Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Day in Florida

On Thursday, we drove down to Key West one more time. We did some shopping while we also dodged the rain. - It was pouring!!! I especially enjoyed lunch (and dessert) at a little crepe place we found. We made our way to the Key West airport to see if our scheduled flight to Dry Tortugas was still on. Dry Tortugas is a national park 70 miles west of Key West. We were planning on taking a sea plane out there to enjoy the sights along the way and to explore Fort Jefferson and snorkel. Sadly, the flight was cancelled because of the weather. (In fact, the plane that had just come back from Dry Tortugas was 5 minutes away from the airport when they CLOSED the airport! So they landed in the water and arranged for vans to bring the passengers back to the airport. It was fine to do that, since they were in a sea plane, but the man working there told me that has only happened about two other times in the past 10 years!) So we didn't get to go to Dry Tortugas this time. Bummer. I guess we'll just have to go back!

That night we ate dinner and then stopped at a lookout place on the way back to the resort to watch the sunset.

In the morning on Friday, we enjoyed a couples massage - complete with hot stones and everything! It was awesome! What a way to wind up a vacation! 

The other fun thing about our trip back happened at the airport in Miami. We saw all these news cameras and reporters standing around the security line. When I asked someone what was going on, a man explained that the FAA was implementing a new way of getting screened for security. I stood on a rubber mat and was randomly selected to try out the new way of getting screened! So Jordan and I followed the news cameras through the next portion of security, where dogs were commanded to search us. We just kept walking, they sniffed a little, and that was it for us. We got to keep our shoes on and we didn't have to take anything out of our pockets. We still put our carry-on bags through the x-ray machine, but that was it. It was quick, and we were on our way to lunch, a flight, and seeing Claire once again! 

Jordan's Birthday

After fishing in the morning, we took our freshly filleted fish to Lazy Days, a restaurant where they will cook up your fresh catch. It was incredible!

Later, we hung out in the lobby for a while (while waiting for our room to get cleaned), so I brought Jordan's birthday present down with us. I figured it would keep him occupied for a bit.

After resting and cleaning up, we went out for dinner. We ate at Barracuda Grill. I hope Jordan had a great birthday! (I'm pretty sure he did!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fishing - Day 2

We went fishing with Kevin again on Jordan's birthday! How fun!! This time we fished over a reef for some grouper; it was the first day of grouper season, after all. And boy did they bite!

We caught one,




and five grouper! All five of these are black grouper. The limit is one per person, so we could only keep two. When I caught my first grouper, (number 3 up there), we put it in the live bait well while Kevin checked the regulations about black grouper. During the time it was in the live bait well, it changed colors to adapt to its surroundings! (The well was all white). Pretty cool, huh?!

We saw a frigatebird. They have the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird. They don't swim and can't walk well, but they can stay aloft for more than a week! 

Here are our first two keepers. Jordan also caught a red grouper, but it was an inch shy of being a keeper.

And here's the rest of the catch from the day. Kevin filleted our fish for us, and we took it with us!

I'm glad we spent two days fishing, and I'm glad we were able to fish on Jordan's birthday. And I'm very glad we caught plenty of grouper!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sunset Cruise

One night we went on a sunset cruise through our resort. There were only about 10 people on the boat, (including 2 little 3-year old twin girls, who reminded me of Claire), so we had a nice, relaxing time.

We cruised into the main canal of the island, so we got to see some of the houses from the water side.

And then we went out to sea! The boat didn't really have any destination; we just went out until it was time to turn back around. Now that's fun!

The setting was so lovely.

The guys working on the boat told us that the people who live in this house go sword fishing a lot. - And look at all those swordfish bills! Amazing!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Key West

After fishing in the morning and resting in the afternoon, we drove out to Key West. How beautiful!!

We made it to the southernmost point  in the continental United States!

We got to Duval Street a little before 6pm, so we looked at a few galleries and shops, but most of the ones we wanted to look at closed at 6. So we just walked, looked in the windows, and peeked into the restaurants. We decided on a place and had some tapas for dinner. And I made a point to get a picture of myself with this Julia Street sign because I have one very similar to it from about 15 years ago when I was in the Keys with my family.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Florida Keys - Fishing Trip 1

Jordan and I went to the Florida Keys last week for a vacation!!! We celebrated the fact that Jordan graduated and that he has a job. It was wonderful. Claire stayed with Laura and Matt, so Jordan and I had time to ourselves.

On Monday morning, we went fishing with Kevin from Reel Adventures. It was fantastic!

Thankfully, the rain missed us, but we didn't miss the rainbow!

Shark on! Once a shark realizes he's hooked, he'll swim down, down, down - and fast! So you just have to wait until he settles down a little bit, and then you can start reeling him bak in. It took Jordan about 10 minutes.

And here he is! Look at that nurse shark!

After feeling how rough he was, we let him go. What a beauty!

Then it was my turn! I caught a shark, too!

I worked for about 10 minutes, and I saw him. - I saw the shark in the water. He was close to the boat, but then he finally snapped the line. Bummer!

We both caught amberjacks at the same time. They ate the bait we were using to try to catch tarpons. (No luck with the tarpons). And a little bit later, they became bait themselves...

This one was fun!

It's a barracuda!

Got it!

Here, the amberjacks and barracuda became more shark bait.

Carcasses in the water - you know sharks like blood, right?!

And we got one! This one is Jordan's. We weren't sure what kind of shark this was. Kevin named a long list of types of shark that it is NOT.

We were back by lunch, and THAT is the storm we missed. Thank goodness!

What an AWESOME way to start our vacation!!!!