Monday, June 27, 2016

Florida Vacation - Islamorada & Marathon

Since Boogs and I got our SCUBA certification, we were ready to take a trip to the ocean to dive. My husband thought the Florida Keys would be a great place for Boogs to experience underwater sea life for the first time. We left home on Friday June 10th to fly to Miami. It was a 1.5 hour drive from the Miami airport to the Seagulls Condo we rented in Islamorada.
 The condo was a two bedroom, two bath place. It had a great view from the balcony.
 We unpacked our stuff and checked out the grounds. Boogs was excited about the pool area.
We went for a late lunch at Marker 88 Cafe. Boogs asked if he could try the conch fritters. He liked them well enough and thought they tasted like calamari. The outdoor tables had glide rockers for seating. Boogs almost fell asleep.

He posed with the giant fiberglass tarpon in the outdoor area. He is such a cutie.
On Saturday, we went on our first dive. It was not a very good experience. We made the mistake of going with a large dive company. They ran the dive in a rushed manner that was kind of stressful. Before the first dive, Boogs forgot to put his weight belt on. The captain made him get in the water without it, saying that Boogs could just put it on in the water. He said other people were waiting and Boogs was holding up the line. It was a mess. My husband and the dive guide were unable to get the belt on. Boogs had to get back out to put it on. The captain was griping about how Boogs should be able to manage his own equipment. If we hadn't been so rushed, the problem never would have occurred. In the water, the dive guide (which we paid extra for) disappeared twice. The two dive sites were good, Rocky Top and Morada, but the water was not all that clear. We were so rushed, that I forgot to grab my underwater camera for the dive. Bummer.

We decided to find some other dive company to dive with for the remainder of our trip. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find anybody to dive with for the next two days. No diving days, made my husband a little sad.

On Sunday, Boogs and I wandered around the condo grounds while Daddy slept in. We walked down to the water and looked for shells. We read for a bit under the palm trees.
The condo came with tennis rackets and keys to the tennis court. Boogs and I attempted to play. If was fun for a while but the humidity and heat got to us pretty quickly.

Later that day, we decided to drive down to Key West. It was about 2 hours from our condo. As we were driving through the town of Marathon, I saw a sign on a fence that said, "Helicopter Rides $59". I read the sign to my husband and he turned the car around for us to go check it out at Marathon General Aviation. I had never been in a helicopter before. We bought the Pigeon Key & Lighthouse Tour package. It cost more than $59, that price was for a 6 minute up and down ride. :-)

Boogs was ready for take-off. 
My honey was ready for take-off.
Flying in a helicopter is a really neat experience. The take-off made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. It was kind of freaky. Once we leveled out, it was an amazing ride.

The pilot flew low over certain areas of water and we were able to see sharks and sea turtles swimming in the water.
The Lighthouse area is a popular place for snorkeling. There were probably 30 boats tied up in the Lighthouse area.
I liked the way the boat's wake made a curvy swish in the water.
We flew over part of the 7 Mile Bridge. What a feat of engineering to build that bridge! We later drove over the 7 Mile Bridge. It took forever to drive across.
Boogs really enjoyed the ride. We returned to the aviation center too soon.
The pilot recommended a place to eat lunch in Marathon, Castaway Waterfront Restaurant and Sushi Bar. My husband was interested in trying a dish with lion fish and Boogs wanted to try Floridian lobster. This place had both and the food was excellent.
After lunch, we continued on down the Key West. We drove around for a bit, did a little souvenir shopping, then ended up at the Southernmost Point of the USA for a quick picture.
There was a line-up of 20 people waiting to take a picture with this landmark. After our picture, we headed back to Islamorada. It was good day.

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  1. Oh no, that's a shame about the dive company being so rushed. Not a great first experience.
    I love that you could see the Sharks from the helicopter. #countrykids

    1. I was happy to see the sharks from way above them. I would not have wanted to get too close. That first dive company was not a good experience. Luckily, we found a great dive company while in the Keys and went on six amazing dives.

  2. What a shame that the first diving session was so rushed and made you all so uncomfortable that you didn't want to go with them again. At least it meant you were free to go exploring and experience a ride in a helicopter, it must've been amazing to see everything from the sky! Overall it looks like after a bumpy start you holiday got better!

    Thanks for sharing on #CountryKids.

    1. I was glad that Boogs was willing to give diving another try on another day with a different dive company. It made all the difference in our diving experience. The helicopter ride was a bit intense but a lot of fun.

  3. Oh, that's a shame about that diving company but, you did well exploring though as well as Boogs. That helicopter ride must be exciting.

    1. Luckily, the bad diving experience led us to a fantastic little dive shop we used for the rest of our stay. The not so great dive shop also led us to have an adventure on a helicopter.