Travel

Key Largo: Domestic Diving at Its Finest

By OceanFirst on 7/30/20

A Trip Report by Cathy Christopher

Colorado is dry, skin-tinglingly hot right now. The calling from the cool and gloriously refreshing ocean is too irresistible to ignore. Key Largo was the perfect weekend reprieve from the scorching desert-like heat and certainly the best option for domestic diving right now.

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Getting to our destination was pretty easy. Everyone was wearing a mask and the airlines actively encouraged empty middle seats in an attempt to abide by social distancing recommendations. A quick wipe-down of the seat and armrests and we were settled in for the flight to Florida. Beverage and snack services were limited to reduce interactions and before we knew it, we were landing. Upon arrival, we were greeted with balmy weather and palm trees, a great way to start any vacation.

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Masks are as common as flip flops and sunglasses now, so only our relatively pale Colorado skin gave us away! Masks of some sort are even required on the reduced occupancy dive boat to keep everyone safe between dives. Dine-in meals are limited to groups of 7-10 people and social distancing etiquette was implemented inside all of the locations we visited. Not sure you're ready to eat-in somewhere? Just like home, the restaurants offer delivery to the hotel or contact-less pick-up. The Alfresco packed lunches between dives were a great opportunity to recharge and discuss the morning dives as we planned for the afternoon. 

The summer rain showers didn't keep us from our dive destination, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We were welcomed by spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks, large schools of snapper, lobsters roaming arrogantly across the ocean bottom, and even a few sea turtles stopped by to check out the undersea tourists.

The Sargeant Majors were nesting; mats of tiny, dark purple eggs were diligently guarded by proud Dads who'd give Marlin, (from Finding Nemo) a run for his money! We were entertained by yellow-headed jawfish darting in and out of their burrows. Pederson cleaner shrimp were dancing around their sea anemone home base, and moray eels jawing at us from their hidey-holes in the reef. All in all, this trip was a great escape to return under the sea. 

We will be leading three more trips to Key Largo in the near future: August 27-30, September 24-27 & November 12-15, 2020. Click here for more info. 

View the complete photo album from this trip here.

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