We are committed to being stewards of our community and our environment. Key Dives is making a pledge as part of PADI’s Project Aware to adopt a dive site and conduct a monthly cleanup. Please join us in our efforts to make the reef even more beautiful for everyone to enjoy. We have choosen one of our favorite sites, Victory to clean up. Our first Dive against Debris will be on Friday August 12, 2016 @ 8:00am
PLEASE JOIN US!!!
Benefits of Owning Your Own SCUBA Dive Gear
Here @ Key Dives we maintain and service our rental gear on a routine basis. Every year we replace our gently used rental fleet with the next years model, so we always have the latest, greatest, most up to date technology and gear.
Now, it is the time for us to sell our MARES rental gear. This is a wonderful opportunity to own your personal set of SCUBA gear. We have a limited number of BCD’s and Regulators available. Please call us for more info or to reserve. Time is limited, we are receiving our new gear the first week in August.
$275/Mares Prestige BCD and $425/Mares Prestige regulator with Puck Pro computer.
Buy both together and SAVE! Total = $650
There are many advantages to owning your own dive equipment. Familiarity with a personal set of scuba gear means greater comfort and a better dive experience. More importantly, it can help you avoid an emergency situation.
From a safety perspective, owning your own gear ensures you know how to manipulate it in an emergency – ditching weights for example. Get to know your gear: practice adjusting it and ask your PADI Instructor or Divemaster for recommendations. By consistently diving with the same equipment you’ll learn how things are “supposed” to feel which will also help you fine tune your scuba skills such as buoyancy.
Above all, a comfortable dive is a good dive, and when your gear is your own, you have a lot less to worry about – and a lot less tugging and adjusting to do. When you’re ready to start buying your own kit, these are the items that should be first on your list – and why you’ll enjoy owning them.
* Regulator – If the idea of using a regulator that’s been in the mouths of countless other divers doesn’t exactly appeal to you, you’re not alone. Buying your own regulator gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing who’s used it, as well as how it’s been cleaned and maintained. You also don’t have to worry about adjusting the settings every time you dive.
The good news: Among major-label regulators–the kind sold in dive stores–there is no junk. Regulators have been perfected to the point that even budget regulators can offer high performance.
What It Does – Converts the high-pressure air in your tank to ambient pressure so you can breathe it. A regulator must also deliver air to other places, such as your BC inflator and alternate second stage.
What to Look For – High performance. The best regulators can deliver a high volume of air at depth, under heavy exertion even at low tank pressures.
Comfort. Look for a comfortable mouthpiece (these are customizable) and have your local dive store select hoses of the right length for you.
* Buoyancy Compensating Device – This critical piece of equipment holds and connects all your life-support gear and lets you establish the right amount of buoyancy you need, either under water or at the surface. Having your own BCD enables you to keep all of your accessories arranged just as you want them and gives you the added comfort that comes with being totally familiar with the equipment you’re using.
What It Does – What doesn’t it do? It holds your gear in place, lets you carry a tank with minimal effort, floats you at the surface and allows you to achieve neutral buoyancy at any depth.
What to Look For – Correct size and fit. Before you try on BCs, slip into the exposure suit you’ll wear most often. Look for a BC that fits snugly but doesn’t squeeze you when inflated. The acid test: inflate the BC until the overflow valve vents. The BC should not restrict your breathing. While you have the BC on, test all valves for accessibility and ease of use, then make sure the adjustments, straps and pockets are easy to reach and use.
Pay particular attention to the inflator hose. Is it easy to reach and extend over your head? Make sure there’s a clear distinction between the inflate and deflate buttons and that you can operate them easily with one hand.
Dive the Wreck of the Spiegel Grove
Beautiful Shipwrecks of the Florida Keys
LSD-32 A.K.A. the Spiegel Grove, at 510 feet, is one of the largest ships ever intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef for scuba divers. The retired Navy vessel has become one of the largest artificial reef structures in the Keys and is accessible from Islamorada with us at Key Dives! About 6 miles offshore in May of 2002 she was scheduled to be scuttled, however, the event took a dramatic turn as she flipped onto her starboard side and sank 6 hours prior to the anticipated time. In 2005 Hurricane Dennis did all of us divers a courtesy by returning the Spiegel Grove to an upright position. With the top masts and wheelhouse at about 65 feet, the main deck rests at about 80 feet and she sits in the sand at 134 feet.
Needless to say, this is not a dive for beginners. At Key Dives, we ask that divers accompanying us on the Spiegel Grove have their Advanced Open Water certification, a course which we offer frequently to Open Water divers who wish to improve skills and expand their dive opportunities. The ship is breathtaking and offers three upper floors of rooms and halls to explore as an advanced recreational diver, as well as a massive deck and superstructure. If you are interested in diving on the wreck of the Spiegel Grove or on one of the Florida Keys’ other beautiful shipwrecks, we encourage you to become acquainted with Diversion! Our newly inducted 32-foot Newton dive boat with a 6-person capacity, Diversion takes us to the Spiegel as well as the Duane, a 327-foot U.S. Coast Guard cutter sunk in 1987 and rated as one of the top 10 shipwrecks in the United States. We also visit her sister ship, the Bibb, which was sunk a just a day after the Duane. We follow our wreck with dives on some of the most gorgeous reefs in northern Islamorada.
If exploring these sunken vessels intrigues you, please inquire at Key Dives about a trip on the Diversion. If you are not yet an advanced diver, don’t fret! Call us or go online to find out how you can learn about wreck diving, fish identification, deep diving, navigation and much more in an Advanced Open Water class for as little as $100 when added on to a multi-dive package!
Read about local dive sites, events, and more on our blog @ www.keydives.com/happenings-sightings
79851 Overseas Highway, Islamorada FL 33036
Sunscreen’s Harmful Effects on Coral Reef Systems
On a hot day out on the dive boat, we slather sunscreen on ourselves to avoid baking in the UV rays. Previously, we didn’t give a second thought to jumping in the water with sunscreen on (In fact, waterproof sunscreens are produced for this specific purpose), however we may want to reconsider. An article written by National Geographic in January of 2008 referenced a study that shows some of the common chemicals in the most used sunscreens are in fact stripping the coral reefs of their defense systems. Coral and algae depend on each other to survive, and when these chemicals come into contact with the corals they infect the algae protecting the coral, causing viruses and weakening the coral’s immune system. 4-6,000 tons of these chemicals are being deposited into the ocean directly off of our bodies each year. To put this into perspective, the concentration of coral-killing chemicals in all the oceans is equivalent to that of a drop of water in an Olympic-sized pool. Toxic sunscreen chemicals are called paraben, cinnamate, and benzophenone and expose up to 10% of coral to sunscreen-induced bleaching. 95% of sunscreens use at least one of these chemicals in production, making it difficult to find a sunscreen that protects your skin and is also safe for the reef you are visiting. Stream2Sea, which we use and promote at Key Dives, is one of the few safe options, using titanium dioxide as a UV ray protectant, which has not been found to do any damage to coral life. Another safe ingredient in sunscreen is zinc oxide, although many people prefer those with titanium, as they tend to have a less thick and pasty consistency. Any of us who spend time in the water should do our best to protect the ecosystem around us and never intentionally put a chemical we know is harmful into the waters. Please check out Stream2Sea for a safe sunscreen alternative, either at Key Dives’ store or at www.stream2sea.com! Inspect your sunscreen for the chemicals mentioned and try not to apply these types of sunscreens directly before entering the ocean. Only together can we make a difference!
Please check out http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080129-sunscreen-coral.html to learn more about the sunscreen studies. Additional information and statistics can be found in Time magazine (http://time.com/4080985/sunscreen-coral-reefs/).
Read more about local happenings and events on our blog page at www.keydives.com/happenings-sightings.
Have you ever had to end a dive early due to low air? Ever surface after a dive with 1000 psi less than your dive buddies? Often times, the excitement of diving causes us to breathe harder or faster than normal. If you find yourself using more gas than your fellow divers, or simply want to be able to make longer dives than you are presently, focusing on some simple techniques that could easily be overlooked can help you significantly reduce your air consumption.
1. Be relaxed BEFORE you enter the water.
When preparing for all elements of a dive here in the beautiful Florida Keys, we can often become overwhelmed and find ourselves out of breath before even descending. Start preparing as soon as the boat leaves the dock to avoid having to rush around when it’s time to splash.
2. Slow is better.
More often than not, it is possible to see a great deal of life in a smaller area than one would think. Looking a bit closer and swimming at a relaxed pace will not only call for less air use, you might find a creature you would have flown right over had you been torpedoing about!
3. Have a routine.
One of our instructors recommends a counting method for new divers to guide them on breathing rate: A 5-second breath in, followed by a 7-second exhale. Using a count, or simply focusing on breathing calmly and deeply, will relax the heart rate and make for less air consumption and a more enjoyable dive.
4. Focus on buoyancy.
Using breathing to control your buoyancy does wonders in the water. By focusing on timing your breaths to float and sink, you become exceptional at swimming neutrally and expel less energy. As a result you will consume even less air!
5. Dive, Dive, Dive (Here in the Florida Keys of course!)
As we all know, experience is essential to excel at anything, so dive as much as you can, in as many places and conditions as possible. Ask advice of those who have extensive experience and incorporate that into your own diving. We as divers have access to a mesmerizing world with such a diverse plethora of sights to see and creatures to meet. Take advantage of your superpower!