Carysfort Lighthouse & Elbow Reef
Take an extended trip on this unique adventure! This 2-tank dive trip will explore two different reefs where you'll have impressive views and photo ops of the Lighthouse. We'll travel about an hour each way to the dive sites while you relax and enjoy awesome sightseeing and views that are unique only to this location. This trip is approximately 5 hours in duration. Depending on the conditions, other unique sites you may experience on this extended trip could include City of Washington and/or The Horseshoe which are equally impressive.
The Carysfort Lighthouse marks the main body of the four mile long Carysfort Reef system. The lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse of its type in the United States. It's an impressive 112 foot tall structure constructed in 1852. The lighthouse lies six miles off of Key Largo. Diving and snorkeling near and around the lighthouse is fantastic with good visibility, magnificent coral and plenty of fish. Carysfort Reef surrounding the lighthouse is one of the best developed reef systems in the Keys, and contains a wide variety of reef features including well-developed stands of elkhorn coral. Reef development is enhanced by the water quality, temperature, and salinities of the Gulf Stream, which sweeps close to the seaward edge of the reef. Located ENE of the tower is "Carysfort Trench" a beautiful wall of Staghorn, Brain, and Sheet corals. The wall drops 65-80 feet to a sandy bottom. Five cannons from the 1800s rest in 15 feet of water approximately 1/2 mile to the north of the tower. And two large anchors thought to be from an 1800s frigate rest in 30-40 feet of water four hundred yards NNW of the tower.
At Elbow Reef the depth range runs approximately 15 – 85 ft. This reef sits a bit out of line from the rest of the reefs in Key Largo. The first benefit to this, is that Elbow Reef is in the clear, blue waters where the Gulf Stream shifts closer to Florida. As a result of this, the Elbow nearly always has good visibility. Queen, French and gray angelfish frequent the area. You will also see prominent coral ridges, sand channels and lower-profile star and brain corals.