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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

One With the Fish and Barracuda

~Thursday, February 25, 2021~

Day 256

Up bright and early (6:15 a.m.) for our snorkel day in Key Largo. Is this what 6:15 looks like? I should get up this early more often. We haven’t snorkeled since our 2018 trip to St. Lucia for our 25th anniversary. So we cannot wait to be back!

After the 1 hour drive to John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park, we had about 30 minutes before our 9:00 a.m. launch, to get our snorkel gear, sunscreen up, and receive our orientation. Then we loaded onto our boat called “Summer Garden” with captain Chris at the wheel. He said we picked one of the most gorgeous days to be out there (do you think they say that to everybody?). From our point of view, it really did look spectacular.

Crystal clear water, no overcast, and perfect temperature; all the right ingredients for an ideal day. There were 24 snorkelers, captain and first mate. Snorkeling experience ranged from the complete novice to expert. But everyone had one purpose… have FUN!! The boat ride was about 20 minutes out to one of the best reefs off Key Largo, where we anchored and were let loose. The water temp was perfect (mid 70’s) and the reef was teaming with jellyfish (apparently not the stingy kind-we were warned about the Man-O-Wars which do sting), menacing looking barracuda, angel fish🐠, parrot fish🐟 and pencil like fish. The water was fairly calm and pretty clear. Jeff and I have had murky, cloudy undesirable conditions before, so this was one of our best days for sure. One of Jeff’s concerns when snorkeling is a leaky mask. Mustaches and snorkeling do not generally mix well, even with applying vaseline to the “stache”. All we had in the truck was one of my Burt’s Bees lip balm which seemed to do the trick! No leaks. We’ve also rented more expensive equipment in the past, only to have masks leak. The simple inexpensive gear we had today was some of the best we’ve ever had. Go figure. After about an hour of underwater sightseeing, we were given the signal to hop back on the boat to head back 😢. The time, as always, went by way too fast. With his witty sense of humor, the first mate concluded the trip by saying, “If you liked your experience today, please “like” us on your favorite social media site and give a shout out to Chris and Mike so we can keep doin’ what we love. If you weren’t so thrilled, my name is Bob. Thank you very much for coming!” 🤣

We had one more stop before getting back to Sadie…..Robert is Here for our “goodbye shakes”, a Cubano sandwich for Jeff, and a box full of beautiful produce to take with us to Fort Myers. Yes, we bought 2 more grapefruit-sized avocados

and the best passionfruit I’ve ever tasted. This place, I’m telling you, is amazing. It’s also a great place to picnic and watch the many farm animals on Robert’s property. Turtles, roosters, ostriches, cows, goats, grouchy geese, you name it, he has it.

We got back around 1:30 to enjoy a relaxing, final afternoon at our campsite. Hurry, before the mosquitoes descend! 🦟. It was kind of strange to have such a full day and it wasn’t even near 5:00 yet.

Our sunset walk around the campground was so lovely with the temperature just right and the people we met. One guy we met, who was around our age, shared a story that he had canoed the 100-mile Wilderness Trail through the Everglades which was quite challenging via canoe, though he prefers kayaks. His 8-day journey sounded amazing. Have to keep that one in mind. Apparently you have to do it between mid January to mid February for the less buggy time. Another guy we met was talking about his upcoming trip after The Keys to the Smoky Mountains, something we hadn’t quite considered yet, until now. We’re actually due for mapping out the next month of our trip, as we head out of Florida to who knows where? Stay tuned…….

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