Sunday, 5 August 2012

Key Largo

Key Largo Map

We stayed at The Pelican resort in Key Largo ( The collection of cottages are stretched out in a row from the main road down to the bay. The price for a tiny room next to the road wasn't too bad ($80), and we didn't mind because just a short walk down the lane of cottages lay the most idyllic Florida Bay on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Key. The Pelican is about a 6 mile drive from the Silent World boat dock, which is on the Atlantic side of the Key, and is where we launched for all of our wreck dives.

We really enjoyed our 6 night stay here. The Pelican has two piers and a boat ramp, and all around the waters edge there are hammocks and deck chairs and umbrellas, and there's even a patch of beach sand. The bay is protected so the water is calm and flat. There are small yachts and boats moored all over the show. Other resorts stretch out in each direction the whole way around the cove. In the evening the sun sets over bay. The water temperature ranged from 30 to 32 degrees, it was like getting into a bath, and in the evenings it was warmer in the water than out. It reminded me of what I've seen of Greece from movies.

The Pelican at the boat ramp

Looking back at the Pelican resort across the two piers

Kev in the bay off the piers
Sunset over Florida Bay

In the mornings we would grab breakfast inside a little thatched pavilion about 50m up from the water's edge, and most mornings a little scraggly squirrel, who we named PO2, would come and join us. He was pretty persistent, and my initial efforts not to feed him were thwarted as he would run up and steal from any direction. It turned out easier just to share than to try and fend him off :)

The breakfast nook


On the Sunday morning, Kevin and I were only doing one afternoon dive, so we got up quite late for breakfast at about 8. After breakfast we went down to sit at the waters edge and drink our coffee, but there was an unusual amount of excitement going on at the pier. We thought maybe the children were pointing at fish, but then we saw flippers and I think we both knew immediately that a manatee had come to visit! What luck!

We rushed off to get a glimpse, but the manatee was in no rush to leave the pier. And when people started to fetch bottles of fresh water for it to drink, it rolled over and drank down whatever was poured for it. After about 20min with us all on the pier, people got bored and wandered off and Kevin decided to see if he could get in the water with it and take some photos. The manatee didn't mind at all, in fact it kept swimming up to Kev to try and stick its nose onto the shiny glass dome for the camera housing.

I decided I wanted in on the action so I went and fetched some more water and my mask and also jumped in. As soon as I was in the water the manatee headed my way, and if I poured fresh water for it then as it swam towards me it would roll over and rest its shoulders on my chest so that it could just relax in my arms and drink every drop that I poured ... like bottle feeding a baby! It was a very special experience.

It was after 10 when the manatee finally moved off, so we got to spend 2 hours with it. Super cool.

Manatee at the Pelican in Florida Bay

Manatee looks like it's coming in for a hug :)

Manatee resting in my arms waiting for more fresh water

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