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Fun in the sun, music beneath the sea

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What did you do last weekend? Many of us learned that diving offers more to us than just beautiful marine life, crystal clear water and gorgeous underwater scenery.

Several hundred divers and snorkelers grabbed their tanks and gear and headed down to the lower Florida Keys to enjoy the underwater sounds of the 30th Annual "Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival" which took place at Looe Key Reef. Known for its fabulous dive sites, this area has always been a popular weekend getaway for divers.

The musicians that entertained over 500 divers and snorkelers beneath the sea stuck to an ocean theme combining a real rocker image complete with some instruments that resembled the fin of a fish, and a wardrobe that was made up of ball gowns and tuxedos built for buoyancy. The variety of songs that could be heard ranged from 'Yellow Submarine' to 'Little Mermaid' to 'Under The Sea' and even a bunch of Jimmy Buffett tunes were played to get the crowd swimming to the beat. They mixed that with new age and then switched to the theme from 'Jaws' to add a bit of drama. The sounds were broadcast clear across the ocean floor carrying the melody from speakers suspended beneath boats above the reef.

It was a time to come together, enjoy family and friends, the refreshing outdoors, the water, and not only to have endless fun, but to remind all of us that reef preservation should be our number one priority and we should all take responsibility for keeping our reefs intact. Looe Key itself is a national marine sanctuary that received its name from the HMS Looe which supposedly ran aground there in 1744 while towing a captured French ship called the Snow. While crossing the reef, the HMS Looe hit hard in only 25 feet of water and quickly burned to the waterline, taking the accompanying ship with her. It became a National Marine Sanctuary in 1981 due, in part, to the success of the Key Largo Sanctuary created in 1975. This “sanctuary” designation means that there are absolute restrictions on spearfishing, tropical fish and shell collecting and wire fish traps. Marine police patrol the reef and keep a close eye on activities there. This reef can boast over 150 different varieties of fish, all kinds of ancient coral and perhaps a shark or ray now and then.

This particular concert drew water enthusiasts of all ages for four hours of relaxation on the reef and made the weekend of July 12, 2014 a special time to talk about at the water cooler on Monday.

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