REI

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Alligator Reef Lighthouse - Underwater Hike - Scuba Dive (8/24/2017)

UNDERWATER HIKING

Alligator Reef Lighthouse - Underwater Hike - Scuba Dive (8/24/2017)



Our second favorite pastime is Scuba Diving or as we like to call it "Underwater Hiking"! Jeff & I have been scuba diving for years, done over 100 dives in 4 different countries. Being able to see a completely different world living right around us is something magical. All the different colors of the reef, the schools of fish that seems to just swim by you, and seeing all the other animals in the great big ocean. I am a firm believer that everyone should experience this amazing bliss, even if you're scared to dive, at the very least snorkel. It's an experience you'll never forget. 

Before having our daughter we would go on vacation to The Florida Keys for 10 days and literally dive every since day, sometimes 2-3 times in a day! I felt like a real life mermaid, and it was wonderful. We would explore underwater parks and sanctuaries, deep dive on old ship wrecks, spear fish, and lobster hunt for dinner. But, now that we have a little one, living on the water for over a week is just not in the cards. We were lucky enough to get one dive in while we were in the Keys this vacation. My mom and her husband watched our daughter and we took our 3 hour opportunity to hop on their boat and take off to the nearest reef, Alligator Lighthouse Reef.

Alligator Lighthouse reef is located approx 6 miles south-southwest of Windley Key (a part of Islamorada). The reef was born around a wrecked ship, The USS Alligator, which went down in 1825. The USS Alligator (which is how the reef got it's name) was an 86 foot long ship built in 1820. It was apart of the Navy, and would help protect convoys of ships from pirates. However in 1825 it ran a ground after protecting a convoy from a pirate raid. After being Salvaged the crew decided to blow it up in or to protect it for further pirating. Now the remains lye in two piles of ballast stones, but you can explore the reef surrounding them which is one of the largest in the Upper Keys. 

There is also a 136 foot lighthouse located at the reef. This makes for easier navigation to the site. It is a Sanctuary Preservation Area, so no lobstering here! But, diving is still beautiful and completely full of life. We saw everything from Grouper to Shark. Check out the pictures below and at the end is link to the video we took on our Underwater Hike!












Grunt and Sgt Major Fish













Fan Coral






HogFish (Very Tasty by the way)!


Trumpetfish






Squirrelfish





As Jeff called it, "A Momma and Baby Conch Shell"


Goofy Jeff



Crystal is Hiking Underwater


To see a video from this hike please go to: 

https://youtu.be/cBRll5ptrKo


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Thanks for reading and...

Until Next Time, Keep on DIVING!!!!