Sunday, June 24, 2007

This Week on the Island 06/24/2007

'This week on the Island' is written by Doug Bennett and is an update to friends about happenings in Key West last week. Everything is true except for those parts that are lies.
The picture this week was taken from Mallory Square on Tuesday and is a waterspout out pass Wisteria (Christmas Tree) Island. Most water spouts are white, this one looks black like a tornado. There were also 5 other waterspouts spotted. The Keys are the waterspout capital of the world.

The book this week was 'Kidnapped ' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Weather: The weather for the next 5 months will be hot and humid with a chance for rain. The Summer Solstice was this week. We are now officially into summer. June 21st was the longest day of the year and the sun has reached its northernmost position in planet Earth's sky.

The 'Swim around Key West' was cancelled last week because of problems with the safety boat that follows the swimmers. The event will be rescheduled.

Bill from Orlando and his father Bill from Indiana dropped by on Tuesday morning as I was reading on the front porch. The Orlando Bill is a reader of 'This Week On The Island'. Also Bill the service man came to fix my refrigerator that same day. Lots of Bills.

I met Tom & Jane from Chicago at Conch Republic Sea Food on Friday. They are also readers of 'This Week on the Island'.

Friday, there was a manatee in the Bight next to Conch Republic.

At an average price of $218 a night, Key West has the 5th most expensive hotel rooms in the world (Paris, London, Dubai, New York, Key West - The Smith Travel Research Report).

My yearly physical was this week. I am in pretty good shape for a guy 63 years old. I am 6' and 185 lbs with a good tan. My cholesterol is 177. I only take one pill a day and that is for blood pressure which is usually 110/75 with a pulse rate of 65. I get lots of exercise (ride my bike, kayak, walk the dogs), eat what I want (but not a lot), and enjoy an adult beverage or 12. Life is good.

--------------------let's go for a kayaking-----------------------------------------
My favorite place to kayak is Hurricane Hole. It is on the channel between Key West and Stock Island. It is a 5 mile bike ride to get there so let's get started. We leave the house and peddle up Caroline Street to Grinnell and over to Eaton and out Palm Ave, over the Garrison Bight (kick your butt) Bridge and on to North Roosevelt (US#1). We take a left and head east for a few miles. The wind is on our back and makes the peddling easy, but this means the wind will be in our face on the way home and the peddling will be hard. We ride until we get to the intersection coming on to the island. We take a left and leave Key West, cross the bridge and go to Stock Island. Hurricane Hole is on the right as we enter Stock Island.

We rent a kayak, life preserver and get a bottle of water and head out on the water. Remember, if the kayak turns over, just stand up. The water is usually very shallow here. In a short distance, we reach the Cow Key Channel between the islands and see that the tide is coming in. That means we can paddle out and let the tide take us to the right and the Gulf side, but if we do that we will have to fight the tide to get back to Hurricane Hole. Doing that after we are tired is not a good idea, so we paddle to the left and toward the tide and the Atlantic. If we stay close to the land we have less current. Soon there is a inlet on our left that we go into and do not have to fight the tide. This inlet leads to a large body of water (small lake) that we paddle across. The is no pull from the incoming tide as the line of mangroves next to the channel protects us. The water is clear as drinking water and the sand on the bottom is white. There are many fish in this area and we can see them swimming under the kayak. We paddle across this small lake to another inlet that I know will take us thru the mangroves to the Atlantic. This small stream is very shallow at spots and then drops to about 10 feet in other spots. These deep spots have many multi-colored fish and must be a nursery for the fish spawning. We paddle under the overhanging branches and reach the Atlantic. The ocean floor here is covered with fine white sand, so I get out of the kayak to walk and rest my arms a bit. There are jelly fish here, but they are not the stinging kind and we can pick them up with our hands.

The tide is still coming in as we paddle the kayak into the Atlantic and out into the channel. The current catches us and we have a nice ride as we pass the VA Clinic and the Riviera Cannel on Key West and Hurricane Hole on Stock Island. We must watch for power boats. This is a 'no wake' zone, but that doesn't mean a lot. It would not take much of a wave to upset a kayak. With each passing boat, we must turn to face the wake to keep from tipping over. We float under the US#1 bridge and on toward the Gulf. As the channel opens into the Gulf the current slows and we paddle over near land. Again the water is clear, the bottom is white sand and lots of multi-colored fish everywhere. There are mangroves with openings that we can go into and explore or we can just float in the sun. After a bit of time we start paddling back toward Hurricane Hole. The tide has slowed and there is very little current. We stay close to the land again because there is less current here. As we pass under the US#1 bridge, we see some homeless guys that live under the bridge. We wave at each other and paddle on. We reach the inlet to Hurricane Hole and are glad to get out of the current. We dock the kayak and thank the folks for a good time. There is a great bar next to Hurricane Hole where we get an adult beverage and call for a cab with a bike rack. I'm too tired to peddle the 5 miles back to Caroline Street. The cab arrives and we load the bike and head home. This time we had a good upper body exercise, got some sun and lost some weight. I'm tired, how about you?

Cow Key Channel got its name from Stock Island (used to be Cow Key). This island is where the people of Key West kept their cows and other stock before this island was developed.

June 23 was 'Jimmy Buffett Day' in Pennsylvania:

Key West, You have got to love it
'Meet me at the end of the road' - Conky Tonkin'- Jimmy Buffett
Doug Bennett
Lat 24.5597N, Long 81.8016W
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