Monday, February 4, 2019

Dive Museum and Good-Bye Keys

We wrapped up our longest stay, six weeks, in the Keys with many friends, great food and wonderful sunsets. It is always a fun time at the Elks with many of the same people being there every year.  
We have been driving passed the History of Diving Museum since our first visit in 2008, but have never stopped. Since we had a couple chilly, 60 degree, days we decided an indoor attraction was in order.
As soon as you walk through the door you have a chance to try on an old diving helmet. There was actually more room in there than I thought there would be.
The standard outfit used by many divers including the military. The air supply comes from a boat so the diver can stay down longer than someone using scuba gear.
An early diving bell. It only had the air held in the bell as it was lowered into the water. The diver would go to the bell to get fresh air that extended the time he could stay under. 
This display was about free diving, seeing how deep someone could go just by holding their breath. The current record holder, Herbert Nitsch, made it to a depth of 702 feet.
Some early diving helmets that had air pumped to them from the surface.
An exhibit on how the helmets have changed over the years.
Modern helmets have gotten smaller and less cumbersome.
A display of homemade helmets. Making your own became all the rage after an article in Popular Mechanics. Some were very sophisticated but most looked pretty shaky to me.
A display on underwater photography. Who remembers Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges and the Jacque Cousteau underwater documentaries?
Another exhibit on treasure hunting with dives to old galleons that sank carrying gold and silver to Europe. This is a real silver bar.
Treasure diving using huge vacuums to suck up the gold and silver coins from the ocean floor.
Old hand pumps used to supply air to the divers. You sure had to trust the guy doing the pumping.
The Mark series of helmets were the standard for all military divers for many years.
Nanc checking out the fish on a coral reef. About as close to diving as she will ever get.
An art exhibit of the fish and animals seen on the reefs off the Keys. They were all done by local middle school students.
Atmospheric diving suits are designed for divers to go as deep as 2300 feet. To me they are like a one person submarine. I don't know why it took us so long to check out the diving museum in Islamorada. It is well worth a visit for an "in depth" look at the history of diving.
We took a drive to Marathon and while almost all the debris is gone from Hurricane Irma there are still many signs of the damage it did. This sailboat is in the same spot in someones yard that it was last year.
Love those Keys sunsets.
Our view from Opus changed our last week as Gary and Jean had to leave after she had a health scare. We sure wish her a speedy recovery.
The Elks is becoming more like a Keys resort with some new to them beach lounges. No, that is not snow piled up on the beach, just some sea foam.
The gang gathered in Gary and Jean's spot to send them a hello wave and tell them we missed them.
Still my favorite sunset view with the tiki hut.
Almost everyone was leaving on February 1 so we had one last happy hour gathering at the tiki hut. Top are Betty, Ron, Laurie, John, Linda, Judy (who was celebrating her birthday), Ray and Dennis. Bottom are George, Nanc, Sharon, Tim, Patty, Sue and John. Sorry I did not get pictures of everyone. It was a great stay with a bunch of fun people and we all paid our deposit for next January. Yes even us, we are not giving up this great spot in the Keys even though we have a stix and brix just up the road in Stuart.
Sam even stopped by to say good-bye until next year.
Out last Keys sunset until next time.

We are now at our new home in Stuart. It feels much more like home than the time we spent here after the closing. That was more like a working vacation. This time we stored Opus just down the road and made several trips moving our stuff. We sure have liked the weather so far. I am sitting on the patio to write this entry. If anyone is in the Stuart area give us a shout.