Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cayo Hueso

After our awesome weekend at Wakulla Springs, we woke up on Monday ready to continue the fun.  We made a pit-stop in Tallahassee for breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

I scarfed down several homemade buttermilk biscuits with fried apples.

Austin had the Old Timer's Breakfast with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, hash brown casserole, grits and biscuits.

After breakfast, we made the 3-hour drive to Jacksonville.

I can't even count the number of times I heard, "Are we there yet?" from my cousin.  I can't blame her, though, because we were all very excited about getting to the cruise ship!

For now, I am going to skip past Monday and Tuesday's activities, simply because we spent both days on the ship and didn't do much besides eat, hang out at the pool, and eat some more.  Full recap of food coming soon, I promise.

On Wednesday morning, we arrived in Key West at 7:00 am.  During our Conch Train tour into town, I learned that the island's original Spanish name was Cayo Hueso, which translates to "bone-key".

Exploring Key West

We had a chance to explore Old Town before our excursion started.  There were quite a few unique, old trees in town.

We got a kick out of the wild chickens and roosters roaming around.

Do you see the baby chick?

Poor guy, he lost his mama! 

Luckily, since wild chickens are so rampant in the area, no one bothers them.  There was a kitty cat lying across the street from this baby chick, and he never thought twice about getting up to chase him!

We glanced around the local shops, but we didn't have much time for shopping.

I would have liked to buy a sponge from the Key West Sponge Market, but I didn't have any cash with me!

Of course, if I'd brought my money with me, I would've insisted on browsing the mall!

Better yet, though - we went snorkeling!

Snorkeling in Key West

We bought our shore excursions though the cruise line, but in the future I would definitely purchase them locally once I arrived on the island.

Our Fury Catamaran Sail & Snorkel Adventure began at 9:00 am.  We enjoyed a breezy ride on the Catamaran out to the 3rd largest coral reef in the world.

We sailed right by our cruise ship, the Carnival Fascination.

As soon as we jumped in, I noticed a jellyfish-like species in the water.  I immediately started panicking because they were literally swarming around us, and I was already far away from the boat.  To calm my nerves, Austin shouted to one of the crew members and asked what they were and whether they would sting us.  They were in fact jellyfish, but they were babies and did not sting.

Every time I moved, I brushed up against one.  It was seriously strange to be swimming with jellyfish!  I was even brave enough to hold one in my hand.  It just looked like a clear blob when I pulled it out of the water.

While I was snorkeling, I experienced some intense cramping in my feet.  I am not sure if it was because my fins were too small, or what, but it was painful.  My sweet boyfriend actually pulled me along in the water most of the time so that I didn't have to kick my feet.

The water was absolutely clear and gorgeous. At one point, we found ourselves in some really shallow water above the coral reef.  We had to awkwardly swim above it, because you're not allowed to touch it.  This was even more difficult for me, as I was really wishing I could stand up and take my fins off!

If you've ever used an underwater camera before, you're familiar with how difficult it is to take good pictures!  Hence why there are not a thousand awesome pictures of our adventures.

You'll just have to trust me when I say it was absolutely an amazing snorkeling experience!

When we got back on the Catamaran, the crew kept us happy with free beer and soda.  The crew really made this experience so much fun.  They even posed for this picture with me!

When we got back to the island, it was already lunch time, so we headed back to the cruise ship.

We ate lunch on the balcony while enjoying the view.

The cruise ship departed the port at 3:00 pm.  Next stop: Nassau, Bahamas.

Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish?
I haven't, thank goodness!  I am certainly glad that those baby jellyfish didn't sting us while we were snorkeling!


  1. Your trip is making me so envious! Looks liek you are having a blast! I have never been stung but my friend has...I heard it burns something fierce!

  2. I've swam with jellyfish, sure. but only the babies like you. never been stung thank goodness!! I think your underwater shots look great! what a fun time so far.

  3. More fabulous holiday photos! LOVE IT! I'm glad it's all going/went so welL!

  4. What a great vaca! I love Key West!! So cool and casual. I bet it's hot down there right now :)

  5. Nice! I've been wary of cruises but if they are like this, I might just have to reconsider. Looks like you spent a lot of time on shore. Keep the reports coming...

  6. Ugh- jelly fish creep me out! Even if they don't sting, i would have been soooo anxious...

    And I love Cracker Barrel- i's the definition of comfort food in my book. I don't remember the last time I went to one, but still, much love!

  7. Oh I love Cracker Barrel so much! Their cheesy hashbrowns were my fave!! And grits. :)

    I have never been stung my a jelly fish. I hope it never happens. I don't want anyone to pee on me. :) I have been snorkeling & it made me sick. Boo. Your BF is so sweet to pull you along. Maw!

  8. Umm wow I am so jealous of your vacay! It's awesome you're having such a great time and I've always wanted to go snorkeling!

    I'm excited for the rest of your recap (:

  9. birds, funky trees, the ocean, great food and people- SOUNDS LIKE A FUN HOLIDAY TO ME!!! <3

  10. Wow that looks so fun!! I especially am jealous of the snorkeling.. I haven't been in years. You got some great pics!

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog! Your blog is great!
    Those buttermilk biscuits from Cracker Barrel look so good! I have to make some now haha
    Looks like amazing travels! Look forward to hearing more!

  12. oh this looks like so much fun! no i have not been stung-thank goodness. yes i love your fried apples-yum!

  13. Hog's breath saloon!! We've been there. So fun!! Enjoy your trip. :)

  14. What a fun vacation! I would've had a panic attack about the jelly fish. I did a lot of snorkeling in the Cook Islands on my honeymoon but didn't encounter any jelly fish, thank goodness! We did have to "belly skim" the reefs though.

    It's not the end of the world if you barely brush up against them, you might just get little cuts that look like a rash. (And I think it's not great for the reef either.)