Joanies Reef isn’t a name you’re gonna find on your NOAA Chart or on your GPS Map page for the Florida Keys

Small Hawksbill Turtle in the Florida Keys


Joanies Reef doesn’t have a marker or any mooring buoys to tie your boat too. The depth of the water ranges from ten feet to twenty five feet. This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area. It’s legal to take lobster and fish as long as you have your Florida Saltwater Fishing License. Remember you’ll need the lobster endorsement if you plan to take lobster. The limit on lobster is six per person per day. This reef is located about four miles southeast of Vaca Cut. The GPS Coordinates are 24'39.380N and 081'00.570W.

You’re not gonna find the name of this reef on any of your charts or in your GPS. It’s one of those locals dive sites that not too many people visit. Most of the time you’ll be the only boat here.

This is a really nice reef to snorkel and free dive. There are two outstanding features you’ll want to look for. One is a deep ledge that starts at a depth of 15' of water. It quickly falls off to a depth of 25' as it slopes down toward the ocean floor.

This ledge creates a perfect sleeping area for sea creatures like sea turtles and nurse sharks. I’m always cautious when I’m diving in an area that has deep ledges and overhangs. More times than I can remember I’ve stuck my head under a ledge and found myself face to face with a huge nurse shark. This is when you’ll see me doing a lot of back paddling to get the h@%* out of there fast. The second outstanding feature is in the southern end of the reef. It’s a round shaped area that’s about 150 feet across.

It would be a good idea to pick up one of those disposable underwater cameras to take on this dive. You don’t want to miss the chance to get a shot of one of these magnificent creatures up front and close while diving in the Florida Keys.



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