Coral reef protection was the “headliner” at a one-of-a-kind underwater concert staged Saturday in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Hundreds of divers and snorkelers took part in the annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival held at Looe (pronounced Lou) Key Reef, an area of the sanctuary about 6 miles south of Big Pine Key.
Presented by the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce and coordinated by US1 Radio 104.1 FM, the festival introduced participants to the Keys’ coral reef while encouraging environmentally responsible diving and reef protection.
Music was broadcast by the radio station and piped underwater via speakers suspended beneath boats, providing “sub-sea soundtrack” for participants exploring Looe Key Reef’s tropical fish and coral formations. They described the music as ethereal, a bit muted, but emanating from all directions.
The unique listening experience featured diver awareness messages that stressed the importance of not touching corals or leaving litter underwater, using mooring buoys instead of anchoring when boating, respecting dive flags and other ways of minimizing environmental impacts on coral reefs.
The playlist featured ocean-themed songs including the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and the theme from “The Little Mermaid.”
Some divers even spotted “mermaids” beneath the waves. Joined by other costumed participants dressed as sea creatures, they mimicked playing musical instruments underwater.