On Labor Day 2013, Diana Nyad walked ashore onto Key West's Smathers Beach — becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage. Keys Voices marks the 10th anniversary of Diana’s iconic feat with a look back at the challenges and perseverance that led to its accomplishment.
Meet the newest “Papa.” White-bearded Wisconsin man Gerrit Marshall has won the 2023 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, a highlight of Key West's Hemingway Days festivities. The retired television broadcast engineer triumphed over nearly 140 other contest entrants on his 68th birthday — just a day after the July 21 birthday of the original "Papa" Hemingway.
Mike Goldberg of Islamorada’s I.CARE and Dave Vaughan of Summerland Key’s Plant a Million Corals Foundation have recently earned global recognition for their work on coral restoration in the Florida Keys. Both men were previously recognized as Stewards of the Keys for their dedication to preserving and protecting the island chain’s undersea environment.
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’s a new “Papa” Hemingway on the island where legendary author Ernest Hemingway lived for most of the 1930s. White-bearded Floridian Jon Auvil won the 2022 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, the highlight of Key West's annual Hemingway Days. And Nick Henke of St. Louis earned top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.
The bearded brotherhood of Hemingway Look-Alike Contest winners gained a new member July 25 in Key West, home of legendary author Ernest Hemingway for most of the 1930s. Zach Taylor, a 63-year-old white-bearded Georgia man, triumphed over 136 other entrants to win the contest that highlights the island city’s annual Hemingway Days celebration.
For decades, Bishop Al Kee welcomed visitors to Key West’s Southernmost Point marker, acting as a smiling ambassador for the island. He sold fluted, pink-lined conch shells beside the iconic waterfront landmark, sliced open coconuts for those who wanted to drink the sweet coconut water inside, and cheerfully posed for innumerable visitor photos.
While the Florida Keys remain temporarily closed to visitors, it’s possible to stay connected by sharing Keys memories and stories of extraordinary people. People like “Shine” Forbes — a sparring partner of legendary author and 1930s Key West resident Ernest Hemingway — who was one of the island’s most unique links to the colorful author.
Key West’s colorful history includes Spanish galleon shipwreck treasures and artifacts, famous artists and eccentrics, a cigar-making heyday, a vibrant past as a bustling seaport and even an eerie haunted doll. So it’s no surprise to find that cultural and historic richness preserved, spotlighted and celebrated in the island city’s many museums.
In 1982, the Florida Keys & Key West seceded from the United States (for a very good reason) and formed the independent Conch Republic. Come to find out, the irreverent and gutsy spirit that inspired the Keys' secession also sparked the founding of a "country" on the other side of the world: the colorful “Republic of Whangamomona.”