by Brad Bertelli
Exploring the Florida Reef, from shipwrecks to ecological marvels
“A thinking person’s guide to exploring the rich maritime history and vital ecology of South Florida’s reef system, laden with fascinating historical nuggets and practical tips for novice and experienced snorkelers.”—Susan Cocking, Miami Herald
The Florida Reef is known for its brilliant corals as much as it is for sunken pirate treasure. From Carysfort Reef to Indian Key to Dry Tortugas National Park, the Florida Keys provide many excellent and diverse snorkeling opportunities. Snorkeling the Florida Keys dives into more than forty sites, including reefs, wrecks, and beaches.
The third largest barrier reef system in the world runs along the east side of the Florida Keys and is fed by the nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf Stream, which support the abundant growth of bright-hued corals. These warm waters are also home to spectacular animal life. From seahorses to manatees, nature’s most intriguing wonders can be found right around an outcropping of coral or grazing in algae.
While today these reefs are a playground for snorkelers, fishermen, and divers, these waters were once feared by sailors. The corals lurking just beneath the surface were ship killers, stony daggers capable of carving up a wooden hull. Today those sunken ships provide stunning backdrops for snorkeling exploits.
Brad Bertelli takes the guesswork out of navigating and exploring the Florida Reef. He provides practical travel advice and GPS coordinates to easily access each site, as well as useful information such as water depth, key features, notable shipwrecks, and other engrossing historical facts. Snorkeling the Florida Keys is a great read and a useful guide for divers seeking adventure. It is also suited for armchair travelers, who, without setting a fin in the water, can enjoy the conquests and mishaps of the larger-than-life historical figures who sailed the great Florida Reef.