Key Largo Diving

Key Largo is located in Florida Keys which is at the southern most tip of Florida in the United States. The ocean water there is often very clear and warm and it makes it a excellent destination for scuba and snorkeling.

Here are some sites you would want to check out when visiting there.

Carysfort Reef

Carysfort Reef is found at the northern tip of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary and named for a British war ship which sank here in 1770. It’s a shallow reef, parts of which sticking out of the water at low tide, so novices and snorkelers will like it here. The reef is very easy to find, since it is marked by a 100-foot tall steel light buoy, called a lighthouse by some. The lighthouse employee actually lived up there with his family in the 1800s, and he had an assistant, too. The Indians would attack them when they went ashore. One lighthouse keeper died up there, and there is a rumor that the lighthouse is haunted. There is actually some strange moaning sound heard at night coming from the tower. Nobody has lived there since 1960.

The reef is five and a half nautical miles out from Key Largo, and contains shallow elkhorn coral and a hard-to-find double spur-and-groove system. The deeper coral isn’t alive any more, so it’s called fossil coral, but the upper layers are alive and kicking. Very good for snorkeling. Depths range down to 80 feet and visibility is 40 to 60 feet. This is included within a Sanctuary Preservation Area, so you get fined for damaging the coral.


Christ of the Deep

Christ of the Deepk, or Christ of the Abyss as some know it, is probably the most popular dive destination in Key Largo. Some call the area Key Largo dry Rocks, but whatever you call it, it remains one of the nicest dives in the Florida Keys area. It’s a typical inner bank reef, located much closer to shore than a lot of other reefs, and makes a good dive even when the weather makes other scuba sites unpleasant. It’s located just four nautical miles from Key Largo and depths range down to 30 feet. It’s good for snorkelers, too, and they will be able to see the statue provided they have some good flippers to propel themselves down there and back up.

The statue, which is used for what seems like 90% of all Florida Keys tourism brochures because it is so pictaresque, was placed on Key Largo dry Rocks in 1966 by officials at JohnPennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s made of bronze and sets in a concrete pedestal, and is nine feet tall. There are actually three of these across the globe, with one in the Gulf of Genoa off the coast of San Fruttuoso, Italy. The other one is actually not in the water, but overlooking St. George’s harbor in Grenada.

Watch our for fire coral, which can be found growing on the stature. This is located within a Sanctuary Preservation Area. Don’t touch the coral, of course, especially at this immensely popular site, where people have been known to hold their weddings…upwards of 200 per year!

The Elbow

This reef is named The Elbow because it sticks out like an elbow, compared wtih the lineup of other reefs in the Key Largo area. Because it sticks out, it catches the Gulf Stream as it whips by, and this makes the water of the Elbow reef extra clear and blue (the water of the Gulf Stream is very clear and blue). Sticking out like an elbow also means the reef isn’t proteted much from big waves, so dive here on a good day. You can almost always count on excellent visibility at The Elbow. It’s obviously an outer bank reef, since it sticks out far enough to catch some Gulf Stream waters, and this means it has lots of spur-and-groove coral formations. On the spurs you’ll find elkhorn coral, as well as star and brain corals. The Elbow is always a good place to try and spot a sea turtle, for some unkown reason.

There are some wrecks here, including the Tonawanda and a wreck called the Civil War. The wrecks are just bits and pieces strewn across the ocean floor, as both boats sunk in the 1800s.

The Depths range from 15 down to 90 feet, and lots of live coral in the middle ranges. Snorkeling is actually pretty good here, since visibility is so good, between 50 and 80 feet normally. It’s a Sanctuary Preservation Area, so strict rules apply.

Kerry Windigo

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