May 14, 2011

5/14/11 – Key Largo & John Pennekamp SP

Since we were in Homestead, we definitely wanted to go to the Keys.  George talked about Key West, but that’s a long way, and I didn’t care if we went that far south or not.
There’s a state park in Key Largo called John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.  It was the first undersea park in the US; you can go out to the reef to scuba dive or snorkel.  My SCUBA license is at home, and probably needs to be updated anyway since I haven't dived in 25 years.  George isn’t interested in snorkeling, so we opted for the glass-bottom boat tour.  I made reservations for the noon tour since I knew I couldn’t get George there by 9:30, even though it was only 20 miles from where we were staying.  This sign was at the SCUBA gear kiosk—cracked me up!
There was a huge bike race or something going on that day, and traffic was absolutely ghastly!  One of the end-points was in the park and the entrance was closed to all but bicycles.  We drove past, called the park to find out how to get in, and then came back to tell the cop on the corner that we had reservations for a tour. 
While we were waiting, we went to the Visitor Center where there’s a big saltwater aquarium.  We had lunch before we went on the boat, so—except for the Dramamine—we were all ready.  
It takes about 45 minutes to get out to the reef.  We saw lots of beautiful fish and lots of different kinds of coral.  Most of the pictures didn’t work for me, but I tried…at least for a while, then just sat back and watched the fish.
Afterwards we drove down into Key Largo and took pictures of the original African Queen boat from the Bogart/Hepburn movie.  Kinda cool.
We were both tired after the sun and wind (and Dramamine) so when George suggested we head back, I was OK with that. 
Here are a few more pictures we took:  Key Largo & John Pennekamp SP

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