The Islands of Key West
Between the happening town of Key West and world famous Duval Street, lie a stretch of hundreds of small tropical uninhibited islands that run 70 miles west from Key West to Boca Grande, the Marquesas Keys, and all the way to the Dry Tortugas. Each of these larger sized islands, with their own individual personalities, are rich in diversity for fishing, diving, spearfishing, eco touring and birding.
Boca Grande Key is the largest, located 14 mile-s west between Key West and the Marquesas Keys. While well favored by the locals for its gorgeous white sandy shoreline and beautiful coral patch reefs, this island is also part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. It offers an all in one stop package where its beautiful white beach awaits you with a peaceful picturesque slice of paradise. You may find yourself strolling along the water’s edge, relaxing and soaking up some sun, having a picnic lunch, viewing the wildlife or diving, snorkeling and swimming the crystal clear blue waters surrounding this pristine island.
The Marquesas Keys offer a much different adventure. These keys were formed by a meteorite many millions of years ago; whose impact created the two-mile-wide lagoon perfectly surrounded by land, and presently represent the only natural atoll in the Western Hemisphere. The area is truly an awe striking paradise and is rich for scuba diving, spearfishing, fishing, and eco wildlife viewing. The waters around the Marquesas Keys are teaming and thriving with all types of deep sea and tropical fish, and some of the most pristine and beautiful reefs in the Florida Keys Marine National Sanctuary and the world.
Almost 70 miles (112.9 km) west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. The area is situated on the edge of the main shipping channel between the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past. The Dry Tortugas were first discovered by the Spanish in 1513 by explorerJuan Ponce de León. He named the islands for their distinctive characteristics: Dry, because none of the islands have fresh water and Tortugas, because he saw an abundance of sea turtles on the island. Now the Dry Tortugas National Park and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are home to these turtles and other birding wildlife.
On one of these islands (Garden Key), lies Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. It was built in the mid 1800s with over 16 million bricks. It was originally built to protect the Gulf of Mexico shipping lanes where ships traveled from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean around the Florida peninsula. The lighthouse at Garden Key was constructed in 1825 and still operates today, while Fort Jefferson remains the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. In 1908 the area became a wildlife refuge for nesting birds and a marine sanctuary, and in 1935 President Roosevelt proclaimed Fort Jefferson a national monument. In 1992, the area became a National Park, and was created to protect and preserve a pristine subtropical marine ecosystem, including the world’s third-largest living barrier reef, and is generally regarded today as the most well-preserved marine area in the Florida Keys, and one of the most in the world.
Even more amazing, due to the fact that these islands are located so far off of the mainland, the Dry Tortugas Park is one of the least accessible National Parks in the U.S, thereby making it by far one of the most unspoiled and beautiful, and a place like no other…truly a paradise on earth. The reef system that runs through and surrounds this area is part of 3rd largest barrier reef system in the world, and is spectacular for scuba diving,spearfishing, and deep sea sport fishing.
The numerous shallow water wrecks and reefs provide a beautiful underwater wonderland, offering an awesome view of a great variety of tropical fish, sea life, shells and enormous coral heads. Most dive sites are between 30 and 80 feet and are home to over 250 species of fish, thousands of invertebrates, sharks, rays and turtles. Fishing in this area and the areas surrounding it, offer an unparalled opportunity to sport and spearfish some giant sized grouper, snapper, tuna, hogfish and the like. And since Adventure Watersport Charters has been granted the privilege of being selected as the only private charter that has been issued both fishing and scuba diving permits to the park, we are able to offer this amazing trip to fish and dive this paradise to you.
If you looked up the definition of “paradise” you could possibly find The Marquesas Keys included in the definition. They are a circular group of ten uninhabited islands that are about 30 miles (50 km) west of Key West, and are part of the Florida Keys. They were formed by a meteorite many millions of years ago; whose impact created the two-mile-wide lagoon perfectly surrounded by land. They represent the only natural atoll in the Western Hemisphere, and their name was derived from Marquis de Cadereita; a commander of the Spanish Treasure Fleet that sank in that same area in 1622. However, they are best known for their excellent scuba diving, spearfishing, fishing, and sport fishing.
The waters around the Marquesas Keys are teaming and thriving with all types of tropical fish, and some of the most pristine and beautiful reefs in the Florida Keys Marine National Sanctuary and the world. Certain areas in The Marquesas Keys also provide for safe harbor for traveling boats, and where our captains often anchor up overnight on our way to the Dry Tortugas. The advantage that Adventure Watersport Charters offers with diving and fishing in and surrounding this area is that most other boats from Key West don’t have the ability to travel out this far. With fewer operators in this area the diving and fishing is virtually pristine and untouched. It’s not unordinary to not see another boat out there all day long.
The area is truly an awe striking paradise and is rich for scuba diving, spearfishing and snorkeling with numerous different dive sites yet to be named. Large coral pinnacles are a famous site not far from the islands, and the continuation of the Marquesas reef line, is where you can find some spectacular caves and overhangs in waters between 30 and 80 feet deep, with extremely high visibility. Several wrecks, overhangs, reefs, coral bommies, huge coral heads and caves are all around these pristine crystal clear waters, and offer an incredible underwater journey.
Scattered around the Marquesas Keys, you will find some incredible wreck and reef fishing where you can enjoy fishing these productive areas for large permit, cobia, groupers, mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, grouper, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, and many more. The reef offers up huge catches of sailfish, whaoo, tuna, and shark, in addition to the others. Venturing a little further out to the deep reef and some deeper wrecks, and you will experience some incredible red snapper fishing and monster amber jacks.
So if you’re looking for a secluded, rich and untouched piece of paradise to dive, spearfish, or deep sea fish in, you need look no further. The Marquesas Keys is it!
For more pristine fishing & dive areas, take a look at the Dry Tortugas & the Vandenberg.
Boca Grande Key is the largest uninhibited and isolated island located between Key West and the Marquesas Keys. It lies 14 miles west of Key West and while well favored by the locals for its gorgeous white sandy shoreline and beautiful coral patch reefs, it is also part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. This federally designated wilderness area harbors rare and endangered wildlife, including nesting sea turtles and birds, which are often spotted while visiting the island.
This island offers it all in a one-stop-package where its beautiful white beach presents you with a peaceful picturesque slice of paradise. You may find yourself strolling along the water’s edge, relaxing and soaking up some sun, having a picnic lunch, viewing the wildlife or diving, snorkeling and swimming the crystal clear blue waters surrounding this pristine island.
Boca Grande is definitely an island where there is something for everyone, from the water lovers to the sun worshippers to the eco enthusiasts; this island has it