Ahhhhh, Lobstah!

I know. It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken to each other. It’s not that we don’t love you anymore. It’s just….we’ve met someone else. Her name is Life. I know I’ve said it before, but life sure does get in the way of a good time, doesn’t it? Not to say we don’t have a good time. We do. We just haven’t had time to share it here on the blog. Not saying this is the start of a renewed blogging friendship either, but hey…who knows?

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This weekend, we made a day trip to Key West for Lobsterfest. One of our favorite things to do, and normally when Lobsterfest rolls around, we make it a long weekend, hop in the car and take our time rolling through the beautiful Florida Keys. This time, it was pretty spontaneous. Thanks to some very good friends who hooked us up with some tickets, we decided to hop on the Key West Express and make it a day trip.

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Depending on the day you travel (and how long in advance you book), you’re looking at between $99 and $150 for a round trip. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour ride, so consider it somewhat like a long plane flight. For us, instead of the 6 hour drive, we got there in 3 and a half.

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I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the boat. It was clean and cozy with a snack bar, drink bar and plenty of TVs with satellite for entertainment along the way.

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I ventured up to the top deck to take in the scenery. If you’re not careful, whatever is in your hand (or on your head) is gonna go flyin into the ocean. The boat is cookin pretty good – between 40-45 knots.

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Like I said, long ride. So if this is something you’d enjoy doing, make sure you pack some magazines, snacks and things to entertain you. After about 2 hours, I was starting to get antsy. The Key West Express is a good idea if you’re in town on vacation and don’t have time to make the 12 hour round trip drive. Me? I prefer the drive. The ability to stop off and get in the water, check out the scenery, drive the 7 Mile Bridge….that’s what I prefer. Not saying I wouldn’t take the KWE again – I would if I needed to. But big picture – it’s not for me.

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But we came for the Lobster. The sweet sweet lobster. I’ll take it any way I can get it. Boat, drive – doesn’t matter. Just bring me lobster.

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And we got lobster. Like years before, my first stop was the Lobster Roll.

Delicious.

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After slamming the Maine Roll in two bites and washing it down with an ice cold beer, I quickly moved onto the Lobster and Shrimp taco…Which was the best taco I’ve ever eaten.

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The Queen got the lobster Mac n Cheese with a lobster slider…which I helped her finish. My father-in-law says that when it comes to festivals, I’m like a shark. I bite something, then swim around a little while just to bite something else.

Know what? He’s right.

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No trip to Key West is complete until you’ve walked Duval end to end to see the sights.

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Chased a few chickens….

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….eaten some Key Lime Pie

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…and stopped off in Mallory Square.

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::insert innuendo here::

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It wasn’t as hot as it had been in previous years. But with that long and bumpy boat ride and coupled with 90 degree heat, we both had headaches and needed to sit for a bit in the A/C.

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Due to the lack of time (you’re only on shore about 4 hours before you have to board the boat back home), we grabbed something chilly to drink (and wash down the Excedrin) and moseyed along back towards the pier for our return.

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A dip in a pool would have been really nice.

Just not THAT pool.

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It was a fun day. Both short (in the time we actually were in KW) and long (that boat ride, whew!). Despite how convenient it is for some (and it really is a cool boat), I don’t think I’d do the boat again. Four hours to get there, four hours on shore and four hours to get home. No, thanks. For me, driving is the ticket.

Luckily, we’ll be doing some Keys driving in the next few weeks, as we return there for a little lobstering and diving.

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Can’t wait for that!

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Snorkeling and Lobster (Kind of)

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What a great time for a getaway. Between work, studying and more work, the Queen and I were more than ready to jump in the car and head somewhere stress-free. What better place than the Florida Keys? Or more specifically, Key West for the 2015 Lobsterfest.

We visited last year and had an absolute ball. You can read about last year’s trip here.

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Last year we hit Pennekamp and did a snorkel trip prior to heading off for KW to fill our bellies. This year, we decided to stay a bit closer to KW, as the drive back to the hotel in the Upper Keys – after very hot weather and lobster – was brutal.

We stayed in Marathon this time (which is a wonderful area) and stopped by a quaint little spot known as Sombrero Beach.

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Sombrero Beach is a smallish spot off the beaten path with a couple of rocky ledges that are good for snorkeling and clear water for swimming.

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With all the rain Florida has gotten this year, I was sure the water would not be as clear and I was correct. However, murky for the Keys means you only get to see 15-20 feet in front of you as opposed to 50 feet. 😉

We nestled in under a big palm tree and hit the water for a couple of hours. Lots of fish and too many sea urchins to count, and quite a few ended up in the ol shell bag. I found this killer cone as well. He was occupied so he went back into the water. But dang! Look at the color of that shell! I thought it was mucky at first, but as I scraped I noticed that the color WAS the actual color. A camo cone shell. Definitely a first!

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After swimming and snorkeling for a while, we headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower and nap and then enjoyed a nice dinner at the Island Fish Company…we enjoyed a wonderful view.

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After dinner, we fed some parrot fish and relaxed in preparation for our big day in Key West.

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The next morning, we got up, grabbed a bite of breakfast and headed to one of our favorite beaches anywhere – Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West.

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It is a stunning beach with crystal clear, warm water. We visited here two years ago as a Florida Beaches Royalty Tour spot and were itching to come back. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back last year, but the wait was worth it.

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There has been a considerable change to the beach on the West side, as the formerly rocky shoreline has been replaced by soft, white sand. So what did I do? I went North and tore my feet up trying to snorkel what? The rocks. I snorkeled from about that ship almost all the way up to the point. However, a couple of barracuda I encountered along the way forced me out of the water. So I climbed out, strapped on the GoPro and we hit the water.

In the first pic on the page, you can see the Queen conch we found after about 2 minutes in the water. It’s a no-take park at FZ (and the shell was occupied) so back in the water it went. But a cool way to start off the snorkel.

 

So many fish to see in the water….and many of them too fast to get snapped on cam. Twice I was buzzed by large fish. Once by a HUGE jack and the other, a hogfish – which was very cool, but scared the crap outta me.

Like, I said. I tried to snap the hogfish (above), but he was just too dang fast. You can make him out if you look closely.

Notice anything in the bottom of the picture above?

Yep, one of these guys:

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That’s a Caribbean Reef Squid.

I swam up on a little squad of these guys. They all took off except this one. He thought my GoPro was interesting, and he stopped to pose for a few shots. What a beautiful and amazing creature.

We hung out at Fort Zach for a couple of hours, showered off and made our way over to Duval Street for the festivities.

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Boy, was it HOT.

Hot hot hot.

So hot, I needed to buy a hat before walking the main drag.

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When it’s that hot, all we wanted to do was have a cold drink. But we came there for lobster.

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So it was time to find some lobster.

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After walking the main drag, I settled on a Maine Lobster Roll…just like last year.

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I was so thirsty that the Coors Light went down in two gulps.

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Queenie got herself a Lobster Slider. Well, ok I had one too.

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and we washed em down with a couple of SnoCones.

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We hung out for a little while longer until the heat was just too much. Good thing we packed up some cold drinks in a cooler.

We had a ball as we expected. There is just something about the Keys that screams “MOVE HERE BRO”.

Who knows? Maybe some day. Until then, we’ll just hafta keep coming back.

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We sure don’t mind that.