Note: snorkel practice did not yield any useful pictures!
After spending money on some good goggles to go with our new snorkel tubes, we decided we had better use them! I'm not sure where we would use them, once we leave the Keys. Craig says "South Padre Island", but what I see on the web varies a lot in opinions as to the clarity of the water there. We'll see. It does look like we could snorkel in Southern California if we have good wet suits. I wonder if we can rent them. But I might be scared of sharks! Lots of seals and sea lions lure sharks.
Anyway, on Sunday we went over to the beach in Pennekamp, and gave it another try. Although we didn't see very many fish or other beautiful things, we both gained a lot of confidence. Neither of us used flippers, since the waters were so shallow and rocky it would have been difficult to walk on the bottom with them. I found wearing a thin, stretchy long sleeve shirt that I had bought at Old Navy last year was enough, and it wasn't cold enough to need a wet suit. It is a bit like a "skin" in fabric. Craig wore a long sleeve tight t-shirt and he was OK too.
We practiced some more on Tuesday. We got out to a "simulated Spanish galleon" which turned out to be a bunch of old cannons and an anchor in 10 feet or so of water. Not spectacular, but good for our experience and confidence.
On Friday we went to Sombrero Beach in Marathon.
It was a nice beach for swimming, but terrible for snorkel practice because it was very sandy and the water was murky with sand and bubbles.
We came back to Pennekamp and tried the other beach from the one we'd used before. The water was clear, and we practiced over sea grass beds. Not many fish at all.
But, at one point I saw something very big in my side view. It was a very large tail. I did not see the rest of this fish because it swam away so fast! It may have been a tarpon.
My overall feeling is that Hawaii will be a good idea in the future!
We are talking about coming back to the Keys in two years time. If we do, I would plan on doing a private, guided reef snorkel trip. I might be able to swim off into the sea a reasonably long distance, if I had a guide to help me if I got into trouble. By myself, off a well-populated boat, I'm not so sure!
I did try flippers at the Sombrero beach in Marathon, but as soon as I went face down with my legs extended, my legs both cramped up something terrible. I was only in four feet of water, but I had to fight to get upright. I would be afraid if I was in the open sea without a guide.
Saturday we will be puttering around the rig getting it ready for its first drive in a month. You know, tire pressure, battery check, and possibly running the generator for a bit. Sunday we'll be leaving the Keys and heading north to Jupiter, Florida.
Sadness at leaving paradise, but anticipation of new adventures!