Day #1 4/2/10
Woke up at 3:45am to meet the crew behind Dillard’s parking lot. Mom and I drove to the Kansas City Airport. We arrived and checked in luggage. Our flight left at 7:05am. There was a 3 hour flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I talked to a passenger beside me about alligators and what Florida was like.
Arrived in Florida and took a charter bus about 3 hours south to Marathon Key. We ate at Golden Corral Buffet on the way. At Marathon Key, we waited a few hours for the boat, “Vivid”, to come into the marina. I took pictures of palm trees and our crew toured our sail boat. I fished off the boat right next to the dock and caught six Pin Fish and five Gray Snappers. Then we ate at the marina house upstairs and I had a fish sandwich and fries.
It was dark outside and our boat captain, Chuck, told us how shrimp would come up to the pillars of the dock at night and you could shine the flashlight and see their red eyes glow to try and catch them. Lauren and I caught about 5, and then our sailboats took off to the harbor to stay the night.
We stopped about half a mile out from shore to spend the night. I slept on deck and looked up at the stars. They were gorgeous. At last, I went to bed at 10:45pm hoping not to fall off the boat.
Day 2 4/3/10
Woke up at the crack of dawn and the sun was not quite up yet. Since no one else was up, I cast a line out using the shrimp as bait from the night before. I caught another Pin Fish and a Horse Eye Jack.
When everyone woke up, we ate. I had a box of fruit loops and an apple. Then we went out to Sombrero Reef, about 45min. away, to snorkel. The wind was blowing and the waves were large, making the boat rock. Everyone had to go below deck to get their snorkel stuff – this was a problem. After this, everyone was feeling seasick. Casy and Jessica both threw up.
We hooked up to a mooring ball at Sombrero Reef and Mr. Nash, Lauren, and I jumped in the water and snorkeled. There were fish everywhere. We snorkeled for about an hour. The coolest fish I saw would have to be a Scrawled Filefish. Then we got out and started to head towards and snorkel site called Munson Rock.
On the way, I sun tanned, tried to deep sea fish, and relaxed. After a 3 hour sail, we arrived there and snorkeled for about 1 hour and 30 min. the best fish I saw would have to be a huge 3-4ft. Barracuda. After this snorkel, we went into a cove with the other boats and all anchored together. I hoped over to Corvette’s boat and we fished off the back of it for a while. We caught some more Pin Fish and I caught a Puffer Fish! I went to grab it and he puffed up in my hand! It was crazy! Then I went back to my original boat and ate supper. We had grilled chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, and salad.
After supper, our boats separated and we anchored away from each other. I thought I would try my luck at shark fishing. So everyone was asleep and here I was shark fishing. I had fun, but after an hour or so of no luck, I went to bed in the cockpit of the boat.
Day 3 4/4/10 Easter Sunday
Woke up early and everyone got up shortly after. I cooked 12 scrambled eggs and 7 pieces of sausage for breakfast. After we ate, we sailed an hour to Looe Key to snorkel. The water was really green, so most people did not snorkel. Mr. Nash and I went out together for about an hour and saw many species of fish. We climbed back on boat and sailed to the deep blue water to try fishing for some Mahi-Mahi. With no luck, we headed back towards Marathon Key to stay the night.
After about two hours, we went through a bridge and anchored just off of Bahia Honda Beach. We snorkeled to shore and went inside the little store next to the beach to get some ice cream. We hung out for a little on the beach, then went back to the boat and continued our sail towards Marathon Key.
A couple hours later, we arrived and anchored. For dinner, I cooked the crew 8 hamburgers. We also ate salad, macaroni, and Mr. Nash’s creation. Then we relaxed the rest of the night. I slept on the deck again.
Day 4 4/5/10
Woke up after the sun had risen and a few people were already up. We cooked pancakes for breakfast. I ate them with peanut butter and syrup. Believe it or not, it was tasty. Then we sailed to the marina and stocked up on ice, water, and gas.
We took off from the marina and saw some dolphins that swam right under the boat. We headed towards the middle of the 7 mile bridge to cross. After passing the bridge, we sailed a couple hours to burnt point and snorkeled. Next to some rocks there were a bunch of Spiny Lobsters. I would grab their antennas and mess with them.
Then we came back to the boat and I got Mr. Nash to go back out with me to look for some crab. We had no luck, but did see a Spotted Scorpion Fish that blended in the rocks extremely well. We went back to the boat and left for our spot to anchor for the night.
Three hours later, we arrived at White Marlin Beach on lower Matecumbe Key. The sun was setting and the crew made spaghetti for super with salad. Then we relaxed around the boat and I put on some squid to try and go for sharks again.
After an hour or so, I hooked one! I reeled it in and it was a 20 inch Reef Shark. The crew came out and got some pictures then I fished some more with no luck. We went to bed and I slept on the deck of the boat.
Day 5 4/6/10
Woke up first on the boat again. After everyone got up, I cooked pancakes for breakfast like yesterday. Peanut butter on them is the only way to do it anymore.
Then we pulled the anchor up and sailed to a dock to get groceries. We went back and divided the groceries with the other two boats and set sail for The Quarry, about an hour away. We arrived and snorkeled. I found a sunken boat about 10ft. down in the water. The water was green and this gave it a spooky feeling. I also saw some lobsters and crabs. After an hour, we went back to the boat and sailed to the Botanical Preserve to visit the museum.
We arrived there, but they were closed so we sailed to Shell Key about a mile away. We got there and snorkeled by some mangroves for about 2 hours. This was a sweet snorkel. I caught some hermit crabs, two stone crabs, and we saw an awesome Atlantic Black Sea Hare. This was like an underwater slug, but not as ugly. Then we swam back to the boat.
For super we ate chili and a tortilla with rice. Then we hung out on the boat the rest of the evening. At dark, we went outside and there were luminescent creatures glowing in the water. It was crazy! Mr. Nash had an idea to swipe the boat gaff in the water vigorously and this caused disturbance to little bead size organisms that would light up and glow. Then we all went below deck and got ready for bed. I slept on deck again.
Day 6 4/7/10
Woke up at sunrise this morning. Chuck, our boat captain was jumping in the water to save Mr. Nash from losing his swim trunks. Then we had breakfast. I had two boxes of frosted flakes, an apple, and an orange. Then we went and paired up with the boat “Vivid” to give them some water for the day. Then we sailed an hour to the bridge to cross through Snake Creek into the wide open ocean.
After an hour more of sailing, we arrived at Hens & Chickens Reef. Mr. Nash and I snorkeled there for about an hour. The water was green and pretty murky. On some of the coral we saw these cool different colored Christmas Tree Ornaments. Then we got out and headed towards Alligator Reef. About 15 minutes on the way, I hooked into a Cero Mackerel and reeled it in. I caught it on a silver rattle trap. Next, we arrived there and the water was crystal clear. We got out and did our first fish count and snorkeled. I took some cool videos and pictures. The coolest fish I saw was a Smooth Trunkfish. After 3 hours, we got done snorkeling. After this, we headed back to Snake Creek and passed through the bridge. Then we went around the corner and stayed at Cowpins Anchorage. We paired up with the other two boats. I went to Corvette’s boat, “Lady Nell,” and played cards until Chuck called me back to our boat to grill. I cooked 8 chicken breasts and my Mackerel I had caught earlier.
After supper we played cards and chit chatted awhile. We slowly got tired and headed to bed, I slept on deck again.
Day 7 4/8/10
Woke up after sunrise. For breakfast I made the crew a bunch of French toast. I had 5 pieces myself. The good thing about cooking is you don’t have to do the dishes.
After breakfast Chuck told us the history of Indian Key, which was where we were going today. Then we set sail for Indian Key. I fished the whole way there, but I got no bites. Next, we arrived at Indian Key and stopped to eat lunch. I made tuna salad and had two sandwiches. Still hungry, I made two more peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
Then we snorkeled to the key. We walked around the island then swam back to the boat. After this, we headed 2 hours to Long Key Bight, where we stayed the night. On the way I scooped up a patch of Sargassum and found an awesome Sargassum Fish. For supper, I cooked a bunch of hamburger meat, which we made into soft shell tacos. I also had a tangerine and an orange.
Then I cast out a line with chuck and we caught a bunch of little Pin Fish. It was getting dark so we put a couple Pin Fish on shark rods then Chuck went to bed. I started to check my messages on my phone when all of a sudden my reel started letting drag out like crazy. I grabbed the rod and then snap! There was no steel leader on the line, causing the line to break. I cast the rod with the steel leader where this one was and started to check my messages again. Another fish hit the rod and was taking drag out! I set the hook and reeled it in. It was a 32 inch Black Tip Shark. It was awesome! I also caught an 18 inch Lemon Shark and a 12 inch Saltwater Catfish. It was a good night and I slept on deck again.
Day 8 4/9/10
Woke up at sunrise and there were a bunch of By the Wind Sailors everywhere. These are little floating jellyfish. For breakfast, I had three boxes of cereal and we set sail 4 hours to Coffins Patch.
On the way, I fished with no luck, read some of my book, and ate lunch. I had 3 peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Then we arrived at Coffins Patch and snorkeled for an hour. I saw some cool fish, like a 2ft. Porcupine Puffer fish and a Gray Angelfish. Then we got out and headed for Sombrero Reef about 2 hours away.
On the way I hooked into a King Mackerel on the deep sea line. I reeled it in, but it got off right at the boat. We arrived at Sombrero Reef. The water was so clear and everyone was raring to snorkel. We were there for about 4 hours and I saw a Jewfish about 4ft. long. It was the best snorkel of the trip.
Then we sailed to where we were the first night at Boot Key Harbor. We took joy soap baths and went in to eat by the marina at a seafood place called Castaway. I had a hamburger, but ended up eating shrimp, sushi, and sashimi. Believe it or not, I actually like sushi. Then we went back to our boats and anchored at Boot Key Harbor again. I slept in the cockpit again.
Day 9 4/10/10
We drove to a museum that was famous for ancient coral. We toured through the woods and visited with each other. Then we drove 3 more hours to the airport and waited for out flight. We boarded the airplane and flew 3 hours back to Kansas City. I went out to eat at KC with my mom and Brian. Then we drove back to Joe town.
I showed my picture and read my journal to them and then crashed in my own bed for the night. No boat rocking…..