Monday, March 24, 2014

Snowbirding in Florida Keys - 1999

Bahia Honda Key

This was a busy year for us in the Florida Keys.  Friends Linny & Patsy Jameson came down for a visit and stayed with us for 3 days.  Linny wanted to fish and we spent a lot of time on the old bridges catching fish.  Linny hooked into a 40-50lb tarpon and fought it for 15 minutes before the fish jumped out of the water and shook out the hook.  Linny was thrilled with the fight and really loved it.

Barbara and the three boys came down over spring break once again and had a ball.  Sean & Jared love to fish also, so Barbara and I took them out on a big headboat into the Atlantic Ocean.  We lucked out since the boat wasn't nearly full and we didn't have many line tangles.  Each of the boys caught some fish and were just happy to be out on the big 65 ft boat.

They rented some sea kayaks and spent the afternoon paddling around Bahia Honda Key all morning.  Our daughter Cassie and two childhood friends were on their way to Key West and spent the night with us and also went kayaking with Barbara and kids.

Cassie & Sean

Barb & Jared, Sean & Cassie, Ryan

Gerry, Cassie, Lee & Randy

Lee, Randy & Cassie at Key West
 The first day Barb and kids got there, it was off to the beach to get some sun.  Jared is very fair and picked up a little too much sun but he was a real trooper and suffered in silence.

Me, Sean, Jared, Ryan & Barbara
 One of our favorite restaurants in the Keys was the original Islamorada Fish Company on Islamorada Key.  They had a marina where you could eat freshly caught seafood under umbrellas.  The kids always enjoyed watching employees feed the the sharks and tarpons that were swimming around.  Plus, the beer was cold and the meals great.  We loved the place but a hurricane wiped out the dock and when they rebuilt it, the charm was gone and the prices were much higher.

Jared at Islamorada Fish Co

Ryan, Jared & Sean at Islamorada Fish Co
 They had a replica of Hemmingway's fishing boat at the Bass Pro Shop next to the Islamarada Fish Co and Barbara looked like she belonged on the boat.

Since it was Easter time and that meant dyed Easter eggs, Gerry made sure we dyed a lot of eggs.  The boys went out and found most of the eggs, but you can tell from the look on Ryan's face that he would have preferred to be doing something else.  He did manage to perk up and eat all his candy.  Smart kid.

No trip to the Keys would be complete without a visit to Key West and Mallory Square.  They have a number of street performers there and the "Silver Man" was very popular.  He would stand there like a statue and only move very slowly to take a dollar from someone's hand.  Jared gave him a dollar and got a sucker as a reward and loved it.

Jared and the Silver Man

 Gerry and I always try and celebrate St Patrick's Day wherever we are and that year we attended a corned beef and cabbage dinner at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Big Pine Key.  The meal was great and afterward they had Irish entertainment and dancing until late in the evening.  We went there every year we were down there except the first year and made a lot of good friends.

We also spent time at Long Key State Park in the Keys and it was one of our favorite parks in the U.S.  We especially liked parking right on the beach and having great sunrises and sunsets in view every day.  Long Key was narrow and we could walk from one side to the other in a matter of minutes, so we had the best of both worlds.

Gerry searching for shells with our Flair MH behind her.
 There were a number of regulars who came to Long Key SP year after year at specific times.  We were fortunate to become friends with many of the people there and still continue to be in touch with most of them.  We always enjoyed it when the Chicago Boys came down and set up their fish camp.  They flew a huge American Flag all the time and had floodlights shining on it.  They would bait their lines, wade out to about chest high (200-300 yards), cast out their lines and then wade back to the shore and wait for the fish to bite.  They caught a lot of fish and fried them up all week.  Their fish fries and beer fests were great. 


  1. I know you love the west but looking at these pictures I still think the Keys might be nicer?? Certainly the father of these kids must be one handsome man!! Great job, great memories and great pictures! Makes me want to start my blog up again...don't tell Gerry that!


  2. I agree with Henry the Keys are great, look at all those smiles and family and friends fun. Miss you and the Keys! I know a g'daughter that would love to join you there next year if you're going...hint, hint