Molasses Reef is one of the most popular dive and snorkel sites in the Key
Largo Marine Sanctuary.  And with good reason.  This beautiful reef usually
has very good visibility and the marine life is mostly undisturbed and
abundant.  The reef is marked by a 45 foot tall steel light tower and has 33
mooring buoys marked M1-M33.  All except for 21-23 are shallow dives and
snorkeling areas.  21-23 are a bit deeper for diving only.   This site was
named after a barge carrying a load of molasses barrels grounded here
many years ago.

This reef is a well-defined spur and groove system that stretches out from
very shallow waters to about 40 feet.  The buoys closest to the tower are the
very shallow dive sites and snorkel sites.  Hard as well as soft corals rise up
from the sandy bottom.  A large variety of rope sponges and vase sponges
cover the substrate in the shallow area and helps to give the reef its
incredible colors.

Then as the buoys extend outward, the reef gradually becomes deeper.  
Large barrel sponges and tube sponges can be found at around 30 feet
deep.   

The South end of the reef is known as "The Aquarium".  Some of the largest
schools of fish in the Florida Keys can be found in this area.  Horse-eyed
jacks, permit jacks, bar jacks, yellow goatfish, small-mouth grunts, sergeant
majors, angelfish, parrot fish, blue tangs, barracuda, grouper, and very large
tarpon are often seen in the area.  But don't get me wrong, these fish are all
over Molasses reef!

You'll probably see a few nurse sharks, moray eels, lobsters, turtles, crabs,
sting rays and even spotted eagle rays and manta rays on this reef, too.

An eight-foot Spanish anchor lies in the shallow waters near M3.  No one
knows the history of this anchor.

"The Winch Hole" is near M8.  It is said that this winch belonged to the
Slobodana, a 176 foot wooden schooner that ran aground on Molasses Reef
in 1887.  It now lies scattered on the ocean floor.  Southwest of M8 there is a
coral ledge with a hole large enough to swim through.  This is called "The
Hole in the Wall".

At the M11 and M12 buoys is the area where one of the worst groundings at
Molasses Reef happened when the M/V Wellwood that ran high aground on
this reef. The 400-foot (122 meters) freighter completely pulverized several
very large star coral formations.
Florida Keys Diving, Florida Keys Scuba Diving, Diving Florida Keys, Scuba Diving Florida Keys
Scuba divers and snorkelers can choose from
a variety of Florida Keys dive sites for scuba
diving and snorkeling.  We offer wreck diving,
reef diving, night diving, beginner and
advanced diving.  Florida Keys Snorkeling is
always an adventure!