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Title: Scuba Dive the Florida Keys
Author: Clint Leung
One of the best areas to scuba dive within North America is in
the Florida Keys, a long string of islands just south of Miami.
For any scuba diver travelling to southern Florida, even a quick
day trip to the Florida Keys is worthwhile. There's great scuba
diving all along the Keys from the first community of Key Largo,
through to the middle at Marathon and all the way to the end
where Key West is located. One can get to Key Largo in about 45
minutes from Miami and the protected Pennekamp marine park in
the surrounding waters offers much more marine life to see than
the waters off Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Key Largo in particular
is a scuba diver's town with numerous dive operators and some
retailers who carry diving equipment and gear.
One of the great things about scuba diving in the Florida Keys
is the variety of dive sites for every level of diver. Many of
the nicest coral reefs loaded with fish are located in beginner
level dive sites like Molasses Reef and French Reef. With depths
of 30 to 50 feet, these are perfect dive sites for newly
certified scuba divers as well as those who wish to do night
dives. There's even some good wreck diving in shallow dive sites
like the Benwood wreck where the resident marine life will not
disappoint any diver. For more advanced divers, there are some
spectacular deep dives featuring large wrecks like the Duane, a
former coast guard ship sitting upright. The most recent ship
that was sunk for scuba diving is the Spiegel Grove which again
is for advanced divers.
Many scuba divers from North America and other parts of the
world come to the Florida Keys for their open water
certification dives as well as more advanced training.
Accommodations are plentiful right in the communities along the
Keys and range from simple motels all the way up to high end
resorts. Many have special packages just for scuba divers where
there's an arrangement with one of the local dive operators.
There's also relatively inexpensive accommodations in Florida
City which is the closest community back in the Florida mainland
about 20 minutes from Key Largo. After the day of diving, there
are lots of restaurants serving fresh seafood for even the
hungriest of divers.
Another attractive feature of Florida Keys diving is the cost.
Especially for the quality of the dive sights, the cost of
diving here is lower than in many of the Caribbean destinations
like the Bahamas and Cayman Islands. For those who are not ready
to try scuba diving, there are some decent sites to snorkel in
the Keys including one of the best in the U.S. at Looe Key. The
marine life that can be seen here has convinced quite a few
snorkellers to finally pursue scuba diving certifications. The
Florida Keys has enough other activities to do besides scuba
diving to keep non-divers busy. There's interesting shopping,
water sports, beaches (near the western part) and even two
places to interact with dolphins. Of course, there's also the
funky scene at Key West.
The one aspect about scuba diving in the Florida Keys that some
divers may not like is that the dives are not guided by
divemasters from the various scuba operators. Divers who are
used to following a local divemaster like the diving in
destinations like Cozumel, will just have to team up in buddy
groups here in the Keys. Despite this drawback, the Florida Keys
still offers great tropical scuba diving without leaving the
About the author:
Clint Leung is a NAUI certified Master and Rescue Scuba Diver.
He is also owner of Free Spirit Activewear
(http://www.FreeSpiritActivewear.com) , an online retailer and
designer specializing in premium quality activewear with
specialty sports themes including scuba diving, skiing,
snowboarding and martial arts. Free Spirit Activewear has
numerous information resource articles on selected specialty
sports as well as free eCards.
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