Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Honeymoon: Day 4

Wednesday, August 26th

So while we were shopping yesterday someone told us about the Butterfly Conservatory. It is a large glass structure with butterflies. It is similar to Callaway Gardens or the one in Gainesville. we had a great time watching the butterflies. There were some many morphos flying around it was kind of crazy. We did have a few land on our heads too. Here are some pics from the butterfly conservatory...

They had these great butterfly benches.

Blue Morph

Luna Moth. Check out his antaenne.

This is the Southern most point. We did a drive-by and I took some pictures. There were always people in front of it, but you get the idea. However, there is a lot that is more south than this point including the Naval station and Fort Zachary, so I'm not really sure why it is called the Southern Most point, but whatever.

I was trying to take a picture of the marker, not the kids fighting.

Corner of Duval and Front St. This is a fairly famous corner and the location of the Conch Train Tours.

A typical house in Key West.

Me trying to get out of the heat for a brief moment. We headed back to Islamorada to our hotel. I think we are going back to Bahia Honda tomorrow to snorkel some more.

Honeymoon: Day 3

Tuesday, August 25th

Today we made it down to Key West. It is about a two hour drive from where we are staying. We made it all the way to Mile Marker 0.

We went to Ft. Zachary State Park first. They are suppose to have great snorkeling. It is pretty much the lowest point on Key West and it is where the Gulf and the Atlantic meet. The visibility was only fair, actually it was less than 5 feet. We couldn't see the bottom very well so we didn't snorkel very long. The beaches here are very rocky. There is no such thing as a sandy beach in the Keys. This is what has surprised us the most so far. If it is a sandy beach then it is manmade and there are very few of those.

View of Naval ship from Fort Zachary Taylor. You had to go through the Naval Station to get to the state park.

Overview of the Fort.

Rainbow we saw driving down to Key West.

After the fort we walked around town at the shops. We went to the Little White House where Truman spent a lot of time plus several other Presidents. We also drove past Hemigways House several times, but we didn't go in.

This is one of the best Banyan trees (Ficus) that we found.

We went to the Conch Republic for dinner in the historic harbor. It was really nice and they had good live music. We also went to Mallory Square at sundown. This is where all the street vendors go. It wasn't as large as I expected, but we saw a fire breather who was getting ready to preform and watched an acrobat guy. We are spending the night in Key West so we can explore a little more tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honeymoon: Day 2

Monday, August 24th

We decided to go down to Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine. Big Pine is the group of Islands jsut above Key West, so it is pretty far down there. We were supposed to go on a snorkel trip to Looe Key which I was super excited about, but after my steller performance on the glass bottom boat yesterday we decided not to go. I didn't really want to be stuck in the middle of the ocean with motion sickness for 2.5 hours with no relief. We decided to rent a tandem kayak and paddle to a small island and snorkel around it.

Luke after snorkeling. We went back to this beach after snorkeled off the island. The light colored water is sand on the bottom and the dark areas are sea grass. Both had little fish.

Me getting ready to snorkel for the second time. Because we weren't snorkelling in bouyed areas we had to have a divers down flag which Luke so wonderfully lugged around all day on his ankle.

View of ocean.

This is the little island we kayaked to and snorkelled around. We snorkelled on the left front side. It wasn't Looe Key, but we did see a lot of different fish. Some were small and bright pinks, yellows, and blues, and others were spotted and looked like the ocean floor. Most of the waters we were in were less than 5 feet and most were more like 3 feet.

Coconut palm.

Island again. These are views from the Bahia Honda bridge.

Views of coean and island in the distance. We kayaked from the somewhere on the left you can't see. It was a pretty good paddle.

The gulf side of the Key that we did not swim on.

More coconut palms. We might go back and snorkel in this area.

Our island one more time! Isn't it pretty!?

I was very proud of myself for snorkelling. I actually did very well. It is much easier to snorkel when you don't have a broken elbow or are in the middle of the Indian Ocean. These were my two previous snorkeling experiences. The ocean current was strong, but it was fun.

View of Bahia Honda.

We kayaked over that!

More coconut palms. I miss coconut palms.

The happy couple.

Our little island again.

One more time.

Views from the bridge.

The bridge is only open for a small strech. The rest was left. It was kind of spooky. We did see some very, very large fish at the bottom of the bridge. I think they were probably lemon or nurse sharks. They were moving very slowly and had large heads.

The top of the bridge. It looks like it has been left for a while.

View looking back at the island.

Another view of Bahia Honda.

Honeymoon: Day 1

We are spending our honeymoon in the Florida Keys. We arrived Saturday afternoon. It took us about 7.5 hours to get down here. We made the mistake of driving through Miami on I-95 instead of going around and it added some time.

We made it to Lower Matecumbe Key and found our resort. It really isn't a resort, just low-budget timeshares. The rooms aren't too bad. They put us in an efficicency unit. It is one room and once we put our three bags down we couldn't really move around. It definetely isn't a room you want to stay in for any length of time, but once you get past the ants taking over the bathroon and the cockroach I found in the bed this morning. It isn't too bad. Yes, I said a cockroach in the bed and I had just gotten out of it. We are not paying for it, so I can't complain too much. I figure everyone should have an interesting honeymoon story.

On Sunday, our first full day here, we didn't want to do anything that required too much energy. We decided to go up to John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo. It is a huge state park. We decided to do the 2.5 hour glass bottom boat tour. The seas were really calm with 1 foot waves and visibility was great.

I was all ready to go, but then when we got out to the reef and the boat stopped my body didn't agree with the waves even if they were small (I had taken medicine). So, we spent our first day on the top of the deck watching the horizon while we should have been watching the fishies. It was a little disheartening.

Our boat the Spirit of the Pennekamp.

Luke on the trip out to the reef.

View from the boat. Nice view, but it wasn't what we paid for. We could see the shark that swam by from the top of the bottom.

Red mangroves. They are pretty much everywhere here.

When we ate lunch at the dock we could see fish. There were some really pretty parrot fish and what I think are baby gar.

The view from where we ate lunch.

Tomorrow we are signed up to go on a snorkel trip from Bahia Honda State Park down at Big Pine Key. The trip is out to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. It is suppose to be some of the best snorkeling in the Keys.