Day 225 – 4/12/21 Key Largo: Campground Pool and Ocean Stand up Paddleboarding

We stayed in our Key Largo Campground today, spent some time in the pool and did some Stand Up Paddleboarding.

It was a rainy morning here in Key Largo and that was the weather forecast for the day, so it looked like a catch up day and maybe a walk, at best.  But, fortunately, the weather changed.

I was up at my usual time, got some writing done, caught up on emails and then got the girls up and going with school.  Carol was not feeling very well with her runny nose and sinus pain, and stayed in bed all morning and early afternoon.  The girls had a good day of school.  I got all Bella’s material printed, talked to her about what she needed to do and she got going.  Bia is a pro at just getting things done, so she didn’t need much help.

Around mid morning Carol asked me to get her some medicine and we needed a few things from the store as well, so I took the truck and went to the closest grocery store, which is a Publix half mile from our spot, right outside the campground.  As I pulled in to their parking lot, the island life showed up, as in a bunch of chicken were roaming around the parking lot.  hahahahaha. 

Then, as I walked towards the door, there was an SUV with the trunk open, and a huge dog on a leash, tied to the inside of the trunk, was just there hanging out while the owner shopped.  Hahahaha… good stuff.  I got all the stuff at the store quick, Carol’s medicine needed to be ordered by the pharmacy as it’s over the counter but controlled, so they take down my ID and all.  After I got back, I put everything away, checked in on the girls, got Carol her meds, and decided to go for a stroll bike ride through the area.

The bike ride was nice.  I left the campground and went right (south).  There is a bike lane by the road, but also the sidewalk is very large so I biked there, as many others were doing.  I’m guessing the bike lane is for the more serious bikes.  The path was really nice, and something we can definitely do as a family.  Cars were very respectful of bikes on that path and would yield all the time.  I went in first at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and it was interesting to pull in there on a bike and pay the $2.50 entrance fee with a credit card. Hahahah… This park apparently is the first underwater park setup, we’ll have to go back to snorkel if we can.  I just biked around to see the park and the beaches there.  The beaches here are just ok, super fine white sand, but very small areas, and lots of sea grass.  There are a few Jellyfish here and there as well.  After biking the perimeter of the park, I kept going.  I went about 5 miles that way, then went to the other side of the road and started coming back.  Right as I turned I entered another park, which had a big natural pool.  It looked deep and looked like a spot where the local dive shops may get people through training and certification.  The next stop was a boat rental place as I wanted to see how much they charge and how it all works.  It is basically $200 or so for a 3 hour rental, plus fuel, so likely in the 300s total.  I enjoyed the rest of the ride and got back to the camper right by 11. 

Carol was still in bed and the girls were doing school.  Bella was almost done, so I sat with her to make sure she had not missed anything.  She always does and today was no exception, and as I checked her math book, she had skipped one question out of each of the last 5 sheets.  As Bella finished her work, I got the leftovers from yesterday and heated up for lunch and ate with Bia and Bella.

I decided that the plan for today would be to just stay around since Carol was not feeling good, so we could go by the water, beach and or pool.  First, I wanted to clean the gutters on the trailer, as the storm brought in a ton of green stuff, and that was clogged and draining out of a small leak on the gutter, where there is a seam, and that green leakage was staining the trailer siding.  I got the ladder out and went up in the roof to clean it all up from up there first.  There was green shit everywhere.  The roof will need to get washed, but I don’t think I can get those stains out anymore.  I just hosed it all out, unclogged all drains and made sure no solids were up there.  Then, I had to rinse the trailer as debris came down, and then I had to wash that streak from the siding.  That took like 4 attempts of scrubbing that streak with dish detergent and the broom to get most of it gone.  There’s still a light mark there that I could not get out, and I hope I’ll be able to get it out at some point.  After that was as done as possible, I moved on to my next project, getting the paddle board inflated.

By that time, the girls were all done with school, and were getting ready to go to the pool, they were changing and putting sunscreen on.  Carol had changed too and went outside with me.  I got the paddle board out, and we started getting it filled up.  We tried to use the small pump I have, and while it worked, it just took forever.  The pump also was not able to get a good measure of the pressure inside the board, so I finished it with the manual pump, which is way faster.  So, for this kind of stuff, the small electric pump is not very good, just not enough volume of air. 

Carol had said she was going to take the board first, as a Kayak, and go to the beach, but as we were all ready, she changed her mind and said I should go.  I put another coat of sunscreen, this time 50spf, and went towards the beach, which is pretty much close to our spot.  On the way to the beach, I saw a guy with an inflatable boat and asked him if he had any concerns with the inflatable around here, and he said he does not, as it is all soft stuff, sea grass, etc.  Then, as I put the board in the water, a few more guys were coming in and I asked what there is to see and do around, and they said it is all cool, but they liked the beaches to the left.  I felt confident then that I would not hit any surprises.  I put the board in the water, tied everything to the bungee I had brought, the water, my flip-flops, and the shirt.  Pushed the board in and rolled out on my knees.  After I was a couple of feet away from the very shallow spot, I stood up and started paddling aiming to go left.  Woohoo, success!  There was still a bit of wind, and the water was a bit choppy, but not enough to make it hard to be there.  It was pretty awesome to be there.  The water is super clear and you can see the bottom pretty much the entire time.  There’s lots of seagrass, some Jellyfish, and that’s about what I could see.  I ended up running into a guy in a Kayak who was hovering around the same spot, and overheard him telling someone else he was looking for his phone.  As I got close, he yelled that if I saw a phone, to tell him.  So, I stuck around a bit and circled around a few times, and sure enough, I found his phone! hahaha… I called him and he got to the spot as fast as he could and jumped in, but the water got murky pretty quick and we could not see anything.  I told him to wait there for the dust to settle because I was sure the phone was there.  He thanked me and I kept going.  Later, on my way back, a boat drove by and that guy was there and they all yelled out thank you, he had his phone and it was right there.  I went on for about 25 minutes and then turned around, thinking going upstream would take longer, but I think because I had to paddle non stop otherwise I’d go backwards, I ended up back faster, so I took a turn into the campground marina before I headed back to the beach.  I then got back to the beach where I had started and it had been almost an hour.  I loved it and can’t wait to go again tomorrow.

I took the board and went towards the pool as Carol and the girls were there.  I found a spot to put the board up, so I could see it while in the pool, and went in.  Carol was reading a book and the girls were in the water.  I got the keys from Carol and went to the trailer to get some beers, then when I got back I went in the pool with the girls.  The water was great.  Refreshing and just right.  The girls came by me right away and were hanging on me like monkeys…. hahahah… lots of hugs and kisses, it was great.  I helped Bella float and she liked trying to float as long as she could.  I tried to help Bia too, but she didn’t care for it as much. 

As the sun was setting, we called it and went back to eat.  I rinsed the paddle board first, and gave it a good rinse.  Took all the sand out, and any salta water too.  I decided to leave the board outside, so I put it on the bike rack and tied it with the ratchet strap I use for the bikes, so it would not fly, and also put the bike lock on it through the eyelets. 

We decided to make burgers for dinner, so while the girls showered, I took the bike and went back to the Publix nearby.  I had my flip-flops on and biked there, and was feeling the island life. Hahahahah… then on the way back, I hung the two bags I had, one on each side of the handlebar.  It was great!   Just bike to the store, quick in and out.  I grilled the burgers outside and we were all outside after the girls finished their showers.

Judy called and we talked to Bob and Judy for a while as we wrapped up dinner.  I put things away outside, the girls talked to them first, then Carol and I did, and we talked for a long time while the crew here got ready for bed and cleaned up.  Judy said she’s getting us a book about our trip for Xmas, and showed us a mock up, and it’s awesome!!  We put the girls to bed around 9:30, and finished some clean up before going to bed ourselves.

It was a nice day enjoying the pool, and the ocean while paddle boarding.

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