Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birds Of A Feather

Sunrise over Ramrod Key and for a change Cheyenne and I were not alone on our first walk of the day.

With heavy rain and a high tide flooding happens.

And flooding brings breakfast.

To those who wait patiently.

When you are a wader you are required to spend a great deal of time stepping carefully through your food.

And keeping an eye on strangers who might be poaching your food.

But in the end the business in hand is hunting to which activity the predators must return.

Though, like me, this guy did not much like being watched while he ate.

Some hunters travel together.

And make pretty pictures as they stand amidst their bounty.

Back to back, keeping watch.

Sunrise kept on coming.

Time for us to go home and hunt our own breakfast.

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Rain Is My Friend

The clouds massed and I knew Cheyenne and I were going to get rained on.

Sure enough we got back to the car soaked like the proverbial drowned rats and the rain didn't let up after we took off, windshield wipers hammering way.

Rain comes down with ferocity in rainy season and it's great stuff because it cools off the ninety degree afternoon, waters the plants and villas the cistern.

And it doesn't last, though while it does come down normal life may slow down quite a fair bit.

To live in a place where rain pours out of the sky in the hot season is a privilege.

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My Dilemmas

Ignoring the photographers my dilemma is: should I intervene when I see people struggling with a map. Being kind to visitors is the mantra in Key West, a town that lives by tourism which is also a town that takes pleasure in cursing tourists with names like "tourons," tourist-morons, and treats them like nuisances. Partly I think because so many people who are rude about visitors were themselves visitors in a recent yesterday.

Thérèse was adamant about not helping, saying getting lost is half the fun. I am not so sure, but the dilemma lives on. Besides that, I have to ask myself: why?

Why is there a mirror posted at cross purposes on the back of an SUV? Perhaps because the vehicle is just too big. I had a similar mirror on the 18-wheeler I used to drive.

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Whale Harbor Channel

I have never eaten here but it is a stand out landmark at around Mile Marker 84. I have eaten at the Braza Leña restaurant which is part of this vast complex, but the all you can eat theme does not appeal to me much at all.

I think it leads to over eating and God knows we have plenty of that already, so I am not sure encouraging people to get their money's worth is all to the good, even if the quality of the food is good. It is a striking place, nevertheless.

Every time I come over the Whale Harbor bridge heading home I see this sailboat anchored out in the same spot on the south side. It's a Morgan Out Island ketch of 44 or 46 feet, known to some uncharitable sailors as an 'Outhouse' owing to it's massive accommodations and stubby keel which prevent it sailing to windward very well at all. They were extremely popular boats nevertheless as they could sail in shallow waters and accommodate a family easily and they weren't horribly expensive. I've seen them in harbors all over Central America.

Compared to the waters alongside, the Overseas Highway is not terribly attractive at all. You look at this mish mash of failed urban planning and wonder why no one wants to make it look more attractive.

The beauty of the highway is that anywhere there is room you can pull over and enjoy the views where they are worth looking at. Or you could be like most drivers and dawdle on the road and drive distracted instead.

Across the channel, looking East one can see the other marina and resort complex, Holiday Isle, that lines the channel.

But before I left to drive over I had a quick look around, a sunken boat off the point of Whale Harbor Resort, to add to the rustic Keys charm.

The open waters to the south are reached by a well sign-posted channel that runs alongside the famous Whale Channel Sand Bar. It's a party spot where hundreds of boats will show up, and drink will be taken. With the expected results.

Under the highway the channel stretches off to the north and the not too distant waters of Florida Bay.

The bridge is short and not so high but any gain in height gives an extra view from these flat islands.

Holiday Isle has a fleet of large charter boats. Islamorada is known world wide for the quality of it's fishing, especially the deep waters of the Straits of Florida.

This time of year it's not so busy but with the fame this place enjoys it's hard to imagine it won't be this winter.

Let us hope the renown of Islamorada, different from the fame of Key West, pulls in the tourist dollars.

It all else fails perhaps they'll come and take a drive on the newly designated...

...but always scenic Overseas Highway!

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Big Pine Fantasy

It's on the road to No Name Key and out of the mangroves comes a suburb of smooth lawns, landscaping and large homes on open lots.

I don't know who dreamed up this development but they didn't hold back and it is not like anywhere else on this island.

Large homes, solar panels, bicycle paths. This is not the avenues where most people live on Big Pine.

Look at those seawalls, leading to open water. These homes are on canals. Nice stuff.

Each island has a particular neighborhood, Sugarloaf Boulevard looks something like this, Cudjoe Gardens has million dollar homes on canals, and Big Pine Key has this subdivision way off the beaten path.

Follow this road for half a mile and the No Name Pub will appear on the right.

I wonder how many people driving to the pub that can't be found (they say) even notice these homes, reserved for the most part for temporary winter residents.

I don't think this kind of Spielberg ET-land is quite my cup of tea.

But I do like the mixture of old Florida, vegetation and colors.

I dare say the neighbors he might be more welcoming than the angry snowbirds who live on my street in winter. No one should be allowed to live down here and walk freely on the streets with a frown on their faces all the time. Perhaps I should move here!

The southwest influenced red home isn't apparently for sale, though I'm pretty sure my strait laced wife wouldn't go for a red and turquoise decor even with a cactus out front.

Look at this though. The owner says they have to follow their job and this place is for sale at $325,000 FIRM. How firm I don't know but for the money you get the empty lots on each side apparently permitted for a garden and a pool, all along the canal. I see a fruit orchard and a vegetable garden but who needs a pool when the salt water is there? Luckily, moving these days isn't an option especially to a place an hour and a half from our jobs in Key West! This is a nice spot though.

Cheyenne had enough of the ninety degree afternoon and was less enthusiastic than I.

Those perfectly manicured lawns are a great place to catch your breath if you are a hot dog. And who is hotter than Cheyenne?

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