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!

Miss Lone Star’s Crew Contracted Florida Key’s Disease!

Florida Keys Disease is real!

Florida Keys Disease is real!

We heard about Key’s Disease from several people since we arrived.  It is a general term that refers to many different things going wrong or attributes that one contracts after moving to the Florida Keys.  We were first warned by a boat broker who said a boat can get the disease after being moved here from fresh water.  Apparently, there are a lot of boats that get moved down here because it is the mecca of boating.  The owners don’t use them anymore.  These vessels fall into disrepair and get eaten up by the salt water while the owners goof off, drink beer and go diving.  Don’t let your boat get Keys Disease.

A dog can get Key’s Disease by misbehaving and not obeying commands because she doesn’t get the exploring time that she craves.  Onyx first started her bout with the illness by trying to make every dog on the dock love her.  She knocked Diesel the dog on our first night by playing too rough and she has made most of the small dogs run in fear of her from her smiling face. Continue reading

What Is It Like To Live In A Marina- Islamorada Florida?

Blake is aptly named

Blake is aptly named “The King of the Dock” and his fishing skills are known far and wide!

Aubrey and the kids were less than happy with my marina choice and I can attest to the fact that things often look a certain way on a website (or Google Satellite Maps) and turn out differently when you see them in person.  The Mangrove Marina wasn’t the place for us and we decided quickly that we needed to go.  I think the decision for me came when I took my morning walk to the bathroom in my jammy pants without a shirt.  I got heckled by the morning crew of mid 50-70 year old Florida Key men who hang out at the dock drinking coffee.  I’m pretty sure I got a cat call or two and I reasoned that if I felt uncomfortable with these guys then my wife must want to jump out of her skin.  We discussed it over coffee at a cute little place in Tavernier called Moka.  I definitely recommend this place for coffee! Continue reading