North Carysfort Reef
Located off the coast at MM 116 is the first dive site of the Upper Keys - Carysfort Reef. It's easy to find, just look for the 100 foot tall steel lighthouse tower. There are approximately 10 mooring buoys at the reef and the depth range is from 3 to 70 feet. Carysfort Reef is located inside the SPA are (Sanctuary Preservation Area) so there is no fishing or lobstering allowed there.
Carysfort Reef is named after the British Ship, H.M.S. Carysfort, which grounded here in 1770. Almost 80 years later, the first lighthouse on a reef in the Florida Keys was built at this site.
Divers and snorklers can expect to see elkhorn gardens, staghorn coral, varieties of sponges, lettuce coral and brain coral. There is a steep drop to 65 known as "Carysfort Wall". At the foot of this wall lies a wide channel which is covered with fine sand. This sandy channel separates this main reef from a second reef that rises up to 35 feet below the water surface.