Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Upscale Local Housing and Looe Key Snorkel

Tuesday and Wednesday                                                                   Most Recent Posts
December 8 and 9 2015                                                                    A Birthday With the Birds

Curry Hammock State Park                                                               Into Some Lives a Lot of Rain Falls
Marathon, Florida



Thank you all SO MUCH for the birthday wishes.  It was such fun to read all the comments, each one a present.  Wish I could get you all together for a party.  
On another cheery note, I’m really happy to report that this blog was written and posted with Open Live Writer.  It has some flaws in the header , with my template font and some other things including its inability to bring back a recent post but it's better than blogger and hopefully will only get even better.   
I know two posts in one day is a lot but I really am trying to get back to real time.




TUESDAY

It's a cloudy dreary day which threatens rain all day long but then never does actually rain. Not snorkeling or kayak weather. But the bugs are out so what to do.

First I think I'll take a shower but the path to the bathroom is flooded.  I guess the choice is swim or walk around.

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Later I take the path to the ranger station to pick up the first of many packages being sent here to make sure our friends Al and Karen and Laurie and George have plenty of over time at Amazon if they want it.
I walk by the grassy "field" which I walked across when we first came to Curry Hammock in early November.  I had no idea then that it would turn into a lake nearly 4' deep and suitable for kayaking.
A trail goes right through there from where I am standing to take this picture over to the other side.  Well it did go through there.


Luckily the path through the forest running from the back of site 5 to the ranger's station is not flooded and I am successful in my quest.   The box is too large to bring back on my bike, thus the hike.  Someone’s presents are inside.
 
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Mean while David is taking one of his many naps and so far the snake is doing his job.  We've only seen the cat bird on top of the driver's mirror.  He does not peck on it but seems to be just looking inside.  The picture of that was on yesterday's post.
 
 
David is uncustomarily fatigued and sleeps on and off most of the day other than the bike trip we take north on the Overseas Heritage Bike Trail.
The trail goes from one end of the island to the other but not over either the bridge to Marathon to the South or the one to Islamarada to the North.
We bike around some neighborhoods looking for Christmas lights. What we find is gulf front houses with fancy mailboxes and gates




 
 
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When you get to the end of the mailboxes, which is your favorite?

This would have been Bill Mills vote before full timing.
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This is probably the Mill’s current favorite.
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A little exercise between naps is a good thing.
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Doesn’t this look like a grand entrance?
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And doesn’t this look like a grand mailbox at the foot of the grand entrance?         
But just at the edge of the street near both is a pink pet bag recently filled.  It even matches the pink trim.  What is it doing there?  We don’t see any dog walkers  from one end of the gulf front road to the other.
 
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My favorite mailbox.
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My favorite gate.
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And these are only a few of the gates and mailboxes we saw.

It starts sprinkling so we head back and don’t get very wet.  This picture shows the bike path which alternates between being very secluded like this and running right next to the road.   But as I said before, it doesn’t cross the bridges so at least at this point, you cannot ride from Key Largo to Key West, which is the goal of the trail, without riding in the traffic on the bridges.  Not sure how they are going to fix that problem.  As far as I can tell, there is no room on the bridges for a bike lane in each direction.
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Our last site in Curry Hammock, the one Laurel and Eric are in now,  had several Iguana neighbors that I’ve talked about in previous posts.  In site 5 we have a crabby neighbor just outside the driver’s door.


In spite of, or perhaps because of, the clouds, tonight’s sunset does not disappoint.


The after color pinks are pretty spectacular too.
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WEDNESDAY


David is at the end of a treatment cycle this Wednesday so we don't have to drive to Key West.

The weather was supposed to be decent today and the winds at about 5mph.  That’s pretty iffy for snorkeling but we’re getting toward the end of our time at Curry Hammock and really want to go to Looe Key.  So yesterday we made a reservation based on the forecast for today.  Check in for the trip is at 8am which is when the Looe Key Resort and Dive shop opens so we didn’t know until we arrived that the waves were 1-2’.   That’s too much for me but we are committed at that point, so we go along with 4 other people, all snorkelers and our Captain James.  We go out on a much smaller boat than I was expecting and while I’m glad the group is small, the boat really rocks and rolls in the waves once we get out of the channel.



The dive company dock is at the end of a long CALM channel with other channels running perpendicular to it.  The houses face the water streets.  I assume there must be alleys behind for the cars.  But all we see are waterfront houses with boats docked or moored in front.



Once out in the open James guns the boat and we fly through the air banging against the waves.  Guess he’s in a hurry.



At the first spot I am one of the first few people in the water.  I get a few pictures of these lovely fish and some underwater plants??  formations?? corals??  Hard to tell, the water is not clear.  What I see is lovely but perhaps my expectations were too high.  I thought it would be clearer and the colors brighter.







One man never gets out of the boat. I go out at the first spot for the first hour but the waves are just too much work so I decline the second spot as the winds get higher and so do the waves. I found it very turbid and difficult to see.  Part of that is because I need a new fog cleaner for my mask.  But most of it was just the water.   

I sit on the boat with a couple other folks as it rocks wildly in the waves and we wait for those brave souls in the water.


All of the pictures from this trip both on the way out and in the water are taken with the nikon underwater camera which has since been readjusted for taking above water pictures but still isn’t great.  The water was very turbid again and we saw few fish.   I’ve had to lighten all the pictures and  apologize for their quality, but it’s what we have. 


The dimness of the pictures reflects my feelings about this trip.  The best thing about it was seeing two Goliath Groupers.  Unless you are in the water with them, you can only tell how absolutely huge they are in the pictures by looking at the “normal size” fish around them.






Nobody says much of anything as we roar back to the dock and disembark.  No one tips the one man crew.

After our morning snorkeling disappointment, and a good lunch, I take my chair out to the beach where people are enjoying the first really lovely day in what seems like a long time.


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My large neighbor comes out to get some sun too.
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He’s doing a sun salutation.
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I know he’s an exotic invasive species, an illegal alien, but look at those textures and colors. 
Isn’t he just an amazing creation?




Another local amazing creation is the ray.  We’ve been lucky enough to have seen very large spotted eagle rays several times in the waters here.  Tonight just befores sunset when I am walking along the beach, just off the shore along comes this ray.  Or is this a skate?  I’m not sure when they are not huge.  Huge=Ray.   I’m thinking this is a skate, but I’m not sure.  Whichever it is , the water is so clear it looks  like it isn't there and my picture of him turns our really fine. 




Add to all of this another stunning sunset and the day turns out very fine despite its disappointing beginning.

How about those clouds.  The sun is slipping down and sending its light across the waters but the clouds are really the show in the west.



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Behind me in the east, the the intense colors of the west are reflected more gently but the clouds are the main attraction.
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At the horizon line of the South they billow up.

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The Keys apparently want to make it difficult for us to enjoy the water what with all the rain and winds but they sure have provided fabulous sunsets.  This is two in a row.




17 comments:

  1. You are amazing...getting so many posts in a day! whew! and yes...I just downloaded OLW and it worked fine for me as well. Whew....many of us will be breathing a sigh of relief. As you said, May it always be so.

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  2. I love those mailboxes & gates!

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  3. I think the rain must have helped you with all your catch up posts! You are amazing, Sherry and I appreciate all your efforts and great photos.
    Residents there must have a competition of who has the best mailbox in the block!
    I have not seen such huge Iguana...he sure handsome with all that texture.

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  4. Soon you'll be snorkeling right out your door. I like the manatee mailbox. I snorkeled out of Key West over 40 years ago and could see at least 50 feet. I guess the rain and rough seas would make the water murky. The clouds are making for marvelous sunsets.

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  5. We loved riding our bikes along the gulf and seeing all those amazing homes. You were spot on with Bill's mailbox choices;o)) Your iguana friend looks like the one that resided in the tree by site 8 when we were there. He was amazing and had a harem of about 5 young ladies;o)) Sorry that you haven't had a good opportunity to do some great snorkeling...but weather is always a factor wherever we travel!!! However, it sure has made for spectacular sunrises and sunsets:o))

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  6. If the return address on the Amazon box is Campbellsville, it came from us :) Love the Manatee mailbox the most!

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  7. Wow, you really are getting caught up on your blog! I need lessons from you, haha! Such a bummer that your snorkeling attempts haven't worked out. When the conditions are right for snorkeling in the Keys, it is magnificent. Don't know if I can talk you into trying another year down there, though! Glad you got out and made the best of it. Your sunset photos are lovely, as always.

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  8. Nice to have Live Writer back (open source now of course). Wonderful sunset pictures.

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  9. Too much rain!!!

    Love your iguana and skate/ray shots!

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  10. The iguana and ray particularly stand out to me

    Of the mailboxes, the first mermaid's my favourite.

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  11. Loved your pictures of the Iguana, he may be an illegal alien, but so interesting to look at. Another fantastic snap is of that Skate, good catch of it swimming by. :c)

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  12. Another great day in the Keys! We have friends that live on a canal in Islamarada. They are pretty happy there:)

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  13. Loved it all, mailboxes, gates, fish, iguana and of course the sunsets. Beautiful!

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  14. I can't even come up with an adjective for Tuesday's sunset, it is my favorite so far. And my favorite mailbox is the double dolphin before the golf ball, my least favorite :-) Bummer about the poor snorkeling experience, but those grouper are pretty magnificent! You should do a sunrise/sunset book, you've captured such great ones.

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  15. Sorry the snorkeling trip wasn't very good. You just can never tell until you get out there. The best time is at the end of a high tide. You get bluer and clearer water. The charter boats always drop snorkelers at the deeper portions of the reef, or at least in the 20 foot or deeper areas. Color disappears in the water column, with the reds the first to be lost. That's why when we got to Looe Key, we park over on the buoys that are in the shallowest water. We have some nice spots in about 8 feet of water. Not a lot of corals, but there are a lot of colorful fish and we can see them from the surface.

    That is a southern stingray. They are pretty common and you often see them buried in the sand. You pass right over them without seeing them until they decide to scoot away.

    The big goliath grouper (we still call them jewfish) is supposed to weigh about 300 pounds. He camped out right under our boat one day. Loved that!

    Don't give up on the reefs. You just have to get the right day when it's calm, and if you can figure out when the high tide is, try to be there when it's almost high tide or just starting to slack. You will get better visibility then. We don't always get those perfect days out there either, but usually we can tell before we go all the way out and then we go to the back country and plan B. Sorry your day was so crappy.

    I posted a blog with some pictures of what Looe Key Reef looks like on a good day. I'm not sure it's showing up in the blog roll though.

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  16. I haven't snorkeled in years, used to love it. Wish you had a nicer day, I bet it is beautiful. Yes, there has been plenty of overtime, thank you :-).

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