Wednesday, 14 August 2013


After diving the Dry Tortugas and Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg (blog here) the wife and I had 3 days diving booked with Conch Republic Divers.  Unfortunately 2 months after the trip some of the finer detail may have been forgotten however I’ve tried to describe the itinerary as accurately as I can using my logbook. 

Conch Republic Divers is located in Tavernier, just South of Key Largo.  Located just off the highway Conch Republic Divers are able to provide air and Nitrox, have a dive shop plus warm showers and changing areas for its customers.  It also has 2 dive boats; Republic Diver and Aquatic Diver.

Republic Diver is a 46' long dive boat with the dive deck and heads located below the sun deck.  Ice water, showers, camera storage and rinse bins are also provided.  Aquatic Diver is a 30’ long dive boat with all the same features of its bigger brother.  The cost of diving with Conch Republic Divers is $85 for a 2 dive half day trip; comparable to the UK for a dive charter (although at half a day it’s over much quicker). 

Henrietta and I were due to do 3 days dive; both am and pm however due to bad weather the majority of the diving was cancelled.  Finally on the very last the weather improved and I managed to go diving.  Sadly Henrietta had ear problems so was unable to go.  Diving on Republic Diver I was due to dive the Spiegel Grove and Molasses Reef. 

Arriving early there was still a little water on the ground (as the area around the adjacent buildings are liable to flooding) but I pulled up outside and spoke to Brenda that we were still on.  Once confirmed the gas was analysed and I set my kit up on Republic Diver.  There were 2 small groups of divers under instruction, the DM plus 2 other day divers.  Following a safety brief we headed off to the Spiegel Grove.  The Spiegel is a lovely wreck but just like the Vandenberg it’s not yet overgrown in life however we saw the largest grouper I’ve ever seen.  It dwarfed the one I saw on the Vandenberg.  Unfortunately time was short as the other divers managed to breathe through their gas quicker than me so we started to ascend at around 28 minutes.

Once the cylinders had been swapped over we headed over to Molasses Reef.  Now I know on my Dry Tortugas blog (blog here) I said I’m not a reef man but this is a spectacular dive.  At around 6-8m deep you can stay down for hours and the colours and life are amazing.  There is a simply a lot to see.  After an hour (the agreed time) we ascended and then headed back to the shop.

Although I only got to do 2 dives with Conch Republic Divers they are a professional dive centre and I would gladly dive with them again.  Conch Republic Divers can be found at the Florida Keys and Key West stand at the Birmingham Dive Show so feel free to pop in and say hello to them.

The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI and SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: l