Our Weekend Expeditions In The Florida Keys

Florida Keys Mini TripsIt is a bummer that we are living in one place until December but we are making the most of it by taking a lot of mini trips.  In the next day or so we plan to go anchor out at Hen’s and Chickens Reef and then I want to go north for a few miles to find another great spot.  I really want do dive some wrecks.

During the heat of the day, it can be busy with all of the snorkeling tours and dive boats but only between 12-4PM.  We love how deserted it feels after than when it is just us anchored.  We’ve decided that we really love to be on the hook and we want to do that a lot more.

If anyone has a suggestion about a favorite place to anchor please leave a comment!

I am really lucky to have a portable air compressor to fill my own scuba tanks on our boat.  I bought it from my friend in Austin who had re-built it.  It isn’t much to look at and it is 35 years old, but it does the job.  It fills a tank from 0-3000 psi in 30 minutes.

We plan to go out for 2-3 days, weather and food supplies permitting.  I think we learned a lot from our last expedition to Alligator Reef so I think we will be better prepared to enjoy ourselves.  We plan to take along, Brandon, a friend from our dock who is without his family for a few days.  He wants to do a lot of diving and has gone with some of the tour companies.  I prefer diving from our boat with fewer people.  I like staying down longer and not being restricted to going with a group of people.  I think it is diving at its best!

Many of the reefs and wrecks reside in Special Protected Areas (SPA) and there are a lot of restrictions on activities in these areas.  I learned that one can obtain a special fishing permit that allows you to take fish from these area, that is normally prohibited.  We saw a bunch of illegal fishing at Alligator Reef and noticed the boats coming in fast just to take a crack at some huge barracuda.  I thought it was wrong that these people were taking resources from the reef.  There used to be 551 fish species at that location but over-taking has depleted many of them, which is really sad.

Bianca is really hoping to get some beautiful new shells while doing her new favorite pastime with Dad, snorkeling.  I was so happy that she took to it so well!  I held her hand and we swam all along the reef and around the lighthouse.  I think she will remember seeing fish for the first time for the rest of her life.  Blake loves to swim around the boat and use Mom’s GoPro but he doesn’t venture so far.

Onyx probably wants me to dinghy over to the shore to give her a break at night and in the morning, which seems reasonable.  We wish that dogs would use the bathroom in the water.  The reefs are 3-4 miles off shore so that makes the trek inland more difficult.

Aubrey is really getting an aptitude for video and I think we will get of our best footage yet.  I am happy that she has the time to practice here before we head to Cuba and beyond.  We won’t want to miss any of that footage.  We are building so many great memories and I am so thankful that we have them documented so well with this journal, pictures and video.  We’ve noticed that the traffic to our blog has doubled since we started including video on a regular basis and we will keep it up.

If anyone has suggestions for us or if you want to see something send us a suggestion!

4 thoughts on “Our Weekend Expeditions In The Florida Keys

    • Hey there, My parents also live aboard with their dog in So. Cal, they used a grass pad and it didn’t work well. He thought it was a bed. Ha. I have talked to several people that have their dog pee on the swim platform and then just hose it off. More people than you’d think pee on the deck to “show” the dog that it is “okay” to go there. Really its just the pee scent.

      Good Luck!
      Aubrey

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  1. Sounds as if Bianca is about forty-four years ahead of me on the snorkel learning curve. I just learned this skill two years ago. And I still have to talk myself every single time into accepting that the technology will, in fact, allow me to draw a breath without drowning while face down in the water.

    BTW, re Chiron’s comment above, we also have a dog that is learning to adapt to the cruising life. And we haven’t started training her to go on the boat yet, but we do have a piece of artificial turf with us for the deck when we do. But we’re not hopeful. So if you have any insights, please let us know as well.

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    • Bianca has even learned to talk through her snorkel to our dismay.. Nothing is silent, ever…

      Okay… So every time your dog goes, use a signal word, we use “take a break”. Then give LOTS of praise even a treat. Then your dog will look forward to going anywhere you suggest. I learned this from a K9 officer friend of ours, it works!

      🙂 Aubrey

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