Sunday, 1 July 2018

Key West May 2018 - Part 2

Day 6: Thursday 17th May

As part of our birthday present our Mom had agreed to pay for a trip out to the Dry Tortugas - On the Sea Plane! This was so exciting.
We cycled out to the airport in the morning, since we had the bikes rented from yesterday.
We didn't have to show an ID checking in which I thought was funny. We paid an extra $10 at checking which is the entry fee to the national park. The staff gave us a cooler with two bottles of water and two diet cokes also.
After receiving our boarding passes we waited outside for our pilot.

After a quick safety talk (like, 30 seconds long!) we boarded the plane. All the bags were put in the back, and every one had a window seat and a headset.

The Pilot

The takeoff was really smooth and there was absolutely no turbulence. The views from the plane were amazing. Cruising altitude was so low that we could see everything so clearly below.

We saw lots of huge sea turtles on the trip over. Unfortunately they didn't photograph well at all.

Once we arrived at the Dry Tortugas we landed on the water!!!

The first thing we did on the island was do a walk around the fort.

We then returned to the plane to take some pictures

After touring the fort for a while we then settled on the beach for a bit. It was so sunny here while it was lashing rain in Key West! We had a dip in the sea and soon it was time to return to Key West (We only had the half day trip booked).

Once we got back to Key West we had lunch in Garbo's Grill. We got the Burger and the Korean Beef Tacos to share between the two of us. We both agreed that the tacos were absolutely amazing but the burger was only average. If we went back again we'd just order the tacos.

That evening we went with Mam to the Green Parrot where Patrick and the Swayzees were playing. The place was absolutely packed! The band was so good, they play all the 60s hits :)

After this we headed over to Viva for their weekly trivia night. We came close to last but I enjoyed it. I definitely enjoy playing on a smaller team in trivia. There's no point winning if someone else on the team gives all the answers and you just sit there bored.

On the way home I picked up some General Tso's chicken from the Chinese. We can't get this as home here in Ireland, so it's always a treat to get American Chinese food!

Day 7: Friday 18th May

Finally we had a full day of glorious sunshine, the kind we expect from Key West!

 I spent the day by our pool looking like this:

We decided to go to Charlie Mac's for happy hour. Lydia was taking a long time to get ready so I went around to the new bar near our house: The Tipsy Rooster. The bartender was very nice, I asked if this was a new bar (since I didn't recognise it) and he said they had been open since January. He asked why I wasn't at the beach and since I said I didn't like the beach he suggested I go to the community pool. since I said I was there that morning he said "Oh, you're a local?!". Lol, I said no, but I'm sure my sister Enid would be proud, she has this obsession with trying to act like a local.

There bar is also an off license where you can buy liquor - so handy. So I said I'd be back the next day to buy some tequila and margarita mix. The margarita from Tipsy Rooster was one of the best I had this trip by the way! (I had three favourites, which I'll list in the final part of this trip report).

Lydia finally came and met me so we walked (or maybe got the Duval Loop, I can't remember) up to Charlie Mac's. We had never been in here before and wanted to try the barbecue. Happy hour is always a great way to try a restaurant without spending too much money.

Between us we ordered two Brisket sliders, two Pulled Pork sliders and the Mac&Cheese balls.

Overall the taste was fine. But really the best thing was the option to add all the different types of barbecue sauce. These were the three with the best names but there were about ten different options I think: 

 I had a few vodka diet cokes also, I think they were half price, or around $3 each.

At this point our sister Enid texted us to say she had arrived from the airport. She had decided at the very lat minute to come to Key West - She hadn't even told our Mom! So we waited for her to arrive, and after she arrived and had a slider and a vodka we were on our way to surprise our Mom and Aunts.

 We knew they were at Alonso's so we walked in that direction, but ended up actually just running into them on the street!

You would guess that my Mom hadn't seen Enid in years the way she reacted!!!

Now that we were one big group we headed to Mallory Square for the sunset celebration.

I was so excited to see Dollar Dog! He's my absolute favourite, although he takes all my money!!

 My favourite part of the act is when the dog seems to drop all the money and then the owner says "Clean up that Goddam mess!" so Dollar Dog goes around and picks up all the money from the floor!

After Mallory Square we stopped by The Bull where the Spectrelles were playing. I love this band, they're so cute and 60s! Margaritas here were BOGO during the show.

I stopped for a cheeky frozen margarita on my way home of course :)

Day 8: Saturday 19th May
Today Lydia and I were doing our watersports day with Sebago. We booked the Power Adventure tour which cost around $160 each. The boat leaves at 10am but we checked in at 9am as we had to do a test in order to get a license to operate the jetskis.
We stopped in Coffee Plantation on the way and I got a cafe con leche. Thank god we got coffee on the way - Because breakfast on the boat didn't include any coffee!

Once on board we were given our snorkel gear and once the boat was moving breakfast was served. It consisted of mini muffins and two different types of quiche. 

We then arrived at the snorkelling area where we were able to jump right off the side of the boat into the water! The water was quite murky due to the recent bad weather. The captain said that normally he takes the snorkel trips to the Atlantic but it was so bad that he was taking us to the Gulf instead. Despite the bad visibility we did spot a few fish. There was very little though. Lydia and I were almost getting bored because there was so little to see when suddenly I heard Lydia squeal and point: I looked and a shark was swimming by us!!! No lie!
This is what it looked like (Not my photo!): 

Image result for reef shark key west 
We were both a bit shook (even though the shark ignored us!) so we got out of the water then - We had been in for quite a while anyway. When we got out the captain got annoyed at us because apparently he had specifically said in his brief that there were reef sharks and that they were harmless. 

Anyway, soon after they called everyone in and we set sail again back to Key West, to the Sebago pontoon. On the way back lunch was served which consisted of cold chicken wings (bad), shrimp (Lydia said they were good), make your own sandwiches which were very good and also some pasta and potato salad. It was lovely to eat our lunch sitting on the boat in the sun with the wind in our hair :)

Once we arrived at the pontoon we were put into the first group to go parasailing. We weren't too pushed on the parasailing - We weren't even sure if it was included in the tour! - but it actually ended up being a highlight! It was exciting at the start and then peaceful. We got a great view of the water and of Key West. The boar driver dipped us into the water at one point too!

After our parasail we took paddle boards and paddled around for a while. There was a shipwreck that we paddled around which was interesting. I noticed a shoal of tiny fish which were jumping out and over the water. Suddenly Lydia shouted that the fish had all jumped onto her board!!! She didn't know what to do, ha, scared of tiny fish!. by the time I paddled over to her the fish were not moving. However, I picked them up and put them back into the ocean. Most started swimming away but some just floated. Hopefully there were ok after a few minutes... 

At this point the queue for jet-skis was small so Lydia was able to go on one alone (Good, because I didn't want to it on the back of hers!). she said it was really good fun, she did loads of donuts. It's just not my thing though.

  Since I wasn't going on the jet-skis I was able to have a few beers from the on-board bar. They had red wine, white wine and three beers on tap. All included in the price of the tour.

After Lydia was finished on the jet-skis we also played on an inflatable trampoline in the water. I would definitely reccomend this water sports tour and I'd do it again next time I'm in Key West. However, I wouldn't pay for the "professional" photos that are taken of you during our parasail. The asking price is $50. Since we refused to pay this he offered it to us for $40, and then $35. We agreed to pay $35 but my god, they were absolutely crap.

After our watersports tour we went to Lucy's Retired Surfer bar for Happy Hour. My drink came with a mermaid in it :) Lydia's came with a shark attack!

Day 9: Sunday 20th May
On Sundays in Key West we go to Bistro 245 for the Mimosa brunch!

We always sit outside. I don't think the brunch would be worth the money if we were sitting inside.
The views from the outdoor terrace are amazing. Some people feel that the cruise ships ruin the view, but I love seeing them come in!

On the way home I got myself a frozen margarita - This time in a refillable sports bottle seeing as I buy so many!

In the afternoon Lydia and I visited Hemingway's home. We took the free tour around the house which is always very interesting. I'm not going to lie though - We're mainly there for the polydactyl cats!

Mae West let us pet her - Which apparently is unusual, she's quite shy

We were the last to leave, and towards the end the staff were setting up for a wedding.

Afterwards we went to Mary Ellens. I wanted to try their frozen Irish coffee which I'd seen on Instagram. It didn't disappoint! We also ordered Grilled Cheese sandwhiches from their extensive grilled cheese sandwich menu. This was a really nice 'local' spot, the bartender didn't charge Lydia for her diet coke at all, he said they only charge for alcohol!

There was a trolley full of board games so we played Jenga and Connect 4. There was also a large tub full of doggie biscuits for any dogs who come for a drink!

Day 10: Monday 21st May
This was Lydia's leaving day. So we got up early and walked down to Schooner Wharf for breakfast.

In Schooner Wharf they had a poster for a Minimal Regatta happening next Sunday so I said I'd definitely go see that.

It was another rainy day in Paradise.

Enid and I went to Turtle Kraal's for Happy Hour.

The wings were great. The ribs are huge and test great also, but after a while the sauce started to make me feel sick. Drinks are BOGO so we consumed quite a few vodkas - This might have caused the nausea also!!!.

At this point the rain really started to pick up, so we ended up staying here from the start until the very end of happy hour. 

After Happy Hour on week nights there are turtle races in Turtle Kraals. This was so much fun! Everyone gets a number and then if your number matches the winning turtle you get to pick a key. If the key opens the box then you win what's in the box. The night we were there a man won $500!

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