Imagine snorkeling near remote Key West. Suddenly, the Space Shuttle appears…

(From Key West Citizen. Photos courtesy “A Gabby Conch”.) 
Bob Elkins of Key West and his friends from Bradenton, Taylor and Taylor Chadsey,
were spearfishing at the Dry Tortugas when this barge came into view
And there it goes…
Bob Elkins, a former and current resident
of Key West, on whose skiing daughter,
Sydney, we reported a while back, writes
that over the Memorial Day weekend, he was
on a commercial spearfishing trip to the Dry
“I was diving with friends, Taylor Chadsey,
and his namesake son, Taylor, of Bradenton,” he
reports. “We were in Rebecca Channel, approximately
50 miles west of Key West. Off in the distance
to our south appeared a tugboat towing a
barge with a strange shape on it. I couldn’t make
it out clearly, but I sensed something of interest
was heading our way.
“I picked up the binoculars and was flabbergasted
to recognize the space shuttle in the
haze, making its way towards us. It’s not often
that a piece of history is so ceremoniously
placed at your disposal, and in such an unlikely
and beautiful place.
“The space shuttles are being retired and distributed
around the country. This one I heard
was on its way to Houston. I didn’t see the name
on the shuttle so I am not sure which one it
While his wife, Kady, and their children,
Kaynan, 17, and Sydney, now 14, are finishing
the school year in Northern Michigan, Elkins
has become a long-range commuter, as his
work in Key West real estate and commercial
fishing “can only happen in the Keys,” he says.
He said that Kaynan is playing football and
Sydney was a member of the girls state champion
ski team. “Not bad for a Conch!” he concludes.
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One thought on “Imagine snorkeling near remote Key West. Suddenly, the Space Shuttle appears…

  1. This was actually the replica Space Shuttle Explorer, which used to sit outside at Kennedy Space Center. After the shuttles were retired and Atlantis got it’s own exhibit at KSC, Explorer was relocated to Houston, renamed “Independence”, and now sits on top of a 747 at the Johnson Space Center as part of the new exhibit there.

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