Flower Garden BanksAbout 70 miles off the coast of Texas, the Flower Garden Banks rise like an underwater mountain range to within 60 feet of the surface. The banks, which are actually salt domes and are protected as part of a large marine sanctuary, host an enormous number of hard coral species. It is at the Flower Garden Banks where the phenomenon of coral spawning was first observed in the Western Hemisphere. The banks also feature seasonal migrations of whale sharks and seem to be a stopping-off point for many other pelagic species such as manta rays and hammerhead sharks. There is only a handful of charters operating live-aboards to the Flower Gardens and nearby Stetson Banks. Seas and conditions are calmest during summer months. Visibility can be as good as 100+ feet.