Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

The weather is warming, the skies are brighter and bluer, and the palm trees are swaying in the tropical breezes!  Yes, it’s summer! This is the time when we all run to the beach to swim and bake in the sun. We look out at the crystal blue waves capped with white foam and feel our muscles relax and our worries fade away. But I’ve discovered something even better; something both relaxing and at the same time, invigorating. This is an adventure that will introduce you to something even more colorful and stunningly beautiful! I’ve discovered Snorkeling! Picture yourself floating over the reef gazing down at the multi colored coral and fish of every shape and size. It’s a whole new world of life beneath those waves and snorkeling gives you the chance to be a part of it.

Patty shows me a hidden school of Parrot Fish
I recently got the chance to spend a morning snorkeling in Key Largo.  My friends and I took a charter boat out to the White Banks Dry Rocks Reef. The water was like turquoise colored liquid crystal. Dark shadowy areas indicated the areas of coral where we would find an abundance of sea life to observe. As I drifted over these areas I was totally enchanted with the variety of species of both fish and coral.  I was extremely fortunate to have my good friend Patty with me. She teaches Marine Biology in high school and worked at Sea World for several years. She made the experience so much richer and more gratifying by pointing out things I might have missed, like a school of parrot fish hiding in a crevice of coral. She also explained about all the different species and taught me to identify several on my own. I felt almost like a Marine Biologist myself after we climbed back aboard the boat!
Our hour and a half snorkeling felt more like fifteen minutes! Before we knew it, the Captain was blowing the siren calling us back to the boat. I could have spent several more hours viewing the wonders of the reefs!
Christ of the Abyss
If you’re wondering what you and your family can do this summer that is not too expensive, lots of fun, educational and absolutely memorable, try snorkeling the Florida Reefs!  Besides the beautiful sea life, there are shipwrecks and other amazing things to see, like the Statue of Christ of the Abyss. This famous bronze statue rises so close to the water's surface that it can be easily viewed by snorkelers as well as divers. The statue is nestled between the coral formations of Key Largo Dry Rocks reef in just 25 feet of water. Key Largo is a popular tourist destination and calls itself the "Diving Capital of the World" because the living coral reef a few miles offshore attracts thousands of scuba divers , snorkelers and sport-fishing enthusiasts.
But Key Largo is only one desirable destination. We've got the only living coral reef in North America and it goes from north of Key Largo, down the entire chain of Keys, and out beyond Key West to the Dry Tortugas. It's why Florida Keys snorkeling is a must-do while on vacation. Boats throughout the Keys take visitors out to the reef for half day snorkeling trips. Some outfitters combine a morning or afternoon of snorkeling with lunch or snacks and beverages, while others work in kayaking and watersports as well. So if you’re planning a trip to see Mickey or Harry Potter this year or simply coming to enjoy the tropical breezes and pristine beaches, consider taking a trip a little further south to snorkel in the Florida Keys!

The color and variety of the Florida Coral Reefs


  1. The reefs are so beautiful! You look great in that yellow wet suit girl!

  2. What's going on with you Marion? First you're saving whales, then working with endangered Apes and now snorkeling in the Keys? What happened to the quiet,shy, workaholic assistant principal we all knew? I'm afraid to guess what you'll do next! All I can say is - WOW! You ROCK! Our GREAT loss is the animal and environment's gain for sure!