National Geographic : 1971 Jan
"Wait till I tell the guys back home!" This freckled visitor will long savor the mem ory of a tow behind Flipper, the film star, at Santini's Porpoise Training School. "Flip per is really Mitzi, and he's a she," explains Milton Santini, who, with his wife Virginia, the Lower Keys, but no visitor should miss it (pages 74 and 82-3).* Even after the keys had taken their present form, the slow march of nature continued. Distinctive creatures-boldly striped tree snails,t pale raccoons, and miniature white tailed deer-found havens here. Indians spread from the mainland. Then came Spaniards, looting the New World Co lumbus had given them. The Florida Keys became a nightmare alley-a storm-wracked gantlet between the riches of Mexico and Peru and the king's coffers in Madrid. 76 Unlike the vanished Indians, who even to modern archeologists are little more than ghostly shades, the Spaniards live on, inflam ing men's minds with dreams of sudden wealth. Talk to a diver anywhere in the keys and the conversation will turn, sooner or later, to a chain of events set in motion on a Friday the thirteenth in 1733. *Pennekamp's parade of sea life was pictured in the January 1962 GEOGRAPHIC: "Florida's Coral City Be neath the Sea," by Jerry Greenberg, and "America's First Undersea Park," by Charles M. Brookfield. tSee "Tree Snails, Gems of the Everglades," by Treat Davidson, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, March 1965.