The point of the Key Largo trip was really to dive though. And we had some really lovely dives. The first day was a re-adjustment to the gear and the pressure and the processes, but it only got better from there.
Kristen and Tim saw sharks and a Goliath grouper. Kyle and I only saw mermaids. But the reefs were still beautiful and healthy with a lot of pretty reef fish, fans, and hard coral.
My favorite sightings were the huge stingrays flying through the blue. Before this trip, we'd only ever seen blue-spotted rays, which are cool, but much smaller. These guys had a very prominent barb and really did seem to soar through the water.
My favorite dive was the 95-year-old City of Washington wreck. It's our second wreck (we dived the Liberty in Bali), and although it's very broken up, there was still structure to see.
A little background thanks to Divers Direct:
The City of Washington was a schooner-turned-steamship built in 1877 with two masts and a small engine. She had three decks, a length of 320 feet, and a 38-foot beam. City of Washington transported both passengers and freight between New York, Cuba, Panama and Mexico. In 1898, City of Washington was anchored near the USS Maine in Havana's Harbor when the Maine blew up. Washington's crew jumped into action and rescued 90 crewmen. The dining salon became a makeshift hospital for the injured. The deckhouse and lifeboats of Washington were damaged by burning debris from the Maine.
With the Spanish-American War in full swing, the City of Washington became a transport for troops to Cuba. A much larger engine was added in 1898. After the war, the ship was converted to a coal barge in 1911. As she was being towed in 1917, the City of Washington struck Elbow Reef and sank within minutes.One of the guys in our dive group had a camera and he sent me a few photos of us and the dive. He even sent a little video, cruising along the wreck.
We also got to try a little dive experiment that we learned about at our dive refresher course in Nashville last weekend. (We did an afternoon session in the pool because it's been nearly two years since our last dive.)
If you crack a raw egg under water at depth, it will hold together because of the pressure. We weren't very deep, but as I cracked the egg open, the whole thing slurped out of the shell. The white still clung to the yolk even as we batted it around. Eventually the white separated while I was swimming and a fish darted in to eat it. We played with the yolk a bit longer before a fish got it too.
All of these images and the video are thanks to (and property of) Daryl Duda, who generously offered to share them with us. Thank you!!