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Dives off Key Largo

Carysfort Reef

Carysfort Reef is found at the northern tip of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary and named for a British war ship which sank here in 1770. It's a shallow reef, parts of which sticking out of the water at low tide, so novices and snorkelers will like it here. The reef is very easy to find, since it is marked by a 100-foot tall steel light buoy, called a lighthouse by some. The lighthouse employee actually lived up there with his family in the 1800s, and he had an assistant, too. The Indians would attack them when they went ashore. One lighthouse keeper died up there, and there is a rumor that the lighthouse is haunted. There is actually some strange moaning sound heard at night coming from the tower. Nobody has lived there since 1960.

The reef is five and a half nautical miles out from Key Largo, and contains shallow elkhorn coral and a hard-to-find double spur-and-groove system. The deeper coral isn't alive any more, so it's called fossil coral, but the upper layers are alive and kicking. Very good for snorkeling. Depths range down to 80 feet and visibility is 40 to 60 feet. This is included within a Sanctuary Preservation Area, so you get fined for damaging the coral.

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