Great diving sites extend from the Sebastian Inlet to Round Island, including coral and artificial reefs and the site of the 1715 wreck of the Spanish galleon in the south end of Vero Beach.
There are four artificial reefs along the beaches of Indian River County, about 200-300 feet off shore. The first, deployed in 1987 by FPL, is located along the south beach of Vero Beach at a depth of 38 feet. The remaining three were placed in 1999 by the Indian River County Government and are located at depths of 66, 71 and 73 feet along the beach front of Vero Beach.
Vero Beach Reef
This unique habitatis anursery for all types of marine life turtles, lobsters, manatees, rays, sharks, and over 200 species of fish and the Oculina Varacosa, Oculina Diffusia, fire, and a few other types of coral. The reef begins at about the Sebastian Inlet and runs unbroken to Riomar. It then picks up again offSandypoint andextends a littlesouth of the Ft Pierce Inlet. This reef, which parallels the coastline, is located very close to shore and extends out about a half mile.
The reefs foundations are exposed limestone formations which rise up from the bottom in various shapes and sizes. Some areas can be seen at low tide like the Riomar reef. The limestone ledges in some areas jet up from the bottom like huge monolithic outcroppings with vast caverns that disappear into the abyss. The ledges are very pronounced in the Vero Beach area with some of the highest Relief --as referred to by engineers -- found anywhere. This habitat ismost unique and is not found this close to the coastline anywhere else.
This reef stretches for about 120 miles from south of Indian River County to Daytona Beach, north. Nearly 200 feet below the oceans surface, the Oculina Reef, also known as Ivory Tree Coral, is brittle and grows less than half an inch a year. The coral and surrounding waters support a diverse sea life including fish, turtles, moray eels, and stingrays. The reef, discovered only 20 years ago, is a protected area where fish breed and live. When the reefs were first discovered in the 70s,the oculina corals, almost tree-like with 15-foot pinnacles over 100 years old, weredocumented by the specialists at Harbor Branch.
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