I have missed you!

Hello again! Man, it has been a LONG time! I’m sure you are all wondering where I have been all this time – ‘has she been hiking in Peru? Scuba diving in Belize? Researching polar bears in the Arctic?’ And the answer to all of this is, no.
Unfortunately, I have been leading a relatively normal life of work and home, but have recently been cut off from WordPress.com via firewall at work.  Not to say that all I do at work is write about the interesting (at least to me) adventures I have, but I do not have internet at my house because of the insane price that Comcast has for internet, and the monopoly that Comcast has on my area, in which they are the only internet providers for some reason. So I would write my stories during lunch or during brain breaks when I could no longer concentrate on the report I was writing, and it worked out great. For a while. But now I am in my North Dakota hotel, catching up on the Olympic metal count and enjoying the beautiful weather.

So, to catch you up on our most recent adventure….

For our honeymoon last year, Hubby and I went to the Florida Keys. I fell in love with Key Largo, so we went back this summer.  This time we drove from Houston to Florida! We hadn’t done a road trip since college, so it was due time for another one.  We left on a Friday night after I got off work, and made it to Mississippi before we ate dinner. We slept a couple hours in an Alabama road side park, and then the next morning we headed to Clear Water, Florida.

Our first night in Florida was in Clear Water, walking around a nightly summer craft fair and seeing the WORLD’S FIRST HOOTERS, but the real plan was for the next morning to go to the Clear Water Aquarium to see Winter, the dolphin without a tail. It was a nice little aquarium, but I wish I had seen it before the movie came out about it. EVERYTHING was related to the movie. Something was labeled as a movie prop, or they had a screen shot from the movie, and said “this is where this scene was shot”. But I got to see Winter and feed stingrays, which is probably one of my favorite activities so it was a win.

The next part of the trip was Key Largo. We dove with Pirate Island Divers again, and we earned our Rescue Diver certification while we were down there, which was a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. We had to practice rescuing an unresponsive diver, a panicking diver, and perform rescue breathing. During the diving classes we saw some amazing things! A horse-shoe crab, sting rays, baby flounder, and all sorts of other wildlife.

I couldn’t get over the sunsets in Key Largo. Every night they were different, but equally beautiful as the night before. I probably got 200 pictures of them.

While we were in Key Largo, we also did a “Creature Feature” through a different dive operation. This included diving with a nurse shark and Goliath groupers, and being able to hold and pet the shark. I have mixed feelings about this; the dive operation was terrible. They were disorganized, used crappy gear that was falling apart, and we saw one of the crew members throw garbage into the canal. On top of that, sharks are of course, predators. They should not be treated like trained dogs but that’s exactly how they treated her. He would grab her and push her onto your lap so you could hold and pet her. I absolutely love sharks, and I was so excited to have this opportunity, but this is not how wild animals should be treated. The dive captain even said that there used to be a lot more sharks, but they have all gotten killed off. He said it was because the other dive operations were jealous of his sharks, but that just means that people have gone up to what seemed like a tame animal, gotten bit, and the sharks were killed because they were “aggressive” and “attacking humans”.

After we left Key Largo we headed up to Crystal River to swim with manatees which was absolutely amazing! We were able to swim with four manatees and one of them was a brand new baby! It was so much fun. The operation was really well organized, they had everyone watch a video about the manatees before we went out, explaining how you are and are not allowed to interact with the manatees, and then we headed out to the marina. Even on Memorial Day weekend, which is when we were out there, there were manatees to see! We were able to touch them if they came up to the surface, but you are not allowed to go down to follow the manatees to the bottom, because that is considered harassment.

The trip was amazing and I wish I could stay in Kay Largo forever! I also wish that I had all of my pictures from the trip on this computer, so I could share some of the sunsets, diving, and GIANT MANGO DAIQUIRIS that the bartender kept coming the whole time!