Best Dive Sites In Key Largo

Best Dive Sites Key Largo

Sail Fish Scuba prides itself with taking guests to the best dive sites Key Largo has to offer.

Many of the dive sites we visit are what we call our secret dive sites.

Two of these secret dive sites we especially love are Captain Happy Reef and WTF Reef.

On 18 October 2017 we visited both of these sites and had a wonderful day of diving.

Images of WTF Reef

Best Dive Sites Key Largo WTF Reef
  Best Dive Sites Key Largo WTF Reef
Dive Sites Key Largo WTF Reef
Dive Sites Key Largo WTF Reef

Images of Captain Happy Reef

Best Dive Sites Key Largo Captain Happy Reef
Best Dive Sites Key Largo Captain Happy Reef
Best Dive Sites Key Largo Captain Happy Reef
Best Dive Sites Key Largo Captain Happy Reef

What we did

Inst. Glenn took our 2 PADI Divemasters students to the pool for swim tests this morning & all joined pm boat for S&R skills as well as joined by 3rd DM student/S&R student Mike. We had a walk in group of 3 signed up for pm today & every morning the rest of the week! Super happy for guests coming to Key Largo Post IRMA!

Macro Photographer Dream Sites

Captain Happy Reef and WTF Reef are dream sites for photographers wanting to do Macro photography.

With lots of juvenile fish and cleaning stations, as well as anemones there is no shortage to take tons of photos.

Juvenile Highhat fish WTF Reef
Juvenile Highhat fish WTF Reef
Macro Dream Dive Site WTF Reef Key Largo
Macro Dream Dive Site WTF Reef Key Largo
WTF Reef Best Key Largo Dive Site Macro Photography
WTF Reef Best Key Largo Dive Site Macro Photography

Crew On Tour

 

Capt Dave/1st mate David took us all out to Capt. Happy & WTF sites today.

Dive guides in the water who took all the awesome photos were Inst. Holly and Owner Jen.

Inst. Glenn taught Padi Search and Recovery Specialty to a class of three of our students.

Post Hurricane Irma Conditions

We are pleased to report these sites did fare very well from #hurricaneIrma.

There is now some odd light pinkish white growth growing everywhere at both Captain Happy and WTF reef sites.

Post Hurricane Irma Key Largo Reef Image
Post Hurricane Irma Key Largo Reef Image
Post Hurricane Irma Key Largo Reef Image
Post Hurricane Irma Key Largo Reef Image Odd Pink Growth

Reef Report

Captain Happy Reef depth thirty-six feet deep. Moderate current. Seas one foot. Water temp. 82 F. Viz. 50 – 60 foot.

WTF Reef depth twenty-six feet deep. Mild current. Seas less than one foot. Water temp 82 F. Viz. 35 – 40 foot.

Overall an excellent time at some of the best dive sites in Key Largo post Hurricane Irma.

Benwood shipwreck

What we discovered at Benwood Shipwreck

What an afternoon visiting Benwood Shipwreck.

The dives were eye-opening.

There was only 1 mooring ball remaining at the Benwood wreck.

A Huge Anchor is now uncovered thanks to Hurricane Irma.

Post Irma Benwood wreck Anchor
Benwood wreck Anchor

What a nice addition to the dive site Benwood Wreck, a giant old anchor.

Benwood Shipwreck

What we saw

We saw this poor sea turtle with massive growths who was hanging around Benwood Wreck.

Turtle Benwood Wreck
Turtle at Benwood Wreck with odd growths

http://www.divespots.com/scuba-diving-spots/florida/florida-keys/key-largo/spots/benwood-wreck

French Reef

At French reef ball #2 we were super pleased to see much Elkhorn Corals survived Irma.

Reef Report

Our guests had great dives today, so much so they signed up to dive the rest of the week now.

We enjoyed only 1′ seas, 82F water, 35-45′ viz plus schools of fish everywhere!

Students

Our 2 newest PADI DM students did a great job on their mapping project this afternoon.

Elbow Reef Key Largo

Elbow Reef Shipwrecks Key Largo

Key Largo has many reef areas. One of the favorite of snorkel and diver guests alike is Elbow Reef.

Wow what a wonderful morning we just had at Elbow Reef.

~ City of Washington & Hannah M. Bell shipwrecks seem unharmed by hurricane Irma.

Scuba Diver City of Washington wreck Elbow Reef
Scuba Diver City of Washington wreck Elbow Reef

Reef Report

Viz. at Elbow Reef has cleaned up to 75′ – 85′ feet!

2 -3 foot waves.

Light to moderate current.

What we saw

Tab bit of moon jellyfish but they bring in the sea turtles!

Diver and snorkelers were all treated to seeing many turtles today.

Wreck City of Washington seem nearly unchanged post hurricane Irma.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/city-of-washington-wreck/

In the link above you will see before hurricane Irma photos.

Here are post hurricane Irma photos of the same site.

Post hurricane Irma City of Washington image
Post hurricane Irma City of Washington image

Wreck Hannah M. Bell also did not appear to have changed much photo hurricane Irma.

Hannah M. Bell shipwreck post hurricane Irma Elbow Reef
Hannah M. Bell shipwreck post hurricane Irma Elbow Reef

The image above was taken Friday 13 October 2017 post hurricane Irma at Elbow Reef.

As you can see in this image above and in the link below Elbow Reef shipwreck Hannah M. Bell looks the same.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/hannah-m-bell-shipwreck/

What we did

Our newest PADI Wreck Diver specialty student did a great job mapping with Inst. David.

Snorkel guide Holly managed the snorkelers keeping them away from the jellies.

Captain Dave enjoyed keeping everyone safe topside.

Overall ~ It was the best day so far post hurricane Irma.

Grooved Brain Coral

Grooved Brain Coral in Florida Keys

Grooved Brain Coral is one of the corals found in the Florida Keys.

There are many corals similar to the Grooved Brain Coral.

Appearance

This coral has a deep groove running along the center of its ridges.

Florida Keys grooved brain coral
Florida Keys grooved brain coral

Size

The grooved brain coral can grow up to three feet or one meter.

It can grow upward at a rate of approximately 3.5 millimeters per year.

Growth can achieve about two metres (6.6 feet) in diameter.

How it feeds

This species is a suspension feeder, and survives mainly on zooplankton and bacteria.

Depth

This coral occurs offshore at depths ranging from 1 to 30 metres or three to one hundred feet deep.

Symbiotic

The alga benefits from being in a protective environment in an elevated position.

The coral benefits from the nutrients produced photosynthetically by the alga which provides part of its needs for growth and calcification.

Black longspine urchin help the grooved brain corals
Black longspine urchin help the grooved brain corals

The coral also has a relationship with the long-spined urchin.

The grazing of the long-spined urchin helps to reduce the effects of shading.

This also helps reduce the overgrowth of macroalgae.

Where the common name comes from

The system of meandering grooves and ridges on their outer surface is where name comes from.

This surface resembles the appearance of the brain of higher animals.

Brain corals are reef-building species that form large and rounded colonies.

http://www.arkive.org/grooved-brain-coral/diploria-labyrinthiformis/

AKA

This coral is also commonly known as “depressed brain coral”.

Another name some use is “Labyrinthine Brain Coral”.

Sites in Key Largo to see Grooved Brain Coral

Many of the sites in Key Largo have beautiful grooved brain coral.

One of our favorite to see the larger variety is The Benwood Wall.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/benwood-wall/

Grooved Brain Corals found at dive site Benwood Wall  Key Largo Fl. Keys
Grooved Brain Corals found at dive site Benwood Wall in Key Largo, Fl. Keys

Color

Grooved Brain Coral is seen in tan, yellowish brown, and brownish gray.

When bleaching happens it appears nearly white.

 

 

PADI Dive Classes And Tours

 

PADI Dive Classes Today

PADI Open Water Referral Diver dive boat Deeper
PADI Open Water Referral Divers on board dive boat Deeper

PADI Open Water Referrals and Discover Scuba Class

Today Instructor Glenn took our class of 4 PADI Discover Scuba Divers & 1 Bubble Maker to the pool Jacobs Aquatic Center this morning & all passed!

This afternoon everyone went out on dive boat Deeper.

Bubble Maker joined our other riders on the boat for topside fun.

All our DSD’s all did great with Inst. Glenn & Inst. Holly!

Inst. David with DM photo-guide Klayton finished up our 2 OW Referral students from Berry Dive Center.

Huge congrats. to our newest 2 PADI Certified OW divers!

#KeysStrong

Deeper Dive Boat Crew

Capt Dave and 1st Mate Wayne kept everyone safe topside.

Mangrove Jungle Kayaking

John Pennekamp Mangrove Trails
John Pennekamp Mangrove Trails

Chris got to take our Mangrove jungle kayaking tour this afternoon.

He spent time doing a brief survey of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/kayaking/

Mangrove Trail

Shop Staff

Sail Fish Scuba Key Largo Dive Shop Classroom
Sail Fish Scuba Key Largo Dive Shop Classroom

Owner Jen held down the shop. 

She was excited that the phones and emails for booking didn’t stop all day.

Looks like our Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks will be full of PADI training.

Tours Coming Up This Week

Saturday October 14th Double Dip on Spiegel Grove wreck on our morning boat tour.

Check in time is 07:15 AM  for this wreck trip.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/uss-spiegel-grove-lsd-32/ 

Sunday morning we will run a tour to Elbow Reef.

PADI Wreck Diver Specialty diver City of Washington shipwreck
PADI Wreck Diver Specialty diver City of Washington shipwreck

Please arrive at 07:30 AM for this trip.

City of Washington and Hannah M. Bell wrecks will be visited.

City of Washington Wreck

How to join us for tours or dive classes

Sign up now to join us for a tour! https://trytn.com/sailfishscuba

You can also phone the dive shop in Key Largo at +1 (305)453-3446 to book tours or dive classes.

Additionally you can fill out our simple contact email form on our website to start a booking.

Contact Us

Keys Strong

 

We are Keys Strong

Key Largo has really started to come back quickly post hurricane Irma.

#KeysStrong

We are super thankful today for so many reasons!

Mainland USA helping the Keys Post Irma

First Thanks going out to Berry Dive Center Illinois for the awesome PADIO/W Referral students!

Padi Open Water Diver Referrals
Padi Open Water Diver Referrals with Sail Fish Scuba Inst. David post hurricane Irma on Molasses Reef

Working together to get guests to the reef

Secondly, Thanks going out to Rainbow Reef Dive Center for the seats on the PM Reef boat to take our Inst. David & Photo-guide ( Birthday Boy ) DM Klayton out this afternoon!

First Kayaking tour post Irma

Third, Thanks going out to Inst. Holly for covering the dive shop this morning & for being the Mangrove Jungle Kayak/snorkel guide this afternoon on our first tour #postHurricaneIrma to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Post Hurricane Irma Sail Fish Scuba kayaking tour
Post Hurricane Irma Sail Fish Scuba kayaking tour

Post Hurricane Irma clean up efforts

Guide Holly worked hard gathering up floating junk during her tour to start the clean up efforts on the water.

Post hurricane Irma Sail Fish Scuba kayaking clean up efforts
Post hurricane Irma Sail Fish Scuba kayaking clean up efforts

New visitors

Fourth, Thanks everyone all 47,000+ of you who viewed & shared our post from Sunday! It warms our heart to see so many of you enjoying the photos we take & share!

https://www.facebook.com/sailfishscubakeylargo/

Please sign up now to join us for a tour

https://trytn.com/sailfishscuba

 

#postIrmaImagesFlKeys#KeyLargoPostIrma #divekeylargo #scubakeylargo #padi

Post Irma Florida Keys Reefs

Post Irma Florida Keys Reef
Scrawled Cow fish on Key Largo, Florida Keys reef post Hurricane Irma

Post hurricane Irma Florida Keys Reef report

Everyone wanted to know how the fish life and reef was post hurricane Irma.

We set out to see ourselves. Here we share what we have seen and found.

Reef Report: 2 foot seas, 30 – 35 foot viz, 82F/28C water temp.

The conditions are improving daily.

Please jump on our site and save your seat to join us for a tour.

https://trytn.com/sailfishscuba

#KeysStrong

Post hurricane Irma we finally got to run a few tours to check on the Florida Keys reef.

What a wonderful morning we had with our boat load of divers at Molasses Reef!

Capt Chris/Capt Matt/DM Klayton/ PADI Inst. Holly & Inst. David showed the best time to all today!

New Reef Photo Challenge

Crew advised me they have challenged each other now to “the Photo of the Day” contest!

I ( Owner Jen) don’t get told who’s camera is who’s.

I just have to pick the best photo and then they pay out to each other their bets.

The winner

I picked the moon jellyfish taken by DM Klayton.

He won today!

Good Job Klayton on getting the wonderful photo seen here of the moon jellyfish.

Moon Jellyfish Post hurricane Irma
Moon Jellyfish Post hurricane Irma

Best sites to visit post Hurricane Irma

We have found out that right now the best sites to visit are Molasses Reef and Elbow Reef.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/winch-hole/

There are some new shipwreck pieces at this dive site since hurricane Irma.

The corals have taken some damage for certain.

We feel strongly they will regrow.

Fish life has certainly not been changed by the storm.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/city-of-washington-wreck/

Post hurricane Irma fish Florida Keys
Post hurricane Irma fish Florida Keys

Sharks are still at Molasses Reef

Everyone was happy to see there are still plenty of sharks at Molasses Reef.

post hurricane Irma shark molasses reef
Shark on Molasses Reef post hurricane Irma

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The State park will remain closed until the first day of November 2017.

Here is drone video shot right after hurricane Irma.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rig0hfWBa44

Bahia Honda State Park

Southern islands state parks did not fair as well.

Here is video of Bahia Honda State Park.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOBO8xPDUUI

Before and After Hurricane Irma

The Florida Keys will be re-built. It may take us some time, but know we will be back!

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/weather/hurricane/sfl-florida-keys-landmarks-before-after-20170913-htmlstory.html

 

 

First Trip Post Hurricane Irma

 

First Dives Post Hurricane Irma

First scuba dive Key Largo Post Hurricane Irma
First scuba dive Key Largo Post Hurricane Irma

When it happened

On October 7, 2017 we took our first dive trip out the Molasses reef post Hurricane Irma.

Good time was had by all out at Molasses Reef.

Checking on reef damage.

What we saw

Yes, viz. is still only 20-ish foot & yes, some corals are broken ~ but we are #KeysStrong & it will soon all grow back more beautiful than ever!

Thank you

Thanks to all our guest who joined us for diving & snorkeling this morning and afternoon.

It felt great to run a nearly Sold-Out afternoon tour on our first day back open Post #HurricaneIRMA

Our Crew

Capt Chris/Capt Dave/Dive guide Glenn/Snorkel guide Klayton/Inst. David & Inst. Holly all did a wonderful job this afternoon with all the guests!

Reef Report

Reef Report 2′ choppy seas/20’viz/82F~28C water temp. and yes the Moon Jellyfish are back now.

Reef Damage

First dives post hurricane Irma
First dives post hurricane Irma

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/

We hope to explore many more of the Key Largo dive sites this coming week.

We will post photos from all the sites post hurricane Irma.

Reef damage post hurricane Irma Key Largo
Florida Keys reef damage post hurricane Irma. Key Largo Molasses Reef.

 

Key Largo Filefish

Key Largo Filefish

Key Largo filefish are listed in five main groups.

While snorkeling Key Largo marine park area you will see many filefish.

Here we will list the main Key Largo filefish.

Scrawled Filefish

Key Largo Scrawled Filefish
Key Largo Scrawled Filefish at Molasses Reef in the Florida Key

This fish can grow up to one meter / three feet long.

Brillant electric blue markings call attention to the Scrawled filefish.

http://www.whatsthatfish.com/fish/scrawled-filefish/124

Whitespotted Filefish

Key Largo Whitespotted Filefish
Key Largo Whitespotted Filefish

Second largest of the Key Largo filefish is the Whitespotted variety.

It can grow up to a length of seventeen inches.

Whitespotted filefish changes from a solid color to white-spotted.

We commonly see this fish at Molasses Reef.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/

https://reefguide.org/carib/whitespottedfile.html

Orange Filefish

Key Largo Orange Filefish
Key Largo Orange Filefish

Third largest of the Key Largo filefish is the Orange variety.

This fish could grow up to two feet long.

In Key Largo we have yet to see one over twelve inches long.

Orange filefish are able to adapt their coloring to blend into the background.

Even when adapting their color they always retains its small orange spots.

While snorkeling Key Largo we see these over the sea grass beds along the edge of the coral reef.

Anemone Garden Reef is a very good place to spot the Orange filefish.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/anemone-garden-reef/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluterus_schoepfii

Orangespotted Filefish

Orangespotted filefish Key Largo
Orangespotted filefish Key Largo

Not to be mistaken for the Orange filefish.

Orangespotted filefish has orange spots with brown center marks.

This fish only grows to a max length of just less than eight inches.

Macro photographers dream of finding these tiny fish while scuba diving Key Largo waters.

Best to look for this fish at our dive site called Little Grecian Rocks.

https://www.sailfishscuba.com/dive-sites/little-grecian-reef/

Pigmy filefish

Pigmy Key Largo filefish
Pigmy Key Largo filefish

The smallest of the Key Largo filefish.

Pygmy filefish length is a max of seven inches long.

Mostly we see these at a max length of three inches in Key Largo, Fl. Keys.

This Key Largo filefish may be mottled.

It can become uniform gray over a sandy bottom.

Often we see these tiny fish on our kayaking the mangrove jungle tours.

While snorkeling if you look closely to the roots of the mangroves you can often spot these tiny filefish.

Kayaking and Snorkeling Tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Electric Ray

Lesser-Electric-Ray-Florida-Keys
Lesser electric ray Florida Keys

Hazard and Size Lesser Electric Ray

The Lesser Electric Ray is one of the creatures you need to look but don’t touch.

Non-aggressive species of little danger to humans.

 Can discharge a shock between 14 and 37 volts, primarily used for defense.  

Contact with the disc in the pectoral region can produce a mild electric shock, not enough to injure a human.

Lesser Electric Ray has a wingspan of up to eighteen inches.

Reproduction

Average reproduction is three to fifteen pups per litter.  

Mother lesser electric rays give live birth to their pups.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viviparity

Identification

Identification
Body color ranges from grayish to reddish brown.

Some have many rounded dark blotches that are outlined with blackish circles on the dorsal disc.

Unlike many other ocean rays, lesser electric rays have thick tail and well developed dorsal fins and caudal fin.

They have no spine on tail.  Two electric organs, set on either side of the head, are visible as kidney shaped honeycombs

 

Lesser-Electric-Ray
In the sea grass beds of the Florida Keys you may see Lesser Electric Rays

Habitat

Lesser electric rays inhabit the coastal waters of the Florida Keys.

Sometimes spotted on sandy or mud bottoms.

Very common sightings are along sandy shorelines, sea grass beds, and sometimes near coral reefs.

Often found from the surf zone up to 200 feet. Most commonly spotted in the Florida Keys in the depth range of one foot deep to sixty feet deep.

Feeding

The main diet for lesser electric rays is marine worms, but may take juvenile snake eels, anemones, and
small crustaceans.