French Reef is located about 1 mile Northeast of the
Molasses Reef tower. There is a black piling there and 17
mooring buoys with the letter "F".
This dive site is remembered by divers that have been here for
its limestone cliffs and its many swim-throughs/caves and
crevices. The caves lie at depths ranging from 25 to 35 feet
and are named for their unique appearance. About 50 feet
inshore at the F1 buoy , you'll find the "Hourglass Cave" which
oddly enough, resembles an hourglass. Enormous groupers
are often found around this cave.
At F3 there is the "Christmas Tree Cave". This cave is about 50
feet from the buoy and is about 4 feet high by about 20 feet
long. It was named for the hundreds of beautiful Christmas
tree worms that cover the cave.
There is a small swim-through at F6. At F7 there is an old
anchor about 100 feet Northwest of the coral covered ledge
under the buoy. It may be a little difficult to make out because
it's overgrown by corals so look carefully.
At the center of French Reef is the largest of all the caves. This
is called the "White Sand Bottom Cave".
At the South end of the reef there is a series of narrow
swim-throughs that are called the "Five Caves".
Moray eels, lobsters, crabs and sting rays are often found on
the reef. The shallow areas of the reef are covered with golden
brown elkhorn coral. You'll see old mounds and boulders of
brain coral and star coral a little deeper. There are a variety of
colorful tropical fish that make this reef home.
The French Reef is in an SPA area. No fishing or lobstering
Beginner, intermediate and advanced divers will all enjoy this
dive site. The depth ranges from 5 to 100 feet.
Upper Keys Dive Pictures
Photos by Gail Culver
No reproduction allowed without permission.