July 18, 2018

Kevin Wadlow file photo
Women divers in Key Largo take part in a fish count during a survey of reef activity. 

Kevin Wadlow file photo Women divers in Key Largo take part in a fish count during a survey of reef activity. 

UPPER KEYS — Women who explore the underwater world can plunge into several Upper Keys events this month.

Women Dive Day, launched by the PADI dive-certification agency in 2015, offers aquatic expeditions in Key Largo and a special Saturday, July 21, “Diving Divas” presentation at the History of Diving Museum, mile marker 83, bayside, followed by a dive.

Dr. Sally Bauer will give a “Her-Story of Diving” talk on advances made by women divers in a 10 a.m. event at the diving museum.

Bauer founded the History of Diving Museum with her late husband, Joe. Much of the historical diving gear in the facility came from the Bauers’ personal collection.  

“The museum has participated with different talks for the PADI Women Dive Day since its first year, but this is the first time Dr. Bauer is doing the morning presentation,” said museum Executive Director Lisa Mongelia. “Even if people aren’t divers, hearing Dr. Bauer speak is a fascinating experience. It’s like she has a diving encyclopedia in her head.”

The presentation will discuss how women divers have progressed “from mythical mermaids and a damsel in distress” to become Japanese “sea women” pearl divers and many of the world’s top scientific researchers.

Admission to Bauer’s presentation is $15 per person, which includes museum access for the day. Members of the History of Diving Museum are admitted free. 

Certified divers can attend Bauer’s talk and join an afternoon Women Dive Day reef trip with the Islamorada Dive Center for a combined $80. 

A founding member of the Historical Diving Society, Bauer was certified to dive in the late 1960s. An emergency-room physician, she earned an underwater-medicine certification and became expert in diving history and marine biology, notably a decades-long study of angelfish behavior and reproduction.

Other Women Dive Day events in the Upper Keys:

• Ocean Divers in Key Largo will hold a July 21 morning dive with Scuba Girls, a Central Florida group, and Stream 2 Sea, a manufacturer of reef-safe sunburn products. The dive is “an opportunity for women to come together, to bond over their love of the ocean, to share their passion for diving, and to encourage each other’s growth in this amazing sport.” For information, call 305-451-1113. 

• Rainbow Reef Dive Center in Key Largo plans  “a wonderful day of diving … with our all-woman boat crew aboard a women-only dive boat!” For information, call 305-451-7171.

• The Amoray Dive Center in Key Largo got an early start on Women Dive Day, with scheduled July 15 events that included a presentation by the Coral Restoration Foundation and an afternoon dive trip to “gain insight into the wonderful world of ocean conservation taking place right here in the Keys.”