“Hooray! Hooray! We’re on our way! Our summer vacation starts today!” Thus begins one of my favorite childhood books, The Berenstain Bears Go on Vacation by Stan and Jan Berenstain. And, so for nearly 40 years now, I have said this line aloud whenever I went on summer vacation.
This week was no exception as the Top 5 drove down to the Florida Keys, one of our favorite vacationing spots!
We have come for fishing, snorkeling, friendship, and lobstering once the regular season gets underway on August 6. Our rental house this year? A lovely one on a point in Key Colony Beach, a tiny township right next to Marathon. (Fair warning: Never speed in Key Colony! The speed limit is 25 mph and there are Key Colony police everywhere!) Here’s pictures of our house:
First stop for the Top 5 crew? Head over to Sombrero Reef, one of the largest dive spots in the Middle Keys. The average depth is around 20 feet, which is perfect for me as well as the young ones we were traveling with. We tied up at a buoy, along with about ten other boats, and then jumped into a beautiful underwater scene of colorful tropical fish, waving plant life, and cool rock and coral formations.
“Top 5” Tips for Snorkeling:
1. Try out your mask, snorkel, and flippers in a pool well ahead of time. Practice diving under and clearing your snorkel once you come up for air. This avoids leaky masks and helps novice snorkelers be more comfortable with the equipment.
2. Take Bonine, or another motion-sickness medicine, before you head out. Even for the strongest swimmers, the ever-present swish of the waves and currents can have an ill effect after just a short time.
3. Learn to blow air through your nose into the mask to help pressurize it as you go down, and to blow out your ears to avoid severe pain. The deeper you go, the stronger the pressure.
4. Always snorkel with a buddy and surface to glance for boats. Even in well-posted dive areas there can be reckless drivers.
5. Take a float or inner tube, especially with little ones. That way when you (or they) get tired, you can just float on the surface and use the mask to look down at the fish.
Stay tuned for more Top 5 adventures in the Florid Keys.