By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 8/22/2017
Occurred: 3/23/2017
Topics/Keywords: #Florida #KeyWest #Travel Page Views: 333
All the photos from our boating trip from Key West to Boca Grande.

Key West is an island, and a pretty small one at that. So the residents and visitors spend a lot of time on the water; and, as a new resident, my daughter, Jenny has a boat but very little boat experience. So she found a local captain to show her the ropes, so to speak; and today we made a two-boat expedition to Boca Grande, an even smaller islet due west of Key West.

Captain Ally owns Island To Island Charters, which includes a 23-foot hurricane deck boat perfect for tooling around the keys.

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In preparation for our boating adventure, my once-baby grandson, Zachary, demonstrated his ability to replace Batman.

At the other end of the grandson-age spectrum, little Dominic was asleep before we even left the house.

Gianna, my younger granddaughter, was ready to wow the paparazzi at the marina.

It was a bit of a struggle to convince Gianna to wear her life jacket. The winning piece was to explain that she could only eat chips on the boat if she wore it.

Not counting the kayack Keith and I paddled here a year ago, this was Keith's first time in a boat on the ocean. (Though, technically, we were on the Gulf side of Key West rather than the Atlantic side.)

There were two boats. Jenny owns a 20-foot Tahoe but it had only been taken out once or twice before; and Jenny is well aware that she needs training from a professional before taking it out on her own. Also, we had too many people for just one boat. So Zach, his cousin Brianna and friend Anna drove the Tahoe, while Captain Ally and first mate Alexa took Jenny and the babies, and Keith and me, in hers.

Key West's harbor is packed with boats people live on.

And the skies are filled with parasailors.

As we headed into the wind, and I saw Captain Ally don additiional layers to keep warm, I began to regret not packing a light jacket.

Of course, Keith is accustomed to the cooler climate of northern New Mexico, so it was just a refreshing breeze to him.

But the babies needed to cuddle with Mommy to keep warm.

Every now and then Captain Ally checked to be sure Zach and the girls were still behind us. Zach knows how to start, stop, and steer the boat, but not how to find the channel so as not to hit a reef or projecting rock.

The smoother parts of the surface show the deeper channels, much like in whitewater rafting we look for smooth paths through a rapid.

Our destination was Boca Grande, a small, uninhabited key about 15 miles west of Key West. Captain Ally chose the key because it's one of the few with a sandy beach.

Anchoring the boats was a bit of a challenge, due to a strong current running along the shore. (Plus, Jenny's boat hadn't had an anchor; fortunately, Captain Ally found that out before we left the marina, giving Jenny a chance to buy one before we left.

Gianna was absolutely fearless, running down the beach without noticing whether we we watching or not.

Given that this islet is uninhabited, there's nothing to do there but explore.

A little ways offshore, we could see a sand bar. It was low tide; during high tide it can't be seen at all. But at low tide, birds use it as a resting spot so signs warn that it is a wildlife-protected area and not to go there.

Mommy Jenny with Gianna and Dominic

Mommy Jenny with Gianna and Dominic

Jenny and her three offspring: Gianna, Dominc, and Zach.

Jenny and her three offspring: Gianna, Dominc, and Zach.

Anna, Zach and Brianna

Anna, Zach and Brianna

I even had a chance to hold Dominic for a bit.

Brianna and Anna

Brianna and Anna

Keith found himself collecting interesting shells.

At times I had to remind myself that Gianna is actually a very good swimmer...perhaps better at swimming than keeping her pants up.

Keith noticed a school of minnows clustering near the boats.

And then there's always the anchor rope that can double as a jungle gym.

It was an exquisite day, perfect for the trip. But eventually it was time to head back. I spotted these pelicans on a dock we passed.

Back on the boat, Dominic continued his crawling and climbing lessons.

Gianna, on the other hand, was pooped.

At home, Dominic still had enough energy to play with the boat whistle his mommy had just bought. But not for long.

And I wasn't far behind him!