Cheeca Rocks is a small easy for everyone to dive Florida Keys dive site
Cheeca Rocks does not have a marker or light tower. The depth here ranges from 2' to 15'. There are seven mooring buoys. It’s located about one mile southeast of Upper Matecumbe Key. This is the only Sanctuary Preservation Area in the Middle Keys set aside to protect an inshore patch reef. It’s the smallest of all the Sanctuary Preservation Areas in the Florida Keys. That means no taking of lobster or fish inside the marked area. The GPS coordinates are 24'54.245N and 080'36.885W.
This reef is easy to get to because it’s so close to shore and that’s also the reason why it gets so many visitors. It’s right out in front of Cheeca Lodge. Lots of guests at the lodge dive and snorkel this patch reef. Outside the preservation area you may see commercial tropical fish collectors catching fish.
There’s lots of coral both soft and hard. Some of the larger coral heads come to within two feet of the surface of the water. There’s an area locals call the Donut, I bet you’ll know it when you swim over it. Something about the round shape with the hole in the middle. Then there’s another area called Rick’s Rock, it’s a large coral head teeming with fish. Both of these sites have a mooring buoy. The reef is surrounded by grass and sand. This is the area where you’ll want to look for Queen Conch and an occasional turtle.
This is a great dive site for underwater photography. It’s home to lots of colorful fish of many variety and size including spotted eagle rays, sharks and there’s always a barracuda around.
This Florida Keys dive site is one that a diver of any skill level can enjoy. Although the advanced diver may feel a little claustrophobic here.
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