Dive into Keys History

By: Terry Gibson

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Divers can join the fish in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad's completion. That's right, it's been 100 years since Florida pioneer Henry Flagler's vision of connecting Key West to the mainland was completed. 

Portions of the structure, which later served as a foundation for a portion of the original Florida Keys Overseas Highway, now lie submerged in 115 feet of water approximately 3.7 miles off Sombrero Lighthouse.

In calm conditions, this dive is easy. But if you haven't done a lot of drift diving in deep water, it would be best to work up to this dive by getting in some bottom time on the Keys' innumberable shallower reefs and wrecks. But for divers who are history buffs and who want to see large reef and pelagic fish species, the Marathon Reef site is not to miss.

Today the massive remnants provide refuge to abundant populations of large pelagic and reef fish. Divers can explore the concrete and steel rubble spread over a 1.6-acre area, rising off a flat sandy bottom as much as 30 feet in some areas.

The Marathon Reef site is one of 13 artificial reef sites between Key Largo and Key West overseen by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Marine Fisheries Management.

For more information on Keys diving, click here.

See you under water.
 

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