Florida Keys, Molasses Reef Snorkeling: The Right Way & The Wrong Way

The WRONG WAY:

Last week we had decided to try and hit Molasses Reef for some snorkeling. It is supposed to be an amazing place to go and all of the local dive boats, glass bottom boats and charters take people there, so obviously there is something to see.

Patrick checked the reports for Molasses reef daily, but the waves were way too high. Finally on Wednesday, it was clear to go. We started up the boat and left the anchorage. The waves seemed really choppy to us, but we figured that out near the reef, it must be better (according to the reports anyway). It takes about 45 – 60 minutes to get there, because its about 5 miles from where we were anchored in Rodriguez Key. We kept going and the waves kept getting higher and rougher. This was not good.

Its really hard to tell from photos, but these photos were taken barely seconds apart: That’s how much the boat was rocking up and down over the course of every wave.

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The front of the boat was dipping nearly down into the water and then the back end would crash down with water slamming everywhere. All I could think of was that I was really glad we had just seen the boat get hauled out, because at least I was sure the boat was strong enough. For whatever reason (perhaps someone on this boat is insane), we decided to go ahead and tie off on a mooring ball. It was a challenge, but we did it. By that time, everyone except for Patrick and Jazz was feeling really sick. Jazz brought everyone a dramamine and then we learned not to take dramamine if you’re already feeling sick.

 

Thirty seconds after taking dramamine, all four of us were vomiting our guts out. Especially me. At that point, we all actually felt a lot better, even though the waves were still bad, so the plan was to go ahead and tie someone to the boat so that they could at least LOOK under the water for a second, I mean, even I was wrung out on my bed saying, “Someone at least get some good video out of this chaos! Don’t make our vomit be for NOTHING!”

Abyni and Patrick were hanging off of the swim platform and Ooohing and Aaahing over all of the fish and sea life… when I got sick again. Quickly vetoing the ‘let’s go ahead and snorkel’ idea pretty much as soon as wet suits were on, so we turned around and headed home.

Of course, we still got a gorgeous photo of the sunset on the way home (And, as with so many boating things, we learned NOT to keep moving on if the conditions seem shitty!):

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Everyone pretty much crashed and slept for the night. It was pretty crappy.

The RIGHT WAY:

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It was exactly a week later, the kids woke up in a silly mood, the weather was PERFECT, we had nothing else on the agenda. It was Go Time! There was almost NO wind, the water was barely moving at all and it was clear as day. Once we took off, we could see clearly to the bottom and watched sting rays take off as we went past. The sun was shining down on us and we were warm and excited to give it a try again.

It was perfect. The water was nearly still when we arrived. Jaedin and Jazz hooked the line for the mooring ball pretty much on the first try. We were tied off and it was time to go!

The water was INCREDIBLE. You could see all the way to the bottom without a problem, even 15 feet down!

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The dogs hate it when the kids get in the water. They whine and fuss, sometimes even barking if the kids go under water/out of their sight, unless of course, they get to go too.

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Of course, we couldn’t find everyone’s snorkels/masks or whatever. Some of them had gotten left out (imagine that.) and apparently blew overboard during storms. There was a bit of grumbling as I reminded them once again that they couldn’t leave things on deck.

No matter, they still all got in the water at one point or another and the sights below more than made up for any stresses that came from trying to get everything together in the first place. Abyni and Patrick didn’t stay in too long, but Jazz, Paris and Jaedin were in the water for almost two hours! I also have a lot of video that I’ll put up soon! For now, here are some photos that the kids took underwater.

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Abyni snorkeling with the fish.

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This is either Jazz or Paris. Or maybe Jaedin. Its kind of hard to tell. I guess its probably not Paris, since the hair looks to be dark/normal colored 😉

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A stingy ray hiding in the sand.

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They even saw a shark! (Boy, that was apparently exciting!)

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Jazz went down several times to get a closer picture…

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Jazz snorkeling down to see the bottom:

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Towards the end of the trip, I was lying down in my bed (Dramamine makes me SO sleepy), when I heard shouts, “MOM! MOM! There’s a PELICAN ON OUR PADDLEBOARD!” I got up and grabbed the camera… sure enough. There was a pelican. And this pelican wasn’t shy at all. She had found a perch that she liked, and she wasn’t going to budge for ANYTHING.

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Tiberius and Cinnamon were freaking out… nervously. They weren’t barking. They didn’t know what to do. They whined and growled, but just a little. Mostly they just ran frantically from one corner of the back deck to the other, keeping  a very close eye on the interloper.

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Time to head home:

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Finally… a nice, relaxing day!!!

(Until the high pressure oil hose burst as we arrived back ‘home’ in Rodriguez Key… but I think we’ll just leave that be for today.)

 

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