Don't let the beautiful photos and sunsets fool you, apparently not everyone likes swimming with fish and sea creatures. We arrived at the Blue Water RV Resort, and it was incredible. There was just one thing...no beach. It had access to a dock, and many units had private docks... but apparently the keys are built in rocks, so there aren't many beaches.
We loved the beauty and privacy, and the tiki hut we had, that came with an outdoor sink, TV, and fridge. It was enclosed from neighbors, and was literally our own little island hideaway. It didn't come with a boat. Most of our neighbors had one, or brought one, or rented one...but we were really hoping for a beach. Now I can't complain, as it was only a quick drive to 3 various state beaches, we had just thought this was going to be walking distance from one, like in Panama City. It wasn't.
We enjoyed the first night, and drove to the first beach the first night. We saw a wedding on the beach, and it was pretty nice, but bad visibility, and seeing big horse shoe crabs on the sand, got everyone thinking we should try the other beach for the next day, on our full day at the beach.
We aren't really "morning people" and with all the fair skin people in my family, we got there after 1:00 to avoid the harsh sun. We went to Fort Zachary State Park and beach. We skipped the fort and headed straight to the beach. It was busy, but we found a spot. There were these rock islands with people on them, just off shore, and I was excited to get everyone to swim out and enjoy the adventure.
The beach was crazy rocky, right where the waves broke, and I should have read that as a sign, and just moved on...but I had this childhood memory of my mother swimming out to some Island in California almost just like this, so I wanted to do it with my family. I pushed over the rocks to show them it was sand right past them, and the girls started to get in and I went back to get Drew. He saw the girls getting in, and went to join them. I told him I would be right there. I wanted to get a photo of them on the rocks with my nice camera, before I joined them.
You can't really tell from the photos....all the tears. Once I got their attention to pose for a photo, Drew waved that special single finger wave, everyone is familiar with, and I realized something was wrong. I put the camera back in my bag, and ran out to the ocean. I swam quickly like a swimmer in a competition, until about half the way there, then realized I was glad that I could float. When I got there I got an earful from everybody. After helping Destiny off of her rock, where she had frozen still, I moved on to Drew. I helped him down and he continued to freak out in the water. Delilah joined us on her own, and I swam with the kids back to the beach. Sarah was going to stay there until I came back, so we could at least enjoy the rocks and the view together.
Destiny was bleeding on her leg, Drew was bleeding on his ankle, and may have broke or fractured his toe. Delilah was a bit scared from everyone else's reactions. (I think Destiny was also a bit pushed by Drew's inability to overcome his concern over sharks, and the fact the water was too deep to stand in.) They all sat in their chairs, and refused to go back near the water. I swam back out to see Sarah.
I carried the GoPro, so I could film and show Drew there were no sharks later. I spent a few minutes with Sarah on the rocks, looked out over the ocean, and we swam back to address the kids and their injuries. (Both emotionally and physically.)
We gathered our things walked back to the car, and headed back to the RV park, and their salt water pool.
The next day, we decided to just stay at the pool, in the RV Park. It was a beautiful pool. Coconut palms, salt water, and beautiful ocean air and breeze. We ended the day by going to an awesome local place we found out about, from an older gentleman at the pool, called Hogfish Pub and Grill.
The atmosphere was nice, it was on a pier, and it had delicious food. We all walked back to the car, except Drew who limped back. We decided to give the third beach a try the next day, and we decided a glass bottom boat tour might be more our pace of diving.
The third beach, Bahia Honda State Park was where we should have just gone to first! Great beach, only a few rocks. Great visibility, and easy sea grass with fish and sea creatures, in water maybe 3 to 4 ft deep. Sarah and I loved it, and we even got Drew on a boogie board with his snorkel, to see some of the fish and the sights. Unfortunately the girls still wouldn't even get in. We swam for about 2 hours and I got my first crazy sunburn! It was worth it. We left to get back to the RV so we could quickly shower and change to get ready for the boat ride.
Everyone finally loved the boat ride. We saw dolphins, beautiful fish at the reef, and an incredible sunset on the ocean. Afterwards, we walked a bit around Mallory Square and then drove back to the RV. Tomorrow, we are off to Miami, to begin our drive North!