Located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the 3rd largest living coral reef in the world!
Today we’ve scheduled a two tank afternoon dive with Keys Diver & Snorkel tour! We initially planned to dive the Christ of the Abyss, but after talking to the dive shop decided to dive Molasses Reef.
Welcome to the Florida Keys!
The boat for this dive is quite a bit larger than what we took our last time diving…
With the sunshine and calm waters, this should be a excellent dive!
We’re on board with our gear, and ready to sail! It’s about 45 minutes to reach Molasses Reef.
As we tie off to the anchor point, it’s finally time to dawn our gear and get in the water!!
Kali and I will be diving these sites without a dive guide this time (there’s an extra charge for a guide). This will be our first time with just the two of us!! We’re a little nervous…. we heard there are sharks!!!
We’re the first ones ready, so they direct us to go ahead and step off the boat.
Our first dive site on the reef is called…
The entire reef is fairly shallow with the deepest section reaching about 35 feet.
As we enter the water, it’s pretty clear why this site is so popular.
Marine life is everywhere!!
Right off the bat Kali spots a sea turtle hanging out under some coral!
Looks like he’s just takin’ a nap!
Schools of fish lerk around every corner!!
Molasses reef is home to more than 600 species of creatures.
Kali doesn’t like these guys coming in for a closer look!
While they look quite cute, these guys are usually very shy… and very poisonous! They have quills covering their body, which they can inflate when startled.
These must be about to mate because they’re usually always solitary swimmser… unless they’re getting it on. 😁
Close call with the Spot-fin Porcupinefish!
Dun, dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun, dun DUN!
There are all sorts of interesting fish around the reef!
As we’re about to wrap up our first dive, we suddenly spot….
Can you see him?
It’s a little difficult to tell from the distance, but we suspect he’s either a Nurse Shark or Caribbean Reef Shark!
Either way, it’s Kali’s first shark sighting!!
Back on the boat we swap tanks, the boat gets into position, and we hit the water for dive site number two!
Located just a little further down the reef is our next site, Winch Hole.
Down we go!
The second dive is pretty similar to the first, except we see many more coral formations
This little guy must have been startled…
Don’t swim into it! 🤢
There are lots of Barracuda!
You have to look closely to see this first guy.
…and another Nurse Shark!!
He is hiding there almost in the middle of the picture in the coral.
The reason for the sites name is actually due to a giant winch found at the bottom of the ocean floor.
This thing is pretty huge, and was ripped off a 17th or 18th century spanish ship as they ran aground.
While trying to pull themself off the reef the winch broke loose and has since remained in the depths.
Excitedly we celebrate a successful first independent dive with just the two of us. With neither of us having watches, we still managed to make it to the boat on time!
It’s hard to imagine any better dive conditions.
While on the ship, and in the midst of preparing our dive, swapping our tanks and sailing back to shore we meet Karin!
As we tell her the story of our trip, she generously offers up her spare bedroom in New Jersey!
We’ll definitely be taking her up on that offer!
See you soon Karin!
Before long we’re sailing back into Key Largo.
Another successful dive!
Thanks to the great crew for getting us out and back safely! 🙂