Lower Keys Dive Pictures
Looe Key Reef
Photos by Gail Culver

No reproduction allowed without permission.
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Looe Key Reef is one of the most popular dive and snorkel
destinations in the Middle and Lower Keys.  The reef is 10 miles
Southwest of Bahia Honda Channel and has 54 buoys.  The
depth ranges from 5 to 70 feet making this site excellent for
beginner to advanced divers and for snorkelers.
It is said that the HMS Looe recaptured a British ship, Betty,  that
was taken by privateers.  After the men from the Looe had
manned Betty, her commander, Captain Ashby Utting, ordered
her to be burned because he wanted to ignite all of the
gunpowder aboard to completely destroy her so that the Spanish
could not come back later and savage anything.  There is not
much of the Looe visible now on the reef.
Looe Key was damaged quite a bit from the recent hurricanes in
2004 and 2005 but still is a beautiful dive site.  Don't be surprised
to find reef sharks around this site.  They have been known to
swim together and in circles.  A lot of the soft coral was damaged
but the hard coral is healthy and there are always a lot of tropical
fish around the reef.  
The formation is mostly spur and groove with the outer, deeper
areas mostly sandy bottoms where you'll always find lots of
conchs making their trails along the sand.
Some schools of fish have been feed by boaters and divers in the
area, so you'll probably have a few dozen fish under and around
your boat after tieing to the buoy as well as giant barracuda
hovering nearby.
Looe Key is in an SPA area.  No fishing or lobstering allowed.