Marquesas Keys is the Florida Keys last frontier of unspoiled wrecks, reefs and flats

Marquesas Keys has a 49' tall lighthouse due south on the reef, it called Cosgrove Shoal Light. It’s 20 miles west southwest of Key West. Its GPS Coordinates are 24'27.500N and 082'11.100W. The depth of the water ranges from 4' to 120'. The islands are located 25 miles west of Key West. This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area, but it is a National Wilderness Area. The GPS Coordinates for the islands are 24'28.800N and 082'07.950W.

The islands were named after Marquis de Cadereita. He was commander of the 1622 Spanish Treasure Fleet that was sent to the bottom of the ocean with their treasure by a fierce hurricane. The Atocha and Santa Margarita were two of the ships in that fleet.

Marquases Keys

These islands have the only known atoll in the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a lagoon in the middle of this circular shaped island. It’s thought to have been formed by a meteor strike not a volcano. The islands are 3 ½ miles across. It’s made up of 10 mangrove islands. They have long sandy beaches on the south side. You can find protected areas to anchor your boat if you have outboards. Just be sure you have plenty of mosquito repellent.

About 1000' off the south side of the entire island chain are large coral heads in 8' to 12' of water. There are ten wrecks within two miles of the shores of the islands for you to dive or fish. About six miles south is the reef line there are lots of caves crevices and huge overhangs in thirty to seventy feet of water. Keep going deeper and you’ll find some great wall and drop off diving. This is the place for the serious spearfisherman.

The visibility is almost always great, but the current is usually strong. You can expect to encounter really large fish. Some of the biggest barracuda you’ll ever see will be here. Large sharks are also a common sight. Huge permit, snapper, tarpon, grouper, Jewfish and lobster like to hang around the wrecks. The flats are full of marine life, bonefish, permit, jacks, big sharks, bluefish, redfish, seatrout, and lots more fish search these areas for a tasty meal.

The Marquesas Keys are a remote exceptional place. Shallow waters surround the Keys. There are vast areas of grass covered flats. These islands and the Dry Tortugas are pristine, unspoiled and last frontiers of their kind. I for one am glad they’re right here just a boat ride away in the Florida Keys.

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