porsche and as owner of the Giant -BLEEP- Dive Boat! I called the local Police, but they never did show up. I stopped the local Marina Security person driving a small golf cart and asked him if he would either ticket the car or call the police. He refused to do either.

I question the safety of anyone that would go on a dive boat such as the Giant -BLEEP- where the owner has no concern for the laws of the State Of Florida. Would this type of person also compromise on your safety!?. I personally would never go on this dive boat and I question the security at the Marina. If the local security people do nothing about car parking, what are they doing to protect our expensive dive gear that we leave on the docks! I ask anyone that will continue to use this dive boat to ask this owner why she feels that she can ignore the Laws of the State Of Florida, and if you do see this car illegally parked, please call the Police and have the car ticketed and if possible towed!

Monday 30-June-97 to 02-July-97. Key Largo, Marriott Key Largo Bay (800)-932-9332, just north of Pennekamp Park on the West / Bay side . (Rooms are $99 - 10% per night, off season rate and will sleep 4 at that price. “It’s A Dive” dive shop and dive boat (800)-809-9881 -or- (800)-934-8377. WOW - one of the best dive trips ever. 5 - 2 tank dives (5 trips with two dives per trip) cost $160 including tanks and weights - This is a pretty hard price to beat! The deep dive to the Duane or Bibb add $5. There’s lots of other stuff to due. Marriott is 4 years new, has a very large campus area, large pool, etc. The dive shop rents all kinds of boats, wave runners, kayaks etc.

Monday 30-June-97
a. Dive Location: Coast Guard Cutter Duane , 327’ long, fully intact, main deck at 100’ bow and stern mooring lines which you go up/down on.
b. Conditions: CBS @ 85 degrees, 6” waves, exceedingly Clear Blue Water. 79 degrees at 100’, mild current.
c. Dive Information: 100’ for 22 minutes including the 3 minute stop at 15’. We managed to pull ourselves, really we walked with our hands on the deck, to the area below the bridge. My dive partner lost his camera and started to look it for - really dumb thing to do since the current took it away. The camera was later recovered by the deck crew. I took a picture from the deck at 100’ looking upwards towards her crows nest. You can see the dive boat on the surface in the background. Snorkeler’s on the surface could see us on the Duane at 100’! There were lots of barracuda, many small fish in the ship and one large moray which I did manage to get two good pictures of. A really great dive!

a. Dive Location: French Reef
b. Conditions: CBS, @85 degrees, flat blue water 83 degrees at 38’
c. Dive Information: No color, many swim through’s, an interesting reef to visit.

a. Dive Location: The Elbow, wreck dive, City of Washington - a large freighter that went aground in 1791 and is really broken up to just pieces of metal. This is the location where Capt. Slate of Atlantis Dive Center has a trained really big Barracuda that he hand and mouth feeds - yes those pictures of them feeding the fish are real!! (We did not get to see the barracuda).
b. Conditions: CBS, Flat water, 84 degrees at 26’.
c. Dive Information: 26’ for 55 minutes. The wreck was really scattered over a large area. There were twisted pieces of metal all over. There was some Elkhorn coral.

a. Dive Location: South Ledges and the Elbow
b. Conditions: CBS, Flat seas, bottom temp 83 degrees at 25’.
c. Dive Information: 25’ for 40 minutes. There was lots of Elkhorn coral, it’s really pretty. One 30” snook was admired from about 3 feet - I wanted him for dinner!! There also was a big ray that circled us for a few minutes, they are really cool when they put the tips of each wing over their head to form a circle as they swim about.

Tuesday, 01-July-97
a. Dive Location: Coast Guard Cutter Duane - yes we asked to do it again.
b. Conditions: CBS, Flat seas, even clearer water than on Monday, 80 degrees at 99’, mild current.
c. Dive Information: 99’ for 25 minutes. After discussing the dive beforehand, we descended the mooring rope and worked our way to the bridge. It was a great view. We went in and around the bridge area. While working our way down the other side back to the stern mooring rope, we spent some time visiting some of the open doors. The cabins were loaded with fish. We also saw our green moray by the stern. This was one of the best dives I ever had. Visibility was forever, lots of fish and the ship is an interesting dive. On the way up the mooring line, there were several dive teams going down, we timed it right. When we got back on the boat, the Capt. said they could see us on the deck of the Duane from the dive boat - it was the clearest they’ve every seen this location.

a. Dive Location: French Reef, Christmas Tree at buoy F4 .
b. Conditions: CBS, flat seas, water temp 85 degrees at 35’.
c. Dive Information: 35’ for 46 minutes. There were several swim through’s, one was really big. We had divers passing each other going through it. We all looked into the holes on each side for the moray - none were seen. There was lots of coral to see, this was a good dive location.

a. Dive Location: Carysfort Reef No. 2.
b. Conditions: heavy rain on the way out, calm and CBS at the dive site. Water temp 83 degrees at 42’.
c. Dive Information: 42’ for 42 minutes. This was one of the most colorful coral loaded dive sites I’ve ever seen. Sam Barrios from It’s A Dive suggested we go to this at least once. It’s out of the way and an extra long boat trip so most dive boats do not go to it. That means that it’s not destroyed by the millions of dives such as those that visit Molasses Reef.

a. Dive Location: South Carysfort Reef No.2
b. Conditions: CBS, water temp 83 degrees at 41’.
c. Dive Information: 41’ for 41 minutes. The previous reef was beautiful, this was even more so. There were lots of swim through’s, many we didn’t want to go through as it might damage some coral. This also is a must see if you can talk the dive Capt. to go to it. This reef had the most coral, the most colors - browns, blues etc., many canyons etc. We also did see one Bug - the first one in the Keys!

Wednesday, 02-July-97
a. Dive Location: Coast Guard Cutter Duane - yes we even asked to do it a third time!
b. Conditions: 6” waves, vis 60’ vert and 100’ horiz, water temp 79 degrees at 100’, mild current.
c. Dive Information: 102’ for 25 minutes. We again went up to the bridge, then up to the ships bow. It was a beautiful site to look over the bow to the sand below and beyond. We again worked our way back and visited several of the cabins - again a great dive to a very pretty ship.

a . Dive Location: Molasses reef, Fire Coral Cave .
b. Conditions: CBS, seas flat, water 82 degrees at 27’, T-Storms to the north.
c. Dive Information: Vis was not the greatest, 40’ at most. There were lots of caves, lots of colors and lots of fish.

The dive boat was a 45’ pontoon boat and the divers went along with snorker’s - I did not like the idea at first but tried it. The Capt. really took care of us, he took us wherever we wanted to go to. We had discussed several spots and they made recommendations which were always right on. We had no trouble talking them into doing 3 morning dives to the Duane. “It’s A Dive” is a really friendly diver oriented dive shop/boat. You also would have a hard time to get better dive prices. Some of the other local dive boats charge $55 per dive and give you 62 cu ft tanks - you also have no choice in where to dive. Have you ever gone on a dive boat where the mates load and change your tanks - they do it here!

The Irishman Software's, West Melbourne, Florida
Irishman@SpryNet.Com - http://www.IrishmanSoftware.com/

Last Updated 04-Sept-2002