Fifteen young rescued sea turtles were recently released in Gulf Stream waters off Key West by a dedicated duo from the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital — and they were assisted in this worthy endeavor by members of a powerboat racing team who were on the island to compete in the sport’s world championship.
Florida Keys residents, and others who love the island chain, are guided by a code of conduct designed to protect the region’s amazing natural environment. Its core is the 10 Keymandments — a lighthearted yet informative set of recommendations for enjoying meaningful, memorable experiences while respecting and helping to preserve the Keys’ treasured eco-realm.
Most people who care about the Florida Keys probably know that the island chain felt some impacts from Hurricane Ian’s tropical storm-force winds and storm surge when Ian passed well to the west of Key West. So this week, Keys Voices breaks from its usual format to provide readers a post-Ian update.
The community of Marathon boasts a warm family-friendly flair and a variety of cozy inns, waterfront resorts, marinas and casual dining emporiums. The Middle Keys area also features plentiful creative spaces, natural attractions, scenic parks, trails, sightseeing spots and historic sites that make for an appealing blend of heritage, culture and nature.
In the Florida Keys, fresh fish and seafood are menu staples at most popular restaurants. It’s easy to find just-caught snapper, grouper and mahi-mahi served grilled, blackened or fried. In addition, many chefs and restaurateurs in the island chain enjoy showcasing “only in the Keys” dishes, unusual species or innovative preparation techniques.
From shrimp to traditional Cuban food to Key lime pie, the Florida Keys have a wealth of unique culinary treats to sample. Fish and seafood dishes are a standout on many restaurant menus, for good reason: the incredibly fresh fish diners are served at night was probably unloaded at the docks that morning!
Want to hunt the skittish gray ghost of the flats, the bonefish? Come to the Keys. Feel like battling a reel-emptying blue marlin? Come to the Keys. The subtropical weather, nearby Gulf Stream and long arc of islands that makes up the Florida Keys create one of the world’s best fishing environments.
In the Florida Keys, the Fourth of July means lively hometown parades, laid-back beach parties, on-the-water fun and lots of fireworks displays. Of course, holiday happenings in the Keys often feature an offbeat twist. So there’s also a July 4 event that illustrates the region’s quirky seaside spirit (and yes, it involves mermaids).
Florida Keys visitors can join residents in becoming stewards of the island chain’s world-renowned coral reef ecosystem. Environmental enthusiasts can aid in reef restoration in the Keys, giving back to the living, dynamic underwater ecosystem. They can also benefit the underwater world by following responsible reef protection tips during their Keys vacations.
Captain Dave Dipre, Marathon-based operational captain with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement, oversees operations from Key Largo to Key West. His love of the Keys, and his sense of environmental responsibility, run as deep as the 125-mile-long island chain’s waters that he’s charged with protecting.