Dives off Key Largo
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.