Florida Day Nine And Ten: Afternoons Exploring The Florida Keys.
It was a week since I arrived in Florida. I spent the first four days exploring the amazing natural beauty of the Everglades. On Monday I headed to the Florida Keys. I stayed on Key Largo, the most northern of, the 1700 islands that make of the Florida Keys. Most of this keys are small coral islands and are uninhabited. There are 43 larger keys connected by the Overseas Highway (U.S. Highway 1).
On my first three days in Key Largo I visited it’s park, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park and the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. On Thursday afternoon I decided to explore some of the keys to the south with my girlfriend Jill. She was visiting her mom, who stays on Tavernier Key in the Winter months. . Of course, after my morning five mile walk I had was hungry and we looked for a place to eat. After driving through scenic Tavernier and Plantation Keys we stopped at the Lazy Days restaurant in Islamorada Key.
This would be the first restaurant I dined in on my Florida trip. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic I had been having food delivered or picked up food and would eat in my hotel room. However, we were told this restaurant had outdoor dining so we entered wearing mask and were seated on a deck overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Ocean an adequate safe social distances from the nearest table.
Not only was there a spectacular view of the ocean but you were able to observe the many birds along the shore below the deck while we waited for lunch. Brown pelicans swam in the blue waters of the Atlantic ocean.
A snowy egret stalked the shore looking for fish or crabs.
And a tri-colored heron waded in the shallow waters further out in the ocean.
There were many seagulls , like this one, which I believe is a non-breeding laughing gull hanging around the deck too , looking for some food from the customers at the restaurant.
And competition for for food was fierce. I am not sure what started this commotion , a school of fish probably, but the brown pelicans and seagulls were fiercely fighting over something and I am assuming it had to be food.
It was an enjoyable wait for our lunch to be served, and a good lunch it was. A grilled mahi mahi sandwich with coleslaw for me and mashed potatoes for Jill . It was a great place to visit and eat.
After lunch I drove to a small but pretty beach on Islamorada Key, Anne’s Beach.
There were a few folks picnicking and sunbathing on the sandy beach but there were a lot more birds than people. This juvenile yellow crowned heron and
this white ibis were stalking the beach looking for crabs or fish in the sand or surf.
There was a boardwalk through the mangrove trees that grew along the beach.
Here I saw some dragonflies darting in the air above the mangroves.
I found some baby conch shells,
Overhead there were some frigate birds soaring in the deep blue skies.
One of frigate birds must have got to close to an osprey’s nest and the osprey was not pleased. You could hear it’s piercing cries as it attacked the much larger frigate bird.
After visiting Anne’s Beach we took a leisurely drive to Marathon Key and picturesque Cocoa Plum Beach. The weather was perfect. It was warm and humid but a refreshing breeze blew in from the ocean. Cumulus clouds floated on the horizon.
The water was perfect too. It was shallow and refreshingly cool.
Small fish and crabs swam and crawled near our toes, It was a perfect way to spend a sunny Florida afternoon ,. It was getting late and it was time take the long scenic drive to Key Largo. There was some heavy traffic and it took a while to get back but I didn’t mind because of the pretty scenery along the way. We made it back to enjoy dinner and sunset. . This is a link to some more photos from my drive in the Florida Keys. Florida Day Nine. Drive to Marathon Key February 25 2021.
On Friday afternoon, my last full day in the Florida Keys we again did some exploring of the Key Largo. After hiking on a secluded wooded trail,
we drove to Gilbert’s a popular resort and checked out the beach.
We then visited the marina in Key Largo where the famous African Queen is docked.
This is the original boat used in the production of the famous 1951 movie of the same name starring Kathrine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. It is one of my favorite movies and I was excited to see it after it returned from a tour.
There were some birds at the marina too, including a lot of brown pelican,
This is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my afternoon exploration of Key West. Florida Day Ten Key Largo afternoon February 26 2021.
Florida is a golden word…The very name Florida carried the message of warmth and ease and comfort. It was irresistible. John Steinbeck