Saturday, August 28, 2010

Biggie Summer Trip! (in parts...)

While my kitchen was being re-modeled(sort-of) the kiddos and I took off so we wouldn't be in the way.  We went to Granny and Grandad's, and stayed for a week.  I visited with some good friends, played with my niece and nephew and lost heartily at cards!  Then, Zman and I took off on a trip all of our own- to the Keys! Ahhhhhhhh....
On the way we stopped at Clyde Butcher's Gallery and walked through to marvel at his skill and the beauty of Florida and beyond.  There is a small nature walk through a little swampy area that is pretty.  Here is a pic I took at the end of it:

Our trip down was fun and beautiful, with a lovely rainstorm about halfway across 41. It has always been a favorite of mine to watch the rainstorms move across the Everglades.  There was nobody on the road, I guess they all take I-75 now 'cause it's faster- that's ok, they can have it! US41 is it for me, I love that drive!

We made it in non-record time( you know me...and with much protesting from my passenger) and it was an absolute joy to be there!  We found the motel we were staying at, the Key Lantern/Blue Fin motel. Let me tell you, I was a bit nervous when I made the reservation.  People had told me it was icky and questionable.  I was very pleasantly surprised! For $39 a night(Sunday - Thursday) you get something like this
(it's room #26):

Sparse, but clean room/bathroom and No Bedbugs!  No phone(most people have cell phones anyhow) and we had a fridge! Nothing special, but what do you expect for $39 a night?  Really, how much time do you actually spend in your room in the Keys? 

We unloaded the car, then stopped at Robbie's to say Hi and see what was happening. Ended up staying till about 11pm shooting the breeze at the Thirsty Tarpon while the teenagers played on the docks and drove the golf cart around( FYI- these activities aren't ususally included in the average joes's visit to Robbie's Rent-a-Boat, we have family there...) and as far as I know stayed out of trouble. 

The next day, Zman wanted to go fishing.  He had brought his pole and I was thinking that we would fish off the side of the road anywhere, and just see what we would catch (I am out of practice with anything larger than a john-boat).  He wanted to use his plugs, but I know that real bait works better!   After breakfast at the Islamorada bakery, we stopped by Robbie's to get some bait and ask a local where is the best place to go (No fishing at Robbie's docks- only FEEDING of tarpon there...).  Well, we ended up on the Capt. Michael for the afternoon fishing trip!  Capt. Brian McCaddie and Gaylon, the mate, were fantastic!  They put us right in the fish and worked their butts off baiting hooks, taking fish off, untangling lines, changing rods, answering countless questions, marking the fish(so you know whose is whose) and keeping count of the fish so we didn't go over what's allowed on a particular species. All while being so polite and patient with everyone!  Truly an accomplishment(especially after the stormy morning fishing trip)!  Zman and I had the BEST TIME! 
We were exhausted, but exhilarated enough to go get cleaned up and eat some pizza at Tower of Pizza!  YUM!
My cousin, Jodi, and her family were en-route to meet up with us, which we did the following day.  After a delightful breakfast at the Hungry Tarpon, we embarqed on our mission for the day, LOBSTER!   It was the opening weekend of lobster season after all.  This is not something I have done before, neither had Zman, so we were excited for the challenge. 

The Florida Spiny lobster lives in holes or under objects, so one needs a "tickle stick" to coax them out of their hiding place and a net and gloves to retrieve them once they dart out of said hiding place.  It is fun for about an hour if you are snorkeling for them.  After that it becomes a bit tedious and exhausting because you run out of breath about the time they get "tickled" out of their hole!  Jodi's husband, Sean, is now nicknamed the "Lobster Nazi".  He excelled at barking out instructions to Zman mostly, and sometimes the rest of us.  ie: "CHECK THAT HOLE!"  "NO NOT THAT, THE SANDY AREA NEXT TO IT!"  "IS THAT A PIPE? CHECK IT!"  "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T HAVE GLOVES?"  "GET YOUR MASK ON! YOU NEED TO BE READY!"  " GO GO GO, RIGHT THERE!"  "WHERE'S MY TICKLE STICK-GET ME A TICKLE STICK!"  And the coup-de-gra(or however you say/spell it!) "WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE ARE NO MORE BLANKIN' TICKLE STICKS!  HOW DO YOU LOSE 3 BLANKETY-BLANK TICKLE STICKS?"  Zman was such a trouper!  It was his desire to get lobster and his respect for his elders that kept him from exploding back at the Lobster Nazi.  On the same token, our Lobster Nazi did the lion's share of the tickling and retrieving of the lobsters.  He was cut up, poked, sea liced and even got into some fire coral as a result! Here's a pic of our crew minus one, T was pooped out on the deck...
Here are some lobsters we were entertaining in the cooler with beer and champagne:
And here is our beloved and proud Lobster Nazi(aka Sean):
He was so pumped to go again and get more, but alas, it was not to be.  Not for not trying, mind you, they were all shorties from here on out...  Sorry Sean. 
We were all famished and some of us were burnt up, but we had some eating to do after our fruitful day in the sea.  Sean took the fish the Zman and I had caught the day before, plus some of the lobsters over to the Hungry Tarpon for Chef Manny for fix up for us.  Boy, did he!  I regret that I didn't have the foresight to take a pic before we dove into all the yummy goodness before us, we were just too hungry!
Chef Manny out-did himself!  These platters were licked clean, the kitchen only had to wipe the slobber off them when we were done!  While we dined(or rather gorged ourselves), Sean and Jodi's friend, Micah, provided the entertainment. 
He is a local singer that writes his own tunes as well as singing many of your favs, plus I think he knows all of Jimmy Buffett's tunes as well!  Good tunes, good food and good company- a great ending to a great day!  Jodi's daughter was the only one who had room for dessert:
Key Lime pie disguised as a poodle!

My cousin Michael and his wife Annie are doing a fabulous job of carrying on and improving what my Aunt and Uncle started!  Robbie's Rent-a-Boat -MM 77.5 bayside.  Be sure you visit when you go to Islamorada!  Feed the tarpon, take a kayak trip on your own or guided, go fishing on a charter or on the Capt. Michael, rent a boat, have a drink or a smoothie at the Thirsty Tarpon, eat any meal at the Hungry Tarpon, lose yourself in the Fly-by shop, take part in a hermit crab race, buy some local art framed by old lobster traps, replace your sunglasses you lost while feeding the tarpon, or just hang out on the beach area or docks.  It's a destination! 

Next mission:  Key West

1 comment:

D'Ache' said...

Lots of memories and lots of fun......I miss that.