Diving the Reef off Key West

Slipping beneath the surface of the turquoise waters off the coast of Key West, I entered into a world completely unlike my own. I moved from a noisy, bright environment to a serene and silent one, where all color is subdued. There is something majestic about spending time in the ocean, surrounded by creatures alien to most. What a privilege to share the world of fish and coral.

On Wednesday of this week, I went on two dives to the USNS Vandenberg, the second largest artificial reef in the world. I took video on my GoPro. That will come as soon as the wifi situation allows me to edit and upload. I’ll tell you more about that dive then.

After doing that dive, and seeing that I had some time on my hands, I decided to advance to the next level of diving certification. I became open-water certified in 2006. I’ve had limited dive experience since then, mainly on cruise ship excursions once a year. So, I signed up with Lost Reef Adventures to gain my advanced open-water certification. Yesterday, I took my first two of five required dives to achieve this level of certification. Having done the bookwork, we worked on underwater navigation and peak performance buoyancy. These tasks were quickly completed, and the rest of the time we spent enjoying the reef. The first dive was a maximum of 23 feet deep for 49 minutes, while the second was a 25 foot maximum for 45 minutes. I decided to take photos using my GoPro (which I love!) that I’ll share with you. Enjoy!

I identified the lovely creatures found in each photo to the best of my ability. If you see anything incorrectly identified, let me know. 🙂

Bluestriped Grunts swimming beneath a Sea Fan

Bluestriped Grunts swimming beneath a Sea Fan

Spiny Lobster staring at me

Spiny Lobster staring at me

A Variety of Grunts

A Variety of Grunts

Brain Coral

Brain Coral

Squirrelfish

Squirrelfish

Branching Vase Sponges?

Branching Vase Sponges?

A Barracuda lurking beneath the dive boat

A Barracuda lurking beneath the dive boat

Fans and Coral

Fans and Coral

Banded Jawfish (?) by Sea Plume

Banded Jawfish (?) by Sea Plume

Not sure what this snowy white creature is. :)

Not sure what this snowy white creature is. 🙂

More Beautiful Sea Fans

More Beautiful Sea Fans

Knobby Sea Rods (?)

Knobby Sea Rods (?)

A Different World

A Different World

Spanish Grunt

Spanish Grunt

Smallmouth Grunt

Smallmouth Grunt

Blue Tang amid Sea Fans

Blue Tang amid Sea Fans

A Group of Grunts

A Group of Grunts

Foureye Butterfly Fish on the Reef

Foureye Butterfly Fish on the Reef

A School of Blue Tang (?)

A School of Blue Tang (?)

Squirrel Fish and Sailors Choice

Squirrel Fish and Sailors Choice

Another Beautiful Blue Tang

Another Beautiful Blue Tang

Blue Parrotfish

Blue Parrotfish

Staghorn and Fan Coral

Staghorn and Fan Coral

Beautiful

Beautiful

Spotted Trunkfish

Spotted Trunkfish

Your's Truly

Your’s Truly

Rock Beauty

Rock Beauty

A Gathering of Grunts

A Gathering of Grunts

Porkfish

Porkfish

A Moray Eel Watching Me Closely

A Moray Eel Watching Me Closely

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