Marine Life After Hurricane Irma: Dive into an Underwater Safari
Since Hurricane Irma swept through the Florida Keys in September 2017, professional divers have been closely monitoring the condition of coral reefs and shipwrecks, and there’s good news: now is the best time to rediscover the highlights of diving beneath the blue in the Middle Keys.
6.5 miles south of Duck Key Channel in approximately 120 feet of water, the wreck of Thunderbolt remains an iconic dive site for advanced or wreck-certified divers. Since Irma, visibility has been reported from 50 feet to “outstanding” (80-plus feet) with an impressive collection of marine creatures gliding through the waters. You can expect to find large angelfish and barracuda patrolling its decks, while a goliath grouper can be spotted swimming in and out of the wheelhouse. Keep an eye out for jacks, cobia, tarpon and a variety of deep-water pelagic creatures who have made Thunderbolt their home.
Abundance of Marine Life
The displacement of sand following Irma is slowly being corrected by tidal cycles and ocean currants. At Sombrero Reef, sand and silt still cover areas of the reef which create cloudy visibility in places, however divers are reporting clearer spots with French angelfish and huge schools of grunts still commonly sighted.
For an area teeming with sea life, head to a shallow dive site in the Middle Keys known as Flagler’s Barge. Here you will find goliath groupers alongside huge schools of fish darting around the metal structures. This is thought to be the remnants of a barge platform from Henry Flagler’s Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad.
From Tranquility Bay Resort, you can enjoy easy access to some of the most impressive dive sites in the Florida Keys with help from Turtle Island Watersports dive professionals. Explore the Atlantic on an underwater safari on your next Florida Keys vacation and open your eyes to the world’s magnificent natural aquarium.