MARQUESAS REEF LINE
Average Depth: 40 ft.
Max Depth: 70 ft.
Marquesas Reef Line: Located about 25 miles west of Key West in waters ranging from 5 to 70 feet, the Marquesas Keys are 10 mangrove islands in shallow water 6 miles south of the Marquesas Keys. The area continues the Atlantic reef line running east to west.
These tranquil islands are protected as part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge and are home to mangroves and marine wildlife, making them a popular site for divers and snorkelers in the area. The islands are technically part of the Florida Keys despite their distance from the main island chain, and are arranged around a central lagoon called Mooney Harbor, a beautiful site which has become quite famous. The largest island is the one farthest to the north, which features an open sand bar. It is believed that the area may have formed as a result of a meteor strike and not a volcanic eruption. It takes its name from the Marquis de Cadereita, a Spanish Treasure Fleet commander who lost a number of ships in the area (the artifacts from which you may find in some of the museums in town).
Experienced divers love to explore the many caves and overhangs, and the crystal blue water provides outstanding visibility and photographic clarity. The average dive depth is 40 feet with variations from 10 to 70 feet along the wall. Because of the Atlantic current, strong rip tides can be encountered, so the area is not recommended for casual divers. The Marquesas Keys are remote, so many dive boats offer reef divers overnight stays under the stars in this subtropical paradise.
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