It was actually great fortune that we went to Key West first, because the day we headed north, we had rain. It rained for most of the drive to Bahia Honda. We set up the RV on Sunshine Key, and the rain cleared out enough to take an evening swim, and then we had a big storm overnight. Incredibly, I slept through most of it!
The next day was cloudy with sporadic rain, but it didn't stop us from getting on our bikes and riding through the State Park. I found a huge sponge on the shore and brought it home. I planned to clean it so I could actually use it, but it's still in the garage......hopefully not stinking too much! When the rain got too heavy, we went back to the RV and downloaded pictures and read. But again the rain cleared enough to let us have another sunset swim. Yay!
On Thursday we took off, planning to spend the night in Miami. We passed a place called Theater of the Sea on Islamorada, and decided to check it out. It was interesting, with bird, dolphin, and sea lion shows, and a nice garden. After seeing the shows, we thought we'd make sandwiches and take them to the swim beach at the back of their gardens. We stood with our bags and bottles at a little bridge, waiting on the tour guide to take us through to the beach and she pointed out the different species of mangroves as we walked. We crossed a little bridge to the beach and I heard Jesse snort. The "beach" was a pile of sand next to a tiny pond-like inlet covering an area about 2,000 square feet. The pond had a lot of big fish that looked like carp. You could rent snorkels and fins (some kids took advantage of that) or buy snacks at the little thatch-roofed shack. We were hungry, so sat down under an umbrella and ate our lunch and laughed. This was no beach, particularly to some one who knows Fort Myers Beach!
(There was a sort of nasty incident with a manipulative, controlling woman who was sitting next to us. She was talking very nastily to her husband and children, which made us cringe having experienced similar people in our pasts - and we were glad to get out of there.)
Next stop was to look around at John Pennekamp Park on Key Largo and we found a place to camp. Not surprisingly, it rained then too. A lot. We lost electricity, but were able to switch to generator so we didn't swelter.
If you make it to Pennekamp, be warned that snorkeling at the swimming area is not good. We saw a few fish, but the water was very murky. There was supposed to be a "sunken ship" there, but we couldn't see it. Later we read that it was only a "re-construction" of a Spanish wreck as it would appear after 400 years underwater.
Save your snorkeling for a reef trip from the park. We didn't take it this time because it had been canceled due to seaweed, so the next day we left for Miami and the zoo. And the rain was fortunate, because it was cooler for walking around outdoors all day, though we were damp most of the time. Also, there was no crowd, so we could ride the little tram around the park without waiting, and it was cool enough that the animals were outdoors for our "viewing pleasure."
We just missed getting a great video when we were watching the tigers. There was a large bird of unknown species, about the size of a hawk, that landed in the tiger habitat, and one of the big cats hurtled toward it with deadly intent. He made one swipe with his big claws, but just missed when the bird took flight. That would have been a great video! Sorry you missed it. :)
At the end of the day, we boarded the RV and made a 2-hour ride north to Fort Myers....in a driving rain. Again. We arrived home about 8pm, unloaded the refrigerator, and saved the rest of the unpacking for a clear and sunny Saturday.
It was a lovely - and too short - week!