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FL Day 2: Murphy's Law on Looe Key Reef

Today we had a snorkel trip lined up with Looe Key Dive Center on Ramrod Key, about a 30 minute drive from Key West. The trip was to stop at two different places on Looe Key reef for about an hour each. The dive shop has a nice, large catamaran that comfortably held 20 people or so, both divers and snorkelers. Each passenger is assigned a number and before leaving each snorkel/dive site, they do a count-off to make sure no one is left behind. In between the two stops on the reef, hamburgers and hot dogs are served for a small fee. Snacks and drinks can also be purchased, with beer allowed once you're done in the water.

Brenda and I took our place on the boat to wait for the other passengers and that's when they arrived. This couple got on the boat, a man and woman, probably in their early 50s. They could have been younger, I don't know; they were pretty rough looking. It was his birthday and they, like everyone else, were wearing bathing suits with t-shirts as cover ups. Except that the woman's t-shirt had a life-sized picture on the front of her boobs. Her naked boobs. In all their glory. In all their old, sagging glory. I was astounded. The woman said that she couldn't arrive topless on the boat so for her man's birthday she gave him the next best thing. OK, what about the rest of us? So yes, for the rest of the day, we all had the pleasure of staring at her old, saggy boobs. Unfortunately I wasn't brave enough to take a picture.

We set out for Looe Key reef through the canals.

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We passed some really nice houses.

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We stopped and anchored on the reef. They did require us to wear snorkel vests and had noodles available for those who wanted some extra flotation. I've got plenty of that, thank you.

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Visibility was not all that great since for several days prior there had been storms. From what I understand though, visibility here in general is not as good as other areas of the Keys. It was also pretty rough. And by rough I mean several people on the morning cruise had gotten sea sick. One diver on our boat never got in the water because he was sea sick. Even underwater, you could see the reef fans swaying and the fish moving in the waves. The fish life here was not as abundant as other places I've been but chances of seeing barracuda, turtle, and reef shark are high. I would love to come back here and dive.

School of blue tang

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Filefish

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Black-tip reef shark

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Yellowtail snapper

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French angelfish

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Stoplight parrotfish

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Barracuda

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I saw five black-tip reef sharks and several barracuda. They were all below me on the sandy bottom so most of the pictures did not turn out well. Towards the end of the stop, I noticed my camera battery getting low. Then just at the very end, it shut off completely. Brenda made a comment that now that the camera was out of juice, we'd probably see a huge turtle or something. Not one minute later a huge, loggerhead turtle comes lumbering by right in front of us. In perfect camera-ready vision, not below us. Of course it was following immediately by another large, black-tip reef shark. Also in perfect camera-ready vision. Only my camera wasn't ready. Very frustrating but we laughed about it.

On the way back to the dive shop, several people on the boat drank beer, including the woman in the boob t-shirt. I couldn't help but think of the previous night's catchphrase, "Titties and beer are the reasons we're here." Perfectly fitting for a past middle-aged woman in a boob shirt with a Budweiser.

We picked up some wine on the way back to the hotel and decided we would have a beach picnic for dinner at Smathers Beach, just across the street from the Sheraton.

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We ordered coconut shrimp, a blackened mahi mahi sandwich, and a softshell crab sandwich from the hotel to go with our wine.

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Of course, the seagulls wouldn't leave us alone. This guy was particularly bold. People, stop feeding the seagulls!

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We watched the sunset and drank our wine, listening to the sounds of the ocean.

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After dark, we closed the evening with cheesecake and key lime pie at the hotel restaurant.

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Posted by zihuatcat 21:03 Archived in USA Tagged keys florida brenda

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