Nine Foot Stake is an interesting Florida Keys dive site that’s often overlooked
Nine Foot Stake is marked with a 9' tall I-beam. The depth of the water ranges from twelve feet to twenty five feet. There are two mooring buoys, 9FT1 and 9FT2. It’s located four miles south of Key West and one mile west of channel marker #1. This is not a Sanctuary Preservation Area. It’s OK for you to take fish and lobster as long as you have your Florida Saltwater Fishing License and the lobster endorsement, for the lobster. The GPS Coordinates are 24'28.327N and 081'24.888W.
This is a great shallow water dive. It has tons of all kinds of marine plants and animals. You can expect to see lots of small tropical fish like the beautiful blue chromis in this picture, snapper, porkfish, grunts, red hind grouper, graysby grouper, damselfish, green moray eel, and lots of spiny lobster. Cruise over the sandy areas near the grass and you’re likely to find Queen Conch. There are several different species of corals both soft and hard at this dive site. Some of the brain corals are six feet in diameter. It’s mostly spur and groove coral formations and most of these measure twelve feet from the sea floor to the top. This is where you’ll find the large parrot fish. You can hear them crunching on the coral. Very large barracuda hang motionless over the reef but they’re not a threat to a diver.
The bones of an old small lighthouse that stood on pilings fifty foot tall are scattered for hundreds of feet all around the reef
. There’s also pieces from an old shipwreck near the reef. It’s totally encrusted with coral so it looks like just another formation.
The Navy did lots of testing at this reef. You can still find artifacts from their war games. You’re likely to encounter a current here and sometimes it’s really strong. The visibility varies with the current.
This shallow reef is a great second dive after you’ve dived the Cayman Salvage Master located one mile to the northeast. This is also a popular dive site for the Key West Dive Shops when taking divers out on a night dive. And if you’re into underwater photography you’ll enjoy the many colorful corals, sponges and fish at this Florida Keys reef.
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