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Fisrt of all, I hope there is no Lancs Yorsk thing going on here!! If it helps I am Scottish.

A few of my dive buddies are looking to dive The Florida Keys next year but have found very poor choice, almost non existant, with most of the normal tour co's - Kuoni, Regal, Jayes etc etc. Just wondered if anyone had been there and A) Was it any goo and B) how the heck did they get there???

First post for me but have read some interesting topics and replies for a little while now.

Cheers
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Not much help to you I guess, but I went as part of my ahem..."work", spent a month diving with the NOAA guys around the undersea habitat just off Key Largo.  


THere seems to be no shortage of dive shops and diving operators so if you're keen to go you could book a flydrive thing, drive down to the Keys from Miami and book dive excursions there fairly easily. I don't think it'll be as cheap as some other locations though (eg Red Sea), you know what the "septics" are like, it's all about worshipping the almighty dollar.  


HTH
Steve
 

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Eric

I`ve dived the Upper Keys several times. First off, it`s a very commercialised set up. The diving is not as good as the Red Sea. Have a look on the web. There are loads of operators (Amy Slates, Kellys, Ocean Divers etc.) I`ve used Ocean Divers and Slates. They are much of a muchness. You don`t need to book too far in advance unless it`s high season. A phone call the day before will usually do. The best value is with `dive packs` where you book several dive trips and pay for them in advance rather than booking and paying for each trip. Get a price which includes tanks and weights, as some prices don`t automatically include them.

As far as accomodation goes, I think is quite expensive and you will definitely have to find somewhere before you go and book in advance. I usually stay with friends, just south of Miami. It takes about 45 mins to get to Key Largo from there.
Matbe it would be cheaper to get a motel in Homestead or Florida City, along US1

Most of the dives are quite shallow. They seem to cater more for novices and holiday divers so expect to be treated accordingly. If you do go, dive the Duane, it`s a must and undoubtedly the best dive in the area (Hav`nt dived the Spielel Grove yet though)

If you have the time, you`d be well advised to make the journey north of Miami to Boynton Beach/Palm Beach. The diving is cheaper and deeper. There is some excellent drift diving to be had along the reef parallel to the shore. The dive operators don`t treat you like a kid either. I have a contact at a dive shop in the area who may offer a bit of discount.

Hope this helps

Steve
 

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I book my flights from www.unijet.com and for car hire use www.floridacarhire.com.
I dived Key Largo too and to be honest the coral is not too impressive. Plenty of fish, sea fans to see though, and the baracudas at massive. Loo Key is ment to be one of the most unspoilt. Many people have told me the better diving is around the ft Lauderdale area.
For more info check out www.flkeysdiving.com

Ali """:)))
 

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Briefly,  
1. Fort Lauderdale: Artificial reefs, i.e. wrecks put there for holiday divers to play on. Not much life. Hardly worth diving for serious wreckies. The wreck diving around Miami is said to be a lot better.
2. Upper keys, above all Key Largo: Very shallow diving in the John Pennekamp marine park (seldom over 10 m), loads of operators, but almost all of them operate according to the "cattle boat" system – take 'em out, throw 'em in for half an hour, get 'em back on board and take 'em back to the marina, chuck 'em off the boat as fast as possible and load the next lot. Uninteresting coral but lots of fish.
3. Key West: Looker Diving do nice day trips to the west in the Gulf of Mexico, to the Marquesas Islands. It takes 2-3 hours to get there on a fast boat and costs a bit more but the diving is a lot more interesting than in the keys.
3. West Palm Beach: Best diving in Florida. Several good operators. The Gulfstream comes close to shore here, so you have a good chance of seeing sharks, pelagics and turtles.
4. Northern Florida (around Crystal River): If you go late autumn or winter, you can dive with the manatees – a very nice experience.
 

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Many thanks everyone for your replies.  Your comments are most useful.
 
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