French Reef Is Known For Caves, Swim Throughs, Ledges & Cliffs
French Reef is part of the SPA area in the Key Largo Existing Management Area.
This reef is popular for it's unusual structures which include numerous swim throughs, tunnels, caves, ledges and cliffs.
All exciting dive features that are fun to explore on dive trips to this beautiful coral reef.
The variation in structure also provides different habitats.
This in turn promotes a broader spectrum of marine life as those that prefer to hide out are also accommodated.
Some of the fish you'll encounter when exploring the caves and swim throughs never leave their lairs.
This area is also less affected by current, however the plus side of that means there's also a negative.
Visibility can be somewhat degraded at times due to the lack of current, but not so bad that anyone should consider not
including this as one of their Key Largo diving sites.
You'll also want to keep a lookout for larger grouper, moray eels and stingrays who've been known to frequent this area.
French Reef Map
At-A-Glance Reef Diving Description
And GPS Coordinates
6 miles southeast of
25 02.072N 080 20.975W
17 F buoys
Novice - Intermediate
3 - 100'
Dive Site Description
This is a SPA site and is part of the Key Largo Existing Management area. The water here is not the typical blue, instead it runs a more greenish hue over the reef. Within the 15 - 40' depth range, divers will find the majority of swim throughs, tunnels, cliffs and limestone caves. Lighting is advisable on this dive if you're interested in exploring these regions. The current is usually fine but can be occasionally strong. When this happens it can make for good drift diving along the numerous ledges. The northernmost buoy has an interesting north running trench and at the south end of the reef is the Hourglass Cave. This is split into 2 by an hourglass shaped column. In the middle of the reef is the largest cave, the White Sand Bottom Cave. The Christmas Tree Cave is located about 50' from F3 buoy and is also very popular. This 20' tunnel is 4' high and derives it's name from the tall star
rising over the top of the cave
Good snorkel site
Staghorn, elkhorn, boulder, fire, star and brain coral, nurse, hammerhead and reef
grunts, moral eels,
copper sweepers, and
are near the caves, manta and eagle rays,
permit, yellowtail, and numerous tropical fish species, with large ocean sponges
and coral heads at deeper locations
French Reef is one of the more popular Key Largo diving sites, especially for those who've already been on an earlier dive trip to sites
This reef gives divers the chance to wind down, and explore some of the more unusual aspects the coral reefs in this area are famous for.