Headed South to Summerland Key 2013…
We ventured down to south Florida this past week celebrating a new chapter in our lives. It was a quick ride in the BMW weaving in and out of traffic in an effort to catch up with the Alley family who had already been in the Keys since earlier in the week.
The First Night
The first night Morgan, a new-old friend Harrison Zegel, and I, Chase Alley, decided to go shark fishing off the dock right on the Atlantic at around midnight with various species of Snapper carcasses from the days fishing exploits. After seeing one 7 foot shark of some type swim in and out and getting no action we all decided to go for a snorkel with some dive lights at about 3 after way to many drinks and exhaustion from a 6 hour drive. What we saw was rewarding – sort of. We got nabbed a few times by some jellyfish passing by but that was way better than getting an arm bit off when we entered right next to all the dead fish we had tossed in previously in an attempt to lure the sharks in. Now we were the bait. Morgan and my theory has always been, “If it’s our time, it’s our time.”
I was hoping to score a few lobster on the night prowl or spear something while we were tinkering around but nothing was seen except lobster heads under others docks in the dark early morning Atlantic shore.
The First Day in Summerland
The first day we were up and about loading the boat at around 10:00 AM. We were on our way out bay side to some of our buddy, Alex Brower’s, coordinates when we found good bottom structure near some small Keys islands. In about 10-15 feet of water, Morgan and I dragged and almost immediately found some bugs! We saw giant Jewfish in one hole. Other than that, nothing but bugs!
We had our license limit by 3:00 PM and that was 18, so we decided to head over to a fast moving current between two islands that was fun to snorkel. After a quick drift through what we called “The Plume”, we headed back to Summerland Key to clean our harvest of fair sized Keys lobster.
We woke up considerably earlier on day 2 because we didn’t indulge as much in spite of the head of retail from ABC liquor being with us on the trip. I rented a small buoyancy compensator (BC) for Morgan’s first SCUBA dive. Ever. We went out to Looe Key reef and suited up. Morgan and I took the first dive around 11 and within minutes she had it all figured out. We descended to about 25 feet and swam through nice coral structures seeing barracuda, black and gag grouper, angel fish, and several other Florida reef fish. No lobster. Morgan was told by my father that there is 3 things to think about when diving. Always breathe, don’t come up or descend too fast, and never hold your breath. I think the first and third are the same thing! We stayed down for about an hour and then I purged to move some of the jellyfish out of the way during our ascend. It was a great first dive. She even got a t-shirt out of it.
Later that day we decided to head to Key West with my father and mother to the famous Conch Republic for a few drinks. Instead of heading up to Mallory Square during Sunset we had some more cocktails at Irish Kevins and Sloppy Joes. It was good night.
On The Way Back to Orlando
On the way back to Orlando we stopped by Robbie’s and decided to have a couple brews with a steak and egg sandwich before heading down to the docks and feeding the tame tarpon. We went through a few buckets of fish and let them bite up to our elbows! It was awesome to see tarpon act this way. Robbie’s is a famous attraction in Islamorada and they run a great business. Apparently it has been there forever but this was my first time!
All in all, it was a great trip with the family and we pushed it as hard as we could for three days!
by Chase Alley