Here's what I know about this trip: Let me know if I forgot anything..
I have reserved a boat for the mornings of Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26. We need to be at the dive shop by 7:45 each Morning. This is Lady Cyana Divers, www.ladycyana.com, 1-800-221-8717. We have used them before, they are good and very safe. Mile Marker 85.9. They have agreed to do shallow dives in the mornings so bubble watchers and snorkelers can come along and have fun. Deeper dives are available in the afternoons for those more adventurous.
It looks like we will have more than 10 divers each day, so IF WE PAY TOGETHER it is cheaper. Please don't pay individually and expect to get the cheaper rate.
Here are the proposed rates:
Snorkelers are - $25
Bubble Watchers - $15
1-6 divers $35 per diver
6-10 divers: $32 per diver
11 or 12 divers: $30 per diver
13 or more divers: $27 per diver
Tank special for a group is $15 for two tanks and a weight belt.
BC rental is $10
Regulator rental is $10
The Breezy Palms is booking up (not full yet), but there are several other hotels close by:
La Siesta 305.664.2132
Islamorada Motel 305.852.9376
Chesapeake Resort 305.664.4662
Ocean Point Suites 305.853.3000
Pelican Cove Resort 305.664.4453
Howard Johnson at Holiday Isle
Below is the previous email about the trip:
WHAT: SECOND ANNUAL SPRING BREAK CHUMMERS CLUB KEYS DIVE TRIP
WHEN: MARCH 24TH - 26TH, 2000
- THIS IS THE WEEKEND PRIOR TO SPRING BREAK WEEK FOR THE KIDS
WHERE: ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS, MILE MARKER 81 - (4.5 HOUR DRIVE FROM MELBOURNE)
POSSIBLE DIVES: - MARATHON, THUNDERBOLT WRECK (100 FT), MANY SHALLOW LOCAL REEFS TO CHOOSE FROM, FOR SNORKLING, ETC.
LODGING: BREEZY PALMS RESORT @ MILE MARKER 81, EACH ROOM SLEEPS 4 (MORE IF YOU USE THE FLOOR) FULL EAT IN KITCHEN, FRIDGE, STOVE, ETC. $100/NIGHT (305) 664-2361
OTHER ENTERTAINMENT: - POSSIBLE KEY WEST TRIP, BIRD SANCTUARY, FEED THE TARPON, BOTTOM FISHING PARTY BOAT TRIPS, THEATRE OF THE SEA (LIKE A SMALL SEA WORLD), HOLIDAY ISLE (HAIR BRAIDING, ETC/), ETC.
It's traditional to watch the fishing boats come in and then watch the sunset every evening before dinner. From the Breezy Palms (MM 80) we walk south to Bud and Mary's Marina or drive up to Holiday Isle about 5PM to see what the charter boats caught, then across the street to the top deck of the outside bar at Papa Joe's to watch the sunset. Often, there are manatees right by the Papa Joe's dock. Folklore says that if you can actually keep your eyes open as the sun sinks below the horizon in the Keys, you will see a green flash.
Other Fun Things to know:
Breakfast: The Islamorada Bakery, just north of MM80 is very similar to the A1A Blueberry Muffin in Indialantic. Excellent place for Breakfast. Try a sticky honey bun!
Lunch: The Islamorada Fish Company has the best fish sandwiches and lunches around (reasonable, too).
Whale Harbor also has great lunches and an unbeatable dinner buffet.
There is a bird sanctuary a few miles north of Islamorada where they nurse injured birds back to health. It's a free or really cheap tour and fun for everyone.
Holiday Isle - Roll your wheelchairs through this resort to see how young the spring break crowd really is. Expect the unexpected. Hair braiding, temporary tattoos, bikers, beach contests, and the Sandbar just offshore are a few of the attractions. Kinda like a miniature Daytona Beach.
Woody's - Famous for a comedy band called "Big Dick and the Extenders" If their in town, you might want to catch the show.
Lore-Lai - Sit on Gulf Side of the keys and have lunch or dinner. Big Dick's band plays here sometimes.
During high tide, grab your mask, snorkel and fins and snorkel around just offshore of the Breezy Palms resort. Wade out to the rocks following the sand bar. Lots of fun stuff to see within 100 feet of shore including lobsters in the rocks.
About a mile south of the Breezy Palms, just over a bridge is a trailer park with a sign that says Robbies Trailer Park and "Feed the Tarpon". Buy a bucket of bait fish for $3 and hand feed the biggest tarpon you can imagine (over 10' long). Threaten to push your significant other in.
Whale Harbor and Holiday Isle both have 1/2 and full days of party boat fishing. Pay about $30 a person and do some bottom fishing for grouper, snapper, cobia, etc. Afternoon trips available after diving. Be sure to take the Dramamine they offer.
Just north of Holiday Isle is Theatre of the Sea, an ocean theme park built in an old limestone quarry that provided the stone to build the first railroad to Key West.
The Worldwide Sportsman is the most amazing fishing store I have ever seen. It has Ernest Hemingway's ORIGINAL boat inside that you can walk through, a HUGE saltwater aquarium and the best selection of fly fishing rods over $500 that I have ever seen (gag!). Don't miss this store.
Dancing, music and night entertainment is also available for those who have any energy left.
And yet another review from last year:
They Keys were as they always are...magical, relaxing, offering lots of adventure, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets... We stayed at a hotel called Breezy Palms. The lawn/picnic area is populated with tall coconut palms. One morning I was up before dawn, as usual, and walking out to the beach on the breezeless morning I looked up and the palms were swaying and you could hear the sound of the restless fronds. Hence, the name Breezy Palms Hotel. It lent an eery feeling to the otherwise quiet dawn.
(I am on my way to getting totally immersed in this graphic account of my trip to the Keys...hope you don't mind a book. I'm a junkie of descriptive narratives...! Work is slow today so here goes)
Later in the morning we headed out onto the clear, blue waters for a swim in the emerald sea. The liquid was crystal clear and cool. The first panorama I came upon was a massive wall of blue and yellow striped fish that seemed to be endless and were swimming in unison all in the same direction. They were so thick only a dark shadow remained below them while the sun was brightly shining above. I stayed still for a moment and watched them sway in harmony. This event set the tone and reminded me that I was in an underworld far beyond my control and all I was required to do was watch the sea-life in its unique and natural place. Swimming around the other side of a coral formation, I gasped as a nurse shark swam away from me. Peering under a rock ledge a big lobster peered back as tiny pink and yellow fish surrounded the rock. The fish were so colorful...it was only 10 feet deep. Yellows, blues, pinks, greens, purples and all varieties...Angelfish, damsels, filefish, triggerfish, cowfish, pufferfish, parrotfish, grouper, wrasses and others that I can't name, existed in abundance on the coral reef. The shadows created by the ripply oceans surface danced over the sunny seascape below. This alone caused, in me, a trance of calm and peace. A small hammerhead shark came into view but as soon as it saw me it turned and went the other way...much to my relief. Jellyfish swam in delicate abundance and when fanning them with a hand they would break into a million tiny pieces.
Other highlights of the trip were watching the sunset from the upper deck of a Tiki bar overlooking the bay while listening to a one man band play Jimmy Buffet songs. "Why Don't We Get Drunk and S.." seemed to be popular ! Actually, he played some romantic songs too. A pod of porpoise broke the stillness of the water, another perfect panorama as the sun melted into the Bay. We later headed back to eat our supper of freshly caught tuna sashimi (like sushi but no rice), grilled kingfish, steaks, BoyScout potatoes, and salad with home grown sprouts. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Other events were snorkeling and kayaking with the kids over the perfectly clear water...teaching the girls how to do beadwork and giving lessons in making fish out of coconut fronds. I caught a lobster with my own two, gloved hands! I talked with some very nice people and I took some time for solitude and pondering.