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Key West & The Florida Keys ~ Island Life

Explore the tropical island lifestyle we enjoy in the lower Florida Keys and Key West. 
Let us share our experiences with a pilot whale rescue, local Key West and lower Keys history, the unique ecology of the keys, information about sponges and how some keys residents make a living by collecting them, and other local interests.

Pilot Whale Rescue

History of Key West and the Florida Keys

Early settlers were drawn to Key West for the opportunity to make money from the wrecking industry. Once Florida became a US territory, the federal government insisted that salvage from wrecks in US waters be taken to a US port and Key West became the closest. Wreckers from Cuba and Nassau soon moved to Key West. In a few years, a Federal Court was established and wreckers were issued licenses. Before the lighthouses were established along the Florida Keys, an average of one ship per week ran afoul of the barrier reef that runs the length of the island chain. It was a lucrative business for everyone - not just for the wreckers, but for the US government which collected its share, and the merchants and warehouse owners who held and sold the goods. All the parties involved needed a lawyer; one for the wrecker (or more since multple captains often worked a wrekc) one for the captain and or owner of the ship and its cargo, and one for the government. This industry made many Key West resident wealthy: in the mid to late 1800s, Key West was considered to be the wealthiest city, per capita, in the United States.

Ecology of the Lower Florida Keys 

Eating local raw honey has become a way folks treat allergies. The lower Florida Keys has a beekeeper, David Lewis of "Florida Key Honey and Bees," who sells a wide variety of light and dark honies, and who offers bee removal when needed, as well. Raw honey means all the nutrition and no preservatives or additive.

Spongers and Collecting Sponges

For information on dolphin encounters, fishing and snorkeling in Key West waters, please visit our home page.

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