I was up early walking Cali, so I grabbed my chair and a hot mug of tea to sit over on the little “beach” next to the kayak dock. I secluded myself behind a stand of mangroves and meditated and watched the sun come up over the boats in the harbor. Another amazing display of gold and red splashing across the morning sky. Afterwards we had a leisurely start to our day hanging around the patio and doing some reading and writing.
Sunrise at Boyd’s
After lunch, we loaded up the boards and made the short drive over to the Hurricane Hole to do a paddle around the mangroves at the end of Stock Island. The cool crew at Lazy Dog paddle sports were kind enough to let us launch off of their Astroturf dock and they even loaned us a plastic map of the area. We threaded our way past some incoming kayakers and headed toward the Atlantic side of the isle. We had already seen two sharks while coming out of the creek. We turned up a narrow canal that fronted a bunch of beautiful homes that sat directly on the water. We saw a large turtle and lots of cute little jellyfish but there really wasn’t much sea life.
We went back out to the main channel and explored around some inlets and coves with mangrove islands and more houses. There were lots of fish, sponges and sea stars to see. We found ourselves being escorted up one channel by a floating tiki bar with a bunch of happy go lucky patrons hooting away. We escaped up a narrow slot between some dredging machines and came out near the bridge next to the mangrove creek where we had started our excursion. There next to the bridge we spotted them, a school of sharks! I counted nine but a lady looking over the bridge railing above said there was fifteen. It was awesome. We followed them around a while then got out back at Lazy Dog. Next, we went next door to the Hurricane Hole to grab a drink and a snack. Thanks Lazy Dog for your hospitality and help.
We cooled off in the shade at the Hurricane Hole sipping iced tea and sampling some sashimi. The Hungarian waitress was gregarious and funny sitting at the table with us and taking our order. The fishermen were finishing their charters for the day. Many were cleaning their boats at the docks as tarpon poked their heads up to watch. Others were already done and were clustered around tables nearby having a beer to celebrate their catch. From there, it was time for a quick nap before heading down to Mallory Square to catch the sunset.
We parked down on Whitehead Street and made it to the square with time to spare. There was a large crowd already assembled for the tradition of gathering to watch a Key West sunset. A band was playing, jugglers and buskers of all types were entertaining the crowd. A couple of bars were serving the crowd in front of the Margaritaville Hotel but the true star of the show was the setting sun. Sailboats and party boats were sailing back and forth across the horizon adding to the spectacle. It was a festive and fun outing. As we were passing a Cuban restaurant the band struck up ‘Despacito’ and we paused in our walking to get in a dance.
Then it was on to Duval Street where the party never ends. Things were hopping and the sidewalks were packed. We wandered around checking out the action. I came upon a hot dog vendor and we decided to test one out and watch the crowds. Lucky for PJ, they had a veggie option and we sat on a bench with a passed out guy sleeping beneath us and took in the giant party that is Key West.