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CADiver

Florida, Crystal River or Key Largo

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I have an opportunity to visit Tampa FL in a few weeks, I did the manatee snookle a few years back. I want to do some scuba this time, is it worth diving Crystal River/Spring area or bite the long drive and hit Key Largo, that's 6 hrs one way ???!!

 

Thanks!

Dominic

Edited by CADiver

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Crystal river is worth it, but are the Manatees there this time of year? They go there when the water is too cold elsewhere.

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Really depends what you want to do; the manatees are in the Crystal river area all year round but are more spread out and will not be concentrating in the springs as they do in the colder weather.

There is scuba all over Florida including the Gulf Coast just you need to know where to go more. If you have the time and a few days, I'd recommend driving say to West Palm Beach - dive Blue Heron Bridge, maybe some shark or Goliath Grouper Diving there and in Jupiter. Then drive to the upper keys and enjoy Key Largos protected reefs that probably have as much fish life as any place in the Carribean. Then drive back through Everglades National Park to the Ft. Myers area, can even beach dive in Venice and look for fossilized sharks teeth, and back to Tampa.

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Really depends what you want to do; the manatees are in the Crystal river area all year round but are more spread out and will not be concentrating in the springs as they do in the colder weather.

There is scuba all over Florida including the Gulf Coast just you need to know where to go more. If you have the time and a few days, I'd recommend driving say to West Palm Beach - dive Blue Heron Bridge, maybe some shark or Goliath Grouper Diving there and in Jupiter. Then drive to the upper keys and enjoy Key Largos protected reefs that probably have as much fish life as any place in the Carribean. Then drive back through Everglades National Park to the Ft. Myers area, can even beach dive in Venice and look for fossilized sharks teeth, and back to Tampa.

 

Let me be slightly more specific ... I did manatee snookle in 2010, so that's not a high priority.

I like diving, scuba, more ... But I don't know/not certify for cave/cavern and have never dive in fresh water ...

I love Key Largo but this is an extremely long drive to go from Tampa. I am on a business trip for 2 weeks and staying over for the weekend, I am packing my dive gears (show so much I want to dive ...)

My schedule is I can get out of Tampa Friday afternoon and than come back Sunday evening. Should I stress myself w/ the driving ? Or just go up to Crystal and look for some fresh water dive ??

 

That's the advise I am looking ... What do the local recommend ?

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Let me be slightly more specific ... I did manatee snookle in 2010, so that's not a high priority.

I like diving, scuba, more ... But I don't know/not certify for cave/cavern and have never dive in fresh water ...

I love Key Largo but this is an extremely long drive to go from Tampa. I am on a business trip for 2 weeks and staying over for the weekend, I am packing my dive gears (show so much I want to dive ...)

My schedule is I can get out of Tampa Friday afternoon and than come back Sunday evening. Should I stress myself w/ the driving ? Or just go up to Crystal and look for some fresh water dive ??

 

That's the advise I am looking ... What do the local recommend ?

It's not that bad of a drive if you break it up - to do the trip as I mentioned if you have the weekend. Get to West Palm Beach on Fri evening, do Blue Heron sometime on Sat am, drive from there to the upper Keys Sat afternoon, evening. Dive Key Largo Sun. Leave Key Largo Sun afternoon, back in Tampa before midnight on Sunday. Alternatively you could drive to the keys on Fri evening - a longer drive, but then have two full days in the keys.

I think it's worth it. Tampa to West Palm about 3 hours, West Palm to Upper keys about 3 hours, upper Keys to Tampa about 5 hours. The drive across the state through the Everglades is really worthwhile if you can take a half day to do it. Even stop in at Clyde Butcher's photo gallery

Edited by loftus

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From the Tampa/Clearwater area from a business trip (conference) my wife and I drove up the west coast and did a couple of the small cave/spring dives in the same day. Devil's Den and Blue Grotto. Was worth doing because we were there, but I won't claim they're great by any means. Don't know if we missed other opportunities, but we really had no difficulty driving up, doing both dives, and driving back in time for dinner in a single day. So take my suggestion as at best a 3rd or 4th-ranking behind that of the locals.

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It's not that bad of a drive if you break it up - to do the trip as I mentioned if you have the weekend. Get to West Palm Beach on Fri evening, do Blue Heron sometime on Sat am, drive from there to the upper Keys Sat afternoon, evening. Dive Key Largo Sun. Leave Key Largo Sun afternoon, back in Tampa before midnight on Sunday. Alternatively you could drive to the keys on Fri evening - a longer drive, but then have two full days in the keys.

I think it's worth it. Tampa to West Palm about 3 hours, West Palm to Upper keys about 3 hours, upper Keys to Tampa about 5 hours. The drive across the state through the Everglades is really worthwhile if you can take a half day to do it. Even stop in at Clyde Butcher's photo gallery

 

THANK YOU ! Please advise/recommend an operator @ West Palm Beach. I may just do exactly what you suggested. I had another business trip in Oralando the week of 9/19 and I may repeat the exact itin for that weekend too before flying back to CA. That will give me 8+ dives in FL for 2011. That's an outstanding record for myself :-)

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Turns out I flew to Orlando for a week of work and drove to Key Largo in a little more then 4 hrs after (~310 miles), drove to Tampa in 5 hours after finishing 2 dives in the morning. 3 days 10 dives, not bad at all ! 86F/30C water, you just can't compalint !

 

THANK YOU ! Please advise/recommend an operator @ West Palm Beach. I may just do exactly what you suggested. I had another business trip in Oralando the week of 9/19 and I may repeat the exact itin for that weekend too before flying back to CA. That will give me 8+ dives in FL for 2011. That's an outstanding record for myself :-)
Edited by CADiver

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