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— A Miami couple was married Tuesday to help mark the 50th anniversary of the installation of an iconic underwater statue off the Florida Keys.

Kimberly Triolet and Jorge Rodriguez wed beside the Christ of the Deep statue, positioned in 25 feet of water, about 5 miles off Key Largo. A notary public used an underwater slate for the vows’ exchange that was witnessed by friends and other divers aboard a boat from the Amoray Dive Resort in Key Largo. And several fish and other marine life were present as well.

“To be able to get married at the Christ statue on the 50th anniversary is amazing and we’ll for sure be coming back for our 50th anniversary to dive it again,” Triolet said. “Picture cannot just describe how pretty it is, and it’s something definitely that should be on everybody’s bucket list to see.”

The 9-foot-tall bronze Christ of the Deep was submerged Aug. 25, 1965. It became a symbol for Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, America’s first underwater preserve created in 1960 that is now part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The statue is a replica of the Italian original,”Christ of the Abyss.” Created by artist Guido Galletti, the original was placed in the shallow San Fruttuoso Bay near Portofino, Italy, in 1954. Galletti also crafted the mold for another statue that was cast for Egidi Cressi, a well-known diving equipment manufacturer, who donated it to the Underwater Society of America in 1961. Although state dive councils in Illinois, Michigan and the Northeast petitioned for the statue, it was decided the waters of Pennekamp Park were to be the statue’s final resting place.

The statue, with arms uplifted in a gesture of invitation, is considered a symbol of peace and understanding among mankind.

Visitors from around the world come to snorkel, dive or ride glass-bottom boats to view and photograph the iconic sculpture at a site called Key Largo Dry Rocks, a box canyon that rises around beautiful coral formations.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)

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