by Shayne Benowitz
Today on the parasail boat with Captain Scotty, we noticed something unusual falling from the sky. Along the northeast horizon dozens of parachutes floated towards land as a giant military aircraft swooped by.
“What do you think that’s for?” I asked Scotty. “Air Force? Navy? Coastguard?”
Scotty guessed that it was Navy SEAL training. With an Air Force and Naval base in Key West as well as an active Coast Guard outpost, we see a lot of military traffic on the water and in the air. For years, Navy SEALs have held a training camp in Key West for combat diving, and on occasion we’ll see their dive flags in the Navy Mole next to the Margaritaville Marina when we return from trips.
The Mole is where the USS Vandenberg was docked before it was sunk offshore last week to create the second largest artificial reef in the world. For over a month, crew prepared the vessel by removing everything inside that might be damaging to the ocean’s ecosystem. Throughout the year, a number of military vessels are docked at the Mole waving flags from all over the world.
Some days, we’ll take out a whole group of visiting Coast Guards from another base that are training in Key West and have a free day. Other days, we’ll hear the rumble of a large military plane while we’re out snorkeling and it’s as if we’re getting our own mini air show for free.
There’s always something new and interesting to see on the waters of Key West and we’re very proud of our hard working troops in the Southernmost City.
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.