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Looe Key Reef
Fast FactsAverage Rating: 4Average Depth: 15 ft.Max Depth: 105 ft.Features: 10,12,15
One of the most beautiful reefs in the Florida Keys, Looe Key Reef has large fingers of living coral extending out to sea. The reef has many large overhangs as well as several shallow sandy flats where shelling can be done. This is a great area for photography.
Looe Key is located 10 nautical miles southwest of the Bahia Honda Channel and is marked by 70 buoys. Depths range from 5 to 70 feet, with deeper areas of the dive occasionally having dangerous currents.
In 1744, the HMS Looe ran aground in 25 feet of water. While little is left of the ship, a ballast pile and anchor chain can be found on the eastern end.
The location contains a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) which was established in 1997. Lobstering at this location is prohibited. As a result, this reef is home to a large population of spiny lobsters. Please treat the area with care to ensure that the 7,000 year old coral growth is not harmed.
The Looe Key Reef system has 54 mooring buoys installed to prevent damage casued by boat anchors. The first 32 buoys mark the central reef where depths range to 30 feet. Buoys 33-39 mark an excellent snorkeling location which ranges in depth from 3 to 15 feet. This area is the reef flat where large coral formations house many varieties of sea life. Buoys 40-49 mark a system of patch reef which averages 16 feet in depth. While the formations of soft coral are beautiful here, visibility is generally low. Buoys 50-70 mark the deeper section of the reef where sponges and soft corals are mainly found. This is an area where currents can be dangerous and decompression at the 105 foot depths may be necessary. Divers should use caution when exploring this area.
Waypoint: LOOEKY Latitude Longitude Degrees 24.545 -81.4083333333333 Degrees/Minutes Degrees/Minutes/Seconds
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