Eastern Dry Rocks and Rock Key are two popular dive sites for Key West dive shops at the end of the road in the Florida Keys
Eastern Dry Rocks is marked with a large I-beam stake on the west side of the patch reef. The depth of the water ranges from 4' to 35'. There are 12 mooring buoys, ED1 thru ED12. This is a Sanctuary Protection Area. You can’t take any fish or lobster from this dive site. It’s located 6 miles south of Key West or 2 miles due east of Sand Key or ½ mile east of Rock Key. The GPS Coordinates are 24'27.585N and 081'50.746W.
This is a great patch reef to snorkel or go for a shallow scuba dive. There are beautiful spur and groove formations and some very large coral formations southwest of the marker. An old Spanish Galleon is also hidden in the coral southwest of the marker. At the west end of the reef is a wreck from the nineteenth century. It looks like just another coral formation. You'll find ballast stones, brass fittings, cannon balls, rigging and other artifacts if you take the time and dig around a little in the sand outside the reef. Grass patches surrounded by sand are on the shoreward side. This is a good location to look for Queen Conch's. The east and west sides are shallow and contain rubble fields. All the coral is on the outside edge in deeper water.
Rock Key is really a part of this same patch reef system. It’s ½ mile west of here. And it’s one mile due east of Sand Key Light. It’s a Sanctuary Protection Area, so no taking of anything. It has an I-beam stake in the center of the backside of the reef. There are 11 mooring buoys, R1 thru R11. Some of the coral fingers break the water at low tide. The GPS Coordinates are 24'27.259N and 081'51.453W.
There are a couple of wrecks at this patch reef. It actually grew up around a shipwreck from the 1800's. The ship was carrying a cargo of tiles from Barcelona, Spain when it hit the reef and spread tiles around the area. It’s difficult to find the actual wreck site because the reef has grown over it. A few lucky divers are still finding tiles today. Chains, hardware and other artifacts are from the second unknown wreck that sank after striking the reef.
There are unique crevices in the coral and a large crack over 20' deep cut through the reef. Several concrete beams used to be laying on top of a section of this reef. There are some huge brain coral and other large mounds of coral that makes this dive site really popular with Key West dive shops and many local divers in the Florida Keys.
Rock Key is known to UFO seekers as a landing site of a UFO. It has what looks like unusual and large dish shaped areas on the east side at a depth of 15'.
You’ll see lots of fish and marine life on your dive. sharks, stingrays, spotted and green moray eels, and turtles are common sights at Rock Key and Eastern Dry Rocks.
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