Carysfort Reef Snorkeling
The 25th most popular snorkel dive spot in the Florida Keys.
Saturday 2 July 2016 06:33 GMT
East of Key Largo, the snorkeling at Carysfort Reef Sanctuary Preservation Area is popular for its elkhorn coral and plate coral formations. The infrequently visited Carysfort Reef, also known as the Fish Farm, is a shallow spur and groove reef in 5 to 25 foot deep water. While snorkeling at Carysfort Reef, you can expect to see parrotfish, snapper, blue tang, grunts, goatfish, damselfish, turtles, stingrays and sharks (especially on the seaward side of the reef).
After a day snorkeling Carysfort Reef, check out the Key Largo Conch House for some cold drinks.
The Carysfort Reef snorkeling is located about 5.6nm off Key Largo and is marked by a lighthouse. It is located within the boundary of John Pennekamp Marine State Park. There are 13 buoys at Carysfort Reef Sanctuary Preservation Area. The best buoys for snorkeling are C7-C13. The usual boat ramp access is provided by John Pennekamp State Park.
While the snorkeling at Carysfort Reef is possible year-round, most snorkelers usually shoot for March through September. There is usually some rolling surf at most snorkeling sites off Key Largo, while you can expect the flatest surf conditions from June through August.
When using a dive boat charter to reach the dive site, make sure to reconfirm the reservation the afternoon prior. Most dive boats select the site the afternoon prior or even the morning of the dive. Also, most dive boats have a minimum passenger requirement in order to leave dock meaning they may cancel at the last minute, so when reverifying the afternoon prior ask how many reservations they have.
To reach the snorkeling in the Florida Keys by air, there are several options. The most popular option is to fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), which is served by all major US and international airlines. Also nearby, a potentially lower cost option is to fly into Ft Lauderdale airport (FLL). From either of these airports, you can rent a car to drive south on the Florida Turnpike a couple hours to reach the Florida Keys (watch out for automated cash-less toll highways along the way). Alternately, you can fly into Key West International Airport (EYW) which is served by several airlines including United/Silver Airways, Delta, USAir and Southwest. If you don’t mind coming into Key West, there is also the regular Key West Express ferry service (4 hours) that runs from Ft Myers.
Overall, Carysfort Reef is the 25th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 40 snorkeling dives in the Florida Keys. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Carysfort Reef including John Pennekamp State Park, Molasses Reef, White Bank Reef, Pickles Reef, Grecian Rocks and Christ Of The Deep.