Dives off Key Largo
This reef is named The Elbow because it sticks out like an elbow,
compared wtih the lineup of other reefs in the Key Largo area. Because
it sticks out, it catches the Gulf Stream as it whips by, and this makes
the water of the Elbow reef extra clear and blue (the water of the Gulf
Stream is very clear and blue). Sticking out like an elbow also means
the reef isn't proteted much from big waves, so dive here on a good day.
You can almost always count on excellent visibility at The Elbow.
It's obviously an outer bank reef, since it sticks out far enough to
catch some Gulf Stream waters, and this means it has lots of
spur-and-groove coral formations. On the spurs you'll find elkhorn
coral, as well as star and brain corals. The Elbow is always a good
place to try and spot a sea turtle, for some unkown reason.
There are some wrecks here, including the Tonawanda and a wreck
called the Civil War. The wrecks are just bits and pieces strewn across
the ocean floor, as both boats sunk in the 1800s.
The Depths range from 15 down to 90 feet, and lots of live coral
in the middle ranges. Snorkeling is actually pretty good here, since
visibility is so good, between 50 and 80 feet normally. It's a
Sanctuary Preservation Area, so strict rules apply.