Alligator Reef Lighthouse, a 150-year-old lighthouse that has been dark for a decade, is shining again at night in the Florida Keys. An Islamorada group working to restore the aging lighthouse recently installed solar-powered lights in the lantern room — shining a beacon across the water to highlight the need to preserve the landmark.
On May 18, 1991, Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit to the Florida Keys on the Royal Yacht Britannia. Thirty-one years later, as the world mourns the gracious British monarch’s death, it seems only fitting to recall that day — and Her Majesty’s encounter with the unofficial queen of the island chain, Wilhelmina Harvey.
There is no other acrobatic fish on the inshore fishing scene that’s more coveted by anglers than the tarpon. Known for their high-leaping ability, these “silver kings” are powerful and tenacious. It’s sometimes easy to get them to bite a bait, but often they have lockjaw and can frustrate anglers and captains alike.
Former President George H.W. Bush was passionate about catch-and-release fishing in the Florida Keys. His interest in fishing for Keys species such as bonefish, tarpon and permit was so significant that he lent his name to the George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament staged in Islamorada. And the time he spent angling in Keys waters revealed a unique and appealing side to his personality.
In the waters off Key Largo, divers have installed a bronze plaque that names and honors the final 250 of 1,000 contributors to a project that sank a former U.S. Naval ship — exactly 15 years ago — to become an artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The panel was attached to the side of the Spiegel Grove, the third-largest ship ever scuttled to create a new reef for divers, as another milestone in a story that proves sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction.
The Key West community remembers the late Gilbert Baker, creator of the original LGBT rainbow flag -- and working alongside him June 15, 2003, during Key West PrideFest, to unfurl a 1.25-mile-long 25th anniversary edition of the iconic flag along the entire length of Duval Street.
On a single breath of air, Mehgan Heaney-Grier set a U.S. record for constant-weight freediving in 1996, diving 155 feet deep off the Florida Keys in an amazing display of athleticism and grace.
When Randy Towe was 10 years old, he asked his mother to buy him a $200 custom fishing rod. His mother didn’t agree, so he convinced her to spend considerably less and purchase the necessary parts. The young fishing fanatic then built his own rod -- and today, he crafts prized rods for others from his store in the Florida Keys.
Twenty-five years ago, on May 18, 1991, two queens met on a remote island 70 miles west of Key West. Okay, actually there was only one genuine queen present at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park. But the other was certainly a queen to me, and to the citizens of the Conch Republic (a/k/a the Florida Keys & Key West).
Each January, the Florida Keys hosts a group of severely injured soldiers who use special bicycles to ride segments of the Overseas Highway during the Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride.