Friday, February 28, 2014

Swimming Iguana


Florida Keys  (high 76, low 68 – rain)


We got a few drops of rain yesterday morning, and then the sun came back with a vengeance.   It’s starting to feel a lot like summer down here, and I’ve started dreaming of the mountains. 

The predicted rains finally started coming through last night, bringing some very nice cooler temperatures.  No wind, light rain, and cool temps.   It feels wonderful and it was so nice to once again sleep with the windows open.


Yesterday afternoon, we took a drive down to Cudjoe Key  and decided to stop at our favorite restaurant for some of their wonderful hogfish.  The last time we were there, all the tables were full, so two gentlemen asked if they could share our table.  We didn’t mind and enjoyed getting to know them.  They asked what we recommended to eat and when we told them hogfish, I think they were a little turned off by the name.    We convinced them to give it a try, so they split a sandwich.  Once they took a bite, they were wishing they had the entire sandwich and both thought it was going to be their new favorite fish. 

The next picture is one I borrowed of a particularly big one that this guy got while spear fishing.   Most aren’t quite that big.


We love to eat at waterfront restaurants and Geiger Key Marina is one of our favorites.

This is our view from our table.   If you notice behind the boat, is a travel trailer.  What a view he has.  He is backed into that site, and what you don’t see is that there are two more rv’s directly in front of him (to the right).  If he wanted to leave, two others would have to move.   Yikes….but what a view!

Geiger Key Marina and Restaurant

In the water right below us was a moray eel, and a Nassau grouper.  A few feet away were some mangrove snapper and parrotfish.

I wasn’t feeling my best yesterday, so I only took one picture of the fish.

Venture Out "beach"

While we were sitting there, I noticed something strange in the water.  It was moving very fast and at first I thought it must be a cormorant.

I pulled my camera out and saw this.

Iguana swimming across channel at Geiger Key

It was a large iguana.  I heard these guys can swim well, but it was the first time I saw one swimming.  He was booking it across and I had just enough time to snap a picture and no time for any camera adjustments, so the picture isn’t great, but it was fun to watch him.

Here is a better picture of one that I took last year.


Another thing we like about Geiger Key, is the fact that it’s very near one of the Naval Air Station runways.  You never know what you’ll see flying in the skies above.

fighter jets

These fighter jets are so fast, I was lucky to get even this blurry shot.    I always get goose bumps when I hear these planes.  The sound of freedom.   I think that would have been my dream career.   

We enjoyed the pretty scenery, and delicious meal and then decided to head home.  By this time, I was starting to get the sneezy, runny nose symptoms that I’ve been fighting. 


You never know what you’ll see in the Keys, so I always keep my camera with me.

This sea plane was parked in the water right by the highway.



It’s cloudy, drizzly, and cool today.  It makes me want to go outside and enjoy the cooler weather.  It might be a good day to watch the jets take off from the Navy Base.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Another Island Visit


Florida Keys, (high 79, low 68)


It looks like there will be no boating for the next two days, as rain is predicted.   It might be a good time to rest and maybe get caught up on some long neglected chores.  I really need to vacuum before the cat hair takes over.

Al is on day 4 of his cold and seems to be feeling better.  I have managed to fight it off so far, but I have been sneezing like crazy, so I know it’s trying to get me.  We went into Marathon yesterday morning for a few groceries and a refill on our Echinacea.

We have to cross the 7 Mile Bridge to go to Marathon, so of course we noticed how calm and pretty the water was.  We stopped along the bridge by Pigeon Key  and took a few pictures.  

You can walk or ride a bicycle along the old bridge directly to Pigeon Key, which is about 2 miles each way.

They are working on completing the bike trail that will eventually run the length of the Keys.

This is a portion along the water below the Pigeon Key bridge.


Parking is free at all of these little waterside parks, and that’s one thing I love about the Keys.  In many parts of Florida, you have to pay to take a walk in a park.  That aggravates me.


These people were looking at the rocky shoreline, probably wondering, like we were how it would be to snorkel there.


Once we saw how calm the water was, Al decided he felt good enough to take the boat out.  We figured, we could go back to Money Key and sit in our chairs under the trees and relax.

Unfortunately, our deserted little island was not deserted at all. 

It wasn’t like there was no room for us, but we like our islands all to ourselves, so we decided to look for another one.  Unfortunately, the other islands in the area are just mangrove islands with no beach area.

We did find this little island that had it’s own dock.  It turns out there was a house on the island, but trees and shrubs were so overgrown, you could barely see the house.  We didn’t find the name of the island. 


As we got into the shallows, we noticed this island was a rookery and there were birds of all kinds there.  Maybe we’ll call it Bird Island.

The dock made a nice resting place. 


We stayed offshore so we wouldn’t disturb any nesting birds.

I threw our some of my sandwich scraps and of course the seagulls noticed. 


Unfortunately the calm seas we saw earlier had changed by the time we got out in the boat.  The wind and seas had picked up and it wasn’t a great day.   We didn’t stay out too long, but at least we got out on the water for a little while.


Thanks to all of you that comments about cell phones.  What I’m looking for is something that will be cheaper than the $17 monthly we pay for Al’s phone.  He so rarely uses it, that we hate to spend that much for maybe one call a month.   We will keep our Verizon plan with my unlimited data on my Android phone, and for now, we’ll also keep our Verizon Mifi.   I just want to lower our bill, especially since we lost our 22% discount.   We don’t often need a second phone, so that’s why we’re looking for something cheap.  We don’t need another smart phone or texting capabilities.   I think you can buy a cheap phone and then just add minutes when needed., and I also believe you can choose Verizon, Sprint, or whatever service you want.   So…..any guidance on this type of phone?   It will only be used as a backup and on the rare occasion we’re not together, since my Android is our main phone.


Since we’ve been here in the Keys, Al and I have been busy working on another project and we may be ready to tell you soon.   Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Summer Cold


Florida Keys,  (high 82, low 70)


Not much going on around here.  Al seems to have picked up a summer cold, and we had to cancel our sunset celebration in Key West with Pam and Vic.  We’re hoping to see them again before they leave.   Perhaps at the Sunset Grill?

I am doing my best not to get sick, but living in such a small area, makes that very difficult.  There is just no way to get away from all those germs. We find that Echinacea works well to stimulate the immune system and if caught early enough, can usually keep you from getting sick.  I’ve been hitting the Echinacea hard (3-4 tablets, 3 times a day), and so far, so good.   Al has been doing the same, trying to shorten the length of his cold.  He hasn’t gotten any worse and I believe he’s feeling better.  Now, I just need him to feel well enough to take the boat out.  


Since Al retired fully last summer, we found that he rarely uses his cell phone.  The only time we really use it, is to locate each other at Walmart.   :)    We still want to keep two phones, for the rare occasion we’re not together, but between the unwanted calls and the expense, we’re trying to find a better option.

He keeps getting robo calls from several numbers. Most of the time, if you answer, there is no one there, and sometimes it’s a computer. Rarely, there is a live person, but it does no good to tell them to take you off the calling list.

We’re thinking of canceling this old cell number, just to stop the unwanted calls.

Since he rarely uses his phone, and the $9.99 additional fee for that extra line actually costs $17 with all the taxes, we’re thinking of getting one of those prepaid phones.   If I understand correctly, you can buy the phone and then just buy minutes when you need them.  Anybody have one, or can give me any helpful information on these plans?  I’m wondering if we should get an AT & T plan since my phone is Verizon?  It might give us service in areas where there is no Verizon?   Or if I should stay with Verizon since they have better coverage?

I had a nice little 22% discount on our Verizon plan that recently went away when I couldn’t prove I still worked at State Farm anymore.    :(


We have rain coming tomorrow and Friday, so today might be the last good day to go out in the boat for awhile.  I’m hoping Al will muster enough energy to take the boat out and anchor somewhere.

Wish me luck.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Money Key


Florida Keys,   (high 81, low 71)


The cold front has passed and with the high humidity, it feels warmer than it is.  The best place to be is out on the water, so that’s exactly where we’ve spent most days.

I am happy to say that the new boat motor is running beautifully and starts on the very first turn of the key. 

We either launch here at Sunshine Key, or right up the road at Bahia Honda State Park. When it’s windy out, we prefer Sunshine Key because there are a few little islands nearby where we can get out of the wind and waves.

Yesterday, the weather report called for light winds and calm seas.  A perfect boating day, so we got an early start.

Since we started coming to the Keys a few years ago, we had always noticed, this beautiful little island right offshore by the 7 Mile Bridge.  It was a little far to kayak unless you had some flat calm seas, and our old boat motor was a 1986 model, and had a little hiccup when you started it, so I never felt comfortable going too far.  

Yesterday was the day to visit this little island, which when we approached it, our marine GPS told us it was called Money Key.

The water here is actually more green/blue, but the picture made it look dark.


There are a lot of little mangrove islands all along the Overseas Highway, but this one was a little different, with  beautiful palm trees growing on it.  I’m guessing they were planted and not naturally growing.

Isn’t it beautiful?

As we approached, we could see the shore was rocky, so we had to be careful and approach carefully.


The water was shallow, and we had to watch the limestone rocks, but we managed to anchor close enough not to have to swim in.

Money Key

Money Key

There were several  little mangrove trees, which will eventually make their own little islands.

Money Key

We walked around the island looking for any no trespassing  signs.  We saw none, but did see signs of a few old campfires and of course some trash.  Why people have to leave their trash on a beautiful place like that, is beyond me.

We did our part and picked up some trash.

Money Key

My pictures really didn’t show the beauty of this little island.  I’ll have to go back and see if I can improve!

This is the lower part of the 7 Mile Bridge that you can see (and hear) from Money Key.   We are on the Atlantic side.  The other side of the bridge is the bay side.   Surprisingly, there is some differences in these waters.

Money Key

Next time, we’ll bring some chairs and sit under the shade of the mangroves and enjoy the cool breezes and warm waters.

I Googled  “Money Key”  this morning and the only thing I found was that the reason for its name was because pirate loot had been found on it in the past.   While there yesterday, I actually did a little treasure hunting, and I found some old rusty pieces of something.  Metal hinges from treasure chests?  My imagination ran wild with the possibility of finding gold, rubies, emeralds or silver.  :)    Here in the Keys is where Mel Fischer found the wreck of the Atocha in 1985.   We actually met him in person a year afterwards.  The Atocha was a Spanish galleon that sunk in 1622 with some 450 million in gold, silver, and jewels.  Mel Fischer became a very rich man that day.


After exploring the island, we went back to the boat, ate our lunch and lounged by Money Key for a few hours before we decided to cruise over to Bahia Honda State Park to see if we could find Pam and Vic.  They were going to be kayaking there.


We never found Pam and Vic, although it turns out they must have been paddling around the island at the same time we were driving around it.  Pam said if they would have seen us, they would have asked for a tow back in.  :)


We did see this Florida spiney lobster?  Can you see his antenna?


The night before, we had met up with Pam and Vic for a few hours at our favorite place, the Sunset Grill.   We sat downstairs by the pool and enjoyed catching up with them.  We  first met them back in the Tampa area a while back, and have been trying to get together ever since.

I had my camera with me, but neglected to take the first picture. We just couldn’t stop talking long enough to think about pictures.  Actually, Pam had someone take a picture of us all, so I’m waiting to steal hers when she posts it to the blog!   If you haven’t already, check out Pam’s latest blog post about their ride over to Pigeon Key.  She has some beautiful pictures.

Pam and Vic are going to the Dry Tortugas National Park on Monday.  It’s about 70 miles west of Key West.  They will be coming back into Key West just in time for the sunset celebration on Mallory Square, so we’ve made plans to meet them there.    I’ll have to see if I can have a margarita without spilling it all over my lap.   And that is all I have to say about that!


We haven’t done much other than boating, but a few nights ago, we did go see the Blues Brothers, who put on a fun show for us here at Sunshine Key. Tina Turner was supposed to play, but she was injured in a car accident, so Jake and Elwood stepped in and took her place.

We had a good time, and even stayed out until 10 pm!


We thought we might go back out in the boat today, but we Al wasn’t feeling well, so we went to the flea market for some produce and then to our new favorite store, West Marine.   


Nothing much else for now, so I’ll just post a few more pictures.

How about this action shot of al throwing the anchor.


and the pretty clear water.


Money Key


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Rare Bird and other Adventures


Florida Keys  (high 80, low 71)

We’ve been busy around here lately, but not much that’s blog worthy.

We did discover an interesting subdivision we never knew existed.


There is a runway that runs between the two rows of homes.


On this side of the runway, these houses are on a canal.

How is this for the good life?

A motor home.


A yacht in the back yard.


An airplane,  and golf cart in your garage.


This house also had what we’re thinking is some sort of telescope.


This plane just barely fit into the carport.


The garage doors open like this.  I thought it was kind of interesting.



Of course, here in the Keys, you never know what kind of crazy things you’ll see, so I always bring my camera.

This guy has an unique business.


There are palm trees every where, but I’ve never seen one quite like this fuzzy one.


I don’t know what this tree is, but I saw another one with the “legs” about 5 feet tall, and it almost looked like it could walk away.

unusual tree

These interesting looking pods were growing on the tree.



Most of the waters around here are in or near the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge.  Great White Herons are only found in Florida, especially in the Keys and Everglades.  They are larger than the very similar Great Egret, with a more massive bill, and pale legs.

We don’t see a lot of them, but this guy was hanging around the dock at Bahia Honda State Park.  There were 3-4 of us taking his picture, and he was most cooperative.

Great White Heron

This couple was coming in on their dingy and the heron was there to meet them at the dock.  Isn’t that little dog cute?


Great White Heron

Then it was on to some fishing, despite the no fishing sign posted prominently.

Great White Heron

Great White Heron

We hung around the marina for a while and made friends with Lulu.  She was wearing her life preserver.  I think the people came to shore from their sailboat.


After we left the marina, we headed over to the beach, where everyone was enjoying the warm water.

Bahia Honda

It has been a little cooler here than normal, but it hasn’t stopped people from enjoying themselves.


We finally got the boat out again yesterday, for the first time since we replaced battery #2.   I’m glad to report that it started with the first crank every time.    Unfortunately, the winds have been blowing bringing some choppy seas, so we  found a little cove out of the wind and relaxed.



I went up front to read, but Al caught me catching a little nap.


We saw a manatee swim by.


These people were more energetic than we were.



So, that’s what we’ve been doing the past few days.  We have a Tina Turner show at the campground tonight and we haven’t decided yet what to do today.  It’s still a bit choppy to go very far offshore in the boat, so if we go, we will have to find a nice cove out of the wind.   There is really no place better to read than in a gently rocking boat.