Crocodile Lake’s Butterfly Garden

ANYTHING & EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about butterflies! If you don’t know anything about butterflies when you enter, you will upon exiting!

This out-of-the-way little seen two-winged paradise butterfly garden is a playground full of archways, fountains, trees, bushes & trellises for which a butterfly can frolic. It’s a neat place that you too can frolic for 20-30 minutes and take a few vacation photos.

To find this winged-wonderland, enter Card Sound Road from the south and drive 1.9 miles north and look for it on the left hand side of the road bayside at the entrance to the Crocodile Wildlife Refuge office. You can access Card Sound Road from the north at Mile Marker 126.7 and by the south at Mile Marker 107.0 in Key Largo.

While here, check out the crocodile sculpture blogged on earlier.

         

Leave a comment

Filed under key west

Key West Folk Artist Mario Sanchez

The city of Key West is honoring its hometown folk artist with a bronze bust inside the terminal of its International Airport surrounded by a sample of his work.

Mario Sanchez (1908-2005) was a native of Key West, son of a cigar maker. As a self-taught artist he began carving and painting in 1930 while still holding a regular job until 1970 when he devoted full-time to his art work.

Through Mario’s art we are provided an insight into people’s lives who otherwise never would have become a part of Key West history. Their lives and tangible associations such as old wooden buildings and street scenes are alive today for us to see.

Leave a comment

Filed under key west

What The Heck Is A Conch?

ARE YOU A CONCH? I AM!  I know what some of you are thinking: “What the HECK is a “Conch” and where did the name come from? I’m here to straighten you out and get you caught up to date on the entire lingo associated with the referral of different categories of Key West residents.

Here we go so hang on tight and make sure your pocket change doesn’t fall out when upside down! 🙂 Rule #1: No it’s not named directly after the shell & meat out of the shell of the same name conch. Here’s the poop on CONCHS – Many of the early residents of Key West were immigrants from the Bahamas known then as Conchs (pronounced ‘conks’), who arrived in increasing numbers after 1830. The true original meaning of Conch applies only to someone with European ancestry who immigrated from the Bahamas. In the 20th century many residents of Key West started referring to themselves as “Conchs”, and the term is now generally applied to all residents of Key West. However, some residents use the term “Conch” to refer to a person born in Key West, while the term “Freshwater Conch” refers to a resident not born in Key West but who has lived in Key West for seven years or more… until your 7 year coronation, your simply known as a TOURIST WHO STAYED! 🙂 Many of the Bahamian immigrants live in an area of Old Town next to the Truman Annex called “Bahama Village”.

In the days to come you’ll be enlightened on why and how it became known as the “Conch Republic” which believe it or not ONLY came about during the 1980’s! It’s an awesome story so set your VCR’s on record! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under key west

Bird Stake Roosts / Seagrass Regrowth Areas

I’ve always wondered what those white plastic poles were sticking out of the water throughout the keys… now I know… and you will too!

While on a catamaran on our way to Lignumvitae Key we past several areas where birds were roosting on stakes pitched in the ocean as I began to question their purpose. In speaking with a park ranger I learned that those are seagrass regrowth areas brought about by boating accidents, propeller scars, and running aground. If caught, as this gentleman was, the park ranger said he was fined $27,000 and forced by the courts to pay it for destroying the seagrass bed by running aground!

There’s a standard three-step process in recovering these vital marine habitats, they are: Sediment fill for deep scars, transplanting of nearby seagrass, and bird stake roosts.

We’ll focus on the latter, bird stake roosts. Bird stakes are used when the injury occurs in less than 5 feet of water. Like all plants, seagrass need nutrients to grow. It’s possible to encourage faster regrowth of seagrass in an injured area by fertilizing it with the needed nutrients. However, chemical fertilizer is expensive and needs to be replaced every few months. An alternative is to use a free, natural source of fertilizer—bird feces. Once an injury has been returned to grade with sediment fill, scientists install bird roosting stakes throughout the injury. These bird stakes extend about 10 inches above the high water level mark. After a hearty meal, birds come to rest on the stakes—and do what birds do after eating. The feces deposited by the roosting birds reach the bottom in concentrated doses, naturally fertilizing the area to encourage seagrass regrowth. Bird stake roosts are removed after approximately 18 months of the restoration process.

    

Leave a comment

Filed under key west

The Key’s Coolest Shark!

Where can you find the COOLEST shark in the Florida Keys? That’s easy, it’s at Mile Marker 83.8 within Whale Harbor Marina in the city of Islamorada behind Wahoo’s Bar & Grille!

This is not the largest fiberglass shark in the Key’s nor is it the most visible shark in the Keys. This one you will have to search out but I guarantee that it will be worth a souvenir photo or two! In order to find it, you must first park your car in the front of Wahoo’s Bar & Grille which is on the left side of the road on US-1 heading south. Once parked, walk towards the back docks behind the bar & grille and there it will be… the coolest shark in the Keys. If you look close at the photo to the left you will see a placard underneath the shark’s mouth nailed to the dock which reads something like “Keep hands & face away from sharks mouth”. I think you better listen… you don’t want to begin your Key’s trip with a boo-boo from wahoo’s! 🙂 Pictured below is a full view of the shark and marina sign. Enjoy and be safe!

Leave a comment

Filed under key west

Mosquito… Florida’s State Bird! :-)

Some people jokingly say that the mosquito is Florida’s State Bird! 🙂 OK, not officially but definitely unofficially! Depending on what time of the year (summer being worse than winter) and what location you choose (city -vs- out in the sticks) the tourist-loving mosquitoes of the Florida Keys are always uninvited quests.

Being from the Keys, I had more than my fair share of mosquito bites… in fact they love me! In a crowd of people I’m the one that gets bit, they somehow hunt me down and relentlessly attack… why is it always me! Let me tell you, this sign needs to be moved to Lignumvitae Key, the home of Mosquitoes! 🙂 I’ve NEVER seen so many mosquitoes in my life than our last trip to Lignumvitae Key where an endless barrage of swarms kept coming and coming no matter how many times we swatted successfully reducing the population by one!

See how the Florida Keys combats these in-flight pests by reading ‘Mobile Mosquito Control‘ blogged on earlier.

Though I’m sure there’s more, this particular sign can be found at the corner of Pine Street & White Street in Key West. Happy Mosquito Hunting! 🙂 You won’t have to look far, in fact they’ll find you!

Leave a comment

Filed under key west

Kayaks And More Kayaks!

If you’ve been trying to find a place in the Keys that rents kayaks then I’ve found it for you! This rainbow of fiberglass flotation devices comes in many shapes, sizes and colors for all ages and experience levels. Though I would rent one if asked by my spouse, I’ve been known to pass on arm strength paddle powered modes of transportation before! 🙂 Then again this might be your cup of tea or right up your alley!

Now let me tell you where this photo-op and kayak rentals can be found. Travel on US-1 to Mile Marker 81.4 bayside and pull into the World Wide Sportsman’s  stores parking lot. Just behind the store you’ll find the marina that can’t be missed. While here, go inside the store and you’ll see the Key’s LARGEST FISH TANK on display for the amazing price of FREE! This exhibit and walking around the store will take you about 30 minutes or so ONLY because of all of the other things to see. Oh yeah… NO FISHING ALLOWED INSIDE THE TANK! :-)

Leave a comment

Filed under key west