Cruising the Mud Keys – Vacation – Key West Florida – Part 2

Last Friday we took a Custom Charter on a boat captained by Eric Cline and for six hours we cruised what are called the Mud Keys and some of Florida’s beautiful coral reefs.  It’s hard to put into words what a phenomenal time we all had.

The sky was so blue, the trees were so green and the water was crystal clear and did I mention the temperature was in the mid-eighties with a nice breeze.

We landed on what Eric said was the only island in the Mud Keys with sand (all the rest are mud thus Mud Keys). He said it takes hundreds of years for sand to form on these islands.

Dana and I wading amongst the mangrove trees.

Most of the views were breathtaking ! It’s hard to believe there would be a more beautiful place in the world than this.

Passing by one of the Mud Key Islands with the mangrove trees. Mangrove trees offer shelter to juvenile fish, turtles and crustaceans and help protect the coastline from serious erosion during the storm season.

Heading off to the coral reefs for snorkeling.

It was my first time snorkeling so breathing through my mouth took some getting used to, but I came across this molted crab shell, saw many schools of beauty fish and brought back a live star fish to the boat for everyone to see (we threw it back in). Some of the sponge growths were truly amazing !

The water in some areas along the coral reef is very shallow and at times the shoreline extends a good distance into the water so it was quite easy for boats to get stuck in the sand and need help being pushed out to deeper water.

Florida is the only state with extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coastline and they were formed approximately 5,000 to 7,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. Reef growth is slow from one half inch to seven inches per year. Dana let me borrow her underwater camera for pictures and when she gets them developed I will post some of them in the near future.

On the way back to Key West Captain Eric had some crab traps he had dropped six weeks ago and he had us hoist them up to see what he had caught. Check out the claws on this baby ! Speaking of claws – he would remove one of the crab claws on the big ones and throw the crab back in as they regenerate a new claw after several moltings.

I would highly recommend this one day trip if you go to Key West – Custom Charters – Eric J Cline. Eric’s relaxed demeanor made for a truly wonderful time and something none of the five of us will ever forget ! Thanks Eric.

Vacation – Key West Florida – Part 1

Ahhhhhh – the vacation of a lifetime ! Morning coffee on the balcony of a room at Ocean Key Spa and Resort overlooking Sunset Key with Dana and Season. Sunset Key is a private island with 48 single family homes all worth more than $1.5 million and Oprah has a house there.

Then down to the pool for more rest and relaxation. Nate the pool concierge would pass out frozen lime green towels so we dab our brows if they were even a little sweaty ! Dana, Season, Sara and Libby (Dana’s sister who lives in Key West year round) enjoying the sun.

And drinks at the poolside bar where the view was spectacular !

Chicken nachos and chicken wings by the pool with some rumrunners !

Using the hot tub after the prior evening festivities, hey Season I wonder what the commoners are doing today ?

Canada Loses Its Cents

On Friday, Canada minted its last penny.

The rationale for this move is that it costs more to mint the penny ($.016 each) than the penny is worth.  In addition, Canada’s Finance Minister concluded that people weren’t using the penny for business.  Instead, they were just putting them in jars at home.  So, no more Canadian pennies will be minted.  Those that have been minted thus far will remain in circulation — at least until they get tossed into the penny jar on someone’s bedroom dresser or kitchen counter.

It will be interesting to see exactly how this works.  According to the linked article, retailers will charge credit cards to the penny, but the price for people paying cash will be rounded to the nearest five-cent interval.  Odd to think that people paying with declared legal tender might end up paying a few cents more for that privilege than people swiping a plastic card, isn’t it?  I imagine that retailers will just establish uniform prices in five-cent intervals to avoid the issue.  Canadians won’t see any more of those beckoning $9.99 prices that retailers are so fond of; instead, Canadians will be seeing a lot of $9.95.

People have urged the U.S. to do what Canada has done, which is probably the first step toward an entirely electronic economy.  All money is an abstraction, of course, but at least there was a satisfying physical dimension to dollars in your wallet and coins in your pocket, and its cumbersomeness provided some security.  Now, the accounts holding your life savings can be emptied in the blink of an eye by a savvy hacker a world away with a few well-chosen keystrokes.

This is called progress.  Of course, if that unfortunate incident happens, we can all fall back on the pennies we’ve carefully hoarded.

Big Red

There was a block party in our neighborhood last night, and the New Albany/Plain Township Fire Department showed up with three of their fire trucks.  Walking past the gleaming red trucks, I couldn’t help but feel the stirrings of the little boy inside.  What boy didn’t, at some time or another, harbor dreams of becoming a fireman, heroically riding those big red trucks to the rescue?