As you’d expect from an exotic archipelago, the waters surrounding The Florida Keys are rich in wildlife and ecology. Heading out on a snorkelling or diving trip is one of the best ways to make the most of your time in the area. Here’s a list of some of our favourite dive sites that the Keys have to offer.
After a rich history serving in the US navy, the Vandberg came to rest on the seabed in May of 2009 having been sunk with the express purpose of benefitting the ecosystems in the waters of the Florida Keys. Now one of the world’s largest artificial reefs, the Vandberg offers divers, both fledgling and experienced, the opportunity to explore a massive wreck that is home to numerous different types of sea creatures and tropical fish. To see the fascinating colours of sea life contrasted against the rusted hull of a decorated navy transport ship is an experience you’ll not want to miss out on.
Another former navy ship sunk for the purposes of protecting and promoting the varied sea life in the Florida Keys waters, The Duane is a dive site for the more veteran divers amongst you. Located in the waters near Key Largo, Barracuda, bull sharks, and even the occasional white shark frequent the rusted decks of the Duane – decks which descend down to around 125ft. If you want to challenge yourself whilst absorbing a little bit of naval history (and see some fantastic marine life at the same time) then the Duane is for you.
Great Florida Reef in John Pennekamp State Park
The only living reef in the entire continental US can be found (well, the majority of it) in Key Largo at the John Pennekamp State Park. This is a truly special diving experience that seasoned divers and first-timers alike should not pass up on. Jump in for the chance to see regal angelfish, barracuda, and a variety of other vibrant tropical fish. Oh, and don’t miss the opportunity to see the alluring Christ Of The Abyss statue, a huge bronze statue of Christ that is submerged in the waters of Key Largo. This stunning sight could easily fool you into believing you’re about to discover some sort of Atlantis…
The history of the sinking of the Spiegel grove is a fascinating one. Prematurely sunk, the ship has occupied a variety of incorrect positions and rotations on the sea floor, until a hurricane returned it to its intended position in 2005. Call us superstitious, but we’d like to think of that as nature giving this new artificial reef its blessing; the schools of barracuda, nurse sharks, and goliath groupers in these Key Largo waters would probably agree too. Catering to recreational and technical divers alike, Spigel Grove is a deep, wide dive site (reaching down to about 130ft), and with so much to explore, return journeys and repeat dives are common.