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Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Welcome to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary office who represents, supports & promotes their many affiliates throughout the Keys.

Although this is the main office, there’s still a FREE display of maritime memorabilia throughout its facility as you can see by the two photos below of glass cases filled with artifacts. There’s also a maned information counter full of FREE brochures, maps and other oceanic related handouts. Posted on the walls are a number of very interesting maps that document EVERY known location of shipwrecks, ocean depths & lighthouses throughout the Keys to name a few. Though they welcome tourists & visitors with open arms please remember that this is an office that supports and promotes its affiliates and therefore is open during normal working business hours. They represent NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Wild Bird Sanctuary & Florida Department Of Environmental Protection and many others. I’ve driven by this for years yet have only stopped in recently and glad that I did. I too hope you’ll have time to do the same on your next visit!

You can find the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary home office at Mile Marker 95.1 bayside here in the beautiful Florida Keys.

         

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Patroling Key West By Water

Don’t think that Key West being an island has only a land-based patrol force! Seen here are two of the Key West Police boats used to keep Key West locals and those wild tourists in check while in paradise. The larger of the two is for open water (Atlantic Ocean & Gulf Of Mexico) while the smaller is used to monitor the many small canals & channels that dissect and lead into the islands interior.

You can find these Police Boats, when not in action, beside Key West’s boxing complex located at DeKalb Avenue sandwiched between the main entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor and the rear entrance to the Naval Air Station Truman Annex.

    

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Tallest Man In Key West… He Stands 8’11.1″ Tall

Welcome to the TALLEST man in Key West, I take that back… Welcome to the TALLEST man in the recorded HISTORY OF THE WORLD!

Robert Wadlow (Feb. 22, 1918 – July 15, 1940) was the tallest person in history for whom there’s irrefutable evidence. Wadlow is sometimes known as the Alton Giant or Giant of Illinois being from Alton, Illinois. (Photo below)

Wadlow reached 8 ft 11.1 in height and weighed 439 lbs at his death at age 22. His great size and his continued growth in adulthood was due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.

On July 4, 1940, during an appearance at the Manistee National Forest Festival, a faulty brace irritated his ankle, causing a blister and subsequent infection. Doctors treated him with a blood transfusion and emergency surgery, but his condition worsened, and on July 15, 1940, he died in his sleep at age 22.

More than 30,000 people attended Wadlow’s funeral on July 19. He was buried in a 10-foot-long, half-ton coffin that required twelve pallbearers to carry and was interred in a vault of solid concrete. Wadlow’s family was concerned for the sanctity of his body and wanted to ensure it would not be disturbed or stolen.

You can find a life-like statue of this gentle giant at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! in Key West located at 108 Duval Street.

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I’ve Found The Missing Aviator Bust!

For half a century this bust sat in front of the Key West airport greeting its cloud-bound patrons. So who is it, what did it commend and where is it now? Inquiring minds what to know, so I set out on a quest in pursuit of answers.

I’ve been to the Key West International airport many times never setting sight on this statue. In seeing this historical photo I went back out to the airport to see it myself wondering how in the world I could have missed it. On my third attempt in finding this, we parked the car and walked all around the new parking garage that now sits in front of the airport approximately where the statue should have been to no avail. We then asked a security guard if he knew anything about the missing bust… pausing a moment he responded “There’s some busts up in the departure terminal.” Off we went and sure enough we found it. It had been moved years ago and brought inside for outgoing passenger to see before leaving Key West.

7083399155_a0bf8e8760_bUpon the bronze plaque it reads: “The county of Monroe, state of Florida renders this tribute to Agustín Parlá Orduña born in Key West on October 11, 1887, of Cuban parents exiled during their country’s struggle for independence. Who was the first man to fly the 119 miles over the sea from Key West, Florida to El Mariel, Cuba on May 19, 1913. Honor to his memory.” Dedicated way back in July 4, 1957.

It may have taken me 3 trips to find the missing bust, you on the other hand now have first hand knowledge on exactly where to find it… what are you waiting for… GO! 🙂

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Islamorada’s Relaxing Sunset Island

Relax, Relax, Relax… that’s what you’ll be doing at Islamorada’s Sunset Island. OK, so it’s not officially an island being connected by a narrow strip of land even though its set up and looks like one. Believe me, no one cares about the definition of “island” once here, you’re irresistibly drawn to the incredible atmosphere and unbelievable views!

While here be prepared to bring your camera, party attitude, a smile, & koozie for an adult beverage or two (or three). 🙂 They have a live band and the festivities begin getting into full swing as customers arrive for the daily ritual of pastel painted sunsets.

You can find the Islamorada Fish Company’s Relaxing Sunset Island by traveling on US-1 to Mile Marker 81.4 bayside. While here, go next door to the Worldwide Sportsman store where you’ll see the Key’s LARGEST FISH TANK on display also for the amazing price of FREE.

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The Florida Key’s Largest Manatee

Welcome to Key West’s land loving friendly manatee. This 8′ tall statue sits on a concrete pad facing the main road into Old Town for all to admire.

I recommend that you take 4-minutes out of your already busy planned day and stop for an up close visit with this silent gentle giant. Upon closer inspection you’ll find that its whiskers, whose numbers are in the hundreds, are actually rigid and the exact thickness of a heavy-duty clothes hanger (as seen below).

Now for your FREE science/history lesson: 🙂 Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals with paddle-like flippers sometimes known as Sea Cows. They are noted for their friendly nature, their large size up to 12 ft in length with the average being 9 ft. The name manatí comes from pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean meaning “breast”.

You can find the Florida Key’s largest Manatee statue on display 24-7 in front of the First State Bank at the corner of North Roosevelt Blvd. & Toppino Drive on the left hand side of the road as you enter Key West.

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You Can’t Fence In Nature! :-)

IMG_1776Seen here is one of the neatest sights we’ve ever found while tooling around town on our bikes. I bet we’ve peddled by this a number of times without seeing it… but this time we did! Wow what an awesome sight it is!

Yes of course this is done on purpose to which I give kudos to the property owner for not chopping down the tree. I also give a big high-five to the city of Key West allowing such a great sight to exist on and near the sidewalk.

You can find this great oddity at 406 Fleming Street protruding through a fence. Go see it now before some over-boozed bonehead walks into it requiring five stitches suing the owner forcing the city to come by and cut it down!

IMG_1775     IMG_1778

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