KEY LARGO — MM112-90
Key Largo has had a long history of marine conservation. beginning in 1960 with the creation of the nation's first undersea preserve, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and then with the designation of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1975, Key Largo has been protected from spearfishing and coral collection for four decades. Now, as an integral portion of the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Key Largo features six unique Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPA's) where even hook and line fishing is prohibited. Nowhere on earth has more friendly fish than Key Largo, creating an absolute paradise for underwater photographers!
Some of the most iconic dive and snorkel sites off Key Largo include:
- Statue of Christ of the Deep — This famed bronze statue, also referred to as Christ of the Abyss, as its twin statue, Il Cristo degli Abissi, resides in Italy, rises so close to the water's surface that it can be easily viewed by snorkelers as well as divers. The statue is nestled between the coral formations of Key Largo Dry Rocks reef in just 25 feet of water.
- Spiegel Grove — This 510-foot Navy transport ship was sunk in June 2002 as the latest addition to the Key Largo area's impressive shipwreck portfolio.
- Molasses Reef — High profile coral heads and massive congregates of tropical marine life define this popular reef.
- Benwood Wreck — A casualty of World War II, this shipwreck is now home to huge schools of grunt and porkfish.
- The Elbow — This reef offers several historic shipwrecks, as well as the thrill of face-to-face encounters with friendly moray eels and barracuda.
- Bibb and Duane — These twin 327-foot US Coast Guard cutters were sunk intentionally as dive attractions in 1987 and now are virtually cloaked in colorful coral and gorgonian.