Looe Key Reef is one of the most beautiful reefs on the Florida Keys. It’s located within The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and also in a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA). Approximately to 5 nautical miles south of Big Pine Kay we can found this reef.This area has 54 mooring buoys that were installed to prevent damage caused by boats anchoring. The different buoys indicate the depths ranges, at the place of the 33 – 39 buoys you can perfectly dive due a 3 to 15 feet depth. At this area you can find all kind of sea life. You can snorkel deeper at the 40 – 70 buoys but you have to be careful exploring this area due the currents.
Due that this area is “Research Only” you can find a diversity of fish as yellowtail, sergeant majors, parrots, surgeonfish and barracudas. If you are lucky you can see several shark and ray species. Also this reef is home of a large population of spiny lobsters and all kind of coral formation such as soft corals.
This reef received its name in 1744 after the HMS Looe (the fifth rate warship of the Royal Navy) ran aground into the reef at 25 feet of water. You can still find parts of the ship like a ballast pile and the anchor chain.