Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Miami
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Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Diving and snorkeling on the offshore coral wrecks and reefs on a calm day can be very rewarding. Chances are excellent that you'll come face-to-face with a flood of tropical fish. One option is to find Fowey, Triumph, Long, and Emerald reefs in 10- to 15-foot dives that are perfect for snorkelers and beginning divers. On the edge of the continental shelf a little more than 3 miles out, these reefs are just ¼ mile away from depths greater than 100 feet. Another option is to paddle around the tangled prop roots of the mangrove trees that line the coast, peering at the fish, crabs, and other creatures hiding there.
Artificial Reefs. Perhaps the area's most unusual diving options are its artificial reefs. Since 1981, Miami-Dade County's Department of Environmental Resources Management has sunk tons of limestone boulders and a water tower, army tanks, and almost 200 boats of all descriptions to create a "wreckreational" habitat where divers can swim with yellow tang, barracudas, nurse sharks, snapper, eels, and grouper. The website offers an interactive map of wreck locations. Dive outfitters are familiar with most of these artificial reefs and can take you to the best ones. Miami Beach, FL. www.miamidade.gov/development/reef-locator.asp.
Divers Paradise of Key Biscayne. This complete dive shop and diving-charter service next to the Crandon Park Marina, includes equipment rental and scuba instruction with PADI and NAUI affiliation. Four-hour dive trips are offered Tuesday through Friday at 10:30, weekends 8:30 and 1:30. The trip is $60. Night dives are offered Saturdays at 5:30. 4000 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, FL, 33149. 305/361-3483. www.keydivers.com.
South Beach Dive and Surf Center. Dedicated to all things ocean, this center offers diving and snorkeling trips (at least four times weekly) as well as surfboard rentals and lessons. The Discover Scuba course trains diving newcomers on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8 am at a PADI-affiliated dive shop. Advance classes follow at 9:45 am. Night dives take place each Wednesday at 5, and wreck and reef dives on Sundays at 7:30 am. The center also runs dives in Key Largo's Spiegel Grove, the second-largest wreck ever to be sunk for the intention of recreational diving, and in the Neptune Memorial Reef, inspired by the city of Atlantis and created in part using the ashes of cremated bodies. Boats depart from marinas in Miami Beach and Key Largo, in the Florida Keys. 850 Washington Ave., South Beach, Miami Beach, FL, 33139. 305/531-6110. www.southbeachdivers.com.
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