I have wanted to go out to the reef snorkeling for the longest time. After all, our wonderful Florida Keys reef is not only the ONLY living reef system in the continental US, no, it is also the third largest in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef). Roughly speaking, the reef runs all the way from Biscayne Bay down to the Marquesas Keys off Key West, following the curvature of the Keys. The added bonus: it is extremely accessible being just a few miles offshore.
The Florida reef is absolutely ideal for exploring either on a private boat, with a boat rental or on one of the organized tours. I can highly recommend John Pennekamp and their wonderfully kind and experienced staff and boat captains. In fact, as I am writing this, I could kick myself for not having gone on one of their trips sooner. I am a wimp though, you see, so the conditions (weather and ocean) have to be ‘just right’ for me to even consider jumping into the ocean offshore.
After having snorkeled the reef, I believe everybody should see this beauty and ‘other world’ at least once in their lives. Not only that, it has also made me more resolved in wanting to protect this unique and fragile habitat. If you have never been snorkeling, it feels like entering another planet altogether. It’s silent, beautiful and truly magical. I am hoping this wimpy post will give all those courage who have been hesitating!
Story by Tamara Scharf TamaraScharf.com