Back in 2012, my high school marine biology class took a trip to Key Largo, Florida where I discovered a whole new culture of fishing, flip-flops, and relaxation.
Just an hour and a half drive from the hustle and glamour of Miami is the island of Key Largo. Since I have only been to Key West back in 2004, this was a first time experience for me.
Our journey took all of my 18 classmates from Central New Jersey, to Fort Lauderdale, and then to the MarineLab. The lab is a facility located on the intercostal that hosts schools and camps. Our instructors were marine biology students from colleges across the country. Everyday we would take two trips out into the Atlantic Ocean to study and learn about the numerous ecosystems and habitats. What was great about having biologists as our tour guides was the fact that they helped us discover so much more about the ocean than any of us could of not done on our own.
I made another day trip down to the keys just this past summer, and I would have to say the experience was not as fascinating as the first. Our instructors at the MarineLab would chauffeur us around the waters to find a great spot to snorkel and free dive. M guide this summer anchored his boat right in the middle of a smack (otherwise known as a large group of jellyfish). The other snorkelers and I were given the option to swim around the jellyfish or wait until they passed. I braved the waters to make the best of the hour and a half of snorkel time. A few jellyfish stings never hurt!
With crystal clear waters and an abundance of sea life to observe, Key Largo calls itself “the dive capital of the world” for a reason. Whether they live in a mansion or a boathouse, locals are friendly and welcoming, and you never feel the need to wear anything but flip-flops and a t-shirt. Even though my class trip was filled with learning activities, it was the most relaxing trip I ever went on.