Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Still in the Keys

Still in the Keys

It’s now Saturday, January 22nd. We’ve moved, and then moved and now moved again! I’ll try to get caught up this afternoon since the weather has turned windy and cloudy. The laundry is done and H is outside enjoying his “happy hour”!

We moved from Long Key to Bahia Honda State Park closer to Key West in time for a storm to move in and invite the “no see ums” to come out! In the morning the sun came out and the small harbor (where the wifi tower is located) was once again calm and the sky blue. We drove the rest of the way into Key West and found a bicycle rental place to park the Jeep and rent 2 bikes for the day. I dutifully followed H as he wound thru and across town looking for the old familiar sights. He found the new cruise line docks and the infamous Duval Street. I remember passing Hemingway’s Home and Sloppy Joe’s but they are kind of a blur due to the increasing amount of bike and vehicle traffic, water puddles, parked trucks and just trying to follow H. More than once he took a SHARP turn at the very last moment – but I quickly adjusted and kept up with him! We found the beaches and then even found an old 1860 Civil War Fort that was also right along the beach. The West Martello Tower was turned into a secluded, tropical garden where bougainvillea and orchids bloom. Shaded pathways and arched courtyards finally open up to colorful foliage and a nestled white gazebo with a beautiful view of the ocean. What you don’t see in this picture is the minutely clad woman, sunbathing in the white sand, just below the fort’s crumbling red brick outer wall!! H didn’t see her at first either! On our way back to Bahia Honda we stopped at the Resort where B&B were staying and R&N were spending the day with them at the pool. They were getting ready to take the bus down to Key West but we declined the invitation to join them and chose instead the peace and quiet of the state park. On our way, H did give in and located the Visitor Center at the National Key Deer Refuge for directions and a map to try and locate Key Deer. A few miles back into the refuge a sweet young deer was idly munching his way along the roadside. We stopped to snap his picture but he ignored our pleas, finger snapping and rapping on the side of the Jeep, and just kept on munching. Further along, we saw a small herd of deer being fed by some folks in a big pickup truck. While the other 4 folks were downtown in the midst of a busy Key West evening, we were enjoying our own coral colored sunset, nestled at the foot of the bridge that runs thru the state park, and goes from one key to the next.

Long Key State Park had an opening for us and we moved back in for 2 more days! This time our spot was further along the beach, just past all the rocks! R&N had moved back up also to the Jolly Roger Resort and after they came to check out our new home, we all went out to dinner at “The Wreck” a well-known seafood restaurant. N and I got the “house special” – mahi with chopped tomatoes, basil and feta cheese. Very tasty but the portions were not up to the price! H chose a blackened fish sandwich and it was huge!

And I made a new friend. Soon after we parked, we were welcomed by this half grown tan tiger/ocelot marked kitten with a sweet face that reminded me of a cougar! I know you’re not supposed to feed strays or wild creatures but . . .. I did! Oh – if he were younger and less wild – H and I might have snuck him home! He’d eat and then nap but would not let me touch him other than his front paws.

Our outing for the day was to don our water shoes and venture out across that wide space in the ocean where the tide had evacuated. We took along a 5-gallon bucket that H had cut the bottom out of and had glued in a Centre Market scanner glass. It made a perfect underwater viewing- machine! We shuffled our feet most of the time thru the sand because Manta Rays are known for hiding just under the top layer of sand! Sure nuff - H had a ray pass right between he and I!
Even in just knee/thigh deep water we saw a variety of orange, purple, and crème colored coral and other sea plants! AND - get out your nature books and look these up – we saw a 10-inch Batfish – the ugliest fish we have ever seen! It looked like a cross between a plecostamos and a toad! We also saw several Scrawled Cowfish – triangular striped fish that have eyes up high on their heads! I think they are in the Finding Nemo movie!

Fiesta Key Resort is an old KOA campground that was destroyed in hurricane Wilma in 2005 and has now been bought and given new life. It’s got a way to go but to entice new clients they have a good rate and a good pool! Our spot here backs up to a swift moving walled channel that runs from the gulf, past a small mangrove island and thru a small harbor complete with a boat launch. R&N came over to see the park and joined us at the pool. The guys made the choice to go out for seafood (again!) instead of having me fix burgers for us all. Habanos Cuban Café is just over the next bridge north (east) and we were seated at a booth with a great view of the Caloosa Harbor and the ocean beyond it. Yes – the beer battered Key West Pink Shrimp was great! And sweet fried plantains!

The wifi hotspot is way over by the pool on the other side of the resort but the wind has really come up causing the “mobile motel” to rock a bit so we may not post this tonight. Luckily we’re protected enough by the mangroves across the way so we are not getting the full brunt of the wind. We’ve been in the Keys for a week so this Sunday we move up to the Glade again.