Posted by Walt on October 21, 2004 at 16:26:36:
In Reply to: Call for Key Largo Boat Recommendations? posted by TomR on October 21, 2004 at 12:30:55:
The lady who runs this has a good reputation and the boat is nice, but her captain nearly got 4 of us bent last Summer. Had a great dive on the wreck Duane - good vis, little current. Max depth for us was 90 ft., average around 45, and a 40 minute dive. Did a 5 minute safety stop like we always do. That was the good part.
Our next dive was supposed to be at the Statue of Christ (28 ft). A great off-gassing dive. The captain argued that it was "too far", etc. Basically he wanted to get home and not go the few extra miles to get there (plus I suspect he wanted to save some fuel costs).
He suggested we dive the Spiegal Grove, another wreck. I asked him about the depth (several times) and he assured me that it was 65 to 45 feet; the bottom was at 120, but we'd have a lot to see shallower. We had only been out of the water about 45 minutes, which in reflection I should have refused to splash, but he pressed us along saying that we didn't have a lot of time, etc.
The final straw was when we hit the water, we had to hard swim against what I suspect was a 2 to 3 knot current, as we hung like flags from the bow mooring line. It was so ripping that my reg purged if I held my face into the current.
The boat took off to the stern mooring line. We pulled ourselves down the mooring line to the bow's gunwhale where the depth was actualy 106 feet! The bottom was at least another 30 to 40 feet (which we obviously passed on). Due to the current and the fact he had already moved the boat, we had to go to the stern line. There was a heavy current even at the bottom, so we had to hang close to the ship and drift to the stern line.
Again, we hung like flags from teh mooring line which we fortunately found. Did a 1 minute half depth safety at about 60 feet, then slowly (30 fpm) ascended up to the ceiling at 15 ft. My computer read a 19 minute deco! After 14 minutes I hit 100 PSI and ascended....the other 3 people in my group had already ascended after about 7 minutes, as 1 person ran out of air on her pony bottle!
God was kind as none of us got bent.
Lesson 1: dive your plan and don't dive when a boat or divemaster rushes you.
Lesson 2: don't dive with this operation unless they'd let their captain go
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