Seagulls cried overhead as I glided across miles of glistening waters somewhere between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The sky melted into the teal sea, which turned turquoise as it shallowed into channels between the coral and limestone islands. It was a tableau of blue, extending as far as I could see.
As I adjusted my sunglasses, I glimpsed a blur of movement from the corner of my eye. A bottlenose dolphin! It had friends, and soon the pod performed an aquatic ballet, leaping in graceful arcs before plunging back into the waves. Fishing boats bobbed lazily around me, and I had an urge to cast a line, but it would have been hard to do while driving at 50mph along a highway.
Travelling from Miami to the island of Key West, Florida, hasn’t always been the carefree drive it is today. In the early part of the 20th Century, the only way to make the journey to the southernmost point in the continental US was a day-long boat ride, and that was dependent on weather and tides. But thanks to a stunning engineering marvel known as the Overseas Highway that stretches 113 miles from the mainland’s southern tip across 44 tropical islands on 42 bridges, I was seemingly floating across a necklace of mangrove forests and cays as I drove to a place where North America and the Caribbean meet.