Wreck of the Eagle
ISLAMORADA — MM90-63
Islamorada, long recognized as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World," is now an icon among sport divers for much the same reason, a massive population of tropical marine life. High profile coral heads and broad ledges shelter huge congregates of French grunt and goatfish, while regal queen angelfish casually graze amid the reef recesses. Friendly green moray eels swim freely along the spur-and-groove channels, and reclusive nurse sharks lurk beneath the overhangs. Islamorada offers a wide variety of shallow coral reefs, mini walls, shipwrecks, and even an underwater habitat for scientific research, the Aquarius. To learn more about Islamorada or any other manner of local lore, stop by the Chamber of Commerce at mile marker 82.5 or dial 1-800-322-5397.
- The Eagle — This 287-foot ship was intentionally sunk in 110 feet of water as a dive attraction and rests on her starboard side cloaked in a colorful patina of encrusting sponge and coral, populated by huge schools of grunt, tarpon, and jack.
- Davis Reef — This reef is revered for its incredible concentration of grunts and schoolmaster snapper, as well as several amiable resident green morays, long accustomed to benign interaction with the dive masters.
- Alligator Reef — Now marked by a 136-foot-tall lighthouse, on this spot in 1822 the USS Alligator grounded and sank while protecting a convoy from pirates. Now all that remains of the wreck are the twin piles of ballast stones, but the coral reef — in just 25 feet of water — is vibrant and alive.
- Conch Wall — Offering an exciting change of pace from the normal spur-and-groove profiles of most Keys' reefs, Conch Wall presents a precipitous sloping wall and captivating concentrations of barrel sponge and gorgonia punctuating the seafloor.
- Crocker Wall — A 450+-foot-long wall in 50 feet of water. The wall has a thirty-foot decline and features grunts, yellowtail and grouper with spur-and-groove coral and block coral on the wall.
- Pickles Reef — For macro photo enthusiasts, Pickles provides a wonderful opportunity to encounter the reef's minutia, from flamingo tongue cowries to banded coral shrimp, all amid a dynamic coral reef in only 15 to 25 feet of water.