Upon our late afternoon arrival, we were greeted by the local "Welcome Committee," the infamous Key Deer. After we got unpacked, we loaded up the boat and headed into the Atlantic for some night fishing. We were met by a gorgeous sunset and rewarded with a full night of reeling in snapper. It was a nice change to fish at night under the stars instead of under the blazing sun.
The next day (July 4th), the boys headed offshore to fish while a few of us stragglers took the boat to Looe Key to snorkel the reef. It was a beautiful sunny day and clear, calm seas, perfect for diving. We saw all kinds of tropical fish, as well as a Blacktip shark and a couple Goliath Grouper. The grouper lounging in the shade of the boat was easily 4 feet and probably 300 lbs. We were literally nose to nose and he seemed just as curious about me as I was about him.
Our last full day in the Keys, we decided to take a drive down to Key West and have some fun downtown. We enjoyed some refreshing frozen daiquiris, then lunch at Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery. Lunch in the shady courtyard is a refreshing change from the touristy bars and restaurants on Duval Street. We made the rounds of our favorite bars, a few shops, then picked up one of Blue Heaven's famous Key Lime pies for later.
One of the benefits of the Old Wooden Bridge Guest Cottages is the close proximity to the No Name Pub, one of our favorite places to eat and drink in the Keys. After returning from Key West, we rode our bikes less than a half of a mile to No Name Pub for dinner. We had a great meal and stapled our decorated dollar bills to the wall (it's a tradition!) Back at the cottages, we dug into our delicious Key Lime pie and savored our last balmy night in the islands.
The next morning, Justin and I went for a sunrise paddle - it was a nice way to end our Keys trip and a great excuse to move and stretch before getting on the road for our 4 hour drive home. While parting is such sweet sorrow, the view along the Overseas Highway in the Keys is always stunning. We stopped for a lovely breakfast at Midway Cafe in Islamorada, then continued through the hustle and bustle of South Florida on our way back to reality.
Here are my favorite photos from our weekend in the Keys: