Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Florida Day 8

Part of the reason that Sharon wanted to stay in Key Largo was John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This is part of North America's only live coral reef system. It extends 200 miles along the length of the Keys, from Miami to the Dry Tortugas.

We made arrangements to go snorkeling with Caribbean Watersports. The boat left at 9:00 a.m. and actually took us to the two spots in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The first spots was called Hen and Chicks, while the second spot was The Rocks. Jack got in the water for about 10 minutes at the spot. Long enough to put his face down in the water and take a picture or two with the waterproof camera. Once he got his first mouth full of salt water, he decided to head back to the boat. Jack was also a little concerned because there were a number of purple jellyfish in the water around the boat that people were working to avoid. Nevertheless, I was pretty proud of the fact that we would get in the ocean a couple miles out to sea!

While the water was not super clear, I felt like both spots were pretty good snorkeling locations. There were lots of fish and the coral formations very close to the surface. Sharon and I are both divers, but did not feel comfortable trying to arrange to leave him for most of the day while we went out on a dive trip.

By the time, we got back to the room, packed up and checked out it was almost 1:30 p.m. At this point, we were faced with a problem. We had reservations for the next three nights in Key West. Unfortunately, with Hurricane Charlies approaching, tourist were kicked out of the Keys below mile marker 72. We started driving south and making some phone calls. Our original plan had three nights in Key West followed by three nights in Miami. Sharon called the hotel in Miami and they had rooms so we swapped our reservations to the next three days. I called the hotel in Key West and moved our reservations to Saturday, Sunday and Monday. With any luck, Hurricane Charlie will be through Florida by Saturday and we can start back down the Keys. If not, we will have a couple of days to improvise.

We turned around and started north to Miami. After a quick stop for mexico food in Key Largo, we got to The Biltmore Hotel-Coral Gables about 4:30 p.m.

Over the last three days, we have changed hotels every day. Each night when we got to the hotel, we would spend a couple of hours in the pool. The pool at the Biltmore was at one time the largest hotel pool in the United States. Jack and I spent an hour playing catch while Sharon did a water aerobics class.

We had dinner outside in the courtyard at the 1200 Restaurant.

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