Updated: Jan 9
One of our very favorite things to do whenever we are in warm waters is to visit the best local snorkeling spots! From our current location in Key West, to the Bahamas, the BVIs, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Barths, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, we’ve been so grateful to be able to free-dive some truly amazing locations! And we have to say, the West Sambo reef in Key West continues to be one of our favorites to snorkel!
We are so fortunate that our marina is just a 45 minute sail from the West Sambo reef, which is one of the healthiest reefs in the Florida Keys. The Western Sambo section of the Sambo reef covers nine nautical square miles and is one of the two Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Ecological Reserves.
It has a plethora of healthy fan coral, brain coral, and one of the biggest elkhorn coral stands in the Keys. We also see blue tang, parrot fish, barracuda, the occasional nurseshark sleeping on the bottom, angel fish, hogfish, turtles, dolphins and goliath grouper! It’s an incredible joy to guide our guests snorkeling through the sand inlets with coral canyons along each side of us. Each time we snorkel is a different experience and the beauty of the reef and its ecological systems never ceases to amaze us. And on our way there and back we often see eagle rays, dolphins, sea turtles, and more! The beauty of Key West waters is magical!
Want to experience the West Sambo reef with us?! Book a trip now or give us a call with questions at 571-334-7885
Here are some more videos and photos of some of our snorkeling excursions. Enjoy!
Goliath Grouper sightings!
We have been so fortunate lately to encounter a goliath grouper on our snorkeling excursions! They are the largest grouper species in the Atlantic ocean, and can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow to 8 feet long!
Schools of Blue Tang on the West Sambo reef
This is a school of Blue Tang. They are beautiful to watch gliding through the water. A member of the surgeonfish family, the Blue Tang is the very common and will often school with large numbers of other Blue Tang and Surgeonfish to graze on algae. The adult Blue Tang, like other members of the Surgeonfish family have poisonous spines on both sides of their bodies just in front of their tail fins. But we don't worry about that when snorkeling, as they have no interest in getting too close to you. Another interesting fact about blue tang is that the babies / juveniles are bright yellow, and over time mature to a bright royal blue color.
The West sambo reef has crystal clear visibility
A gorgeous day on the reef, what amazing water clarity!
Tarpon are abundant in Key West waters
Chasing after some tarpon
Swimming with sea turtles
We love swimming with sea turtles! We're planning to write another blog specifically devoted to swimming with sea turtles, but for now here's a beautiful photo of one of our dives. There are a number of different sea turtle species in Florida, and this article has some fun facts about the different species, and where to best see them here, and the West Sambo reef is one of their suggestions!
For more information on the West Sambo reef, you can click here: