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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: 25.1663, -80.3785
Leaving Key West and heading to Key Largo involved using the Overseas Highway, a dramatic 127 mile car ride and an engineering marvel that connects all of the Keys to the mainland. It was not, however, our next Wow but it was the means to get to our next big experience (although, to be fair, this was my big experience and definitely not DH's).
As we've wandered the planet, DH (where the D does not stand for Dangerous Diva) has identified a number of activities that she approaches with care if not reluctance. Scuba diving and anything involving confined spaces rank relatively high on her 'Don't Love' list. Imagine her unrestrained joy when she found out that one of my Wow list items (that just happened to be in Key Largo) involved spending a night in an underwater hotel.
Not only did this mean that we would be sleeping in a very small former research station (Jules' Undersea Lodge actually began its career as an underwater research laboratory named La Chalupa stationed off the coast of Puerto Rico) but it's underwater and we would have to scuba dive to get into this metal bubble. We've stayed
in ice hotels, treehouses, houseboats, caves, etc but we have never had the need for around-the-clock video and audio monitoring by some guy who called himself a Mission Specialist.
If we had started our dive with a jump from a high wire while eating insects, I might have hit on even more of her 'Don't Love' list but this was a pretty good start. If not motivated by her fixation that I meet an ocean mermaid (which she uses to motivate all of her dives), I'm sure she would have slept in the car.
After suiting up we did a bit of a swim around the lagoon before popping up through an opening in the bottom of the habitat and into our room for the night. It was actually three rooms connected by portals that you crawled through- a bedroom, a small kitchen/dining room, and the water entry/exit area (fortunately, the only area with video monitoring). Perhaps the only additional thing that might make our stay completely bizarre would be a response to our phone order for pizza delivery... and sure enough, within 30 minutes, we had our hot pizza delivered
in a waterproof container That doesn't happen everyday.
While enjoying our pizza we were able to fire up a DVD player although the only movies on offer had something to do with underwater disasters! DH also made a number of Skype calls ostensibly for the unique joy of talking to people from undersea but probably her attempt to make it easier for people to track down our bloated bodies. The main feature of each room is the large, 42 inch round window that looks out into the sea. While you're looking out into the murky beyond, the fish are looking in at you. The mangrove lagoon in which Jules is located is a natural nursery area for many reef fish. Theoretically tropical angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda and snappers (and even the odd manatee) peek into the windows of the habitat, but a hot snap had resulted in a fair bit of algae which made the viewing a little limited while we were there.
With all the creaking and banging sounds as background noise, I slept through the night but DH had a little trouble primarily because she insisted on sleeping with the
regulator in her mouth (boy scout/police/chicken motto- "always be prepared"😉. Woken up by a dripping sound, we made short work of our breakfast and then geared up for our return to the surface.
The Emerald Lagoon may not have offered the best fish viewing but the concept of living and sleeping underwater (even for a short period of time) made for great fun- even DH is claiming victory.
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