Tunes and good times were plentiful beneath the waves at the 38th Annual Underwater Music Festival on July 9. Presented by the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, the yearly event saw hundreds of snorkelers and scuba divers – and even some mermaids – make the trip out to Looe Key Reef off of Big Pine Key. There they enjoyed a dive while listening to a playlist of local and classic hits coordinated by Steve Miller and US1 Radio and projected into the blue by underwater speakers.

The protection of vital coral reefs has always been at the heart of the festival, and this year was no different, with conservation messages and ocean-themed songs woven throughout the playlist as divers marveled at the beauty of the corals and other wildlife of Looe Key.

Photos by ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly

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Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.