Sports & Recreation

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Best Snorkeling Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 1999 - Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Yes, you can pay $50 or more to go out on a boat, don a mask, and swim with the fishes. But why, when you can glide 200 yards out from the beach near the charming old Anglin's Fishing Pier and see coral reefs and sealife that's just as good -- for free. Mornings, before the surf is up and boat traffic starts buzzing, swim out to the first buoy south of the pier, then angle southeast for another 100 yards. Fifteen feet down, you'll find a colorful reef of star and green cactus coral, with fan coral for decoration. Abundant lobsters, parrotfish, harlequin bass, squirrelfish, sergeant majors, and coral shrimp dart in and out of the coral caves. Be on the lookout and you'll see spotted moray eels and octopuses. Small (harmless) nurse sharks will add excitement. If you don't have your own gear, rent mask, snorkel, and fins for $10 -- be smart and spend $7.50 more for a safety dive flag -- from the nearby Deep Blue Divers on A1A and Commercial. (Call the shop at 954-772-7966 for info on water conditions.) When you've sated your appetite for watching fish, swim back to shore and eat some at any of the open-air restaurants off the pier and wash the salt off your lips with a cold brew. It's the real Florida.

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