If you want that extra special diving experience that you will never forget then head to the Florida Keys. Along its 120-mile island chain you will find the only living coral barrier reefs in North America, in fact it is the third largest barrier reef to be found in the world.
This impressive reef runs the length of the Keys and dependent on where you are it is approx. 4-7 miles offshore and offers so much to be discovered underwater. Even if you are a beginner there are plenty of shallow reefs to explore for snorkelers and for the more experienced divers, wonderful opportunities to seek the deeper reefs.
Florida Keys Diving opportunities
The U.S government have ensured that the marine life/reef is protected and preserved in the area by establishing the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. They welcome visitors to participate in scuba diving, swimming, snorkelling and even fishing within the sanctuary as long as their rules and regulations are followed. Following this code of practice ensures that there is no harm or damage to the sanctuary’s marine life or historical sites (such as ship wrecks and other archaeological treasures).
The crystal clear turquoise water allows for great diving conditions in Florida Keys. Once under the water you really will find another world. Swim amongst the 6,000 species of marine life from schools of Blue Striped Grunts to Moray Eels. Then be amazed by the coral encrusted ship wrecks which lie on the bottom of the ocean.
There are different reefs suited to the individual’s diving ability and preference. A spectacular dive in Key Largo is to swim through the caves, in particular Five Caves, Christmas Tree Cave and 40-Foot Cave. Alternatively head to Snapper Ledge where you will find a wall of fish made up of Goatfish, Snapper and Grunts, with nearby Eels and possibly the odd Nurse Shark. Sometimes the wall is so dense it is difficult to see through. You will also find one of the largest and most pristine brain corals here. At another dive site you can find an abundance of Pillar Corals, very unusual type of coral that grows vertically and looks like fingers.
The Wrecks in Florida Keys are just as impressive, and are among some of the largest in the world. These types of dives tend to be for experienced divers only. Here you will go to some great depths to find shipwrecks such as The Spiegel Grove which was decommissioned in 1989 and sunk in 2002. It will take more than 2 dives to see the whole ship it is so big.
The City of Washington was a steamship launched in 1887. It transported both freight and passengers on its 3 decks between New York, Cuba, Panama and Mexico. In 1917 along with another two vessels it ran aground in shallow reef near Key Largo – although the others survived the ordeal, the Washington broke up, sunk and still continues to be a popular dive site.
There is so much to explore under the sea, so why not check out a Florida Holiday bargain, and allocate some holiday time for the perfect dive!