Location: Vista Park Reef located about 1000 feet from shore out of Vista Park.
LAT/LONG 26.16313, -80.09574
Description: This is a secluded little gem mostly known only to locals. The reef is a short swim straight out from the beach area just past the no boats allowed buoy so you must have a dive flag. The water depth is from about 8 to 20 feet. Slack high tide will provide the clearest water but the water is also deeper. The reef itself is a mostly flat reef with patches of coral, lots of sea fans and scattered fish. Overall this reef seems much more healthy than further north near the fishing pier.
I pulled a pool float along with my dive flag so that I could relax on once I was out to the reef. Christy just pulled her torpedo dive flag. The ocean was flat but visibility was only somewhat decent, but very enjoyable. We spent just under two hours exploring the reef until a strong current started pulling us north. Because of the current we ended up having a bit of a walk back to our car once we got back to shore.
Parking: Depending on the day, get there very early or be ready to spend sometime waiting for someone to leave freeing up a parking space. There is a central parking meter takes credit cards, change, paper money and pay by phone.
Amenities: One fresh water shower. Picnic tables, BBQ grills.
Location: We named this Christy Reef since she is the one that found it a few years ago. It is around 300 yards from shore.
LAT/LONG 26.1760, -80.0894
Description: This is a shallow reef in about ten feet of water with an abundance of life. If you go just a short distance in any direction the water does gets much deeper. It has some nice ledges with an abundance of life living under the ledges. Every time we visit this reef we find something new.
Notes For this Snorkel: The weather this year has been horrendous. The only days that the weather has been somewhat decent have been days that we have had to work. So on this morning, as every morning that we don’t have to work, we woke up as the sun was coming up, checked the beach cam, saw that the ocean was flat, and started getting our tandem kayaking gear together to do a kayak snorkel when our friend with a boat called asking if we wanted to go boating with him.
The water was crystal clear with no current whatsoever, but with thunder storms forming off in the distance. We only had about an hour in the water before the lightning got too close for comfort. Would have liked to have stayed at this reef all day but not wanting to die in a storm we packed up and headed away before the storm hit.
It was a good thing for the Spiny Lobster that we don’t eat lobster as this snorkel was during lobster mini season and there was an abundance of lobster under the ledges.