This morning I woke up to the loudest and most interesting storm I have ever heard/seen, which is saying a lot, since I live in the Pacific Northwest, went to college in the Midwest, and have visited nearly every one of the ‘worst weather’ states in the US. Until recently, we had never been this far South – on the Island of Key Largo in the Florida Keys, to be exact.
I ran out and shot the best video I could with such short notice, being that is was still dark, and trying to find a decent place to park where I wouldn’t be stuck down by lightning. – I’ll post a bit of the video when I have some time to edit it. It really was surreal.
A couple of interesting things to note about the Florida Keys. First off, if Oregonians think their weather changes fast, they should visit the Keys. Not only are you in the tropics, but there isn’t much land mass, either. So weather systems just breeze right over us like nothing. In fact, if I have my GPS on, the route line is the same width as the island! At some points I can literally see the Ocean on one side and the Bay on the other…a little disconcerting when the monsoon-style rains start.
Key Largo – the first major island in this archipelago of islands (or Keys), is considered the diving capital of the world, and snorkeling here has been on my ‘must do’ travel list for some time. Ever since I saw images of the undersea park in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, I knew I had to visit. They put stone people underwater! I couldn’t wait.
Today, I’m happy to say I’ve at least started to scratch this one off my list. Even though the day began with a bang, in the afternoon we were able to fit in a couple hours of snorkeling off the main beach in the Park. Surrounded by children learning to snorkel, one can assume that’s the kiddie pool/training area. This means it’s doubtful that I’ll be able to swim down and greet the Christ of the Deep before we leave Key Largo, but I know I’m well on my way to at least make the colorful coral reefs that lie 3-5 miles offshore.
This trip mostly featured the same little fish I’ve seen around the piers, random sea vegetation, one feisty crab, and – if you believe the kiddos in my area – at least a half dozen sharks and one sea snake. Thankfully, I escaped unharmed, despite forgetting to remove my Power Bait Pink nail polish – again!