Before arriving in America for the first time back in 2014 I really didn’t know too much about the states besides what I had heard or seen on TV. I feel like I knew more about the animals and terrain from watching National Geographic shows like Gator Boys and Deadliest Catch. I really didn’t know what to expect arriving in Florida, as I knew it was known as the ‘retirement state’ where people go to live out their lives on the beautiful shores.
After arriving in the states and staying in Tallahassee for a few weeks, it was time to venture to the other corner of Florida to meet Kelly’s family. We endeavoured on a seven hour drive from Tally to Fort Lauderdale after taking to pit stop due to what I would deem a ‘tropical storm’ then proceeded down to the Keys.
If you had asked me before meeting Kelly to tell you anything about the Florida Keys, I most probably would have made something up. Once driving into the keys it was quite awesome to come up over these large bridges onto an island that is encircled by stunning turquoise waters that appear crystal clear.
As we pulled up to the rental property in Islamorada and I took a step out of the vehicle I could smell the freshness in the air of the ocean and the beauty that is the Florida Keys. After meeting Kelly’s family for the first time and shaking hands with her dad, we drank a beer and checked out the house. The house was big with plenty of rooms and space. Once taking ten steps out the back door you were at the pier where the boat was moored in the canal with a stellar view out to the ocean. After taking in my surroundings it was easy to see how the Keys is an absolute must for family holidays. It’s a paradise at their backdoor for all Floridians.
Our three days in the Keys comprised of laying out in the sun with a drink in hand, taking the boat for a run, attending The Keys Annual Seafood Festival and dining at some of the fine restaurants and bars scattered across Islamorada, like Robbie’s with the enormous tarpons. This was a very memorable experience for me and it is one place I could see myself at some stage in my life kicking back and relaxing to the picturesque sunsets and beautiful waters.
After leaving the Florida Keys in 2014 I found myself pestering Kelly that if we made our way back over to the states from Australia at any stage we would have to go back down to the keys. We didn’t have to wait long! My wish came true when my brother decided to have his wedding in Cartagena, Colombia. This meant Kelly and I would fly to America spend some time with her family and then head on over to the wedding. Each time we spoke about our plans I was sure to be persistent and say ‘Oh how about the Keys?’ or ‘Lets get down to the keys!’ I think Kelly and her family caught my drift so they organised a weekend in the Keys for us all.
After arriving into Miami airport we were greeted by Kelly’s family and drove the two hours down to Key Largo where we would be staying for the next few days. This was a new area of the Keys for me and I was eager to get out on the water and explore. After a seafood dinner, key lime pie and a handful of coronas we were back to the house to rest up for a day of exploring.
Kelly’s Dad had our day planned out with a boat rental from a local company. The first boat rental fell through due to several reasons including a ridiculous regulation that wouldn’t allow for us to take the boats to the sandbar or the larger reefs we were looking to snorkel on. Further the boats looked like they were about to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Needless to say with the ability of IPhones these days and 7 eager boaters, we found a rental for half the price closer to where we wanted to go with regulations that said just bring the boat back in one piece. That sounded more like it. Only thing was the boat wasn’t the fastest thing on the water by any means, but it was comfortable and did the job. We took the rental boat out to some areas along the reef and sandbar floating about in the water with a beverage in hand. It was an awesome day spent out on the water with Kelly’s family and friends.
The following day we were out and about the waters of the Florida Keys with friends of Kelly’s parents aboard their awesome new boat. As such great hosts, they ran us out to see the Jesus Status out at sea, stopped at several reefs to snorkel and took some mandatory time to drop anchor on the sandbars and enjoy the finer things in life, like American beer and hand made sandwiches. Over all my time in the Florida Keys, today was definitely a highlight.
Once out on the water in the Keys, it’s really easy to see why so many people make their way down here each year. The views, the water, the people and the sunrises and sunsets are absolutely stunning. No photo is going to do this place justice. You have to get there and experience what it has to offer, and for any crazy boater – this is your haven. If I could retire right now, I would be looking for a place down there to spend a few months out of the year really relaxing. I feel like each time Kelly and I are in the states now somehow we will be having a mandatory weekend in the Keys. I will be making sure of this. If you haven’t been down to any of these areas, make the trip. I guarantee you will have an awesome time and create memories that will last a life time.