We all know that Islamorada is the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World”, but did you know that Key Largo is the “Diving Capital of the World”. Home to many reefs, wrecks and crystal clear waters makes this area of the Florida Keys perfect for diving and snorkeling. Key Largo is also home to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park which in itself provides an amazing underwater adventure.
Just off the coast of Key Largo, in the shallow waters adjacent to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, is the Florida Keys most visited location for Divers and Snorkelers. In the 25 foot deep crystal clear waters, loaded with tropical fish and beautiful ocean life, lays a 4500 lbs bronze statue called the “Christ of the Abyss”. (The actual statue is 560 lbs and sits on a 2 ton base of concrete)
The “Christ of the Abyss” which stands 8’ 6” tall, is actually the third bronze statue created from its original mold. The original statue was created by sculpture Guido Galletti called “Cristo degli Abissi” and is located in the Mediterranean Sea between Camogli and Portofino on the Italian Riviera. It was a memorial for Italian Diver Dario Gonzatti and was placed at the spot of his demise.
The famous statue depicts Christ looking above with his arms and hands reaching upward towards the skies. The third version of this statue was giving to Underwater Society of America in 1962, and on August 25, 1965 was placed in its location 6 miles off Key Largo on the seaward side of Key Largo Dry Rocks. It has since become one of the most popular diving and snorkeling locations in the world and one of the most photographed underwater statues ever.
The statue is, of course, the main attraction of this dive location, but the site is home to some amazing coral reefs and a plentiful number of tropical fish. The marine life is stunning and some of the species found at this location include moray eels, nurse sharks, angelfish, grouper and many varieties of snapper.
Crystal clear waters, iconic statue, beautiful coral reefs, and fascinating marine life are all the reasons that Key Largo has become the “Diving Capital of the World. There are many Dive and Snorkel Tour companies that can take you out for an excursion to the “Christ of the Abyss”. Make sure you visit Islamorada Times website for all the information you need for your stay and all the activities available in Islamorada, Key Largo, and the surrounding Florida Keys.
Images provides by @baydreamer, Sebastian Carlosena, Portofino