Ten Fathom Bar is one of the best mini wall dives in the Florida Keys
Ten Fathom Bar doesn’t have a marker to help you find the dive site. The depth of the water ranges from twenty five feet to one hundred thirty feet. There are no mooring buoys to tie your boat to. You’ll need to throw the anchor but I should warn you that anchoring is not allowed on top in the shallow water. You’ll need to have enough anchor line to anchor in the sand outside the reef in 130' of water. You’ll need minimum three to one scope. That means you’ll need to have at least 400 feet of anchor line. This is not a Sanctuary Protection Area. You can take fish and lobster as long as you have a Florida Saltwater Fishing License and the lobster stamp if you plan to take lobster
. It’s located eight miles southwest of Key West or one half mile due south of Sand Key
Lighthouse. The GPS Coordinates are 24'26.402N and 081'52.669W
This is really one of the best dive sites in the entire Florida Keys. The most spectacular part of this dive is between forty feet and eighty feet. The top of the reef is 25' and it drops almost straight down to the ocean floor at 130'. It’s a beautiful wall dive. About 30' down you’ll probably have a strong current. It’s caused by the Gulfstream current which also gives you great visibility most all year around. If you’re not doing a drift dive it’s a good idea to swim hand over hand down your anchor line to get to the bottom and then swim over to the wall and enjoy your dive on the way up. This reef is four miles long and drift diving is the best way to see all of it.
The coral at 130' is different from the coral you’ll see in the shallow water. Deep water corals flourish on the incline on the wall as well as very large barrel sponges. Some of them are larger than me. There’s also beautiful black coral. It’s not that common here in the Florida Key. Another uncommon site that you may see if you’re lucky is a Manta Ray. The wall combined with the current stacks up plankton that these animals feed on. Sting rays are a common sight sleeping in the sand on the ocean floor.
At the southern edge of the reef is a place called Fennel Ridge, that’s the 60' spot that got this reef
it’s name. In 45' of water there’s an old telegraph communication cable that was used to connect the Florida Keys to Cuba
. It’s totally encrusted with coral but you can pick it out because nothing that I've seen in nature is in a straight line stretching across the reef.
The wall and the deep overhangs provide protection for the marine life that flourishes here. And there’s lots of it.
Ten Fathom Bar is a popular dive site. It attracts divers to the Florida Keys all year around. If you’re into underwater photography you'll have lots of opportunity for some great shots. This is a must do dive.
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