Florida Keys Dive Sites - Lower Keys
Looe Key Reef is one of the most popular dive and snorkel destinations in the Middle and Lower Keys. The reef is 10
miles Southwest of Bahia Honda Channel and has 54 buoys. The depth ranges from 5 to 70 feet making this site
excellent for beginner to advanced divers and for snorkelers.
It is said that the HMS Looe recaptured a British ship, Betty, that was taken by privateers. After the men from the Looe had
manned Betty, her commander, Captain Ashby Utting, ordered her to be burned because he wanted to ignite all of the
gunpowder aboard to completely destroy her so that the Spanish could not come back later and savage anything. There is
not much of the Looe visible now on the reef.
Looe Key was damaged quite a bit from the recent hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 but still is a beautiful dive site. Don't be
surprised to find reef sharks around this site. They have been known to swim together and in circles. A lot of the soft coral
was damaged but the hard coral is healthy and there are always a lot of tropical fish around the reef.
The formation is mostly spur and groove with the outer, deeper areas mostly sandy bottoms where you'll always find lots
of conchs making their trails along the sand.
Some schools of fish have been feed by boaters and divers in the area, so you'll probably have a few dozen fish under and
around your boat after tieing to the buoy as well as giant barracuda hovering nearby.
Looe Key is in an SPA area. No fishing or lobstering allowed.
The Adolphus Busch wreck is located about 5 miles off shore of Cudjoe Key and 3 miles west of Looe Key. The
Adolphus Busch was cleaned and prepared for divers with large holes cut for nice swim through and was sunk December
1998 as an artificial reef. The ship is 210 feet long and the maximum depth is 110 feet, a very good dive for nitrox.
Because of the depth of the wreck, this dive is for the advanced or technical diver only.
Sambo Reefs are approximately 4 miles South of Boca Chica Channel.
East: Sambo is Lat 24 29.50 Lon 81 39.80;
Middle Sambo is : Lat 24 29.71 Lon 81 41.79;
Sambo West is : Lat 24 29.38 Lon 81 42.68
This reef line is excellent for the beginner diver or for snorkelers. The depth is no deeper than 40 feet. This is a very
colorful reef system with many different species of fish. Lots of area to explore here.
Rock Key and Eastern Dry Rocks are two popular dive spots that are typical spur and groove formations typical of
most reefs in the area. There are long fingers of coral with sand and coral-filled canyons in between. But their real claim to
fame are their 19th century wrecks - providing huge quantities of ballast and artifacts. The depth ranges from 5-35 feet
making these site excellent for diving as well as snorkeling.
Sand Key is a small sand island off Key West to the Southwest that is easily found by the red iron lighthouse that sits on
the island. This site is excellent for divers as well as snorkelers. The deeper area is on the oceanside of the island. This
is a very popular site for Key West dive shops and locals.
Three miles West of Sand Key is Western Dry Rocks, another very popular site because of its variable depths. Divers
and snorkelers both will enjoy this site. There is usually very good visibility here. There are small caves and ledges at
around 60 feet and unidentified wrecks scattered about. Sharks can be seen around this area, including black tips, bull
sharks, lemon sharks and sometimes hammerhead sharks. Divers beware and dive with care.
Marquesas Keys is the only known atoll in the Atlantic Ocean. The circle of islands is about 3.5 miles across and 22
miles west of Key West. Marquesas Keys is a bird sanctuary and National Wilderness Area. Wrecks in this area attract
large marine life and huge clusters of coral heads can be found off the entire southern edge of the islands in about 8-12
feet of water. Several of the islands have long, white, sandy beaches. This is an area where many go to fish, so look out
for fishing lines. The depth ranges from 5-30 feet.
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In the Florida Keys, divers and snorkelers can choose from a variety of dive locations for scuba diving and snorkeling. We offer wreck diving, night diving, reef diving, beginner diving, advanced diving