Divers Can Net Cash and Prizes for Bagging Lionfish

FLORIDA KEYS — Divers planning trips to enjoy the Florida Keys’ living coral barrier reef also can help protect it and give back to the environment by capturing and removing non-native lionfish from Keys waters while vacationing.

A partnership forged between the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Reef Environmental Education Foundation and the dive community has created hands-on, focused opportunities for Keys visitors who enjoy the island chain’s natural resources to take action and remove lionfish. The popular aquarium fish … Read the rest

Florida Keys ‘Wreck Trek’ Program’s Prize Winners Announced

FLORIDA KEYS — Several thousand divers visit the Florida Keys annually to dive the island chain’s shipwreck trail. More than 100 of them completed a series of nine wreck dives to be eligible to win one of several dive and lodging packages and sets of dive equipment, and 10 winners were selected at random as part of the inaugural Florida Keys Wreck Trek Passport Program that ended in January.

Rocky Welch, a diving instructor from Pinellas Park, Fla., was the … Read the rest

Divers Can Explore Marathon Artificial Reef Made From Over-Sea Railroad Bridge Section

Keys Seven Mile BridgesMARATHON, Florida Keys — Advanced divers seeking to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad’s completion can do so by exploring an artificial reef derived from part of the original railroad bridge sunk off Marathon.

Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railroad, lauded on its completion as the most unique railway in the world, connected the Florida Keys with mainland Florida and each other for the first time in 1912. Portions of its structure, which subsequently served as a foundation … Read the rest

Divers to Target Lionfish Nov. 5 in Lower Keys Derby

Lionfish1STOCK ISLAND, Florida Keys — Divers can become undersea “anglers” during an event designed to control the population of non-native lionfish in Florida Keys waters. Set for Saturday, Nov. 5, the Lower Keys Lionfish Derby is part of an ongoing series hosted by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The action is headquartered at Stock Island’s Hurricane Hole Restaurant & Marina, 5130 U.S. Highway 1 at mile marker 4.5.

Events are to begin at … Read the rest

Environmental and Historic Offerings Highlight What’s New in the Florida Keys & Key West for Fall 2011

FLORIDA KEYS — The official tourism website of the Florida Keys & Key West, located at www.fla-keys.com, now has a fresh new look with a more pronounced emphasis on social media sharing capabilities and high-definition videos. The video components enable website visitors to explore featured attractions, take virtual dives on reef and shipwreck sites spotlighted in all regions of the Keys, meet Keys personalities and find out about special events more conveniently than ever before.

Located on the site’s … Read the rest

Divers to Carve Pumpkins Underwater Oct. 16 in Florida Keys

KWP04KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Surrounded by spectator fish and a coral reef background, divers are to plunge beneath the sea to transform hollowed-out pumpkins into jolly jack-o’-lanterns during the Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest set for Sunday, Oct. 16.

Buddy teams can meet at Amy Slate’s Amoray Dive Resort, located at mile marker 104.5, to compete during the 8:30 a.m. dive to create pumpkins worthy of praise and prizes from the experienced judges, who double as the crew of the … Read the rest

Divers Can Volunteer to Cultivate Corals and Restore Reefs

KeyLargoDive1-200x300-1KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Divers interested in aiding in reef restoration and participating in coral restoration and propagation can join marine scientists with Key Largo’s nonprofit Coral Restoration Foundation in an ongoing mission to preserve the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.

Participants learn about environmental impacts on Florida’s reefs through educational lectures and hands-on dives to restore endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals, two of the reef-building species that have the best chance to propagate and create new habitats … Read the rest

Diving Museum’s Sixth Anniversary Celebration Set for Sept. 3

diveMuseum1ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — The Florida Keys History of Diving Museum is to hold a special event Saturday, Sept. 3, to celebrate the facility’s sixth anniversary as a unique showcase of mankind’s attempts to explore, understand and venture under the sea.

Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., family-friendly activities include a silent auction, scavenger hunt and opportunities to suit up in a Mark V diving dress. An informal welcome is to take place at 1 p.m. with a cake … Read the rest

Keys’ Coral Reefs to Reproduce by Moonlight

KEYS CORAL SPAWNINGFLORIDA KEYS — Sparked by the August and September full moons, a rare and wondrous underwater exchange of reproductive cells means the continued survival of coral reefs, and a fascinating experience for divers.

According to researchers, coral species utilize a reef-building and reproductive strategy by releasing millions of gametes once a year in synchronized mass-spawning rituals. The spectacular white excretion enables the eggs and sperm to enter the water in massive quantities, maximizing the chances of fertilization and overwhelming predators … Read the rest

Divers & Snorkelers to ‘Egg-splore’ the Reef at Easter

KLP01KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Divers and snorkelers visiting the Florida Keys can plunge into an underwater game of hide and seek during the 11th annual Underwater Easter Egg Hunt. The fun is set for Sunday, April 24, in the warm, clear waters off Key Largo.

Captain Spencer Slate of Atlantis Dive Center, famous for his sensational “creature feature” dives introducing undersea denizens, is to don a giant bunny suit and dive gear to hide brightly colored Easter eggs for … Read the rest