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Best snorkeling Florida Keys based on Reef Health?

Discussion in 'Snorkeling & Freediving' started by LandlockedDVR, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. LandlockedDVR

    LandlockedDVR Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlanta, GA
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    Florida native, diver since 1970s but haven't visited Keys since the 80s. Strictly snorkeling now- wanna check out any decent living reefs in the Keys, based on what divers say :) Don't wanna fly (or I'd be in Raja Ampat!) so we'll drive from home in Central Florida to Key Largo and beyond. Best fish and corals I saw in over 20+ years in FL was Looe Key- any corals and somewhat fishy" reefs left to visit? Planning to drive down in late April or May 2021. Can't quite squeeze the budget for Dry Tortugas or a liveaboard. Not targeting springs- need a saltwater fix! TIA for your reccos!
     
  2. tomfcrist

    tomfcrist NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia, USA
    2,892
    1,800
    113
    The better reefs are in Key largo these days. Looe is still ok for fish, but the reef doesn’t look so hot.
     
  3. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    2,584
    1,814
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    Molasses Reef off of Key Largo is beautiful for scuba and snorkeling.
     
  4. jadairiii

    jadairiii Solo Diver

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    Marathon. Hands down. Key Largo is hammered, and Looe Key is just as bad. Key West area is ok, but lot of dead reef. Coffin Patch is nice and Sombrero is also nice, especially the "deeper" sections.

    Islamorada would be my second choice. Both of those areas, relatively speaking, get a lot less traffic then Key Largo.
     
  5. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    2,584
    1,814
    113
    Molasses is not hammered...I have been doing the Keys since 1967 -- Molasses looks better than most all the reefs.
     
  6. jadairiii

    jadairiii Solo Diver

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    Me too. And Marathon/Islamorada/Key West Reefs from about 1975. Last time I was on Molasses, summer before covid, it looked bad, to me. And I was diving Marathon in August.

    I was dove French, it was completely dead. In all fairness, last time I did a dive on French was in 1976, which I shot pictures of. It was shocking what has happened to French Reef.
     
  7. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    2,584
    1,814
    113
    French is all but dead...
     
  8. jadairiii

    jadairiii Solo Diver

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    Unfortunately we are witnesses to the devastation of the keys. As bad as the ocean side is, the bay side off Marathon is even worse. The days of searching crystal clear water for lobsters while on the bow of a boat are long gone.
     

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