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Radio station's beats go beneath the waves to celebrate a rare live reef off Florida

| Saturday, July 11, 2015, 6:57 p.m.
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, marathon swimmer Diana Nyad swims during the Underwater Music Festival Saturday, July 11, 2015, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Big Pine Key, Fla. Nyad was one of hundred of participants who listened to a local radio station's four-hour broadcast piped beneath the sea via underwater speakers, featuring music programmed for the subsea listening experience as well as coral reef conservation messages. In September 2013, Nyad became the first person to ever swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage.

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. — Hundreds of music-loving snorkelers and divers, joined by distance swimmer Diana Nyad, ducked beneath the waves Saturday as a radio station broadcast a concert underwater at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Such songs as the theme from “The Little Mermaid,” the Beatles' “Yellow Submarine” and Jimmy Buffett's “Fins” entertained listeners during the four-hour session.

Some snorkelers pretended to jam underwater on mock guitars or play other fake instruments such as a whimsical fish flute. Others wore costumes depicting mermaids and seahorses as music sounded from waterproof speakers suspended beneath boats.

“To be immersed in the sea and feel the music coming from underneath instead of through headphones — it's very magical and distinct,” Nyad said. “You couldn't hear it this well if you were in a concert sitting in the front row.”

In September 2013, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage, singing to herself to get herself through the more than 100-mile swim. One of the songs from Nyad's personal soundtrack, “Me and Bobby McGee,” was played in her honor Saturday.

The so-called Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival was at Looe Key Reef, part of the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef about six miles south of Big Pine Key.

“This is a way for people to really appreciate the coral reef while at the same time listening to an environmental message about coral protection,” explained WWUS radio station news director and festival founder Bill Becker.

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