Thousands of scuba divers and snorkelers visiting the Florida Keys each year now can enjoy two new underwater programs spotlighting the Keys’ coral reefs and shipwrecks. Each offers a specially created souvenir journal and the potential to win prizes for discovering the island chain’s subsea wonders.
First-timers, families and fun-loving outdoors groups can enjoy the underwater world and take home a tangible memory with the newly launched “Become a Reef Explorer” program, which spotlights Keys coral reefs in a specially created souvenir journal. The Florida Keys is home to the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef.
Enthusiasts of all experience levels can explore the destination’s reefs and be awarded for logging reef dives or snorkels between Key Largo and Key West.
Reef Explorer participants collect validation stamps from professional dive or snorkel operators indicating they have visited one or all of the reefs highlighted in the journal.
After they collect five stamps, one in each region of the Keys, participants can email [email protected] to receive an access code to download, personalize and print a Florida Keys Reef Explorer poster ready for framing.
Details can be found at <<www.fla-keys.com/diving/reefexplorer/>>.
Since 2010, the Wreck Trek dive program has attracted recreational, wreck-specialty and advanced divers seeking a unique experience in the Florida Keys.
A third edition of the program, dubbed “Wreck Trek 3.0,” is being offered through January 2016. Divers taking up the challenge receive an official Florida Keys Wreck Trek logbook upon reserving dive trips with participating professional dive shops.
The passport-style logbook highlights nine shipwrecks from Key Largo to Key West including Spiegel Grove, Duane, Benwood, Eagle, Thunderbolt, Adolphus Busch Sr., Cayman Salvager, Joe’s Tug and Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg.
Each participant who dives five of the logbook’s wrecks, one in each area of the Keys, receives a personalized collage print by mail. Divers who explore all nine wrecks receive a print and also are eligible to win prizes.
Prizewinners are to be randomly selected at the conclusion of the program after Jan. 1, 2016.
ROCKY WELCH/Courtesy of Florida Keys News Bureau