John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
If you go to the Florida Keys, you really can't help but go snorkeling in the warm turquoise water. The sea is warm all year round. Florida has the 3rd largest coral reef in the world. We sailed to Dry Rocks Reef. We were expected at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park at 9:00 AM, but at 8:15 AM we were ready to embark. In the dive shop there was also the reception and we were able to check in for our snorkeling trip to Dry Rocks Reef.
We already bought our diving gear in advance and brought them with us. Dive gear are usually not included in the price of the excursion, especially the snorkels. You can buy them on the spot.
Snorkel trip Key Largo
At the day of our reservation, the sea was pretty choppy. We could not move the snorkel trip, because we already planned something on all the other days that we had left on the Keys.
The boat was fully booked. It is therefore best to make a reservation in advance.
Half an hour after check-in we were expected at the boat. When everyone was on board, we left for the coral reef.
Snorkeling to the bronze statue "The Christ of the Abyss"
Once the right snokkel spot was found, we anchored. We went with the waves quite a bit when snorkeling. Underwater visibility was not optimal. It would have been much better in calm seas.
Some of us were able to snorkel to the bronze statue “Christ of the Abyss”. At that time it was low tide and difficult to reach. The statue, created by the Italian artist Guido Galletti, is 3 meters high and is located just below the surface of the water. You can see it well as a snorkeler. The attendant on board told us that we should certainly not touch the statue. It is overgrown with poisonous red coral, which can cause burns.
I had hoped to see sharks and rays, but no luck this time. I had seen one on a previous snorkeling trip in Key West. Many parrotfish and baracudas were larger than one meter at this spot. After an hour we sailed to another coral reef. It is in these places that snappers grow up. Later they then return to the mangroves.
Snorkel trip Key Largo or Key West
The entire snorkel trip lasted 4 1 / 2 hour and is not that cheap, but I always think it's worth doing. It is best to reserve a place on the boat in advance via this link. In Key West and on other islands on the Florida Keys there are plenty of opportunities to go snorkeling. On the way to Key West you can snorkel in Bahia Honda State Park. The park has a fantastic beach, Sandspur Beach!
You can make various snorkel tours to the coral reefs from Key West. In the summer of 1995! we made a fantastic snorkel trip with a catamaran to the coral reefs of Key West. At that time there was no mention of Coral bleaching and I still remember this nice snorkel tour. On the way back we got something to drink like on this one snorkel tour with Fury.
Two ingredients in the sun cream may lead to coral fading or DNA damage to coral reefs. The Key West City Commission has voted in 2019 to ban the sale of sun creams with the ingredients "oxybenzone and octinoxate" in the future, because it is now clear that these ingredients cause damage to the coral. Sunscreen without oxybenzone and octinoxate are readily available on the Keys.
What can you do in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Go diving with an instructor or get your Padi diving license yourself
There are various diving excursions offered to eg Carysfort Reef Light. This place is located at an 6 nm from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It is the oldest and still working lighthouse in the United States. You can take lessons from 10 years and get your diving license yourself. You will find the Prices for learning diving (PADI) at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park here or learn to dive Sail Fish Scuba. You learn the theory online beforehand and you can do the embankment in Florida.
Rent kayaks, canoes or paddle boards
In the park you can explore the entire nature reserve unaccompanied by kayaks, canoes or paddle boards. We made an organized tour, but that is certainly not necessary. You will find prices here or by clicking on the picture. We booked a kayak tour with Sail fish scuba and went kayaking in groups through the mangroves of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. You can book the kayak tour Sail fish Scuba to MM103 (Bayside) Overseas Highway 103100 Suite 33.
John Pennekamp Coral State Park:
Mile Marker (MM) 102.5 Overseas Highway Key Largo FL 33037