Scuba Snorkel Trips Islamorada, FL

Islamorada, also known as the Village of Islands, is a popular spot in the Florida Keys. If you're looking for excellent scuba diving and snorkeling in Florida, this is a great place to start.

There are {count} dive charters that run out of the Islamorada, FL area.  The most popular dive spots they'll take you to include Hen & Chicken's Reef, Davis Ledge, Buddha Statue, the Eagle, Cheeca Rocks, Caves, Brick Barge, Cannabis Cruiser, and a whole lot more.

One of the first places you will hear about for diving is Davis Ledge, located Degrees/Minutes N 24 55.320 W 080 30.366, which sits about three miles east to southeast of the equally popular Hen and Chickens dive site.  This Davis Ledge ranges from as shallow as 20 feet and gets as deep as 55 feet.  Davis Ledge has one of the largest populations of local nurse sharks around, and they are attracted because of the many thousands of small bait fish that also call the area home.  This spot is protected as a Sanctuary Preservation Area and are also famous for the deep water corals.  Aside from sharks and bait fish, you can also expect to see lobsters, eel, parrotfish, and angelfish.  And Buddha.

The other claim to fame at Davis Ledge is the Buddha Statue.  There's a large Buddha statue which many divers rub in hopes of good luck, or maybe to try and see the giant sea turtle which seems to like the statue and is known to hand around that ledge.

The next dive spot to look at is the Hen & Chickens Reef.  Located Degrees/Minutes N 24 55.900 W 080 32.900 and only three miles west to northwest of the Davis Ledge, this is a shallow diving site that is excellent for snorkelers as it only runs 15 to 22 feet deep.  The Hen & Chickens is a group of patch reefs whose coral formations look like a mother hen surrounded by baby chickens from the air.  There are mooring buoys here and this is a Marine Preserve.  The coral reef here is worth the visit, and Islamorada scuba divers and snorkelers should all enjoy.

This patch reef contains so many star and brain coral groups, as well as purple Sea Fans, that sections seem like an underwater forest of purple trees.  This is a great solo or family dive site and easy for beginners to navigate.  Some of the coral heads here will be over 15 feet tall and is consistently considered one of the most unique dive experiences in Florida: no other site quite compares.

The Eagle dive site located at Degrees/Minutes N 24 52.184 W 080 34.217 is another Islamorada dive spot worth checking out.  Sitting at 80 to 110 feet deep, the Eagle is a 287 foot freighter that officials sunk as part of the artificial reef program in 1985.  The ship is now broken in half and this is a great site but not for complete novices as divers should descend on anchor lines since the current can be fairly strong here at times.  The visibility is generally extremely good at this dive site and parts of the ship can be explored.  Divers often report healthy populations of cobia, amberjacks, grunts, jewfish, nurse sharks, and silver sides.  There are some very well developed coral growths, as well, and you will find no shortage of spiny oysters or sponges to look at.

Cheeca Rocks are a great shallow site for novice divers and snorkelers alike. The location is only three miles south to southwest of Windley Key and pretty much one mile direct off Upper Matecumbe.  This is a favorite site for underwater photography because of the combination of many different types of healthy sponges and coral. Many sandy patches in this area will have conch and turtles, and if not you will still be surprised at the sheer number of parrotfish, angelfish, spotted rays, tarpon, and snook in the area.

Chaves is another great dive site and is very close to sure, located literally just off Snake Creek at Windley Key, in approximately 10 to 20 feet of water.  This ship sank in 1733 during a hurricane along with 21 other ships that were originally carrying treasure from Havana.  This was a smaller ship and is in a sand pocket in a grass bed.  This is a less used site which is great if you don't want to be rushed or crowded and it is an excellent snorkeling site.  Tres Puentes is a similar site that also lies between Snake Creek and Whale Harbor, and it is known for occasionally producing silver treasure that is still occasionally found by divers.  If you're hoping for a chance to find a relic while scuba diving or snorkeling around Islamorada then this is the site.

Brick Barge is another popular site with checking out, and is actually a small iron ship torpedoed during World War II.  It sits in about 20 to 30 feet of water and is on the north side of the Hen and Chicken reef.  This is a favorite site with photographers because the reef and barge combination make for some pretty impressive pictures, especially with all the sea life around.

Then there's the popular Cannabis Cruiser located at Degrees/Minutes N 24 49.504 W 080 38.590.  The Cannabis Cruiser, often referred by locals to as "Pot Wreck," can be found three miles west of Alligator Light and is deep at 110 feet of water. The ship gets its name because in the 1970s this trawler (75 feet in length) was bringing drugs into the United States when Coast Guard intervention resulted in the crew sinking the ship.  At the bottom large bails of marijuana were discovered by divers. Today the ship sits upright and is still mostly intact.  Divers frequently report a rich amount of sea life that includes angelfish, hogfish, goliath grouper, amberjacks, and even the occasional visit from a shark.  No reports on whether or not they're mellower than normal.

Islamorada Florida scuba divers and snorkelers will be happy to know there are many other popular pursuits above the water as well since canoeing, kayaking, and in some areas even jet ski rental are popular water sport pastimes.  The three major neighborhoods you will hear locals refer to are Lower Matecumbe Beach, Matecumbe, and the Plantation Key Colony.

The Plantation Yacht Harbor is definitely a marina worth checking out.  While there might be some places that argues with Islamorada's claim to being the sports fishing capital of the world, no one is going to argue with the high quality of the well over 20 dive spots available to visitors and locals alike who feel the itch to go snorkeling or scuba diving.