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Key Largo boasts an abundance of natural wonders. Known as “The Dive Capital of the World,” some of Key Largo’s main attractions lie underneath the sea. In 1960, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park was founded and the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary followed in 1975. As a result, the reef has been protected for more than 40 years and has thus provided a unique rich coral environment for 600 species of tropical fish. The following is a recap of some of the most popular dive spots on Key Largo:

Key Largo Dry Rocks is the site of the famous underwater statue “Christ of the Abyss.” This is a shallow site, which also offers close viewing of many species of fish. The bronze statue is so close to the water’s surface, both snorkelers and divers can view it. The Elbow is a reef system where you can find several historic shipwrecks, while North Dry Rocks is another shallow location, just north of Key Largo Dry Rocks. This reef contains the popular "Minnow Cave" - known for it's large seasonal population of silverside minnows. North North Dry Rocks is just north of North Dry Rocks and is a shallow spur and grove reef with some of the healthiest coral in the area. French Reef is known for its swim throughs and coral caves and also has large formations of elk horn and stag horn corals. Molasses Reef is said to be the most popular dive destination in the world. It’s great for snorkelers and divers as the reef actually touches the water’s surface in some places and slopes down to a depth of about fifty-five feet in others. The Gulf Stream provides for some of the best visibility in the area.

Shipwrecks off Key Largo include the wreck of the Benwood, a shallow wreck found between French Reef and the Spiegel Grove sight. The Benwood is an old Norwegian freighter that sunk in 1942. The USCG Cutters Duane and Bibb were intentionally sunk in 1987 to form an artificial reef only a mile south of Molasses Reef. Visibility is great here, but the currents can be very challenging, so these dives are for the more accomplished recreational scuba diver. The newest, and perhaps one of the most well known wrecks, is the USS Spiegel Grove. This 510 ft. landing ship dock, which went down May 17, 2002, is the largest ship ever sunk as an artificial reef. Visibility is also great here, but as with the USCG Cutters Duane and Bibb, the currents can be challenging, so it is not a novice dive.

There are, of course, many other things to do on Key Largo besides snorkeling and diving. You can go on a guided boat or kayak excursion, take a ride in a glass bottom boat, enjoy one of the many ecology tours or sunset cruises available on the island. Other activities include swimming, parasailing, birdwatching, hiking, or just relaxing on a beach as you watch an incredible Key Largo sunset. Other places of interest to visit on the island include Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park and the African Queen, which is the original boat from the John Houston classic film staring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. The African Queen is on display, free of charge, and rides can be arranged.


 

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