Island Ventures - Photo Gallery

Island Ventures description

Island Ventures basic informations

Island Ventures specializes in small group sizes and a stress free attitude towards diving.

Located in a small private hideaway in Key Largo, we have hot showers, lovely seating areas, and never any crowds.

Our No Stress SCUBA Diving trips every day of the week to every part of the reef from Carysfort to Pickles reef. If the dive site is not on this list then please call or email us to request a different site. Our policy is that first person to book on the boat gets the choice of the first dive site!

SCUBA Diving Boats leave at 830am and 1pm and return 4 hours later. Each trip is a 2 tank dive and you get 1hr in the water (or 500psi left in tank) for each dive, its about a 40 min ride from our dock shop to the reef.

Our Boats are licensed to carry 15 divers however to aid comfort we usually take between 6 and 10 divers on each boat. We do have space for 24 tanks so we are able to take 12 if you have a complete group.

SCUBA tanks are all aluminum and come in 2 sizes 80cft/12 liter or 63cft/10 liter. Tanks are filled to 3000psi

Weights are provided on the boat in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8lb hard weights.

We can provide a range of rental equipment packages from masks to computers.

Nitrox at 30% for divers that are NITROX certified.

Our 2 Island Hoppers will take 2-10 people to the reefs and wrecks of your choice in the Upper Keys. Fresh water, fresh fruit, and friendly faces on each trip. We just like taking people diving!

What makes Island Ventures different to other dive shops in Key Largo?

We are a small boutique dive shop located at the end of the dock at Jules Undersea Park

Our location is roughly in the middle of the Key Largo reef tract which means its the same distance from Carysfort in the north to Pickles reef in the south so we can go to any location on the reef.

Customer satisfaction is our main aim. If we do not believe you will have a good time diving we will tell you and make other suggestions.

Our SCUBA trips run with less divers than we are licensed for to ensure there is a high level of comfort on our boats.

We continue to run our smaller boats as we believe that the dive experience is better for divers and by putting less divers on 1 part of the reef its better for the reef and you will see more. We have seen what happens when boats put over 20 divers in the water at the same time!

Languages spoken: English

Facilities and services: Dive boat and Nitrox available

Free cancellation

Pay at dive center



Equipment rental

ItemDay

Full dive equipment

25USD

Snorkel gear (mask and fins)

10USD

BCD

10USD

Regulator

10USD

Wetsuit

10USD

Dive guide

55USD

Snorkeler

45USD

Ride-a-long

35USD

Full boat charter

650USD

2 tanks - 2 location dive

85USD



Dive sites


Elbow Reef dive site

Elbow Reef

Elbow Reef

Elbow Reef

Beginner divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 1 - 10m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef
Here are 11 mooring balls to choose from on Elbow reef. Balls E1 and E11 are out side of the sanctuary preservation area all others are inside the protection of the sanctuary. The ball numbering runs south to north with the highest number to the north. Elbow reef has had many ships run up on the reef with over 15 documented. Some of these wrecks were surveyed and documented by Divers With A Purpose and specifically concentrated on Hannah M Bell. Click here for an in depth report of the survey and map of the wreck.

Check out the latest Google satellite image of Elbow reef and you can see both Hannah M Bell and City of Washington wrecks!
Ball E6 This ball will get you into the beautiful sand channels and also give you access to the Hannah M Bell.
Dive Plan

At the bottom of the mooring ball head north and you will go over 2 reef lines and should be able to see the wreck, look for the cutwater spa sticking up by the reef line. The wreck then runs out to the north. when you have travelled up and down the wreck take the opportunity to go up and down the sand channels as you travel back to the boat as you will often see nurse sharks and lots of Spiny Lobster.
Ball E7 Hannah M Bell or locally known as Mikes wreck. The Hanna M Bell was built in England in 1893 and named after the woman who christened her. The 315 foot steel hulled steamship carried cargo between US East Coast ports, Caribbean and Mexico. On route to Vera Cruz in Mexico she struck the reef on 4 April 1911. She spent a number of days stuck on the reef when the decision was made to salvage her. She was heavily salvaged both legally and illegally leaving just the 300 foot superstructure.
Dive Plan

The mooring ball is on top of a rock outcrop slightly north of the wreck. When you reach the bottom of the mooring line you will see a channel. Go south from here down the channel for 20 feet you will come to the start of mikes wreck. This is a great wreck in around 25 feet of water. Stay on the wreck until you reach the end. You will see the reef line rise up in front of you on the other side is another sand channel. Turn around here and travel back down the wreck you will end up by the sand channel where the boat is moored.

If you have enough air you can go past the entrance and into the next larger sand channel. This is a great addition to the dive and has many lobsters hiding in the rock formations and occasionally a nurse shark or two. Dependent on how the dive boat is lying you will often find it is above this channel. At the very end of this channel is a cannon.
Ball E8 This is the south end of the Hanna M Bell. You will be moored over the sand channel that lies parallel to the channel at the end of the Hannah M Bell.
Dive Plan

To get to the Hannah M Bell you will need to set your compass for the ball E7 whilst you are on the boat or from the bottom of the mooring line travel south. It takes 5-10 mins to get across the to the start of the wreck. You will pass over 2 large sand channels, when you see a large tube on the sea bed (its about a foot in diameter and 10 foot long) you will nearly be at the wreck. Swim over the large tube and bear right and you will get onto the wreck. You can then do the same dive as described for E7. When you get back to the large tube follow your reciprocal bearing back to E8.
Ball E9 City of Washington (South end). The mooring ball is attached to the top of the reef formation. Depths here are 25 feet and visibility 40 feet.

Benwood Wreck dive site

Benwood Wreck

Benwood Wreck

Benwood Wreck

Beginner divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 7 - 13m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Night dive and Wreck
The wreck of the Benwood is a very popular dive site. The Benwood sank in 1942 after a collision with the Robert C Tuttle. Both ships were running ‘blacked out’ to avoid being spotted by enemy U-boats. Unfortunately the Benwood came off worse after hitting the Tuttle and sank in 25 – 45 feet of water. She was also used for target practice by the air force and the damage to her decks is apparent.

Today she is a spectacular dive for open water and advanced divers with the stern facing shoreward in 25 feet of water and her broken bow facing out to sea in 45 feet of water. If divers want to get more depth there is a ridge off her bow, locally known as ‘the elevator’ that goes down to 80 feet.
This wreck is covered bow to stern in large schools of fish. Our suggestion to our divers who are taking photographs is to stay still and let the fish come to you and you will be surrounded in no time particularly at the stern.

We also use this as one of our night dive sites. During darkness you will see turtles and eels swimming and lobsters scurrying around for food. You will also witness Parrot fish making their cocoons in the skeletal spars of the ship. Scientists think the cocoon masks their scent, making them harder for nocturnal predators, like moray eels, to find.
Dive Plan (Day)

The mooring balls are all off to the side of the wreck. During the dive brief we will advise where on the wreck we are moored. As always our suggestion is to swim toward the front of the boat and follow the mooring line adjusting your buoyancy as you reach the bottom. Take note of where you are located in relation to the wreck and take note of any particular features of the wreck that will help you identify where you need to leave the wreck to get back to the mooring line. Its personal preference which way round the wreck you go and where the mooring line is. You can navigate around in 30 minutes.
Dive Plan (Night)
For the night dive we suggest that you adopt the same dive plan as you would during the day. Being a night dive we will have a light suspended underneath our boat for easy reference. Divers must be have a primary and backup flashlight. We provide all divers with a glow stick to attached to their tank. We often see turtles on this dive site and they can surprise you by swimming out underneath you.

Key Largo Dry Rocks dive site

Key Largo Dry Rocks

Key Largo Dry Rocks

Key Largo Dry Rocks

Beginner divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 5 - 10m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef
Island Ventures most popular requested site by Divers and Snorkelers alike is The statue of Christ of the Abyss.

The statue of Christ of the Abyss is one of 3 located in different parts of the world. The statues are all cast in bronze from the same mold.

Guido Galletti cast the original statue. In 1954 the statue was submerged in Genoa Italy to inspire people to visit the underwater world.

A second statue was submerged in Grenada to remember those saved from the Italian ship Bianca C. which sank in the harbor.

The third casting was commissioned by Italian dive equipment manufacturer, Egidio Cressi and donated to The Underwater Society of America in 1962. Finally submerged at John Pennenkamp state park, Key Largo on 25 August 1965.
The statue of Christ of the Abyss statue stands in 25 feet of water. The outreached arms are less than 10 feet from the surface.

A great snorkel site where you can see the statue from the surface or dive down to see the statue close up. Do not touch any part of the statue as over the years it has become covered in fire coral.

Photo opportunities are great for divers with the statue and afterwards many channels and gullies to explore. Divers can navigate to and from the statue just remember to keep your right or left shoulder facing the reef wall. To return turn around and let the other shoulder face the wall until you return to the statue.
The reef has a lot of fish life to see but as always the best way to see them is to move slowly and quietly and they will come to you!

Southern sting rays are often seen. Like to one shown here right in the gully where the statue plinth is. Rays dig themselves into the sand and divers can quite often swim straight over them. When your diving over a sandy seabed look at the sand to see if any part of it is different from the rest of the area and then look for the tail as often sticking out. We watched this Ray for a few minutes when it decided it had enough of our company and left!

Nurse sharks and turtles sit in the nooks and crannies of the reef formation so move slowly and keep your eyes peeled!

Spielgel Grove dive site

Spielgel Grove

Spielgel Grove

Spielgel Grove

Experienced/advance divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 19 - 40m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef
The Spiegel Grove is one of our most requested dives sites and on many divers bucket lists. At 510 feet long this is a very large wreck. Sunk in 2002 as an artificial reef she led on her side for 3 years and was righted by hurricane Dennis in 2005, this is a spectacular wreck!
The Spiegel Grove lies in 130 feet of water with the deck at around 65 feet. With 7 mooring balls on this wreck there are many ways in which to dive her. Our favorite is amidships moorings as these offer the most varied options for dive routes at the shallower depths.

There is much to see and some really nice swim through and companion way routes. Divers often like to stop and have photographs and video by the flag on the Primary Flight control. There are many entry and exit points into the wreck that can be explored and our dive guides are happy to show you around.
Divers will need to be certified to Advanced Open Water to be able to dive this wreck. If you do not have this certification we can teach you the course in 2 days and you get to dive the Spiegel Grove in the process! We recommend divers use NITROX for this dive.

The Spiegel Grove is often affected by current but you should always be able to get a great dive if you keep low to the deck and get shelter from the current by the ships superstructure. There is always plenty see and something different on every dive, we have customers that have over 200 divers on her and still want to dive her some more.
Additional equipment for these dives are flashlights and gloves. Gloves are important as the downlines to the wreck can have sharp objects on them.

We offer single or double dip dives on the Spiegel Grove. We require divers use NITROX to double dip the Spiegel Grove.

If you would like just a single dive then a great second dive is the Benwood, which is a natural wreck sunk during a collision in 1943.

Lobster Harvesting dive site

Lobster Harvesting

Lobster Harvesting

Lobster Harvesting

Beginner divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 10 - 20m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef
Florida has an abundance of marine life and among them the Florida Spiny Lobster. Many of our customers like to harvest for Lobster. There is an abundance of Florida Spiny Lobster that you will see on every dive on the Key Largo reef.

Lobsters that you see on the reefs are often inside the Sanctuary Protection Area and you are not allowed to hunt for them but we know where to go to find them. Our captains and crew think like lobsters and know here the most likely places are for lobster at specific times and weather conditions.

The main season for hunting lobster is between August 6 and March 31. There are a number of restrictions relating to size and number. You should check the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation commission for details. There is a special mini season that is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July where members of the public are allowed to have first take of the spiny lobster, again there are restrictions to this so you should check the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation commission for details.
How we catch em!

On our lobster trips we put our divers in the water in the selected location with a floating dive flag for each group and let them go where the lobsters take them. We leave our engine on and stay a safe distance away. If divers cannot find any lobsters they return to the surface and we pick them up and put them back in another location. This process is continued for the duration of the two tank dive.

All lobster divers must have a lobster measuring device in the water with them and must measure lobsters prior to putting them in a bag and landing them on our boat. Great care should be taken when capturing and measuring each lobster. The lobsters are brought back to dock live and whole. We do ask that you take your catch away with you live and supply bags for this purpose.

Duane dive site

Duane

Duane

Duane

Experienced/advance divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 28 - 40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef and Wreck
USCGC Duane was sunk as an artificial reef this ex coastguard cutter is in 130 feet with the deck at 100 feet of water. This is an advanced dive and only for divers.
The crow's nest and mast become visiible just 50-60 feet below the surface. Many decks and rooms were intentionally left open to allow divers room to explore the interior of the cutter.
It is closer to the Gulfstream than most wrecks and reefs and some very large fish such as barracuda, amberjack, and cobia are often spotted swimming around the wreck.

French Reef dive site

French Reef

French Reef

French Reef

Experienced/advance divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 10 - 30m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Cave and Reef
An exceptionally beautiful site, the ever popular reef is crammed full of caves, canyons, ledges, tunnels and swim-throughs. French reef dive site has many swim throughs and great wild life.

Carysfort Reef dive site

Carysfort Reef

Carysfort Reef

Carysfort Reef

Beginner divers
Boat dive
Dive depth: 1 - 21m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef
Located within the northern boundary of the National Marine Sanctuary, the depth range of this site is three to seventy feet, making it an excellent spot for beginner to intermediate divers.
Carysfort is furthest North Dive Site that we visit. This amazing reef is not visited by many dive operators from Key Largo so is uncrowded. The reef is named after HMS Carysfort (1766), a 20-gun Royal Navy post ship that ran aground on the reef in 1770. Built in 1852 its the oldest operational lighthouse in the US.

Grecian Reef dive site

Grecian Reef

Grecian Reef

Grecian Reef

Snorkelers are welcome
Boat dive
Dive depth: 1 - 5m
Visibility: 10 - 20m
Water temperature: 21.8 - 30.5℃
Dive type: Reef
Grecian reef is a great snorkel site and we visit here every week.