Not only is the Florida Reef the largest in the continental United States, it just so happens to be one of the largest on earth! The reef system here is comprised of thousands of individual coral reefs, and because the reef itself is separated from the mainland by a deep valley or channel, it is categorized as a coral barrier reef. The entire reef stretches some one hundred and seventy miles long, from the southern tip of Florida, and travels north to the end of the Florida Keys. If that wasn’t impressive enough, it’s believed the reef is anywhere between 5000 - 7000 years old! The Florida Reef isn’t just renowned because of its size, it was the culprit for thousands of shipwrecks from explorers from all over the region, including the Spanish who came to the new world in the 16th century. It is estimated that the reef snagged one ship a week, a testament to the fury of currents swirling off the coast of Florida. Unpredictable in the late summer and fall months, the number of shipwrecks spawned a very profitable shipwreck industry, one of which that was almost solely responsible for the islands economic prosperity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, those staggering shipwreck numbers have obviously dramatically decreased, and given way to one of the most vibrant shipwreck diving industries in the world. This blog is dedicated to informing prospective divers about the mysterious world of diving on the reef, providing you with tips on when to go, what to bring and where to go - Happy Diving!