The Florida Keys are known for the weather, beaches, blue skies and of course, the beautiful, sprawling ocean that surrounds them. Underneath the ocean surface however is an attraction all of its own, a coral reef. Visitors that want to see the underwater scenery and its lively inhabitants can grab a snorkel and enjoy.
Snorkeling along the reef is a once in a lifetime experience for swimmers of almost any age. The simplicity of a snorkel lets small children to old adults all breathe underwater and see the fish and sea creatures that are native to the reef. Snorkelers go at his or her individual pace and explore as little or as much of the reef as they want. But what exactly is there to explore?
Off of Key Colony Beach is the Sombrero Reef. Corals and sponges of all shapes, sizes and colors can be found here. Pillar Coral, Black Ball Sponge and Christmas Tree Worms all exist in this reef. Large formations of sponge, rock and coral intertwine into finger-like configurations creating a spectacular view for all snorkelers.
If you want to stay near the top of the water, or if you want to dive deep, there are plenty of coral, sponge and underwater life to see ranging from 8-foot to 20-foot depths. For the bravest of snorkelers there are canyons to explore and underwater arches to swim through. Along with your snorkel and mask, an water-proof camera is a must for this breathtaking adventure.
All different kinds of fish live amongst the reef, way too many to list all at once. However, snorkelers most often see scrawled fish, yellowhead wrasse, angelfish, and various parrotfish like princess, midnight and stoplight. On occasion, lucky visitors have seen sea turtles and nurse sharks.
Lying on Key Colony Beach is only half the experience when it comes to the Florida Keys. Venturing out past the land, into the water opens up a whole new world to see. With no experience or expertise needed, snorkeling is a great activity for vacationers.