#296: Dive in John Pennekamp National Park

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

LOCATION: Molasses Reef, Key Largo, FL.

This post is part of my Miami Trip Series

 The last time I dove in Key Largo was in 2007 with my Dad. Hurricane Gustaf decided to make his presence known as well and I actually dove with the hurricane surrounding me. (not a wise choice). Needless to say, we didn’t see anything and were constantly being pushed by the heavy seas. So, I was quite excited to be diving in John Pennekamp National Park and would actually have a good time!

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

The morning was very cold for Key Largo weather, about 60 degrees. The water however was 75 degrees so it was nice to finally jump in. The dive place I found was Rainbow Reef and I couldn’t have been happier. They had a very knowledgeable staff, great gear and prices. They also provided a dive guide for every tour. This was very helpful since I’m a complete moron when it comes to directions in the water or air.  We had a 30 minute boat ride out to the site. We were diving in Molasses Reef, which has an extensive coral collection ranging from 10-40 feet. It is known as one of the most famous dive sites in Florida, and I was ready to do it! I was diving alone, but the crew and guests also diving made me feel like family. I was paired up with a nice gentleman, but could easily have not had a buddy at all. The five people diving that day were some of the nicest I’ve ever encountered and it really made the experience that much more worth it.

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Snorkeling in John Pennekamp

Once in the water, I could understand why it was so famous. There was coral everywhere! There were beautiful red, blue and orange coral, red fans, and very colorful fish in all directions. I wish I had an external flash on my camera just so the pictures could do it justice. The visibility was insane how great it was. I was very happy. There were these dark blue with light blue spotted fish that swam very close to me. I had never seen them before and was in awe. There were also several barracuda in the area that kept following me. I chased one to get a better picture. I know that was a big no-no, but I couldn’t resist. After two dives, I can definitely say that Molasses Reef is one of my favorite dives to date. I’m really glad that I decided to give Key Largo another chance.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?:

Yes, definitely! Especially again with Rainbow Reef! Such a wonderful company to dive with! I would also really like to see the Christ of the Abyss statue. I think that is reserved for snorkels though.

HOW TO DO THIS:

Key Largo is about 1.5 hours away from Miami. There are lots of dive companies in the Keys. I recommend Rainbow Reef.

Rainbow Reef Diving: Reasonably priced dives for $75 and you get a dive guide too! 99751 Overseas Highway, Key Largo.  http://www.rainbowreef.us/

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