A scuba-diving Santa Claus helper was spotted Thursday in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary relaxing with an elfish helper before the upcoming holidays.
Propelled by an undersea scooter, he delivered a bit of cheer Thursday to the marine inhabitants in the sanctuary off Key Largo.
Dillon McGovern, a scuba instructor from Slate’s Scuba Adventures, donned the Kris Kringle garb while Annabelle Dunne, a newly certified 15-year-old from Atlanta, suited up as an elf for the shop’s annual pre-holiday dive. The event’s purpose is to offer underwater holiday photo opportunities and help promote awareness of an annual fundraiser for a local children’s charity, Kids in Special Situations.
Christmas Day, the dive shop plans a special morning coral reef dive trip for divers and snorkelers to join, helping raise additional money for the charity.
During his subsea excursion near an area aptly named Pleasure Reef, McGovern encountered schools of fish and other marine life that seemed quite comfortable with the very merry crew throughout the dive.
For over 30 years, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has protected the continental U.S.’ only living coral barrier reef and the waters surrounding the Florida Keys island chain.