Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Key West - Day 6

Thanks to everyone for sticking with me through 6 days of our trip.  On our last day we got up early, ate breakfast and then headed out to Key Largo.  We had booked the 4.5 hour snorkel tour at John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park for early afternoon.  We got there in plenty of time, so we signed in early.  Good thing we did too - they were packed.  I highly recommend making reservations in advance for any of the activities you want to do here - everything was filling up quickly and we were there by 11:00 am.   Fortunately they are highly organized and used to dealing with crowds, so the process moved along quickly.

Once we were checked in we grabbed some lunch at the snack bar - they don't have a huge selection and we ended up with some sub sandwiches.  I suggest you stop and grab a meal before you get here if you'd like something more substantial.

After that we walked over to the aquarium.  We both enjoyed that and it's free!










The next few photo's are a really good example of the color and types of fish we saw on the reefs the entire trip.....





After the aquarium we grabbed some ice cream and headed over to the boat.  We went to 3 locations and each was slightly different.  The cost of the 4.5 hour tour is $ 38.95 and I thought it was well worth it.



Our favorite stop on this snorkel trip was getting to see the Christ of the Deep statue.   Unfortunately, by the time we got there, there were also 2 other boat loads of people there and it was a feeding frenzy as everyone was headed over to the statue at the same time.  Tradition is to swim down and touch the hands of Christ.


(credit - google images)

Chablis headed over, swam right down and touched it...



I tried 3 times but between the buoyancy vest, the current and the multitude of swimmers, I just couldn't swim hard enough to reach it.  I was exhausted and had to head back to the boat.  I'm not used to not being able to do something, so that was a real reality check for me.  I was so disappointed and frustrated with myself, but at least I got to see it.  The only advice I would give to the snorkel tours would be to somehow scatter their arrival so that so many people weren't trying to get to it at the same time.

Despite that, it was a fun afternoon.  If you do the 4.5 hour tour I advise to bring plenty of water and some snacks.  They supply a water bucket but we went through it really quickly and after 4 hours we were starving and we hadn't remembered to bring a snack with us.

After we returned to shore we headed over to our hotel -  The Hampton Inn.  This was by far our best hotel of the trip.  When we were checking in they had a tray of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies sitting on the counter - I'm ashamed to admit that I scarfed down 3 of them while we were checking in!  The room was very clean and they had a really nice beach on the gulf side that we didn't have enough time to use.  Since we were so hungry we took fast showers and headed down to The Fish House for dinner.  We had a great dinner.  We started off with the Smoked Fish Dip appetizer - OMG - it was excellent!  They gave us so much that I could have easily made a meal out of just the dip.  This is what what left after we already ate half of it....


I had the stuffed shrimp...


Chablis ordered the Fried Grouper...   Both were very tasty and they were large portions.  Another winning meal!



 Afterward dinner we went across the street and grabbed a geocache Castle in Key Largo.   It took me about 5 minutes to find it and believe me, I was working fast because the mosquitoes were out in droves.

Our full afternoon on the sea left us exhausted and ready for bed, so we made it an early evening.  Our room was a ground floor room and Chablis noticed that a laundry room and gym were conveniently located in the building next door.  When I woke up at 7 am the next morning I took all our clothes and bathing suits over and threw them in the washers.  While they washed and dried I did a few miles on the treadmill.  Let me tell you, it was nice to go home with clean laundry and not have to worry about it when we got home.  Hampton Inn gets 2 thumbs up for a winning hotel!

I want to leave you with a few last photos from Key West that I didn't get to include on my Key West posts.  One night when we were walking down Duval we ran into Harley and his pet parrot - Bones.  We had a lot of fun taking photos and talking to Harley....


Bones liked to give kisses....


I think these pictures perfectly sum up our Key West trip - crazy and a lot of fun.  We packed a ton of activities into 6 days.  I know it was probably a little whirl wind for some people, but Chablis and I enjoyed it and we got to do everything we really wanted to do, except for the catamaran ride that got rained out.

So long Key West - we had an awesome time!!




19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. We really did - thanks for all your help and tips!

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  2. Nicely documented vacation - glad it was such a success

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    1. It was wonderful. We had a great time.

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  3. I brought your post up while hubby and I are eating breakfast in the lanai and read parts of it out loud. What a wonderful trip and you did great with your photos. We always stay at Hampton Inns when we travel so this was good to know about the one there. Lots of hugs...get some rest...Diane

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    1. LOL - yep, I have to come home and rest after my vacation.

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  4. Your trip sounds so awesome, Kim! The statue under the sea is amazing! I wish you could have touched it...but it's neat that Chablis got the experience. Your photo's are fun! You are such a lucky woman to be able to do so much with your daughter. Glad you made it home safe, and with clean clothes..lol.
    Have a restful week.
    Love ya.
    Debbie
    xo

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  5. Loved reading about your trip!!! The pics were great, too. (and clean laundry for going home - priceless!!!)

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    1. OMG - the clean clothes when we got home was wonderful!

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  6. Oh, I hope you shared your impressions on TripAdvisor. I feel you could well be a travel writer. :)

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    1. I did - I posted links to all my reviews and I also reviewed most of the places on Trip Adviser.

      A travel writer would have been my dream job....

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  7. What a FABULOUS trip! Thank you so much for sharing it. The Christ of the Deep Statue is amazing...I'm disappointed for you about you not being able to reach it, but at least you got to see it in person! I love the parrot pics...you need to make one of those your FB profile pic, lol. :)

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    1. That's a good idea. I'll try to remember to do that!

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  8. WOW! Such an awesome trip, I hope to one day do the same! Thanks so much for taking us along, and for all the wonderful info and pictures! It's just too bad that you couldn't take a shell (or two) as a memento!! :) (You know me, I'm all about the shells! )

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    1. Yeah, I kept eyeing the shells. The largest one I saw was on the PenneKamp tour - it was over 2 FEET long!!

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  9. Sounds like a wonderful vacation! I had fun reading all your posts.

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    1. Thanks Linda - it was an awesome trip!

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  10. What an amazing trip! My sister and I drove to Key West nearly 20 years ago but hadn't done the research you did, so we snorkeled out in the ocean and not at the beautiful key reefs, which we didn't even know about until long after we were home again. One of our regrets and taught us to be a lot smarter on later trips to other places. Still, a place I would love to go back to while I still have a little snorkel energy. For sure, I wouldn't make it down to Christ's hands, either, but would love to see the statute anyway. And the fish there are lots nicer than what I've seen on lots more expensive snorkeling trips! :)

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    1. The fish on the reefs were amazing - we would literally swim with whole schools of them. It was a fantastic experience.

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