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Two physicians from Ohio, a husband and wife team, began scuba diving, raising tropical fish, studying fish behavior and ocean environmental issues. Their interest evolved into man’s penetration of the undersea. Drs. Joe and Sally Bauer researched then collected early diving inventions and historic hard hat rigs. Their collection expanded as they discovered and preserved historic diving gear, books, manuscripts and memorabilia associated with ocean exploration. Collecting historic dive equipment became their passion.
Joanne Birdsall, Gift Store Manager at the History of Diving Museum (HDM) in Islamorada, took out her phone. She scrolled down to show me photographs along US 1, known in the Florida Keys as the Overseas Highway. Her shots were taken after residents were allowed back and clean-up started in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Irma was a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of peak intensity measured at 185 miles per hour.