SEE THE CORAL REEF UP CLOSE
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the Florida Keys is that it boasts one of the only living coral reefs in North America. Snorkeling and diving into the clear warm waters of the Florida Keys is a thrill of a lifetime. You will be amazed at what awaits you in the underwater world of the living coral reef!
A Literal Rainbow of Colors
As you snorkel on the Bay and Reef snorkel boat, you will see fish that seem to jump straight out of a coloring book! On the coral reef in Islamorada, Florida, against a backdrop of purple sea fans you will spot the neon electric blue spots on the jewel fish (my personal favorite fish of all times). Swimming in and about the milky green of a sea vase you can’t miss the orange and purple scales on the parrotfish. The queen angel will wow you with her glowing turquoise “crown” and the little yellow butterfly fish will trick you with his double eye.
If you are lucky enough, you might spot a moray eel, a nurse shark, a grouper, a stingray or even a sea turtle! And to think, all this activity is only a few feet under the surface of our ocean! And very close to shore!
The main reef is about 4-7 miles offshore, and some of the patches are even closer. This makes for a quick boat ride – allowing for more time in the water!
A QUICK REEF PRIMER
The coral reef parallels the Florida Keys about 4-7 miles offshore Oceanside. It was formed in recent geological history about 15,000-100,000 years ago as sea level rose to cover the land and then later receded. The unique location of our island chain allowed for the development of our reef system. It is our proximity to the Gulf Stream that spurred coral growth. This immense flow keeps our waters at the required coral-developing temperatures and it also bathes and “feeds” the reef corals allowing for growth. The Stream is also a major player in “flushing” the system of pollutants washed in from the bay side.
Lots of Snorkeling Options
The reef system extends from close to shore out to 6-7 miles out. For snorkeling it can be divided in to various regions. Inshore patch reefs live in shallow waters of 5-15 feet and consist of small coral outcroppings usually surrounded by a sandy skirt. Mid-channel reefs lie in 15-20 feet of water and boast larger coral growth. These reefs often contain spur and groove formations which are essentially coral growths reaching in fingerlike fashion divided by beds of sand. In deeper water we find offshore reefs.
This range of reef allows us many options when choosing a snorkel destination. Considering factors such as visibility, current, and experience of the customer, we have great sites to choose from.
We offer daily private snorkel trips to the Florida Keys Coral Reef.