What says summer more than the beach, right? Well… Maybe an island. I made my first visit to Key West last summer. I expected sun, sand, beautiful water and food; but I also got plenty of unexpected things too. Despite not being able to swim; I got to see the ocean up close, which was new to me.
Usually, the closest thing to the ocean that I do is walk along the shoreline, look for shells and take pictures. But this time I got a couple of “in water” experiences that I never thought I would even consider, much less actually do them. One was riding on the back of a jet ski with my daughter as the driver. Although I think she was more nervous than I was, knowing her mom wasn’t a swimmer…it actually turned out to be a blast….literally ! (Fortunately I didn’t blast off the seat !)
At some points, I was above the seat more than I was on it, but I found a couple of loops in her life vest that kept me hanging on ! The guides lead us across the blue waters of the Atlantic ocean and into the breath taking emerald/teal Gulf of Mexico. There were a couple of stops just to sit idle and relax while soaking in the beauty around us. Those that wanted to hopped off their jet ski for a quick swim, then we were on our way again.
The other water adventure was nighttime, glass bottom kayaking with Ibis Bay. This was one thing I had my mind made up that I was not going to do. But after a bit of arm twisting from my family, and above and beyond comfort from the guides… I reluctantly gave it a shot. But that reluctance very quickly turned into something wonderful that I will never forget. This is one thing that I will definitely do again. Night kayaking in the ocean in illuminated glass bottom boats was indescribable !
First of all, the guides put me completely at ease by assuring me I would have on a very dependable life jacket. We had two guides and a group of about eight other double occupied kayaks. I went in a kayak with my son-in-law, who is a very experienced outdoorsman. That too, gave me a lot of peace.
Once we got out into the ocean, The beauty was incredible ! The LED lights illuminating from the boat were shining down into the water revealing things I had never seen before. The vegetation itself was gorgeous. There were fish and wildlife that I would have never seen from the shoreline. When anyone in our group spotted something, the guides gave every effort to scoop it up into a bucket and pass it around for everyone to get a close look. They were very knowledgeable and proceeded to explain, in detail, all about the temporary catch. After everyone had seen it, they were gently released back into their home. We saw:
- – Lobster
- – Crab
- – Jellyfish
- – Sea Cucumber
- – Octopus
- – Starfish and many things I had never heard of!
As awesome as the wildlife was, just sitting back and enjoying the beauty of the illuminated boats shimmering in the peaceful, calm water…while breathing in the gentle breeze and salty air…with the soft moonlight shining on us all, was so relaxing it was magical. This was definitely an unexpected gem tucked into our Key West experience and a memory we will be sharing for a life time !