Snorkeling Molasses Reef

Author: Jodi Pierce

Snorkelling Molasses Reef

The beautiful thing about snorkelling generally is that you get to have a clear peak into what holds beneath a large body of water: The plants, animals, and its overall beauty. But by snorkelling around the molasses reef, you are setting yourself up for a whole new level of exciting snorkelling experience, particularly, you get to experience in its entirety, all that goes on around the molasses reef – which you could as well call one of the 7th wonders of the world. So, such an experience is very much ethereal. Little wonder the molasses reef is widely acclaimed as one of the favourite destinations for snorkelers around the world. As you prep up to dive at one of the finest snorkelling locations you could find around the world, it would suffice to have yourself armed with essential knowledge about the Molasses Reef, and that’s what this article intends to educate you on.

The Origin of Its Name

Like most iconic places around the world, there is a background story that explains why the location was named Molasses Reef, which is basically surrounding the events that led to the unofficial naming of the place. History has it recorded that the area was named Molasses Reef because of the fact that it was the area where a barge transporting a cargo of Molasses Barrels got stuck and crashed. Though there are different stories told by people to explain how the area got named, this one seems to be the most authentic of all.


By Geography, and if you are the one sailing yourself to the place, its exact coordinates are N 25 01.00/W 80 22.53. The Molasses Reef particularly is located near the eastern end of the Florida Keys and is also acclaimed to be the most preferred tourist site in the Florida Keys. The safest and the most suitable area of the Molasses Reef for snorkelling is the north end of the reef, which is about 10 – 15 feet deep. But as you draw closer to the South eastern part of the Reef, the depth deepens to about 70 feet, which makes it unfavourable for baby snorkelers and should only be explored by experienced ones.

Snorkelling Tours Companies You Could Patronize

Because the Molasses Reef is a largely explored site, there are many tour guides available to pick from to enable you to explore the site in its entirety since most of them usually have the Molasses Reef in their itinerary. Some of them around Key Largo are: Keys Diver Snorkel and Dive Center, Sundiver Snorkel Tours, Sail Fish Scuba, Horizon Divers etc. The aforementioned tour guides are well talked about by clients who have patronized them before. In case you intend to tour round the Molasses Reef in future, those are guides you should most definitely patronize to guarantee a mind-blowing snorkelling experience around the molasses reef.

Sites to Look out for Around The Molasses Reef

And we save the best for the last. One of the reasons why the Molasses Reef is popularly visited is because of the treasure it holds. Visiting the reef allows you the opportunity to unlock those treasures.

Here are few sites and structures you can look out for when you dive at Molasses Reef.

The Winch hole: This site is probably the most talked about site in the Molasses Reef. Most divers and snorkelers that follow this path probably do so because they want to have a glimpse of this site around the Molasses Reef. The Winch is generally believed to have come as a souvenir from the Austrian ship wreck that happened in the 1800. This is one of the first sites you will come across as you sail through the reef as it is located at 30 feet depth of water. And because it is not located that deep into the water, it is considered as a safe place for divers and snorkelers to explore. The Winch hole is also a site where you can find a wide variety of aquatic creatures like the Barracuda, Tarpon, Parrotfish, Goliath Groupers, Chubs, Snappers etc.

Fire Coral Cave: Just like the Winch hole, this is another site you will come across as you tour round the Molasses Reef. It is also a site you can easily locate by just shallow diving, which even beginner divers and snorkelers could safely manoeuvre their way through. Some of the aquatic creatures you can easily find on this site are: Turtles, Saw stingray, Blue and Purple fish, Groupers etc. It is indeed a wonderful site to behold.

Hole in the Wall: Just as the name implies, it is a wide hole formed in the reef wall. It is even wide enough for any diver or snorkeler to swim through. It is located about 28 feet deep and could be safely explored by beginner divers and snorkelers. The Hole in the Wall is also a shelter for a wide variety of aqua creatures which includes: Corals, Permit, Tarpon, Black Tip Sharks, Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Southern Stingrays, Spotted Eagle Rays, Moray Eels, Hermit Crabs, Conch, Spiny Lobsters, Sea Anemones, Octopuses etc.

Wreckage Remnants: Molasses Reef is a site that is infamous for having experienced a whole lot of Shipwrecks in the past. One of the shipwrecks documented to have happened in the Molasses Reef is the MV Wellwood ( a 400-feet freighter) wreckage that happened in 1984. This wreckage caused the destruction of Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary that tended for the area at the time. As you dive deeper into the Molasses Reef, depending on how far your diving or snorkelling tour guide allows you to go, you will discover more and more wrecks that occurred in that region. It is like coming face to face with history.

The Molasses Reef is like an Aquarium in every sense of the word. By touring the region you get to come up close with a wide variety of marine life creatures that you probably had only seen on the internet or TV. If you are a snorkelling or diving enthusiasts and you are yet to explore the Molasses Reef, I wonder what you are waiting for.