Whispers of an exiled neighbor 90 miles to the south echo here, from thirst-quenching mojitos to roadside stands offering hand-rolled cigars. An order of chips and salsa gets a confused stare, while a rum cocktail gets you a shopping list of options. Side streets are lined with quaint two-story houses nestled in lush, palm-dotted green yards, featuring wrap-around balconies, storm shutters and faded paint. And all around beckons ocean water so refreshingly blue it looks sweet.
Whether relaxing on the white coral-sand beach at Fort Zachary Taylor or enjoying sunset cocktails on the wharf at Mallory Square, Key West caters to relaxation. Inexpensive bicycle and scooter rentals provide a quick and easy way to explore the small city, although the heart of Key West, Duval Street, can easily be explored in its entirety in one afternoon on foot.
Would you not like to be/
Sitting on top of the world/
With your legs hanging free?
I would, and as a matter of fact, I am.
In the Florida Keys, where natural resources include sunshine, warm water, and vacations, Sebago Watersports leads the way for recreation.
In addition to the catamarans, Sebago owns two powerboats, several Wave Runners, as well as use of the schooner Appledore during the winter months.
Parasailing is only one of the services Sebago offers. With such an extensive fleet, Sebago offers a variety of cruises and activities on the water. The popular "Sailing and Snorkeling Adventure" allows guests a peak into the vibrant undersea world around the coral reefs, as well as a chance to skim along the beautiful Gulf waters aboard one of the three graceful catamarans.
In addition to complimentary breakfast and lunch, guests can unwind at the end of the day with homemade sangria on the sail home. And if lolling on white coral sand beaches has made you restless, Sebago offers a full day "Power Adventure" to get your heart pounding. While more expensive than other Sebago packages, Power Adventure trips leave early in the morning and feature snorkeling and a buffet lunch early in the day, then an afternoon of exhilarating Wave Runner riding, parasailing, and kayaking.
Among the more popular packages is the "Snorkeling & Sunset" cruise, which combines the popular snorkeling cruise with an evening sunset cruise. Several days of gluttonous landlubbing has left me restless for some new scenery, and with little effort I'm booked aboard the catamaran Sebago for such a voyage.
Killing time at the waterfront Schooner Wharf Bar (where the only thing saltier than the locals is the Gulf waters in front of you) over conch fritters and refreshing Kalik beers, I watch weathered fishing boats, pristine sailboats, and sleek powerboats arriving and departing, as well as the larger of Sebago's catamarans, the massive and graceful Marquesa. As it drifts by, sunbathers draped across its decks like sea lions in the sun, I am reminded of my own boarding time, so I pay the modest tab, and set off to the dock.
In addition to conch fritters and the former home of Ernest Hemingway, Key West is home to continental U.S.'s only living coral reef, located just six miles south of Key West in the National Marine Sanctuary.
Water temperatures consistently hovering around 70 degrees and excellent visibility create the ideal snorkeling conditions to enjoy over fifty species of corals and over one hundred and fifty species of fish. As an avid diver accustomed to exploring the ocean from the bottom up, I'm skeptical about what I'll see, but as soon as I plunge into the warm water, the location wins me over.
As I bob along the surface, massive parrotfish probe among the coral, searching for snacks, while schools of grunts and sergeant majors dart in and out of the reef. My curiosity getting the best of me, I occasionally dive to the ocean floor 15 feet below to peek under outcroppings, being careful not to touch the reef, with hopes of spying an eel or grouper lurking in the shadows. But no such luck. With only a chest-full of air, there's only so much exploring I can do.
A few days later, sitting at the waterfront by Mallory Square at sunset, my umpteenth margarita settling into my blood system, I spot a Sebago catamaran coming in to dock, every passenger aboard turned to face the exploding sky in the west. I overhear a couple next to me commenting how fun that must be. I smile to myself, and turning away from the crimson-streaked sky toward them, "You know, I happen to know just the company!"