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Key West Scuba -- Sights And Safety
The only living coral barrier reef in the entire United States calls the Florida Keys home. The reef, which is one of the largest in the world, is home to a diverse and large population of marine life. From every sized fish to the toothy moray eel and blue-stripped grunts, the living reef is the chief habitat for many aquatic animals. Because of this, it is a popular destination for Key West scuba divers and snorkelers alike.
The Expansive Living Coral Barrier Reef
For first time snorkelers or novice scuba divers, the shallow reef just off the coast of the island offers the perfect primer and learning experience. For those who have had a little more time in the water, there are ranges that are more challenging and spots for snorkeling and scuba diving. And because the island's reef is a protected marine habitat, it is a virtually untouched adventure.
Key West scuba divers and snorkelers can also experience the quiet majesty and marvel at the strange beauty of many of the sunken ships that line the coast and add to the coral reef. And because of mooring anchors, ships carrying divers and snorkelers don't have to damage the living reef with their own heavy anchors. Many of the most popular dive sites are only a few miles away from the coast, which leaves ample time to enjoy the depths while still leaving plenty of time for other activities during the day.
All About Getting Certified
For those considering diving around the coral reef, it is legally required to obtain certification. If you don't have a scuba certification, there are plenty of ways to get your accreditation right on the island during your vacation. Companies that offer scuba trips typically offer the option to get certified quickly and safely. Most courses take three to four days to complete with class work, pool dives, and instructed shallow water dives. They are also inexpensive and if you take the course at the beginning of your trip, you'll have ample time to book a deeper scuba dive later in the week.
If getting certified sounds too time consuming, snorkeling is a popular option. Snorkeling is a great way to explore the ocean and its life without having to spend money on classes and equipment. You don't have to be an expert swimmer to go snorkeling. Many companies on the island offer excursions that allow everyone in your group to take part in the marine activity of their choice, whether scuba diving or snorkeling.
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