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Category: Water Life

National Parks Service gives local nonprofit historic Islamorada lighthouse

Off the Islamorada shores, boats circled Alligator Reef Light Station during a Labor Day weekend, which saw pristine conditions on the water. Activity at the iconic lighthouse continues this weekend, with some 500 swimmers heading out to the 148-foot structure for the annual Swim to Alligator Light on Saturday, Sept. 11.  Event organizers Rob Dixon and Larry “Lighthouse” Herlth couldn’t be happier with the race’s return after it was canceled last year due to COVID-19. More positive developments came their way earlier in the week, however, with an email coming to Dixon’s inbox notifying him that...

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WHO’S THE CAPTAIN NOW? CREW SHOULD BE PROPERLY PREPARED TO TAKE COMMAND

By Capt. Michael Barber It’s another tough day in paradise; wind chill is 84 degrees and the beer temperature is 32 degrees. Music is drifting across the harbor from the bar and the sunset is a dazzling show of fire splashing into the ocean somewhere over there. The weather outlook is great for the extended forecast window. That means many of the captains and crew are making last-minute adjustments to their “sail-plan” and will be underway in the morning.  The term “Captain and Crew” sounds all nautical, but for the most part it refers to a couple. Generally speaking, the husband is captain...

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IN PICTURES: CHECKING OUT THE CORAL FROM ISLAMORADA & THE DRY TORTUGAS

In June, Dry Tortugas National Park reported what we’ve all been dreading to hear: Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease had reached our furthest waters. Since 2015, the mystery killer has been spreading across reefs in Florida and the Caribbean, killing a majority of the corals it encounters. The park is working diligently to control the outbreak in our last coral stronghold in the Keys, and we got a peek at what it looks like currently. Fortunately, there’s still a lot of coral to see and enjoy (phew!). It’s a glimpse into what the Keys used to look like, and what coral restoration practitioners...

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Back-to-back movie nights highlight museum’s Vintage Diving Days celebration

The History of Diving Museum is celebrating Vintage Diving Days with back-to-back movie nights.  A screening of select “Sea Hunt” episodes will take place during the Morada Way Art Walk on Thursday, Aug. 19, along with a specially curated pop-up exhibit about this show and its impact on diving history. On Friday, Aug. 20, there will be a special screening of a vintage, classic underwater movie at the Florida Keys Brewing Co.  “Sea Hunt” was a 1950s TV show about the underwater adventures of an ex-Navy frogman, played by Lloyd Bridges. The show revolutionized public perceptions about diving and...

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CHASIN’ TAILS: LOBSTER SEASON OPENED AUG. 6

Plenty of recreational lobster-hunters limited out both days of the recent mini-season, which takes place the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. The two-day event gives recreational harvesters a chance to get six lobsters per person per day before the commercial fishermen set their traps and begin hauling in one of the Keys’ biggest cash crops. Commercial fishermen are allowed to begin placing their lobster traps in the water the Saturday after mini-season, which this year fell on July 31. They can’t pull the traps until the season officially opens for both commercial and recreational...

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OPINION: CARELESS ANCHORING HURTS OUR REEFS

Many ocean lovers anchor to pursue their favorite pastime. While some are careful when anchoring, others aren’t.  Carelessly or maliciously dropping anchors onto reefs causes serious harm to the reef below. Boat anchors, chains and lines break coral, as well as basket sponges and marine life. Pulling it up drags the anchor, chain and line over the reef, destroying large areas of living coral. Divers in the Florida Keys see it all too often. Of course, it is against the law with penalties in place for damaging coral with anchors, but it’s no easy task to enforce. Therefore, it’s important...

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NEW BOATER ENGINE CUTOFF SWITCH LAW IN EFFECT

A new federal law requiring use of engine cutoff switches is setting out to prevent runaway boats and injuries in instances when the operator is separated from the helm.  The law that took effect a few months ago applies to recreational vessels, but not all.  It specifically targets boats that are manufactured after January 2020, have 3 horsepower or more, and are less than 26 feet in length. Vessels with an enclosed cabin helm and those built before January 2020 aren’t required to have an engine cutoff switch.  Fines are $100, $250 and $500 for the first, second and third offenses...

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SUMMER BOAT AND BOARD BASICS TO KNOW THIS SUMMER – ONBOARD

Whether you’re hopping on the boat for an afternoon, paddling or exploring deep depths, there are several things to consider before heading out. If you’re on a boat, remember to always designate a sober captain. Also, be aware of your surroundings for other boaters, snorkelers and paddlers and marine life.  TIE YOUR ROPE TO MOORING BUOY’S PICK-UP LINE Never tie the yellow pick-up line directly to your boat, as it puts undue stress on the mooring anchor. Run your boat’s bow line through the loop of the yellow pick-up line. Cleat both ends of your bow line to the bow of your boat. Never...

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LEARNING LAWS DURING LOBSTER SEASON

Marine patrols from various law enforcement agencies conducted resource checks and safety inspections during a busy two-day lobster mini-season in the Florida Keys. With citations came education for those unfamiliar with the rules and regulations.  Monroe County Sheriff’s marine deputies in the Upper Keys, Nelson Sanchez and Marty Digrus, departed from the Plantation Yacht Harbor dock in Islamorada for patrol on Thursday morning for day two of lobster mini-season. Sanchez has spent 20 of his 26 years with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office working on the water. Digrus has spent the past eight...

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Arrests made in Key Largo tarpon killing

Two men have turned themselves into authorities after photos and video surfaced showing their alleged involvement in a tarpon killing in Key Largo in March. Law enforcement officials say they are still seeking another person in the case.  Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission announced late last week the arrests of Arsenio Ravelo, 21, of Homestead, and Sergio Leon, 28, of Hialeah. In March, FWC investigators received photographs and video of a large tarpon being held by three individuals on a dock at Calusa Campground in Key Largo. FWC released an image of the three young males...

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