On Sunday, I joined Captain Drew, Chad, and Mike for an awesome post-Labor Day Double Dip Key West Snorkeling Trip aboard our new Reef Express catamaran. While the sun might be setting earlier these days, the weather is still perfect for splashing around at the reef. That’s what’s so beautiful about Key West–the reef is always calling!
For those of you who are accustomed to our classic snorkeling trips aboard our 65′ catamarans, I highly recommend giving the Double Dip a try next time you’re in town. The Reef Express is a 52′ power cat with a capacity of 49 passengers. It’s a great little boat and a totally intimate experience. It gets you out to the reef in express time, so you get to visit not one, but two spots along the reef. That means nearly two hours of snorkel time. For anyone who loves the water (me!), this trip is a dream come true.
On Sunday, Captain Drew set a course to Western Sambo to explore two different spots. Drew and I both started working at Fury around the same time back in 2005, and I’ve been a member of his crew hundreds of times. As much as he’s always talked about Western Sambo, somehow this was the first time I’d been out there. A few nautical miles east of our typical snorkel destinations, Western Sambo is a nine square-nautical-mile ecological preserve.
What’s cool about the Double Dip is that the captain can get creative when choosing which two spots along the reef to visit depending on conditions and reef reports. As we cruised southeast to our destination, we spotted a giant loggerhead turtle, and then a pod of dolphins put on quite a show. We idled and watched them swim and jump out of the water. It’s unexpected sightings like these that always makes getting out on the water and Key West Snorkeling Trips exciting.
Late summer sometimes brings moon jellyfish to the reef, and in many cases our captains can navigate to a spot where they’re not so prevalent. At our first destination, there was hardly a jellyfish to be seen. Instead, there was a great variety of parrotfish–my favorite–including rainbow, midnight blue, and stoplight. The visibility was easily 40-50′ with amazing clarity to view enormous schools of sergeant majors and yellowtail snapper. I had so much fun exploring new coral canyons.
At our second reef stop, there were a few jellies to contend with, but nothing too crazy. They’re actually really beautiful to watch in the water–at a safe distance. There were a lot of cone jellies to swim through, but they don’t have stingers, so they’re okay! Drew mentioned that this was a great spot to spot conch, but I didn’t notice any that day.
With all the snorkel time on the Double Dip Key West Snorkeling Trip, it’s particularly rewarding to hop back on the boat, rinse off with the fresh water shower, and then find a spot in the sun or the shade for the cruise home. With a cold beer or soda in hand, nothing beats the feeling!
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crew member and freelance writer. Email her at email@example.com or follow the fun on Twitter @FuryKeyWest and @ShayneBenowitz.