Driving down the Keys

Trip Start Oct 03, 2005
Trip End Oct 03, 2006

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holiday inn airport

Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, January 5, 2006

Spent a day driving down to Key West and stopped at a state park along the way. Pete and Will got busted by the Ranger for picking coconuts. Everybody except Alison went swimming. The drive itself was nice with long bridges between the islands.
Key West contains the Southern most point of the Continental US. On the other side of a fence, just south of the Southern most point, is a US Naval base. It was also the home of Ernest Hemmingway and his digitally advanced cats. Arrrr! we visited a cool pirate museum. And Fort Zachary Taylor, possibly the most useless fort in the history of the world. Unfortunately, as so often happens when we are near the beach, the weather turned cool.
On the way out of the Keys, we visited John Pennekamp State Park and went kayaking. Mum and Pete did their bit for natural selection by testing the durability (ala Happy) of numerous mangrove trees.
On the way back to Miami, we visited Big Cyprus National Preserve and the Everglades again. Bordering the Everglades, Big Cyprus has more of the same, but offers access to the public, graziers, hunters, and people who want to ride around, high above the water in small buggies with huge tires.
Saw lots more alligators, fish and birds close up. And had probably the best wildlife viewing experience of my life. We walked along a boardwalk through a stand of trees - it was pretty but there wasn't much doing. At the end there was a body of water covered with lily pads. Something was moving underneath them and the lily pads rose and fell as it went past. Shortly after, an otter emerged, sat on a log and started munching on whatever it had caught. The otter kept taking turns fishing and eating on the log for awhile, before coming closer to play around for its new found audience. All up, we would have watched it for about 30min and taken many, many photos.
We also drove down a dirt road with low-lying water on either side. Heaps of birds were sitting, fishing from the trees. Heaps of alligators were lying by the side of the road, lying.
After this it was off to the airport Holiday Inn, where we were left by the parents and Uncle Michael. They headed off on their Civil War Tour and we waited for our next-day flight to London.
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