Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Key Largo and The Everglades

We left Key West in the afternoon of our second day and drove to Key Largo, the northernmost island of the Florida Keys chain.

Our hotel room there overlooked a nice pool area on the marina.

Key Largo claims to be the diving capital of the world and also is a major sport-fishing destination. From our balcony, we observed diving boats preparing to leave for the day.

Our last night in the Keys compelled us to find a seafood dinner. Taking advise from a local, we went to The Fish House. If you ever find yourself looking for a good meal in Key Largo, do not miss this resaturant!!!

 Paul had a sampler plate and I had the mahimahi special. Wonderful!

Our adventure continued the next morning with a drive along Tamiami Trail through southern Florida and the Everglades. We lost count of the alligators sunning themselves along the canal on the side of the highway.

We stopped at Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress Gallery near Ochopee.  Beth and Gary were familiar with this artist's work. He has a gallery and studio in Venice also.
His stunning black and white photos of the Big Cypress National Preserve were a very welcome discovery.

Another pleasant discovery was very close to the gallery. We stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center, the headquarters for Big Cypress National Preserve. Alligators were within feet of us as we walked along the boardwalk outside the visitor's center.

This egret waited patiently for his turn to grab a fish from the canal.

The last stop of our road trip was in nearby Everglades City, located in the 10,000 Islands region of Everglades National Park.

I was persistent about going out in a boat here and Beth and Gary graciously obliged.

Thankfully, the route is well marked as it would be otherwise impossible to remember how to get back to the docks!

The boat tour took us close to some of the thousands of mangrove islets in this part of the national park.

This osprey was wondering what we were doing in his territory.

After boating all the way out to the Gulf we knew it was time to "sail" back home to Venice.

We learned we are extremely motivated to further explore this region before we leave in April. We loved our "shakedown" cruise and are already looking at the calendar to plan a day trip with our bikes.  And, Paul was inspired to start reading Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" while I am rereading "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean. Life is good. Except, I really miss our kids. I do not like this feeling of loneliness for them. Talk to you soon.


Freely Living Life said...

Absolutely beautiful photos!

The black and white photography is interesting. Thank you for introducing us to Clyde Butcher!:)

The food at the "The Fish House" looks amazing! :P

So glad to see that you are having fun exploring Florida.

Take care and safe travels.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Looks like a great trip! The photos are awesome, as usual!

Will be interested to hear how Paul likes 'The Sun Also Rises'. I was at B&n last night & looked through his books. Can't wait to pick one for us to to tackle this summer!!

Abby and Ryan said...

Wow, gorgeous photos!! Just seeing pictures of those alligators/crocodiles gives me chills!!

Looks as though you are really enjoying your trip! Beautiful!

Marlys said...

Beth looked cold in that boat photo but not near as cold as we are! It only got to about 8 degrees today with wind chills of minus 15 or so! Wish we were there! Food looked so wonderful!

Marlys said...

Oh, and I completely understand about missing your kids! I miss mine all the time and it never gets easier!