We have now been in Key Largo for one week. It has been warm, 85, and high humidity with on and off showers, it’s there rainy season. Come November it will get a little cooler, with less humidity. We have gotten ourselves settled in now. When i backed into the site, i really didn’t look to see where we were. So Saturday i moved the 5er over some and got us better situated to the site.
As most of you know, we were here last November for two weeks, in the campground area. As we liked it ,we put in our applications to work here, and we were accepted, so we are here until Jan, 5th 2020. John Pennekamp is located in Key Largo, the first Key you get to after crossing the 22 mile, mostly man made causeway. You leave mainland Florida at Homestead, drive the causeway and arrive at Key Largo, it is another 100 miles or so to Key West. The causeway is one lane each way, and is only in total about 200 feet wide. There is a lot of traffic on it and no one goes slow. There are only two passing zones along the way, and watch out when you get to them ,cars are flying by, speed limit is 55. The other day a guy passed me in one of the left turning lanes to somewhere and the cop got him, good. When you come over the bridge into Key Largo ,it turns into two lanes each way with a divider in the middle all the way down to key West. During the winter months coming up, the whole area and the keys are mobbed with tourists. Not us we work here now, YA Hooey.
There are a number of state parks in the keys, but John Pennekamp Coral Reek State park is one of the busiest. It has more than just camping. It is the base for Scuba diving, snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides, rental of boats, kayaks, which you can travel through the 4 miles of channels in the mangroves. It has two beaches, a lot of pavilions to rent for the day, and a few trails you can hike. They also have a large circular aquarium. It is 30,000 gallons in size, and about 20 feet across. In it is a man made coral reef, with all kinds of fish. As you walk around it on the outer park of the building are many smaller tanks with actual coral reefs, taken from the ocean after boating accidents, which break the coral up. These corals, grow back slowly and also have fish in them native to the coral. The building also serves as the visitor center, for history on the area and the park, along with a movie about it. This is also the park, that is home to the Florida Wildlife control law enforcement unit ,and the harbor patrol police.
You will not find a Walmart, or a Walgreens here. You have to go to the mainland for that. You will find lots of resturants, gift shops, dive shops, a small K-Mart, Publix, Winn Dixie, and the like. Prices are on the high side.
Entrance to the park , looking at the main road, US1
Park Entrance sign, The beautiful lady posing does not go with the sign, neither does the Whippet.
After you drive in, you come to the Entrance station, (Where Melissa may be working). Here you check in for camping, or day use stuff.
Many pavilions like this to rent and have picnic’s
As the sign says, first stop is here
Here you get your boat tour, snorkel tour and all that.
Rental of kayak’s here, the water is right behind them, they put you in one and launch you right out. To the left is a small bridge which takes you to the far beach area, not a lot of people go there, it is small and weedy.
Public launch area and dive shop.
another view looking out to the channel which is about a mile long and takes you out to the gulf.
This is the main beach, with some sand ,as the keys are coral, not much sand. This is a great place to snorkel. There is a man made shipwreck about 200 yards out, with cannon, ballast stones old old timbers to explore. This will be my favorite spot soon.
This is where we enter from the main campground, into the volunteer village they call it. It has 6 spots, for work campers. I can only fit into 3 maybe. Building on the right is the bathhouse.
So that’s where we are for the next 3 months.