#manateeze and #keybreak in #swamplandiaz

One of my goals this year was to visit a state I hadn’t been to before, and having a friend move clear across the country made that a very easy goal to accomplish. I bought my flights before she’d even left, knowing I’d want to see both her and the sun before too long.

Sunrise over Mt. Rainier on the way to Tampa, Florida

Sunrise over Mt. Rainier on the way to Tampa, Florida

One of the only requests I had was to see a manatee while I was there, so we bought Groupons for a tour in Crystal River and drove up there on Friday. Apparently a lot of the manatees swam out of the area with the tide earlier that day, so we didn’t see too many. However, we were able to find one to swim with, and I touched it with one little finger. (It felt like sandpaper.) Mission accomplished!

Underwater selfie while looking for manateeze

Underwater selfie while looking for manateeze

Hello, Mr. Manatee!

Hello, Mr. Manatee!

We only had one day between our trips to Crystal River and Key West to spend closer to where Mariana lives, and it resulted in a lot of day-drinking in pretty Clearwater (as well as one of the weirdest-looking sunburns I’ve ever had). Dolphins sighted: zero. Vanilla Ices: one

Sunset in Clearwater

Sunset in Clearwater

Key West was nothing if not memorable, and I hadn’t laughed that much in so long. There were spring breakers everywhere, and because our trip also overlapped with St. Patrick’s Day, it was even crazier. We saw body shots, a completely passed out/possibly drugged girl, cover band trolls (groupies), old people grinding, and more. Much more. I didn’t get a key lime pie (I was never hungry whenever we walked by a place selling it) and I didn’t see any six-toed cats, but it was a great side trip with lots of dancing and booze. And if you’re ever considering taking a ferry down to Key West, think twice. I think Mariana’s Instagram caption put it best: sunset with a side of barf bags.

Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point

Foot selfie, the first time these toes have touched the Atlantic Ocean

Foot selfie, the first time these toes have touched the Atlantic Ocean

Sometimes statues take good selfies

Sometimes statues take good selfies

Pelicans are weird

Pelicans are weird

The boat of sick, sick nightmares

The boat of sick, sick nightmares

Then it was time to head back to Seattle… It was a wonderful week—and a much-needed break—and I was sad to see it end. But with as much PTO as I have, and now that Alaska is going to start flying to Tampa directly, I’m sure I’ll be back. There was so much that we didn’t get to do, that I’ll have to!

Bye bye, Florida…

Bye bye, Florida…

Mariana—Thanks for being such a fantastic hostess and for taking me to such fun, beautiful places! It was definitely a memorable trip, and it was great to spend so much time together again, bap! xoxoxo