In an age of instant everything, people get easily bored. So, in our never-ending search for something really different we discovered this: the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival.
Scheduled for Saturday July 14, the underwater concert will be played out beneath the surface, at Looe Key Reef. That reef is some six miles south of Big Pine Key. The area is part ‘n parcel of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Each year the submarine songfest lures hundreds of divers and snorkelers to the southern reaches of the Florida Keys.
The playlist fits the theme: Jimmy Buffet’s Fins, Donovan’s Atlantis, and the Beatles’ Octopus’s Garden – just, as they say, to name a few.
The theme of this year’s fest is an offbeat takeoff on television reality shows. Costumed contestants and judges will play out Dancing with the Starfish, Subsea Survivor and such. But the silliness only scratches the surface of the event. There’s a serious purpose here: preservation of the fragile reefs. Divers learn better how to enjoy the reefs, while minimizing man’s impact upon them.
If you’re a diver or snorkeler interested in the out-of-the-ordinary, this might be the perfect plunge. You can either reserve space on boats run by Lower Keys dive operators, or launch your own from public ramps and marinas in the area.
Can’t make the festival? Come on down at your leisure. The water is unbelievably blue, with a crystalline cast about it. The flora is nothing short of fantastic, and – quite probably – nothing like you have back home. Bougainvillea, hibiscus, orchids, and frangipani color your world. Key Limes, tamarinds, mangos, sapodilla, avocados and papayas render it delectable.
The Lower Florida Keys sort of forces you to forget the world you left behind. But then that’s the motivation for a vacation to begin with.
Story by Jerry Chandler
(Image: emilio labrador)