Mallory Square in Key West is famous for its Sunset Celebration. The celebration begins every night about two hours before sunset. The celebration includes street performers, food carts, arts and crafts exhibits and many tourists. The plaza is located on the waterfront of Key West's Old Town which is adjacent to the cruise ship port. We saw jugglers, singers and a performing pig.
The the Bayside marina at the Bass Pro Shop in Islamorada is home to a docile, people-friendly, group of pelicans. What to call a group of pelicans?--They may be called a squadron, a pod or flock or scoop. They let me get very very close without getting their feathers ruffled.
The pelican is most easily recognized by its long beak and
large, stretchy, expandable throat pouch which it uses for catching its
prey.Their wings are long and broad and are often bowed when gliding through the sky. When the pelican spots its
prey, it plunges into the water, its throat pouch expands to trap the fish,
and filling with up as much as 2 1/2gallons of water.The water drains before swallowing its catch.During the dives, it tucks its head and
rotates its body to the left.This
rotation is to protect the trachea and esophagus (on the right side of the
body) from impact.
While not searching for their next meal, pelicans like
to surf the wind updrafts or stand around on fishing docks looking for any scraps tossed out as the fishermen clean their catch.They
breed mostly on barrier islands on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, but here in
Florida, they breed in the mangrove islets.Pelicans
have been known to live for about 30 years in captivity, 15 years in the wild.The oldest Brown Pelican on record lived to
Enjoy this limerick by Edward Lear
A wonderful bird is the Pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can. He can hold in his beak Enough food for a week! But I'll be darned if I know how the hellican?
Islamorada -say it slowly eye-lah-mah-rah-day-is a village of islands in the Florida keys which draws fishermen and women for the world's best fishing. Our first stop on our day of exploring Islamorada is the Bass Pro Shop. That the parking spaces are lined with fish stencils should be an indication that this shop is all about fishing. Visitor's can find much to stay entertained: an outdoor library, rod and reel repair, salt water, freshwater and fly fishing departments, an everglades aquarium, water sports equipment, an art gallery and "Pilar" the sister ship to Hemingway's boat and apparel departments for men, women, and children. A restaurant upstairs named Zane Gray overlooks the marina where charter fishing trips can be booked easily. Islamorada Fish Company which is adjacent to Bass Pro was established in 1948 as a family owned and operated business supplying fresh seafood to locals and restaurants. In 1993 they set up picnic tables and it grew into a famous restaurant. In 1998 the restaurants formed a partnership with Johnny Morris's Bass Pro Shops. We ate at this restaurant in 1994 and again in 2015. The food is still good and the facility has been updated and enlarged.
Fish line the parking spaces
The view from the restaurant is lovely even on a cloudy, overcast, windy day.
There is no shortage of shops in Islamorada, whether one is looking for a souvenir T-Shirt, sandals, or large sea shells to take home, it can be found at one of the many stores along US 1. We stopped into the Rain Barrel, a conglomeration of several shops with individual artists selling their wares. The Lobster out front called us in to visit.
And Steve couldn't resist the T-Shirt shop upon which the Blue's Brothers were sitting!
Bahia Honda Key is home to Bahia Honda State Park at mile marker 37 on US1. The 500 acre park was at one time a part of the properties owned by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. A section of the railroad bridge remains today. The park has beautiful beaches, a wings and waves butterfly garden, tent sites, RV sites, snorkeling spots, and a marina.
She sells sea shells by the seashore. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Try saying those three times in a row without getting tongue tied. Imagine my delight when I glanced at the menu of the Barracuda Grill in Marathon.
Shall I start off with Lovely Lobster Bisque or Killer Clam Chowder? Pork Potstickers or Tommy's Tuna Tataki? Megan's Mighty Meatballs, Billy Joe Bob's Bar-B-Que or Beef Short Ribs Boneless & Braised?
No reservations are taken at the Barracuda Grill and they open at 5:55 for dinner.
It is Definitely, Decidedly my Deepest Divine Desire to Dine with Super Strong Silver-haired Saintly, Sea-faring, Steve at Five Fifty Five Friday For Festive Fabulous Fine Food!
Key's Fisheries is a seafood market, wholesale fishery and a popular lunch and dinner restaurant. We have purchased hogfish and lobster cakes from them to cook on the boat which were delicious. Today we decided to experience their lunch atmosphere. Lunch begins at 11:00--we arrived around 12 to discover a line had already formed. There is one outdoor counter at which to place an order with a large menu painted on the wall. It felt a little like ordering at The Varsity --What'll ya have? except that no one gets in a hurry in the Keys. After placing our order for the Lobster Reuben and Stone Crab Chowder, they asked for a movie name to call out when our meal was ready. It is less confusing and more entertaining to hear movies called out as the plates are placed on the counter for pickup. Picnic tables encircle the building with an open air view of the bay.
This sign indicates that the Lobster Reuben may be big enough to share.
Clearly-The Lobster Reuben is enough for two
I cast my ballot for the "Guess how many Reubens sold in January" contest. I'll let you know if I win...
If your mouth is watering with the mention of the seafood sold at Key's Fisheries--no need to worry. They will gladly ship from their online store. Joy
On Monday, we were invited to a surprise birthday party for Jane of Lady Jane on Friday. Birthdays are always celebrated here, in fact just about anything is cause for a party. Jane's party turned into a party for three as the party planners learned that Frank and I also celebrate this day. Holly on Southern Cross took the photos I am sharing today.
After appetizers at the party, a group went over to Castaways for some live music and dinner. I decided to wear my tiara. I highly suggest doing this--you wouldn't believe how many people wished me a Happy Birthday and the musician even sang to me. A great birthday in the Keys!
Watching the sun set in Marathon is an event not to be missed. If the sunset is particularly spectacular, a round of applause and cheers can be heard bouncing across the water. Wednesday night, Steve saw the "Green Flash." The flash is visible for just a second or two.
When we watch the sun as it sets, the image we see as the sun slowly slipping below the water's surface is actually image created by the bent light rays from the sun which is already down behind the horizon. Higher frequency lights are bent more easily than lower frequency lights as the sun passes through the Earth's atmosphere. The redder hues of the color spectrum of light are blocked by the horizon first followed by yellow, green, blue and violet. Because a haze removes violet and blue, the last visible light is a flash of green.
I did not see the green flash on Wednesday night but that did not make the sunset any less spectacular for me. I will be out again on Thursday trying to catch the Green Flash!
Sombrero Beach is a white sandy beach with a cove to its
north that is perfect for snorkeling with its sandy bottom and shallow clear
blue water.This beach is a designated
turtle nesting beach on which Florida Loggerhead Turtles lay their eggs at
night.The beach is part of park which includes
covered pavilions with picnic tables and grills, a children's play ground,
volleyball nets and large shade trees. We visited Sombrero the first time by bike.
On our second trip to Sombrero we took a dinghy excursion with some friends at the marina for a picnic.
Spike (pictured above), Piper and Buddy all went along for the picnic. They had a great time too!