Horseshoe Reef

Horseshoe reef is located near Key Largo Dry rocks and North dry rocks. Its not as popular as some of the reef a little further south and only has 3 mooring balls but it it beautiful.

How did Horseshoe reef get its name?

Story has it that an ancient ship carrying a cargo of horses ran aground on its route to Miami. The ship originated somewhere south where gold was plentiful. Each of these prized racehorses had horseshoes made from gold as the soft metal helped them get better grip on the racecourse.

The ship was stuck steadfast on the reef and luckily there were other ships sailing with them. They managed to get the horses off and onto another of the ships just in time before the ship sank.

When the ship was recovered it should have contained 24 spare horse shoes made from gold for the racehorses. However none of the gold horseshoes could be found and were presumed lost on the reef somewhere.

Well enough of these Divemaster stories! This is not a true story so please do not disturb the seabed no matter how tempting it may be!

The Reef

This is a regular stop for us on many of our trips when Key Largo Dry Rocks is busy or we are looking for smoother waters, particularly for snorkelers as it has a little protection from Key Largo Dry Rocks and North North/North Dry rocks. Yes the naming is not very inventive is it. I guess those who were naming the reefs sort of run out of steam at this point!

Horseshoe reef is around 20 feet deep. There are mooring balls at each end. There is a very large healthy piece of Elk horn on one end of the reef

On the other end of the reef we often see huge schools of silverside fish who hide in amongst the rock trying not to be eaten by bigger fish.

There is a large anchor to be found and plenty of lobster hiding in the relief of the coral.

You will also see what look like parcels on the seabed. These are coal packets and there is another story about how these got there too.