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Diving At Sombrero Light & Reef

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3665225srfloridaBy Water 24.627486, -81.111289

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This lighthouse is about 3 miles outside of Boot Key Harbor at Marathon. At 142 feet it's the tallest of the Keys Lighthouses. The light was manned from 1858 to 1939 by the US Lighthouse Service, but this service was abolished in 1939. The Coast Guard then took it over. In 1960 the Coast Guardsmen stationed there got quite a ride when Hurricane Donna stormed through. The light survived the 20 foot seas and 200 mph winds, but the bottom platform was ripped off. No one lived there after that and regular trips are made for maintenance - except as an occasional lookout post. The reef is a very nice spur and groove formation. Mooring buoys make it very easy to select depths from 15 to 60 feet on the seaward side of the reef. Snorkeling is excellent - under the shadows of the lighthouse, inside the structure underwater, are what appear to be thousands of snapper, grunt and barracuda. A coral archway spans one of the sand chutes between coral spurs. Good night dive spot.

Local information and photo provided by Greg Absten, of www.bootkeyharbor.com

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Molasses Keys

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MolassesKey7MileBridgeCaptFrankBy Water 24.683426, -81.191172

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Oceanside off 7 mile bridge. Nice day spot to swim, explore & wade. The rock just to the SW of the main island has an old bomb hole on its NW side. This goes from about 5 foot depths at the rim to 15 or 16 feet in the hole. Good swimming. The middle island is the main one & you can beach your dinghy & explore. The water in the flats between this Island and the mangrove one to the east is very shallow and VERY HOT in the summer - it must be 105-110 degrees.  We sometimes anchor in the channel just to the NW of the island and stay the weekend there. Fast currents. There is a ledge about 100 yards off the island. You dinghy or small boat in to the ledge (go to the East end of the island), then walk the rest of the way in. Watch the tide because if you're boat is up on the ledge it can go high and dry very quickly on an outgoing tide!

Local information provided by Greg Absten, of www.bootkeyharbor.com Photo By Capt. Frank Danisl

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West Sister Rock (Gullah Gullah Island)

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RaftUpGullahGullahIslBy Water 24.686211, -81.091388

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This is on your port side as you enter Sister's Creek and is across from Sombrero Beach. It's a big party spot on weekends for boats to anchor (6' and down), swim, drink beer, float, and explore Gullah Gullah Island on foot (the rocks are VERY sharp so wear your water shoes) . You can approach this anchorage directly from the #2 Daymark into Sister Creek. Watch for the flats to the North (your starboard as you head to the island from the daymark). Do not approach this Island from the West. You could approach it from the South (Oceanside) but there are no sand bars out on that side, the rocks are sharp and you are exposed to the waves.

Local information and photo provided by Greg Absten, of www.bootkeyharbor.com

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