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Published: August 4th 2012
Wow! What a tremendous day here in Key Largo. After a good rest from our long drive and a great continental breakfast here at Dove Creek Lodge (oatmeal, fruit and yogurt, fruit kebobs) we were off figuring out the best way to snorkel today. There are many different charters you can take out, so deciding can be a bit overwhelming, but we decided to go with one called Keys Diver. We signed ourselves up for the 12:15 boat that would take us to three different spots on the Atlantic Ocean off Key Largo. We met the group and our Captain Kevin and Divemaster Tim where we signed in and were given the run down of how the day would work. Captain Kevin and Divemaster Tim were extremely professional and their expertise shone through from the very first moment on the boat. Jack and I both felt safe and comfortable in their hands. Which was good, because I have to admit that like with most adventure activities, I can get nervous in anticipation of what to expect (sharks, sharks and sharks). Captain Kevin explained that it was important that we all be good listeners and if we were we would all win
a ride home. Those who were not good listeners would be left without a ride!
We set out at about 12:30 with all 30 of us, and the water going out was so blue and tropical. So far the Keys are living up to everything that we hoped it would be. The ride out was great, lots of other charters were around us and everyone on the boat was slowly getting to know one another. After about an hour we reached our first dive spot, Banana Reef. Divemaster Tim went over how our gear worked, which included flippers, a mask and snorkel, and a life jacket. We all got sized for our flippers and before we knew it, in the words of Captain Kevin, the pool was open to swim in!
Jack and I sat at the side of the boat and slipped on our flippers and put on our gear and slipped in to the blue warm water. We were given strict directions on where we could and could not go as it is very important to keep the coral protected. We were told that we could not stand up in the water and to keep our
legs flat to ensure that we did not touch the coral below. It was beautiful underneath, clear and we could see small groups of extremely colourful fish all around us. Jack and I stayed close as we navigated the waters and explored the coral. It was fantastic! On the sound of a huge horn we were all called back to the boat so we could go onto our next dive site.
Our next dive site was a short ride and was called Grecian Reef. We followed the same procedure going in and started exploring the coral, however, this time was a bit different. We came face to face with jelly fish which floated through the water so smoothly and slowly. Well, to say the least, it made me nervous. As we navigated the water, we kept on having to dodge them, that at one point I felt like a character in a video game trying to get away from something that can decrease your life. We still enjoyed the reef though and saw some amazing schools of fish, some of them coming so close to our masks that you could reach out and touch them.
Back on the
boat as we started out to our third spot, we started hearing stories about people being stung by the jelly fish and one couple came up with news of a bull shark sighting. SHARK! You can imagine my reaction, even divemaster Tim said that my mouth dropped a few inches. Its funny that snorkelling can be so fun and truly amazing, but there are things that you encounter down there that are way way out of your comfort zone.
Our next and final reef was the one where the statue known as Christ of the Abyss lies. Jack and I were excited about this part of the trip, but a sudden turn for the worse in the weather started to slowly put a damper on this leg of the trip. We jumped in anyways, with skies darkening above us and got almost half way to the sculpture, when we decided to turn back. The waters were so choppy and their were jelly fish everywhere, too much dodging for us! We made our way back, and while some did make it to the statue almost half were stung by jellyfish. So even though we couldn't see it, I think we
were both happy not to be stung! And our conselation prize for not getting there, was to see a small school of dolphins swim by in the distance!
So all in all a fantastic and eventful snorkeling adventure!!! Anyone coming to the keys, should definitely make it a priority to get out there as the reefs are one of the things that make the keys such a wonderful place. After the day in the sun, we got freshened up and went out to dinner at a place called the Conch House Restaurant. The restaurant was apparently featured on the food network and Adam Richmond from Man vs Food took part in a conch fritter eating challenge. We had a sampler plate, a salad with the catch of the day which was Trigger fish and a small bowl of their award winning Lobster Bisque. Oh and to top it off, we had a slice of key lime pie to share. All in all a wonderful meal!
Tomorrow we will be taking it easy and visiting the state park beach and using the free kayaks at our hotel to do a bit of exploring on our own!
to share more of our adventures with everyone!!!!
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