Allyson came into some birthday money to do something fun (Thanks Bruce!). We decided to get out of Miami and see what the Keys had to offer. After running a few errands around Miami we were finally free to escape the city. We wanted to do some camping so we stopped in at Bahia Honda state park, they were full so they sent us to the fishing lodge on Big Pine Key. We found a waterfront campsite and a very friendly group of campers.
I haven't stood next to a giant plastic fish since Provincetown. Classic.
Finally some clear water... our conversation went straight to spearfishing.
Most of the wealth on Key west was accumulated by wreckers, salvaging the goods on ships that ran aground on the coral reef. This monument is an example of some very serious wreckers, working on a tiny piece of deck that broke off a ship.
The wreckers were surrounded by busts of men who made Key West what is is today; a drinker's paradise...
...we then went on the tour of the first legal rum distillery in Key West. Paul, the owner gave a great talk and explained the challenges of distilling alcohol in the United States, covering the regulations and technical aspects... I might just stick to brewing beer. At the end of the tour he gave us a taste of his private stock of aged rum, the Simonton 105, the best rum I've tasted so far on this trip. Your move Carribean!
Roosters were running rampant around Key West, this one was camera shy.
Roughin' it at the campsite.
Big Pine Key is home to Key Deer an endangered species of fauna only found in this part of the world. These tiny animals seem to sustain themselves by eating trash left out by the campers. Captain One Hook, in the picture above, took our plastic garbage bag and Allyson tried to scare him off. A thrown shoe didn't get him moving and he had to be chased off barefoot.
While exploring the island I saw this odd looking boat washed up on the beach, at first I thought it was from some sort of 4th of July regatta gone awry.
Turns out that this group of Cuban refugees made the 90 mile passage on a makeshift boat made of tarps and insulation foam.
A four stroke car engine slapped in the middle of the boat provided the propulsion.
The boat was filled with empty food cans, unused condoms (not sure what they were on the boat for?) and dextrose IV bags. We'll keep this in mind while provisioning Sarah before leaving to the Bahamas.