Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Florida Keys

Two days ago, Monday, we drove 135 miles south of Miami over the Keys.  By the way, the word Key was taken from the Spanish cayo or small island. The Keys are a 220-mile long string of islands southwest of the Florida mainland. In traveling these island we drove over many causeways and one 7-mile bridge. The first thing which I noticed, looking over the sea, was that the water's color ranged in many shades of greens and blues. In some areas it was even brown and white. When I mentioned this to John, he quoted for me what he had read in a boating brochure entitled " Keeping your Bottom off the Bottom" ( in other words, the boater needs to be aware that there are places off the Keys where there are dangers of running aground). "Green, green nice and clean";  no saw grass or coral reef to scrape the boat's bottom. "Brown, brown run aground", and "white, white, you might". With the color blue you "cruise on through" ! One of our stops in the Keys was the Turtle Hospital, which even owns a turtle ambulance. Being a nurse, I was fascinated at how that place can tube feed sick turtles as well as do amputations of flippers and removal of fibrinous tissue! We also stopped at the National Key Deer Refuge where, driving on some back roads, we were able to spot a couple of the deer. They are a relative of the white tail deer but much smaller, an average of three feet high.. The Key deer are an endangered species, 119 of them were killed last year by cars.
Our final destination for the day was Key West. Driving around the town we found a marker noting that Key West is the southernmost city of the continental United States. Hard to believe that Cuba is only 90 miles from this point.
A popular thing for tourists to do in Key West is walk around Mallory Square Dock at sunset. Every night, weather permitting, there is a celebration one hour before sunset complete with jugglers, contortionists, and other entertainers. While we were there we watched two fire-eaters who announced their show by blowing on conch shells. We did not stay for the entire show as there was a cold wind coming down from the north, notice the palm trees swaying in the picture below. There will be more on Key West in my next postings.

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