Summer is here in the Keys and it’s the time of year we look to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico for refreshing adventures. While most of South Florida experiences daily showers, the Keys are so far removed from the mainland that the rains usually pass us by.
Knowing how to "cook the catch" is a skill ... though it leaves you dependent on those whose skills center on boating the catch.
Many people don’t realize that Key West lies around 156 miles southwest of Florida’s mainland (and only about 90 miles from Cuba). And, no, we can’t see the lights of Cuba on clear nights — but we can catch the fun on Duval Street after the sun goes down.
One of the many questions I’m asked is if I enjoy fishing. Fish is one of my favorite foods, but I rarely do the fishing myself.
Captain Karen and Captain Debra run Venus Charters, one of our gay-owned excursion boats, and would love to have you join them on a fishing trip. Captain Karen’s reputation for fishing is equaled by her skill in leading snorkel and dolphin-watching trips. And if you’re looking for a commitment ceremony, both captains Karen and Debra can fulfill your wishes for a wedding on the water.
I love the girls of Venus Charters, but will enjoy my fish at one of the local restaurants like Seven Fish, a small and intimate eatery on Elizabeth Street. There they serve the best fresh catches daily. (Reservations are a must as the restaurant has limited seating for their renowned, palate-pleasing meals.)
A group of friends prepares to embark on a fun-filled Blu Q cruise in Key West waters.
A new fun waterfront spot is the Boathouse Restaurant, owned and operated by the same people as Duffy’s Steak and Seafood, Pisces, and Abbondanza. The Boathouse is on Key West’s historic harbor beneath the Commodore, another seafood and steakhouse from the same group — a casual restaurant totally open to the water.
Take a stroll along the harbor walk before or after dinner, and you will pass Sebago Catamarans, the Blu Q, and the Yankee Freedom Dry Tortugas Ferry. For many years Sebago has hosted a “Women Only” sunset champagne cruise every Thursday, as well as daily “Island Ting” adventures and sunset and snorkel trips.
The Blu Q offers snorkeling and kayaking trips with picnic lunches for guys, as well as sunset sailing trips every day. Join them on a 40-passenger catamaran and experience the Keys as never before (clothing optional, of course).
If you’re a history buff, you can tour Fort Jefferson, a Civil War fort that lies 70 miles west of Key West in the Dry Tortugas — reachable via the Yankee Freedom high-speed ferry. This day trip starts at 8 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m. Enjoy a continental breakfast before you depart and a buffet lunch at the fort.
Fort Jefferson is a favorite spot for visitors eager to snorkel the cool, clear waters.
All you need is a towel, camera, and sunscreen as the Yankee Freedom provides all the gear and freshwater showers. Tour the largest brick structure in North America and imagine being a Union soldier during the Civil War, stationed on this rock. Swim and snorkel around the fort, catch some sun, and head back to Key West for dinner and unique nightlife.
Have you ever wanted to fly? Key West now offers a “James Bond-style” jetpack flying experience. After a brief training with the crew learning how to take off, fly, hover, and land, you will soar over the ocean, powered by jets of water.
Look for me at Northalsted Marketdays in Chicago August 13 and 14. I’ll be looking for you with all the information you need to plan your next visit to the Florida Keys! Visit KeysVoices.com for more information.