Snorkeling the Florida Reef

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,776
    Check out the best place to snorkel in the U.S., the Florida Reef off Lou Key in the Florida Keys.

    Male Speaker: One of the most fantastic treasures in the Sunshine State is the Florida Reef. It is the only living coral barrier reef in the United States, and it's the third largest in the world. Within these protected waters lies the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, home to over 6000 different species of aquatic life found in shallow waters within these precious coral reefs.

    I figured what better place to go snorkeling with my family, so we hooked up with Strike Zone Charters and Big Pine Key, about 30 miles north of Key West.

    Male Speaker: Okay guys! Welcome to the Florida Keys, I bet you are ready to go to Looe Key?

    Female Speaker: Yeah.

    Male Speaker: All right!

    Male Speaker: Just five miles offshore was Looe Key, named the HMS Looe which ran aground in the Key 1744. Looe Key is part of the Marine Sanctuary and has been protected longer than any other reef in the Florida Keys.

    Male Speaker: You know, what are the undeniably striking visuals that are in the Keys here is the water. It is absolutely spectacular; it goes from emerald green to the deep blues. To see the Keys experience at the first time is pretty neat.

    Male Speaker: What kind of experience levels do I need to come here and do this?

    Male Speaker: You don't need much because it's just the basics, you just need a set of masks, snorkels and fins and the way you go the fish will come to you.

    Male Speaker: Name some of the species that we are likely to see down here?

    Male Speaker: The Goliath Groupers, you are going to see tons of Yellowtail Snappers, Blue Tangs, Sergeant Major Fish, occasionally you will see a little Nerve Shark out there, but just a lot of color, a lot of fish, a lot of diversity. It's kind of like our own personal aquarium out there.

    Male Speaker: Finally, it was time to jump in. Here was the ultimate snorkeling experience, floating along, observing the colorful world beneath you and escaping from the realities of life above you. I have done my share of scuba diving all over the world but I can't remember the last time I've seen so many varieties of fish in one place.

    Male Speaker: Yeah, come to the Keys you got to do this.

    Male Speaker: Okay, little mermaid let me have your fins. Come on up.

    Female Speaker: Oh thats hard.

    Male Speaker: Chase, did you see the Goliath Groupers?

    Female Speaker: Yeah.

    Male Speaker: I thought it is going to eat you down there.

    Male Speaker: It was so special to be able to share this incredible experience with my family, not if, but when you make it to the Keys, you got to check out the magnificent reefs that surround this gorgeous area. These precious coral reefs are one of the most biological diverse ecosystems on this planet, rivaled only by tropical rain forest.

    Many conservationists have spent countless hours dedicating their time to keep these delicate reefs thriving, not only for the thousands of unique wildlife that depend on it but for future generations that will hopefully continue to enjoy and appreciate this rare beauty.

    Male Speaker: I think they have a lot of replenish down the Keys, a lot of sanctuaries in different areas up and down in the Keys and so you can absolutely enjoy those things that you may not see in other areas, and when you appreciate them like that you actually have to walk away being some kind of a environmentalist or conservationist about.

    Male Speaker: This snorkeling adventure really worked up an appetite for all of us. As we shared the unforgettable stories on this incredible underwater experience, I couldn't help, I feel so grateful that my family and I could see Florida at its finest.