We have been back in Key Largo since February 15, in the afternoon. To our delight, we met our friends Monica and Frank, Phyllis and her new puppy Dillon, and Julienne and Jean-Yves. We were very happy. On February 16, we gave a presentation at the Key Largo public library, thanks to Kathy Gong. Thank you Kathy and thanks to everybody who came to meet with us and participate at our lecture. This presentation also allowed us to meet with Pierre’s friend (he had not seen him for a long long time). So, we spent time with Gilles Couët and Sophie during the week and weekend. We had fun. Gilles also kayaked with us and showed us a channel where manatees are often seen. It was exciting! We saw at least 25 manatees in less than an hour. In the evening, we met a very nice couple from New Brunswick (Canada): Joe and Marjolaine.
Wednesday, we had dinner with Frank, Monica and their friends Dana and Nancy. We had dinner at Dana's parents (Johnnie and Hugo), who welcomed us warmly. It was a wonderful evening. We had the chance to meet with Dana’s father, Hugo Vihlen. This extraordinary man, twice, crossed the Atlantic Ocean aboard the smallest of sailboats. He broke records and made history both times. His last record was done aboard a 5'6 '' sailboat named "Father's Day". Here is a link for more information: http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-28/news/mn-39891_1_north-atlantic. Friday, Dana and Nancy came to pick us up to have dinner at their home. They are really great people. We loved our evening! Thank you again to all of you.
During the week, we also saw Jamie Jackson (we first met him through FBO and Team River Runner). He came with very good news. We now have a new partner: Pussers Rum! Jamie, thank you for your trust and support and of course, for the excellent rum. This rum has an unusual history. For a very long time it has been the official rum of the British Navy. On their website, you will find the story behind that good rum: www.pussersrum.com.
We also met Fred and Patricia. This Michigan couple (greetings to all our friends from Michigan; we love Michigan!) wrote an article about us for a Michigan magazine. We will post the article when we have a copy. Thank you both for the opportunity and the time we had to chat with you.
February 23, 2015
We went sailing aboard Frank and Monica's sailboat. Jean-Yves and Julienne invited all of us for dinner. What good cooks they are!!! That evening marked the beginning of our goodbyes to our friends. During the week, we finalized our preparations for the next leg of our adventure, which is our ascent to the north. Leaving Key Largo will not be easy as we have developed deep friendships.
February 24, 2015
That's it! Today we left the campground where we spent so much time. It was hard to say goodbye to all our friends. Phyllis even managed to get me to shed tears. Despite the fact that we were sad, we were also happy to be back on the water. We know that there are many adventures waiting for us ahead. Paddling along the East Coast of the United States will be a long journey.
We stopped today at a primitive campsite maintained by the John Pennekamp State Park. The place is really great. It is located in the Garden Cove. Garden Cove was named in the 1830s, because of the gardens of fruit and vegetables maintained by Captain John Whalton. Whalton was killed by the Seminole Indians in 1837.
For the first time this year, we experienced mosquitoes at dawn. We must begin to get used to it.
February 25, 2015
We had a great paddling day. There was fog at sunrise this morning. The scenery was beautiful. The water was calm and its colour blended with the colour of the sky. The sun managed to show its presence encircled by a bright halo. When the mist started to dissipate, we saw a small rainbow just at the height of the mangroves. It gave us the impression of being there just for us. The water was beautiful and transparent. We spent hours watching the seabed and fish. Everything was so clear and calm. Superb!
Then we stopped for lunch on Adam Key. We found a sign about a pirate name Black Caesar. He patrolled the Biscayne Bay in the 1700s. Near Adam Key, there is another island named Porgy Key, which also has a lot of history. In 1897, an African descendant established his family on the island. The Jones family has grown pineapples and limes for years. They sold them to Key West at that time. The last descendant of the family named Sir Lancelot Jones departed the island after Hurricane Andrew in 1994. He was 94 and was known as the "philosopher of Porgy Key".
We ended our paddling day at Elliott Key National Park. We are alone on this island, or nearly alone...... there are mosquitoes! We learned that there are 29 species of mosquito. They are very bad here, but we were told it is nothing in comparison to the summer months. It drives you, literally, crazy!
February 26, 2015
We stayed on Elliott Key. The wind was very strong all day and there were white caps in the bay. The day was beautiful despite the wind. However, the weather forecast is not great. We must be to the Oleta River State Park (Miami) on, or before, March 3rd as on March 4th we are giving a presentation. Maybe we will find another way to cross the bay if good weather doesn't present itself shortly, so as to reach land on the other side of the Bay.