For someone who is semi-retired, Doug Morgan is a busy man. He usually spends his mornings at the gym, watches over a couple properties, runs boats in the afternoon and spends his evenings enjoying a good cigar. Originally from Long Island, Morgan majored in criminal justice and wrestled in college. When he retired as a police detective, he moved to Marathon primarily for the diving, but more so because it was a good place to raise his daughters.
His two daughters, Alyssa and Krista, are Marathon High School graduates and his three grandchildren are the light of his life. His Sundays are spent in Marathon at breakfast with Alyssa and little Gavin, 2 months old, or in Orlando helping Krista and her family work on the house they just bought. “I love being a grandpa,” he said. “I highly recommend it.”
As a dive instructor who has taught many Marathon kids how to dive, he looks forward to teaching his grandchildren to love the water as much as he does. “I’ll probably be the world’s oldest instructor, but I absolutely plan on it,” he said.
His daughters adore him. “He’s probably the most interesting man in the world,” said Alyssa. “Even in the worst situations, he never loses his cool and he’s unbelievably patient.”
Alyssa and Krista said Morgan made sure they were independent, strong women. The most important lesson they learned was the value of time. “Nothing is more valuable,” said Alyssa. ‘If you are going to spend your time doing something, make sure it’s worth it.”
You dabble in a lot of things, what are your favorite hobbies? Scuba diving, riding the motorcycle, traveling, snow skiing.
We see you around town in your kilt bagpiping, how did you get into that? In the early ’80s, the police department had a bagpipe band and the practices and events usually took place during work hours, so I got to skip some days of work and I just stuck with it.
What is your favorite reef to dive in the Keys? For wrecks, the Thunderbolt. For reefs, Coffins Patch.
How many people have you certified to dive? Several hundred. I take great pride that I have certified so many kids here in Marathon and love seeing how their love for diving has evolved. It’s rewarding that so many have stuck with it and have been safe. It’s the best part of small town living.
Dream meal: you are sitting at a diner counter eating…who walks in and sits next to you? My dad, especially since it’s Father’s Day weekend.
Favorite Keysy thing to do? Any day spent on or in the water is a good day.
Which TV or movie character is your alter ego? Captain Morgan – you know the guy who owns the rum company.
Best piece of advice you ever received? No one ever looks back on their life when they are old and says, “Gee, I wish I worked more.”
What is your nerdiest passion? Recently addicted to a stupid little eight-ball pool app on my phone. It’s a great time waster.
If you could take one item on a deserted island, what? Why? Satellite phone, because everyone needs to get off the rock every once in a while.
What was your first thought this morning? How am I going to come up with the answers to these questions?
Favorite guilty pleasure? Sitting on the back porch or out on the boat smoking a Padron cigar.
If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you do? Pay off all of my family’s mortgages. (Morgan plays $10 every Wednesday and Saturday, on Quick Picks; it has not worked out yet…)
If you could change the world, what would you do? There isn’t enough room in this thing for what I would like to change, but first would be ending terrorism and bringing our troops home safely.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to? Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bali, Vietnam. I am partial to Asia.
What are you most looking forward to on your Cuba trip this week? It’s my third trip and I spent the last two in Havana, so I am looking forward to exploring the countryside more and have diving on the list this week.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Police officer.
Finish these sentences
My daughters would describe me as … someone who is always there for them when they need me.
My autobiography would be titled … “How to invest heavily in lotto and end up with no money.”
Marathon is like … Mayberry on the ocean.
I live by the motto … the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth of the hole.