A couple of weekends ago Uday and I visited the Florida Keys. We got up at 5:00 AM on a Saturday morning after staying up until midnight packing what we needed, since we would be camping the first evening. That morning we arrived at Key Largo and directly went on a snorkeling trip at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. We met up with a friend named Scott (who started a non-profit Christian-based organization called Outlanders several years ago, where he organizes camp-outs and outdoor activities) and we made some new friends who also accompanied us on the snorkeling trip. This is suppose to be the best place in the United States to snorkel and the one of the two living reefs in the United States. The coral reef was very beautiful and we enjoyed seeing it up close and personal.
The fish were also beautiful but there was not as many fish as I thought there should be. There has been a lot of talk about our oceans becoming depleted of fish and it was a bit scary to observe this ourselves! We did see a sand shark on our water adventure and got a picture of it with our under water camera. It is a little hidden under the coral, but check this out and see if you can find it.
After snorkeling, Uday and I left our friends for a while and went to the Key called Islamorada and visited a place called Theater of the Sea. It was pretty awesome to be so close to the Dolphins and Sea Lions. Theater of the Sea is a Marine Conservation Center where they perform Dolphin, Sea Lion, and Parrots shows and allow many audience members to participate with touching the animals during the show. They also help turtles and I have a pictures of some turtles that they were helping. There were two turtles there that they made floats for to keep hem from drowning since they had a problem with their shell which would cause them to sink without the floats. There were a few other animals and fish at the park as well. The park itself is pretty small and the shows were about every half an hour. We got through the whole park in about three hours and saw he Dolphin and Sea Lion show twice. Check out our pictures as most came out really good since we were able to get so close to the animals. There is a picture of a dolphin kissing me but it is hard to see since we got it off of our video camera. We also got the picture of the Sea Lion kissing me from our video camera but this one came out better.
After snorkeling and walking around Theater of the Sea we worked up an appetite... We went to go feed the Tarpoon (a huge fish) and a Pelican around a place called "The Hungry Tarpoon". We planned to eat at the restaurant here but it was dinner time and the place was only open for breakfast and lunch. We ended up eating at a really good restaurant called Lazy Days. Here we really stuffed ourselves as they had the best banana bread I have ever tasted. We also had really good coconut shrimp for an appetizer and for dinner I had fried fish and Uday had a juicy steak dish. I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone traveling towards Key West.
That night we camped at Bahia Honda State Park. We got there around sunset and it was pretty since the park is on the beach. Our friends from snorkeling met us at the camp site. The sky was so clear that night and there was a section in the park where we all went to look at the billions of bright stars and star dust that covered the sky. It was so amazing and I also mentioned how glad I was to see such a clear sky as this meant we would not have any rain that night as we camped.
We finally settled into our tent and began to fall asleep when we were suddenly woken up by the sound of wind and thunder. As it came closer and closer I made Uday get up and sit in the car with me. He was mad at me and thought I was being paranoid. A few minutes later it began to pour. We slept in the car the rest of the night and the tent was flooded by morning. This was a second night in a row with little sleep. By morning it was bright and sunny and we were on our way to Key West. We drove on the long slender bridge that connects the different keys leading down to Key West. It was quite an experience driving through the middle of the ocean and gazing at the old rail bridge running parallel to us, that now stood ruined in places due to the 1935 hurricane.
We spent the rest of the day in Key West and visited the "Southern Most Point" of the United States.
We saw the beach (not that impressive) and spent the rest of our time looking at the shops, bars and people of Key West. It was very hot and we found some salvation from the heat at "Ripley's Believe It or Not" Museum. It was a small museum but interesting and fun. We probably could have left by mid afternoon as we saw everything we wanted to see but had to wait to see the sunset and the street entertainers at sunset at Mallory Square as Uday's boss told him not to come back without seeing the sunset at Mallory Square. The sunset that night was not that impressive but Mallory Square is a must see. We did not even see half of the street performers as there were so many and we were getting exhausted and still had about a four and a half hour drive back home.
Overall, we had another fun experience visiting the Keys. My only recommendation would be to visit when it is cooler and not to camp in a tent in the summer in south Florida!
I hope this blog will help you know where to go and what to do if you visit the Keys!
Enjoy the pictures!
Click on the picture below to see all of our pictures from our trip to the Florida Keys: