Saturday, January 16, 2010

IN (The Keys) And OUT (Of The Cold)

I freely admit it: I've been ragging about the bitter cold and wind episodes that have plagued our first month in the Florida Keys. It's all about expectations. It should be warm. It should be relatively calm excepting for some delightfully fresh breezes. I should be in a boat somewhere or I should be swimming in the sea or I should be taking pictures of myself holding the spiny lobster that I just caught with my own bare hands while free diving some deep ledge somewhere in the otherwise shallow Keys waters. Instead I have been chasing down slow (by comparison to normal speed) iguanas in a buffalo hat and taking pictures of them. OK. Change is good. Adaptation is good. But expectations being what they are- you still want what you want where and when you think you should be getting it. The theory is good; in practice, maybe not so much.

But in truth, not every single day was a lost cause. The first two days here we unloaded as fast as possible and jumped in the water. We saw where the lobster were, we just never had weather that let us get back to them. About half way through the month we had a day that was not totally prohibitive so we tried the snorkel once again, but though the wind and air temp were ok for a short window, the water temps had fallen so far that we were cramping up after only a short while in the water, the fish had all moved out or died because of the cold shock, and the crafty crustaceans were deeper and less accessible. Strike One. Strike Two. Strike Three. And the two of us peeled out of our light weight wet suits to expose the now purple skin tones to the light of day... and quickly wrap them in a beach towel. Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone! In the Keys, one looks for shades of tan, not tints of purple- so this is further evidence of the problem at hand.

But when we were not shivering our timbers, or reconstructing the tent that kept blowing down we did manage to get out for short bursts and "do some stuff." So here's a look at what we were able to do and see in this first month of our visit.

First a look at some kayaking, boating, fishing, sightseeing, and tide pool exploration that we fit into the short but partially open windows that we were afforded:

Then off to some bird sanctuaries, centers, and wildlife museums at Crane Point (MM50- Marathon Key) to see what they had to offer, like the Adderley House- the oldest building in the Keys outside of Key West.

The trip to the Deep Sea Diving Museum was a complete upside surprise and we discovered a world class collection of diving suits and systems- the sort of thing I always read about but had never seen up close and personal. (MM 83 Islamorada)

And then a first look at our second stop along the way at Sunshine Key RV Resort, which is actually on Big Pine Key just below the Seven Mile Bridge (MM 39)

Cold and wind don't show up on pictures very well. Actually, they really don't show up at all, but keep them in mind as you check out these slide shows- as it was uncommonly blustery during pretty much of our whole first month. Global Cooling! No doubt America is to blame for that too....

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