Impersonators, of the Fab Four from Liverpool, suited up for the 25th Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key Reef. Area dive masters metamorphosed into John, Paul, Ringo and George … and Yoko Ono. As The Weekly Newspapers files one dive report where we were also imbrued with the lyrics that defined a generation.
“Mermaids? Are you ready?” Carole Stevens, Executive Director of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce asks the ship full of snorkelers and divers dressed as rock stars of the 60’s.
“Guys buddy up,” Roman Gastesi, Monroe County Administrator instructs his girlfriend Allison’s three boys. “Stick together.”
“George lost his wig. Is he coming back up to get his hair?”
One of two loaded dive boats from Strike Zone Charters has dropped anchor, and speaker, and a fervor of excitement weaves through the dive boat. Bob Rowland (John Lemonshark), Alicia Merel (Paul McCarpney), Cassie Nichols (Ringo Starfish), Zach Woodnanny (George Herringson), Nancy Herlehy (Mako Ono), and Samantha Langsdale, model, mom and today mermaid are sinking themselves a shallow 25 – 30 feet down on the coral reef for the Underwater Music Festival. We’re at Buoy #12.
“This event is viewed around the world and puts Big Pine and Looe Key on the map,” explains Stevens. “We receive comments from every end of the earth. People in the UK and especially Germany they find this very amusing. They come to the visitor’s center and ask about it because they’ve viewed it at home, and they realize Looe Key is where it all takes place.”
A tactic, now a quarter of a century old, to lure certified divers and potential divers to the Keys.
“Take my picture,” I instruct my dive buddy and The Weekly Newspapers owner and editor Jason Koler.
As soon as I let some air out of my BCD, we’re floating along to the beats of The Beatles.
“Every year we start brainstorming for concerts, we’ve done everything from a bistro under the water, to rock legends, Elvis. This year our original thought was to do a pirate theme, but we didn’t think on a global scale such a show was politically correct. With this year being the 40th anniversary of the Yellow Submarine and we started thinking Beatles.
Then, came up with the fish names.”
Paul McCarpney and John Lemonshark rock it out in a replica made out of thick plywood, “We all live in a yellow submarine,” as Jason and I swim and dance around with the tropical fish cruising the coral.
“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
As we pile back on the boat, a worrisome thought is present, “This year was The Beatles. What are we going to do next year? We’re running out of themes!”
To this we have to say, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough!” Wonder if you can moonwalk in the water!
There’s more! A video exclusive. To view Josie’s live interview with Mermaid Samantha Langsdale on board the boat log on to www.keysweekly.com. Just click on the video portal.
Carole Stevens and Bill Becker News Director for US 1 Radio are the two personalities spear-heading the underwater spectacular! Becker is the originator of the globally broadcast event, along with the respected Dr. Fred Troxel.
Samantha Langsdale gets some wardrobe assistance from Joan Herzing. The mermaid and model has to get her fins into the tail of her sparkly, sea green costume. The process took some tugging, but in the end she made it to the bottom without any accidental malfunctions.
“It was a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog!” From the Right “John Lemonshark” (Bob Roland), “Paul McCarpney” (Alicia Merel) and “George Herringson” Zach Woodnanny, strike a cord at Looe Reef Key. Their underwater acrobats were broadcast live on US 1 radio.