Category Archives: Florida Keys

Florida and the Keys – an Update

A few more photos from our trip late last month along with some post hurricane(s) status in the area…

Watching the sun set in Key WestWatching the sun set in Key West.  Sunset is a big attraction down there.  This view is from the Hyatt Centric, where we stayed.  They opened again on 22 September but say that “some amenities are temporarily limited or unavailable”.  We’ve heard the marina where I made this photo is “gone”.Injured LogerheadInjured Loggerhead – Staff members treat an injured Loggerhead Sea Turtle at the Turtle Hospital on Marathon.  Their website (www.turtlehospital.org) says the facility and staff made it through Hurricane Irma OK, but there’s extensive damage all over Marathon.Key West: Fort Zachary Taylor Fortress InteriorKey West: Fort Zachary Taylor Fortress Interior.  Their website says they’re closed until further notice with no info on how much damage they suffered.

Key West Street Scenes: Sloppy Joe's BarKey West Street Scenes: Sloppy Joe’s Bar first opened the day Prohibition ended.  Ernest Hemingway was a favorite patron.  Their website says they’re open for business.

One of the people who run the snorkel boat trips at Bahia Honda has a YouTube channel: “Livin’ the Keys Life” and he’s posting info about Bahia Honda and Marathon.  The damage there looks pretty bad.  I imagine it will be a while before it re-opens.

As far as locations around Central Florida, please check them before you go too.  For example Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is reporting lots of road closures  due to hurricane damage (https://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147578811) while Orlando Wetlands Park says they’re open for public use (http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/). And Lynn and I drove over the Lake Jesup bridge again today and the sunflower fields are still flooding.  We saw a few blooms on high ground close to the road, but we’ll have to wait until next year on these.

You can check on other parks at the Florida State Park storm information web page:  https://www.floridastateparks.org/content/storm-information.

And there’s info on National Parks in our area on this site:  https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/09/no-details-fate-national-parks-caribbean.

Tourism is a huge part of the economy in Florida and especially in the Keys.  One way you can help them recover is by visiting.  Just make sure they’re ready before you go, and they’ll be very glad to see you.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Hurricane Irma may pass directly over Bahia Honda State Park

This morning, we’re waiting to see what Hurricane Irma is going to do and it looks like it might pass directly over Bahia Honda State Park as a Cat 4 or Cat 5 storm.  It’s hard to imagine the damage that could result.

Lynn and I returned from the Florida Keys a week ago.   We spent a couple of days in Key West and then were lucky enough to stay in one of the 6 cabins at Bahia Honda State Park for 3 more days.  They’re built on stilts but even so are only about 10 -15 feet above the ocean.  And we felt them swaying at times while we were there – even in good weather.

The cabins are on the right side of the overseas highway as you head down to the keys.  They’re furnished with everything you need for a great Florida vacation.  And the location on a beautiful lagoon is wonderful.  These next three photos were all made on the patio, just a few steps from the cabin door:

Loggerhead TurtleLoggerhead Sea Turtle – The ranger told us that turtles, dolphin, and tarpon like the lagoon because it’s so quiet and protected.  We’d see one or more of Loggerheads from the cabin porch almost every time we stepped out to look.  We also saw Tarpon rolling on the surface a few times and maybe a dolphin or two.

Sunset FishingSunset Fishing – You can fish in the lagoon by the cabins, but other water activity isn’t allowed.  We often saw campers fishing there.

The view from the cabinAnother view from the cabin porch. The skies at Bahia Honda are some of the darkest in Florida. Lynn and I got up at about 1:30am on our first night. The moon had set and we had a stunning view of this part of the Milky Way, right from the patio. And the bugs weren’t biting too much!

The Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is about 8 miles southwest of Bahia Honda and snorkeling trips leave for the reef twice a day.  It was a relaxing swim – the water temperature was in the high 80’s, which can cause storms to strengthen.

Sergeant majors and othersLooe Key Sergeant majors and others –  The visibility wasn’t very good the day were were there, but the number of fish we saw was still impressive.

There are also 72 campsites in the Park.  Many of them are in awesome locations too.

Between the bridgesBetween the bridges – This is at sunset, between the old abandoned bridge on the left and the new one on the right.  You can see some of the lovely Bahia Honda campsites on the left side of the frame.

Lynn and I thought of this visit to Bahia Honda as a “scouting trip”.   Based on what we saw, we definitely want to go back.

To everyone in Irma’s path and to everyone impacted by Harvey:  We’re thinking of you.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – stay safe in the storm!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved