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SPECIAL LOBSTER MINI-SEASON ISSUE

FLORIDA KEYS SUMMER BOATING

DIVE INTO ADVENTURE

7 MAKING WAVES PLACES TO EXPERIENCE

7

YUMMY OPTIONS FOR YOUR LOBSTER CATCH

A LOOK AT THE TOP BOATS

GADGETS & LATEST BOAT TECH

PRESERVING OUR ENVIRONMENT

HOW YOU CAN DO YOUR PART

2019


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ECO-FRIENDLY FISHING Safe practices mean a happy and healthy ocean. Page 6 SUMMER SPOTS Check out these destinations when traveling up and down the Keys. Page 22 AYE AYE, CAPTAIN! Get adequately prepared when out boating this summer. Page 38-39

ON THE COVER Saltwater cures everything! Madison Wright, of Tavernier, enjoys a nice, summer day out on the waters. The Keys have a bevy of options for mariners, from restaurants and bars to marinas and state parks — not to mention outstanding fishing and diving. This issue is devoted to the salt lover in all of us. IAN WILSON/Keys Weekly

1006 Peter Jay St., Marathon Publisher Jason Koler jason@keysweekly.com

WHAT ARE YOU WISHING FOR?

Managing Partner Britt Myers britt@keysweekly.com Editor Jim McCarthy jim@keysweekly.com Account Executives Lesley Aaron lesley@keysweekly.com Stephanie Mitchell stephanie@keysweekly.com Nola Acker nola@keysweekly.com Leah Weiss leah@keysweekly.com

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info@keysrealestate.com www.KeysRealEstate.com

Florida Keys Summer Boating

Ted Fackler ted@keysweekly.com Staff Writers Sara Matthis sara@@keysweekly.com Sarah Thomas sthomas@keysweekly.com Office Manager Charlotte Hruska char@keysweekly.com Production Manager Anneke Patterson anneke@keysweekly.com Art/Design Travis Cready travis@keysweekly.com Javier Reyes javier@keysweekly.com

Keys Weekly Newspapers 9709 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL 33050 P. 305.743.0844

Published MMXIX www.keysweekly.com

Key West 5450 MacDonald Ave. No. 5 Key West, FL 33040 P. 305.453.6928 Tavernier 91760 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 P. 305.363.2957


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OCEANFRIENDLY FISHING AND LOBSTERING By Sarah Thomas Mini Lobster Season (and heck, any good day on a fishing boat) can bring out the enthusiastic, and careless, kid in us. But safe practices mean a happy and healthy ocean. Nicole Uibel, a program coordinator at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary who manages the Blue Star Fishing program, has worked on the sanctuary's boater education course. Uibel and the Blue Star Fishing guides are experts on how to fish and lobster responsibly. Here are her Dos and Don’ts for a day on the water. Do: Outsmart the lobster. “They use their antennae as sensory mechanisms,” says Uibel, “so one way to lure a lobster out of a hole is with a ‘tickle stick.’” Tickle the lobster’s antennae, and pull back — she’ll be curious and come out to investigate. It’s much less invasive than pulling them out. Don’t overturn coral heads. “Some peoples’ enthusiasm outweighs their sense of responsibility. Coral is so fragile,” she says. Look out for your flippers, and don’t reach out and grab the coral with your hands to pursue a fleeing lobster.

Do: Take a boater education course through Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary or another outlet. “The course is about how to avoid damage to the Keys.” She also recommends a location-specific course, to get to know the depth and terrain. Don’t accidentally cross into preservation areas that are “no touch, no take, no collecting, no possession.” Sanctuary areas are marked by yellow buoys. And remember that “no possession” means you can’t lobster elsewhere and then stop by Looe Key to go snorkeling — you could get a fine. Do know the draft of your vessel and the ebb and flow of the tides.

Don’t blast out of seagrass! If you get stuck, stop, turn off your engine, and try to push out to deeper water before turning it back on. “If you are really stuck, reach for the radio before you reach a throttle,” she says. A tow boat is less expensive than the ticket you could get, and it won’t further hurt the seagrass. Do catch what you can cook. Enjoy all that lobster and mahi within the legal limits — just be sure you have the appetite or the freezer for it. Don’t take all that you can get. “You don’t need to catch ten dolphin if you’re staying in a hotel and just want dinner,” says Uibel.“The question should be ‘what do I need’ not ‘how much can I take?’” Do: Designate a driver. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Don’t forget to have fun!

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

Blue star recognized Charter guides: • 3rd Alarm Fishing Islamorada, FL • One Love Sportfishing Islamorada, FL • A Fishing Guide Islamorada, FL • Boneafide Charters Little Torch Key, FL • Doghouse Sportfishing Charters - Islamorada, FL • Double Haul Charters Summerland Key, FL • First Choice Charters Islamorada, FL • Flying Fish Charters Key West, FL • Forever Young Charter Company - Islamorada, FL • Mile Marker 27 Fishing Charters - Ramrod Key, FL • Rusty's Bucket Charters Key West, FL • World Angling Sugarloaf Key, FL • Yabba Dabba Doo! Charters - Islamorada, FL More information on sanctuary regulations, marine zones, and a free, sanctuary-specific boater education course are available at floridakeys. noaa.gov. 


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Keys native Pete Garcia had his own outlook on what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. For the 34-year-old Key Largo resident, building boats was always his dream. “I love boats. I worked in every aspect that I could do. I just wanted to do this,” he says. A 2003 Coral Shores graduate, Garcia got out and worked several years for Plantation Boat Mart — starting as tech service coordinator in quality control. From there he went to Sea Hunter working in a similiar role. After that, he opened his own service company for about four years.

Today, Garcia is hard at work on his own brand — Streamline Boats. He operates out of a 25,000-square-foot sales and assembly facility in Miami where he constructs custom-made 26-foot, 34-foot and 45-foot center consoles. At Streamline, fiberglass, structural foam and resin are used to build boats. Garcia runs the business with partners Ozzy Sanchez and Lazaro Hernandez. What’s rewarding about the job? Garcia says it’s the ability to deliver customers exactly what they’re looking for. “Instead of buying something ‘off the shelf,’ they get to come and assemble an entire custom boat,” he said. “We’re a niche builder.”

CUSTOM BOAT BUILDER By Jim McCarthy

Streamline Boats builds custommade, 26-foot, 34-foot and 45-foot center consoles. At Streamline, fiberglass, structural foam and resin are used to build boats. Contributed

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

Garcia says he owes his success to his parents who always helped and pushed him to chase his dream. He also credits Boat Mart and his friends and partners in the industry. What’s in store for Garcia and Streamline? More building, more boats and more shows. More information about Streamline Boats can be found by visiting www.streamlineboats. com and Streamline Boats’ Facebook and Instagram.


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Florida Keys Summer Boating

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Changing healthcare with video visits: Baptist Health Care On Demand Today’s technology is making healthcare easier to access, more affordable and a lot more convenient. Mobile Apps like Baptist Health Care On Demand are making healthcare more consumer friendly than ever before, allowing you to see doctors from your phone, tablet or computer anytime, anywhere. It’s as simple as downloading the Baptist Health Care On Demand App. “This is the best thing to happen to healthcare,” says David Mishkin, M.D., medical director of Baptist Health Care On Demand. “When you have the flu, pink eye, sinus congestion or even a urinary tract infection, one of our doctors can see you, treat you and send a prescription to your pharmacy while you’re at home, work or traveling.” The virtual urgent care visits last on average 12 minutes and cost no more than $59, he added. What are some of the conditions for which I can use Care On Demand? Through secure interactive video from home, work or on-the-go, anyone from age 2 to 102 is able to visit clinicians and receive medical advice

and treatment for such conditions as a cold, sore throat, ear infections, bronchitis, mild asthma, minor headaches, sprains, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, urinary tract infections, skin rashes and allergic reactions. What if I need further treatment? “Our providers can refer someone to one of Baptist Health’s Urgent Care Express clinics, Urgent Care centers or any of our hospital emergency rooms if necessary,” says Dr. Mishkin. “We’re coordinating all the resources in our system to create a better overall experience for the patient.” Using the App is risk-free. If a diagnosis can’t be made via Care On Demand, you will be directed to one of our other facilities and will not be charged for the virtual consultation.

What are some other benefits of using Baptist Health Care On Demand? • You’ll have more peace of mind at those times when you or someone in your family is sick and you have to go to work or school and can’t decide what to do. • Because it’s available nationwide, you can head out on your family trip with the assurance that you’ll always be just a few taps away from medical care. • There are no hidden fees or surprise medical bills. You pay a flat rate with a credit card, and many insurance plans are now covering the cost. • You’ll receive an email record of the interaction, which you can share with your primary care doctor.

Start getting better without getting up. Virtual urgent care visit right from you tablet. Free visit Code: CAREFREE

Download the App and sign up today keysweekly.com 11


WHAT’S HOT THE BEST OF THE NEWEST

By Sara Matthis Wellcraft 242 Fishermen Wellcraft boats have been around since 1955. The solid, center console Fishermen line of boats are all over the Keys, but fans of the original “Miami Vice” will remember Don Johnson’s Scarab, also manufactured by the same company. Best suited to the Keys is the Wellcraft 242 Fishermen.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

“This boat is good value for the price. And it has an amazing threeyear bow to stern warranty that covers every component,” said Richard Gonzalez, general manager of Riva Motorsports and Marine in Key Largo. “The aft of the boat is made for fishing, but the front is made for entertaining,” Gonzalez said. The bow can be converted from a seating area complete with table to a sun pad for tanning. The aft features options like a bait well and rod storage.

SPECS: LOA 24’4” Beam 8’6” Fuel Capacity 158 gallons Capacity 10 passengers Maximum power 400hp Draft 16”


SPECS: LOA 24’ Beam 8’6” Fuel Capacity 50 gallons Capacity 12 passengers Maximum power twin 1.8 liter 4-stroke Draft 16-1/4”

Yamaha AR240 This 24-foot jet boat was designed for the watersport enthusiast in mind — skiing, tubing or wake boarding is a cinch with a tower designed for the tow rope. “It’s roomy, too; big enough for the whole family to ride,” said Gonzalez. The design is as nifty as a bento lunch box — lockers galore and a spot for everything. The bow features two loungers, or seating for four and the

cockpit chairs recline and swivel to face a u-shaped cockpit. The Connext cockpit controls offer touch screen, buttons and a joy stick to control all matter of functions including the fantastic sound system. The biggest innovation, though, is the articulating keel and paddle system. Because the draft is so shallow, it enables the captain to maintain control in shallow conditions when the vessel is skimming over the water.

SPECS: LOA 27’4” Beam 9’6” Fuel Capacity 180 gallons Capacity n/a (yacht certified) Maximum power 500hp Draft 20”

Robalo R272 This Robalo center console is described as a “fishing machine.” It has a dedicated 30-gallon aerated live well in the stern, plus another 20-gallon box that can double as a live well or a cooler. The fish box in the rear deck holds 100 gallons, but the capacity can be expanded by using the front insulated lockers under the benches. There is a filler panel that turns the bow into a casting platform, or when the cushions are added, a sun bed. It comes standard with an

integrated hard-top T-top, plus a head compartment that offers extra storage. Toe rails, and bolsters also add comfort. “They have knocked it out of the park with this 27 footer,” says Chad Armstrong, sales manager of Unique Marine in Tavernier. “It features aft facing mezzanine seats, the largest cockpit space in its class as well as the best-designed dive door.

*Length of a vessel parallel to the waterline

keysweekly.com 13


Chromat Delta X Suit

Compass Cay crop top

TAKING STYLE TO THE SEAS CUTE AND COMFORTABLE BOAT FASHION

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Schwood sunglasses

If you’re anything like me, there’s a struggle between what will be most comfortable on a boat — my worn Speedo, flip-flops, a big T-shirt and a floppy hat—and what will look good. Being stylish on the water is all about striking that balance between what will look great, wet or dry, and what will allow you to be as comfy as you want. We caught up with Upper Keysbased swimwear designer, Kelsey Caputo, whose Kadan swimwear has taken off in the last year, and Miamibased designer Becca McCharen-Tran, whose Chromat label has rocked runways at Miami Swim Week.

McCharen-Tran said that moving to Miami has helped her grow as a designer: “Being here has changed my perspective on swimwear, because I swim every single day,” she said. Her mission is about “empowering women and femmes and non-binary people.” She embraces classic inspirations — the bright red lifeguard suit, the wet T-shirt — and flips them on their heads.

“Growing up in the Florida Keys and traveling to many Caribbean islands, I have lived in a bikini,” said Caputo. “Creating this lifestyle brand has allowed me to share my lifestyle with women around the world.” Caputo’s line features cute, functional bikinis that aim to make women feel beautiful and comfortable.

“Along with a lifestyle of boating and fishing comes sunburn. I never go a day without my Compass Cay crop top ($70) to cover my shoulders,” says Caputo. “It’s a cute top to layer over a bikini.” Dive shops or www. kadanswimwear.com

Florida Keys Summer Boating

Both women focus on functionality, being active and having fun. Below are their expert tips on taking fashion to the high seas. Patagonia Empress windbreaker

By Sarah Thomas


Kadan Bimini tie top

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McCharen-Tran often designs active swim silhouettes: think zippers or lifeguard looks, like this Chromat Delta X Suit in neon lava. ($89) https://chromat.co “Tie it up,” says Caputo, “With the hot temperatures and windy boat rides, I always end up with my hair tied up to go with my Kadan Bimini tie top.” ($74) www.kadanswimwear.com Caputo recommends Sun Bum chapstick ($3.99) for protecting your lips (I also love Sun Bum hair products, like the detangler and heat protector), available at numerous retailers in the Keys, including CVS drug stores. Unlikely layering: McCharen-Tran may sport a light windbreaker over a bandeau top, for added protection in the case of inclement weather. Ones like this Patagonia Empress windbreaker ($74) are available at dive shops like Divers Direct. And always, lots of sturdy sunglasses. Schwood sunglasses ($149) like this pair — and more affordable styles — are available from local retailer The Green Pineapple.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

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SOUP SANDWICHES DELICIOUS LOBSTER OPTIONS TO TRY OUT IN THE KEYS

LOBSTER AND SHRIMP BISQUE BLUE HEAVEN & SALUTE, KEY WEST

Blue Heaven and sister restaurant Salute serve some of the best-loved soups on the island. The lobster and shrimp bisque is perfectly rich and creamy, with that sweet seaside flavor. Chef Dan normally makes 8-10 gallons; here he modifies for one gallon. Chef Dan says the key to the bisque is “all in the stock.” He uses about four Florida lobster shells (hard top shell and meat removed) and pink shrimp shells from a lb., piling them on top of roughly chopped carrots, onions, celery, filling a large pot generously with white wine and water. Add red pepper, simmer 45 min. to an hour. Then, use an immersion blender (or a quality home blender) and blend. He strains it twice, once through a regular strainer and once through a fine strainer. Return to pot. Then, add more carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and a can of quality diced plum tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add your cooked lobster and shrimp meat

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

Half the fun of catching lobster is preparing and eating them. And that’s why chefs in the Florida Keys have mastered some creative lobster delicacy. No matter where you go, you’ll be satisfied. The only question is how will you have your lobster?

(only use about half the yield from the shells, and reserve half of that meat to add at the end). Simmer until the veggies are very tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Then, puree again (allow it to cool before blending). “At this point, it should be very smooth, and you’ll add some roux (about ¾ cup) to desired thickness.” The more veggies, the less roux necessary. Finally, it gets “a dash of cayenne pepper, a good amount of heavy cream and a touch of cognac.” “When I was making this soup this morning, I was listening to Harry Belafonte. If you want it to taste good, you’ve got to be in a good mood.” To serve, garnish with a heaping spoonful of cooked shrimp and lobster.


LOBSTER REUBEN KEYS FISHERIES, MARATHON People Magazine just voted Keys Fisheries’ Lobster Reuben the best sandwich in the state of Florida! “It came as a total surprise,” said manager Drew Kennelly. “We knew nothing about it until we saw the magazine.” It’s like a traditional Reuben, but in place of the corned beef, the Marathon restaurant uses lobster. The sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, dressing and lobster meat are piled on thick toast and served with a side of coleslaw. The restaurant keeps a running tally on the number of Reuben’s ordered and the number is up to 321,178 as of June 2019. The restaurant is attached to a fish house, so the seafood couldn’t be fresher and the menu is loaded with items like smoked fish dip, mahi sandwiches and stone crab (during crab season).

Sharing the Water with Sea Turtles

• Watch out for sea turtles on the surface • Avoid trap ropes that may be floating • Stay alert and obey speed limits If you see a Sea Turtle in Distress: Call our 24 hr Hotline 305-481-7669 or Call FWC 888-404-FWCC or Radio Coast Guard VHF Ch. 16

www.turtlehospital.org

KEY LARGO

CHOCOLATES & ICE CREAM

LUCY IS OUT CATCHING LOBSTER!

BLT — BACON, LOBSTER & TOMATO KEY LARGO FISHERIES BACKYARD CAFE, KEY LARGO Yes, Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Café’s BLT sandwich has lettuce. But there’s another ‘L’ that makes this one a popular item — lobster. Served on a croissant or a Kaiser roll, the sandwich is topped with a spicy mayo. It’s a true stomach pleaser if you’re in the mood for a good sandwich with a bit of a twist. “It’s our spin on a BLT, and it’s pretty much our signature sandwich,” says Carrie Pino, co-owner and business manager at Key Largo Fisheries. “We’ve been serving it since we officially opened in 2011.” As for the lobster that goes on this sandwich, it’s caught, processed and cooked right at Key Largo Fisheries.

STOP BY AND TELL US ABOUT YOUR CATCH! BEAT THE HEAT WITH PremiuM ICE CREAM MADE HERE!! KEY LIME PIE HANDMADE & FUDGE CHOCOLATES

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keylargochocolates.com • 305-453-6613 keysweekly.com 19


UNDERWATER HERO MOTE’S SCIENCE DIRECTOR GETS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD By Stephannie Kettle

M

ote Marine Laboratory & Dr. Erinn Muller has been awarded the prestigious Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology. Now Mote’s science director of Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration and manager for Mote’s Coral Health & Disease Research Program, Muller has been with Mote since 2012 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She has quickly become one of the worldwide leaders in coral health and disease research. At Mote, Muller is one of the primary responders in dealing with a devastating coral disease in the Florida Reef Tract, working to identify the pathogen of the disease and outline a plan for recovery. Florida’s coral reefs attract over 16 million visitors a year, with reef-related economic activity contributing over $6 million to the Florida economy and providing for 71,000 jobs.

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At Mote, Dr. Erinn Muller is one of the primary responders in dealing with a devastating coral disease in the Florida Reef Tract, working to identify the pathogen of the disease and outline a plan for recovery.

Dr. Erinn Muller, science director at Mote Marine Laboratory. James Herian/USGS

Florida Keys Summer Boating

Through the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program, Muller has worked since 2015 to study resiliency with staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), a threatened species. Muller’s work looks at major environmental stressors — such as disease, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification — to better understand how the corals respond to these threats. Another major part of this work through NSF is to involve students in the research, thereby engaging younger generations in science designed to benefit reefs. “Receiving this award is so incredibly exciting, and I’m so honored to be in the same category as so many other remarkable scientists and engineers around the country,” said Muller. “The state of the Florida reef tract is dire, and we are working so hard with our many partners to better understand how we can protect and restore this natural resource that our way of life depends on. Our team puts in countless hours in the water and on land, so to receive this award that recognizes the importance of our research means so much to me.” “Mote Marine Laboratory is so incredibly proud that Dr. Muller has received such a high honor. Erinn was the very first Mote Postdoctoral Fellow that I appointed when we established this program to recruit and nurture the next generation of the best and brightest minds in marine science,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, president and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory.


WE WON’T TEST YOUR PATIENCE

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From sandbars and museums to the reefs and restaurants, there’s no shortage of spots to hangout or frequent during the summer throughout the Keys. Here are a just a few destinations to consider while traveling up and down the islands.

HISTORY OF DIVING MUSEUM

Descend beneath the waves of history and dive into The History of Diving Museum in Islamorada at MM 82, bayside. Visitors will embark on man’s 4,000-year-old quest to explore under the sea. Try your hand at lifting an historic diving helmet, or one of the Atocha shipwreck’s 70-pound silver bars. Kids of all ages (and adults!) can partake in a scavenger hunt that highlights artifacts throughout the exhibits. Through December 31, the Featured Exhibit: Diving With a Purpose, provides visitors the opportunity to see how underwater archaeology has helped locate and understand historic and cultural components of slave shipwrecks. The museum is open everyday, from 10-5.

CARIBBEAN CLUB

This place at MM 104 in Key Largo has extensive history. Opening in 1938, Caribbean Club is the oldest bar in the Upper Keys and one of the last relics of Old Key Largo. The Whitehurst family has

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

run the establishment since 1963. A final project of the famed automotive and real estate promoter Carl Fisher, Caribbean Club served as the poor man’s fishing retreat. The property originally included a small hotel, restaurant and the bar that remains today. In 1947, Warner Brothers used the hotel and bar as inspiration in writing the screenplay for the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film, “Key Largo.” The place also served as film spot for the Netflix series “Bloodline.” With drinks, live entertainment, waterfront views, a dog-friendly backyard, a nice sunset view and a lot of history, make sure to stop in to Caribbean Club when in Key Largo. GRASSY KEY

When it’s blowin’ and there’s no boatin’ head on over to Grassy Key in the middle of the island chain. It’s a popular spot for kiteboarders and wakeboarders when it’s howling. At MM 59, stop at the Keys Cable Park on the Oceanside of the island. It offers cable wakeboarding by the hour, a pro shop, a nursery of native plants and a chance to hone your axe-throwing skills. Just a few miles down the road is the Curry Hammock State Park at MM 56. On windy days, it caters to a growing crowd of kiteboarders practicing their skills and enjoying their sport in the shallow waters on the Oceanside. Smack dab in the middle of both is the Grassy Flats Resort (pictured) at MM 58 — it’s a boutique resort that caters to the watersports enthusiast.

CAPT. TONY’S SALOON

The original “Sloppy Joe’s Bar,” Captain Tony’s has been visited by everyone from rumrunners to writers to presidents. Check out their wallpaper: clippings from old newspapers about patron Ernest Hemingway (who famously took the urinal when his buddy “Sloppy” Joe Russell moved his operation across the street) and former owner Captain Tony Terracino, who was known for his big personality, bigger brood (he had 13 children), and briefly, his stint as Key West mayor in the ‘80s. The barstools also are adorned with the names of famous patrons, while the ceiling is adorned with the bras of only slightly less famous patrons. The history of the building is incredibly rich — it has not only been a saloon, but an icehouse and—shiver—a morgue. In fact, the knotty old tree that grows through the center was the town’s original hanging tree. But now it’s just a great shady place to soak up Key West culture, listen to some live music and have a cold beer.


History of Diving Museum

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Take a walk back in time...... Crane Point Museum & Nature Center 5550 Overseas Highway • Marathon Mile Marker 50 at the stoplight • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Museum of Natural History Nature Trails Wild Bird Center Touch Tank Lagoon Fish Butterfly Garden Historic Adderley House Trolley Tours Scenic view from the Point Picnic in the courtyard Gift Shop Kayak Tours Bee & Pollination Center for Viewing Site of Historic Train Geocaching Headquarters STIP Nursery

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A WEEK IN THE KEYS TOP DIVE EXPERIENCES By Tiffany Duong

SCUBA diving in the Florida Keys is the right of passage to the underwater world. With blue water and tropical temperatures, Key Largo is renowned as the “Diving Capital of the World” and the Keys enjoy one of the highest concentrations of dive shops per mile of anywhere. Our Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world (and the only one in the United States). We’ve even got the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, where dive-enthusiasts can learn everything there is to know about our wonderful submerged sport. Basically, if you’re a diver, you want to be here. While our reefs have made us famous, the plethora of awesome, unique dive experiences make us fun! Teaming with dive shops and divers, the Keys have become host to really incredible dive experiences. Here’s the top seven you can experience in a week in the Keys:

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CHRIST OF THE ABYSS:

Just outside of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, at Key Largo Dry Rocks, a bronze statue of Jesus Christ with his arms reaching towards the surface greets divers and snorkelers alike. This Christ of the Abyss is the third copy of an Italian original and was commissioned by Italian dive equipment manufacturer Egidi Cressi. Even if you’re not religious, hop in for a blue confessional with this iconic statue.


LIONFISH DERBIES:

South Florida weather is pretty perfect for tourists and invasive species. Lionfish have unfortunately boomed in our waters and throughout the Caribbean. Luckily, local divers have come up with an innovative way to deal with them. Join a lionfish derby, where divers compete to see who can catch the most, biggest, and smallest lionfish. Local chefs then compete to see who can create the tastiest lionfish dish of all. It’s a win for our reefs and our bellies!

WRECK TRECK:

There are an estimated 1,000-plus shipwrecks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. If history and wreck diving are your thing, this is definitely your place. You could fill up an entire week on wrecks alone and do your own wreck treck. Aside from the famous Shipwreck Trail, which includes the famous U.S.C.G. Duane off Key Largo and the Thunderbolt off Marathon, the waters are also home to the U.S.S. Spiegel Grove near Key Largo and the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg near Key West. As if that wasn’t enough, our waters also contain the shipwrecks from the 1733 Spanish Plate Fleet on the 1733 Spanish Galleon Trail.

CRF CORAL NURSERY AND OUTPLANTING:

Nothing is more rewarding than saving what you love! Dive into the world's largest Coral Tree Nursery and restore the reef with your very own hands by joining Coral Restoration Foundation on a dive program. You'll have the chance to swim through an underwater forest of corals and to personally help restore these endangered species back onto the reef.

CITIZEN SCIENCE:

The Keys are a hub for marine conservation and the place to be if you want to get involved. Many non-profits and marine organizations call the Keys home, including REEF Environmental Education Foundation, Reef Relief, Coral Restoration Foundation, MarineLab Environmental Education Center, and Keys Marine Lab. These organizations and others open their doors and ask for help from citizen-scientists and divers to do anything from seagrass monitoring to coral disease watches, from fish surveys to sawfish and horseshoe crab watches.

JULES UNDERSEA PARK:

Jules Undersea Park is an experiment in extreme living. Located in Key Largo, the park includes the infamous Jules Undersea Lodge, a retired marine laboratory turned hotel. The catch: it’s 25 feet underwater and you have to scuba dive in! Sharing the emerald lagoon with the Lodge is a garden where basil and tomatoes are grown using just condensation from ocean water, several wrecks, and a replica cannon. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the lagoon’s resident mermaid Jessica!

DIVE AGAINST DEBRIS:

Nothing bums out a dive more than seeing trash in our oceans. NOAA partners with many local dive operators to fund and promote PADI Dives Against Debris. It’s hard to go a week without a local shop hosting one of these cleanup dives. Debris is removed from the ocean floor, sorted, counted, and registered to an international database striving to understand what kinds, and how much, trash is ending up in our oceans.

keysweekly.com 25


GARMIN’S MARINE TECH COMPANY SHARES THEIR LATEST By Sydney Schuhmacher Garmin Ltd is a multinational tech company with divisions for pets, hiking, fitness, RVs and more. But in the Keys it’s prized for making a great day on the water even better. In the past five years screens have gotten better, processors have become faster, and the devices themselves have become more multifunctional. Fish finders, chart plotters, radars, floating handheld marine GPS, marine smartwatches, and security cameras are just the beginning of what Garmin has to offer for boaters. John Spiddle, a Garmin rep in South Florida, recently visited Marathon’s West Marine to spread the word about what’s hot: • ActiveCaptain is an app found in Google Play’s store for android phones and in Apple’s App Store for iPhones. The app connects a smartphone with Garmin devices on watercraft. With ActiveCaptain, notifications from phones like calls and text messages can be shown on a compatible chart plotter. Conversely, software updates for tech on a vessel can be controlled on a smartphone with ActiveCaptain. There is also an ActiveCaptain community section where people can find feedback on marinas, hazards and anchorages. The main feature, of course, is the information-loaded charts.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

• Fantom radar is another popular Garmin product installed on Keys boats (either a dome or one of those rotating bars). The newest models have MotionScope technology which uses the Doppler effect to track moving objects like other boats, the weather, birds, and more. Weather radar, as far as 72 miles away, can be overlayed on top of the charts and the technology can detect objects as close as 20 feet. • inReach looks like a handheld walkie-talkie but is actually a satellite communicator. In other words, it works when your cell phone doesn’t. It offers two-way text messaging thanks to the satellite network. It can also be used to trigger an SOS and initiate a search and rescue operation. With the right app, it can be used to download maps and aerial images, plus the device can be paired with other devices like a Garmin watch. The subscription plans for service are as low as $15 a month. • All Garmin watches are smartwatches, but the Descent™ Mk1 stands above the others. While it’s technically a watch, it’s truly a dive computer with a color screen, a wrist-based heart rate monitor, a gyroscope, a barometric altimeter, GPS and GLONASS capability, and more. The device provides scuba divers with an extra layer of safety via information. Garmin has a good reputation for software updates, a critical component to safety on the water. (How much does the waterscape change after a storm like a hurricane? Garmin knows.) For those who are not completely tech savvy, Garmin hosts webinars and posts them to YouTube.


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VISIT THE INFO BOOTH Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission www.myfwc.com 888.404.3922 (Div. of Law Enforcement) Fishing Licenses and Lobster Stamps www.license.myfwc.com 888.HUNT.FLORIDA (486.8356) 888-FISH-FLORIDA (347.4356). John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park pennekamppark.com 305.451.1202 Everglades National Park www.nps.gov/ever 305.242.7700 305.242.7740 (24-hour dispatch) Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer/ keywest 305.872.2239 Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary floridakeys.noaa.gov Upper Keys 305.872.7717 Key West 305.809.4700 Monroe County www.monroecounty-fl.gov 305.289.2805 (Div. of Marine Resources)

Travelers coming to the Florida Keys for lobster miniseason are encouraged to stop by the information booth at Key Largo’s Waldorf Plaza near Divers Direct, MM 100 Oceanside.

Islamorada, Village of Islands www.islamorada.fl.us 305.664.6400

The information booth will be setup for visitors to frequent from July 20 through the end of mini-season, which is July 24-25 this year. Planned hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

City of Key Colony Beach www.keycolonybeach.net 305.289.1212

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary will staff the booth to show lobster enthusiasts how to measure their harvest properly and provide information on the latest lobster-catching rules and regulations. With smart choices, you can lower your impact on sensitive coral reefs, plus other natural resources, that you are here to enjoy. Traditionally, thousands of Keys visitors and residents participate in the lobster mini-season. Wildlife officials emphasize that it’s important to catch lobsters responsibly and protect their habitat. “Most importantly, we show people how to correctly measure lobster,” said Bobby Dube, FWC public information officer. “We’ll also have charts showing closed areas.” Officials from the Everglades National Park, John Pennekamp State Park and the Coast Guard will also be on hand. There will also be a display and officials on hand to discuss lionfish. Most importantly, officials say divers should be in good health, and make sure their dive and boating gear have been verified to be in good working order before submerging. Those seeking more information about lobster mini season can also visit floridakeys.noaa.gov. Florida lobster mini-season begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24, and ends at midnight Thursday, July 25. ­—Contributed

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

City of Marathon www.ci.marathon.fl.us 305.743.0033 City of Key West www.keywestcity.com 305.809.3700 Key Largo Chamber of Commerce www.keylargochamber.org 305.451.1414 Islamorada Chamber of Commerce www.islamoradachamber.com 305.664.4503 Marathon Chamber of Commerce www.floridakeysmarathon.com 305.743.5417 Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce www.lowerkeyschamber.com 305.872.2411 Key West Chamber of Commerce www.keywestchamber.org 305.294.2587


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THE WRIGHT TIME

Madison Wright knows how to enjoy a summer day in the Keys. An interior designer with Oceanside Home in Islamorada, Wright is all about the salt life and everything the Keys has to offer. What are some things you do on the water during the summer? Any chance I get, I love to get on the boat and fish. I love free diving. I love to wakeboard and paddleboard, especially during the beautiful sunsets we get.  Best summertime memory in the keys? My best summertime memory in the keys would be when I went to Summerland Key to go skydiving. Jumping out of the plane at 10,500 feet up was insane. The view from up there is SPECTACULAR. A lot of the water and islands down there seem so un-touched and not so busy as it is up here.

By Jim McCarthy

What do you enjoy most about summer in the Florida Keys? The flat, calm summer days to dolphin fish. For the nightlife, the summer events that we have in town are always fun. The local fashion shows with all of our local retail stores always put on a great party. Where's your favorite spot to hang on a sunny, summer day? Alligator Lighthouse. No questions asked.  What's your go-to summertime drink? My summertime go-to drink would be Firefly sweet tea vodka with a splash of lemonade. Super refreshing.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating


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JUST THE FACTS

LITTLE DETAILS MATTER WHEN LOBSTER HUNTING Weekly Staff report

• Spiny Lobster must have a minimum carapace length of greater than 3-inches and the measurement must take place in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding soft tissue and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace. All recreationally harvested lobster must remain in whole condition while at sea. • The federal bag limit cannot be combined with the state bag limit. • Egg-bearing (berried) spiny lobster and ridged slipper lobster (also commonly known as shovelhead or bulldozer lobster) must be released unharmed. Stripping egg-bearing females of eggs, and possession of spiny or ridged slipper lobster tails from which eggs have been removed, is prohibited. Eggs are an orange, yellow, brown or red mass found covering the underside of the lobster’s tail. • Gear such as spears, hooks, wire snares and any device which could puncture, penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster is prohibited. It is illegal to spearfish for lobster.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

• Bully-netting is defined as using a circular frame attached at a right angle to the end of a pole and supporting a conical bag of webbing. Possession of bully nets is prohibited in Everglades National Park.

• Recreational harvesters are required to possess a valid Florida saltwater fishing license with a current lobster stamp. They can be purchased online at www.license. myfwc.com or by calling 1-888-HUNTFLORIDA (486-8356). The stamps cost $5; so, no excuses.

• Hoop-netting is defined as using a frame, circular or otherwise, supporting a shallow bag of webbing and suspended by a line and bridles. Possession of hoop nets is prohibited in Everglades National Park.

• It is a felony to molest, damage, or take lobster from commercial traps in state or federal waters. • When divers and snorkelers are in the water, it is required to prominently display a flag. • It is illegal to create “artificial habitat” — cement blocks, pipes and other debris intentionally placed to provide cover and habitat for spiny lobsters.


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In an effort to cut back on turf wars, most cities in the Keys have invoked a special rule to keep down the neighbor-onneighbor fights by establishing a ‘no-go’ zone.

KNOW THE WHERE’S

There are many places in the Keys where it’s illegal to take lobster any time of year. Let’s say you find a lobster poking out of a “casita,” or artificial habitat in state waters ... can’t have it. Don’t try lobstering in either Biscayne Bay or Card Sound, either; it’s against the law. And don’t look for lobster in the Dry Tortugas National Park or the Everglades National Park.

Weekly Staff report

And then there’s the areas within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that are also off limits. Most are Sanctuary Preservations Areas and are helpfully marked with a big round yellow buoy, but stay out of the Special Use Research Only Areas and the Ecological Reserves, too.

There’s two other areas where lobstering is verboten. The first is the tiny town of Layton in the Middle Keys. No person shall remove by any means — trap, diving, etc. — any lobster from waters within city limits during sport or regular season. (But it is okay to unload your catch at a Layton dock if it was obtained legally in another part of the Keys.) The second is John Pennekamp State Park. No one is allowed to lobster during sport season. During regular season, it’s illegal to take lobster from natural coral formations or from the park’s special “Lobster Exclusion Zones” that are marked with white and orange spar buoys. So, if you come across a fabulous lobster hole and there’s nobody else around, chances are you’ve stumbled into the danger zone. So, just don’t. Pull anchor and get.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating


‘NO’ X 3 • Don’t take pregnant lobster. • Don’t spear lobster. (Think about it. By the time it’s been shot, it’s too late to discover Mr. Lobster is too short.) • Don’t mess with lobster traps. It’s a felony to rob a commercial fishermen of his livelihood.

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‘YES’ X 1 • It is okay to snorkel or dive for lobster in front of one’s home in Key West or unincorporated Monroe County, but don’t wander out of range. Lobsterers are allowed to the center-line of the canal or 100 feet out in open water during sport and regular seasons.

STAY AWAY • In an effort to cut back on turf wars, most cities in the Keys have invoked a special rule to keep down the neighbor-on-neighbor fights and, especially, the resident-on-visitor quarrels. Essentially, it establishes a “no go” zone to keep lobster hunters away from private property. In the following areas, there is no diving or snorkeling within 300 feet of enhanced residential or commercial shoreline, any manmade or private canal, any public or private marina. • In Marathon: During sport season only. • In Key Colony Beach: There is no lobstering within city limits during sport season, plus 4 days before and 10 days after regular season begins. During that time, no snorkeling or diving is allowed in city waters for safety reasons. • Islamorada: During sport season, plus 3 days before and 5 days after regular season begins. • Key West & unincorporated Monroe County: During sport season, plus 3 days before and 5 days after regular season begins.

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KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES

Designated in 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the 2,900 square nautical miles of waters surrounding the island of the Florida Keys, from Miami to the Tortugas. It is protected by a special set of rules and it is against the law to hunt lobster in certain areas of the Keys. Don’t lobster in the following areas:

Special-use recreational areas:

Special Preservation Areas (SPAs): > Carysfort Reef > Elbow > Key Largo Dry Rocks > Grecian Rocks > French Reef > Molasses Reef > Conch Reef

> Hen and Chickens > Davis Reef > Cheeca Rocks > Alligator Reef > Coffins Patch > Sombrero Key > Looe Key

> Newfound Harbor > Eastern Dry Rocks > Rock Key > Sand Key

No person shall remove by any means, whether by trap, diving, spearing or otherwise, any Florida spiny lobster from any waters within the Layton city limits.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

> Conch Reef > Tennessee Reef > Looe Key Patch Reef > Eastern Sambo

Ecological reserves: > Western Sambo > Tortugas (not marked, refer to GPS coordinates)

Wildlife management area Existing management area


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Weekly Staff report

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR A DAY ON THE WATER

CAPTAIN’S ORDERS

Summer days out on the boat in the Florida Keys are like none other. But make sure you’re adequately prepared when heading out for the day. Here’s some advice from local fishing captains on what you should be sure to bring before you hit the waters.

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JOHNNY MADDOX

JEREMY HACKWORTH

CAPTAIN AT JOHNNY MADDOX CHARTERS, MARATHON

CAPTAIN AT ZIA CHARTERS, KEY WEST

With a fleet of three boats and 21 years experience fishing in the Keys, Captain Johnny Maddox has a firm idea of what a day on the water should look like. Yes, bring a “nice, big, shady hat” and protective clothing. Wear tennis shoes or flip flops, but no street shoes. “And bring an extra shirt. Sometimes clients want to go for a quick dip. So, bring a towel, too,” he says. Clients bring their own lunch and only one food item is banned: “Bad luck bananas!” (Yep, most Keys fishermen won’t allow that fruit on the boat.) Ice and bottled water are provided, beer is allowed, but no hard liquor. Think you might be a little sea sick? “Ginger snap cookies work the best, I think,” Maddox said. He runs every type of charter: offshore, inshore, reef and wreck, and backcountry. “Marathon is the only place where you can fish two oceans on the same day — the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico!” www.johnnymaddoxcharters.com

It’s been a busy summer for Captain Jeremy Hackworth, who operates out the of Key West Yacht Club. “Every charter is different,” he says. “I provide all the fishing gear and snorkeling gear people will need. Obviously, they’ll want to bring sunscreen, and if possible, reef-safe options.” He provides coolers with ice, “so you can bring beverages—adult or otherwise—that you prefer to enjoy.” Sporting a bright blue sun shirt, he recommends passengers do the same: “The sun is fierce this time of year, so sun shirts are highly recommended.” The most important part of preparing for a boat trip? “Communication is key,” he says, “I always talk to my charter guests beforehand to be sure they have everything they are going to want or need.” Oh yeah, and some tunes. “My stereo has Bluetooth capability, so you can bring a good playlist for the day.” He won’t even kick you off for playing Jimmy Buffet. www.ziacharters.com

Florida Keys Summer Boating


By Sara Matthis

JASON BASLER CAPTAIN AT GET HOOKED CHARTERS, ISLAMORADA

This fish captain is always bringing the electric personality and the jokes while out for a day’s trip. He also makes sure he brings these items. “I always load up with ice. I have a couple coolers for food, drinks and fish. Sunscreen and protection is also a necessity. I tend to wear quick-dry long sleeves so I don’t have to put sunscreen on. I wear the ninja shirts with the neck and hood built onto it,” he says, confessing to owning seven of the garments. Headgear is also very important, and sunglasses are mandatory on the water. “Reflective sunglasses are good so you can see the fish better. I also bring out a light snack or some kind of food. The most important thing to have, though, is water. Gatorade is always good too with the electrolytes. It’s always important to stay hydrated out there.” More info on Get Hooked Charters at Gethookedislamorada.com.

NAMES FOR KEYS BOATS Bad news: if your boat is named Reel Therapy or Aquaholic, it’s time to start thinking outside the box. More bad news: if you re-name your boat without following the proper procedure, you’re DOOMED and CURSED and SKUNKED. No exceptions. Good news: here’s how to do it.

Following are some unique boat names to consider:

First, the boat owner must remove every instance of the former name, not just the hull or transom. That means log books, engravings, decorations, etc., with the old name must be obliterated. Do not speak the boat’s new name, or introduce any object with the new name, onto the boat before the formal ceremony.

Yeah Buoy

Unsinkable II Usain Boat Sotally Tober

Salty Test Tackles 3 Sea Sons Tax Sea-vation Whatshername Eat Drink and Remarry

The ritual begins with a complicated incantation to the god of the sea, Poseidon (Greek) or Neptune (Roman). Basically, the boat owner should ask the vessel’s name recorded in the Ledger of the Deep be formally changed, without incurring any extra risk or penalty forthwith in the appellate court of the ocean, in forma pauperis, with subpoena duces tecum, etc., etc. It should go on a pretty long while so there are plenty of sipping opportunities.

A Fishin’ Sea Low Key’ed Boaty McBoatFace

Then crack a champagne bottle, or bottle of red wine on the hull, make a toast, pour some alcohol into the sea, and ring a bell.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

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By Sara Matthis

WATER GEAR COOL THINGS FOR EVERYTHING OCEAN-RELATED

OUTBOARD ENGINE Yamaha and Mercury are stepping it up with bigger outboards. Mercury unveiled its 450 hp racing engine this past month to rave reviews. According to the manufacturer, it weighs the same as the 400hp while producing 40% more torque, and is the same compact size as the 300hp racing engine. The 4.8 liter, V8 engine runs on 89 octane fuel.

FISHING REEL Penn’s new VI Series fishing reels are an impressive upgrade from previous models. The manufacturer said the anti-reverse is almost silent and the handle is more ergonomic. It features a proprietary two-speed shifting system and are available in both gold and silver finishes.

$54-$64K Big Pine Sea Center

$500-$600 Jigs Bait & Tackle

GYRO STABILIZER Up until now, gyro stabilizers were only available for megayachts. But now, Seakeeper has entered the market with its smallest model yet, the Seakeeper 2, suitable for boats 27 to 32 feet. What is it? Well, it’s a flywheel trapped inside a vacuum-sealed sphere. Smart technology gauges the roll cycle and counteracts the boat’s roll from side to side (but not the vertical lift). It can be installed anywhere on the boat, or be custom fitted into a leaning post. For boaters who love the water, but have tender stomachs this is a must have. The price below doesn’t include installation. $19.9K Seakeeper

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Florida Keys Summer Boating


TACKLE According to Marlin Magazine, these little babies are a good way to add some color and flash to attract billfish. The innovation of the Jr. Ilander Dredge Head is the largish leader hole that slips easily over the wire. Plus, the rigging hole is slightly offset to keep the lure tracking straight. Capt. Harry’s Fishing Supply calls it “tournament proven.” $24 various tackle stores

ACCESSORIES The hardest part about paddleboarding is getting the board to the right place. The SupDawg premium rooftop mount is an affordable, well performing option. It can hold two boards up to 36-inches wide and features rollers to make it easier to load. Plus, it features a locking system so owners feel comfortable walking away, and ordering a beer after a satisfying paddle. The system fits Yakima round, factory, aero and square bars. $300 Yakima.com

SNAP What protects boats? Canvas and vinyl. And what protects that from ripping or tearing when trying to un-snap a salt-encrusted fastener? The answer is the top-snapper and snap lube combination from Ironwood Pacific. The stainless steel tool fits under the snap, making it easy to pop off including in cases of shrunken canvas or corroded snaps. The lube cuts through corrosion and its semi-solid state means it won’t make a mess. $25 ironwoodpacific.com

SHARPENER This handy, dandy $7 tool is perfect for the boat. It sharpens knives and hooks. It also cuts line and has a lanyard hole so anglers can tie it up to keep it from moving around, or overboard. The crossed carbide blades put a good edge on the fillet knife, and the crossed ceramic rods give it a razor-sharp edge. $7 smithsproducts.com

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Florida Keys Summer Boating


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By Alice Grainger

RAISING THE REEF

A day on the water — the sun is shining, cold beer in hand, surrounded by friends and family, kids jumping off the boat’s deck into the bright blue sea. It is hard to imagine

a happier scene. Life in the Keys is all about the ocean. Almost every resident spends their days off fishing, diving, snorkeling, or simply hanging out while the waves lap gently against the hull. But we are loving this ocean to within an inch of its life – under the surface, the corals are in crisis. The Florida Reef Tract is the third-largest barrier reef and the only barrier reef in the United States. This reef is a national treasure. It protects our fragile coastline from storm surges. It is a critical habitat for thousands of marine creatures – not least the fish and lobsters that draw so many people to the worldrenowned restaurants that dot these islands. Tourists are drawn to experience the beauty of this ecosystem on dive and snorkel trips. And, as a result, local livelihoods are intrinsically dependent on this natural wonder. In the last 40 years, the beautiful branching staghorn and elkhorn corals that used to dominate the Florida Reef Tract have lost up to 97 percent of their populations. These animals are now critically endangered — one step away from extinct in the wild. This is a reef on the brink, and we are the culprits; direct damage from boat anchors and divers, souvenir hunters, overfishing, and pollution have caused this dramatic decline. But there is hope. Thanks to better waste water management systems, the installation of mooring balls, fisheries regulations, and growing awareness amongst locals and visitors alike, many of the stressors that killed these corals have been reduced. And so now, we need to work together to restore this iconic piece of American natural history. Thankfully, the Keys are home to the world’s largest coral restoration program. Coral Restoration Foundation invented the “Coral Tree” — a cost-effective way to grow huge numbers of corals, quickly. They have now reintroduced more than 100,000 corals back to their natural habitat. As an ocean-lover, you can get involved and help support this momentous effort. Head over to www.coralrestoration.org to find out how you can help ensure that future generations can also fall in love with the Keys way of life.

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Florida Keys Summer Boating

As lovers of life in the ocean, we need to protect and restore the ecosystem that underpins it all…


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