Toppino’s Reef, also known as Marker Reef #1 and Red 32, may not be one of the most well-known reefs, but it is perhaps among the most beautiful shallow reefs offshore from Key West. Located around 4.5 miles south of the Boca Chica Channel, Toppino’s Reef is positioned within 25 feet of water at its maximum depth. Due to its depth and beauty, it is perfect for anyone in the Florida Keys interested in snorkeling or shallow diving within a unique underwater paradise. It is also an ideal location for night diving, because its navigation marker provides light to see through the crystal waters at all hours of the day.
One of the most remarkable features of Toppino’s Reef is undoubtedly its fifteen large coral fingers that extend throughout the dive site towards the sea. Rising between eight and fifteen feet in the sandy bottom, the very tall coral fingers provide striking and often breathtaking views for divers to behold. Toppino’s Reef also contains many beautiful spur and groove reef formations, as well as channels and canyons within the coral fingers. When diving at night, scuba divers often are able to witness the coral polyps opening up to feed on their midnight snacks. The reef system also possesses three mooring buoys in the finger channels.
With the coral providing a protective and safe habitat, a variety of different Florida fish species enjoy calling Toppino’s Reef home. Colorful schools of grunts, yellowtail snapper, butterfly fish, parrotfish, damelfish, and tangs are often observed. Occasionally, green moray eels, sea turtles, and nurse sharks can also be seen. Since many of the fish found in Toppino’s Reef are not likely to frequent other areas in the Keys, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of seeing the exclusive marine beauty. The area is not a Sanctuary Preservation Area, so it is also allowed for divers to catch fish and lobster found here, with a valid Florida Saltwater Fishing Licnese.
Whether you are a novice or an advanced diver with years of experience, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Toppino’s Reef. You simply do not want to miss on this amazing opportunity to feast your sights on world-class coral, unique marine life species, and beautiful crystal clear waters. When it comes to the most beautiful Key West dive sites, it is no surprise that Toppino’s Reef is named #1 and receives straight A’s.