Our last full day, and a poignant day for me since it would have been my Dad's 74th birthday -- I miss him very much. I know, though, that it would make him very happy to know that I was fully enjoying this beautiful day and living life to its fullest.
This morning Barry got up to see the sunrise. I was too comfortable in bed to join him, so his photos had to suffice.
Sunrise from Treetop Cottage balcony
Sunrise and storms off in the distance as seen from near Long Key bridge
After I finally dragged out of bed, we enjoyed another bike ride over Long Key bridge and up to Long Key State Park, this time taking the requisite entry fee ($1.50 each for bikes) to check in at the gate. The nice female park ranger told us that even though they were supposed to charge for folks on bikes, they normally turned a blind eye and let us in for free. What a deal!
Barry viewing the Atlantic Ocean in Long Key State Park
We enjoyed tooling around the park and checking out the very nice wooded campsites looking right at the Atlantic. Maybe one day we will come and camp here; it's certainly among the nicest campgrounds we've ever seen.
Long Key State Park
Example campsite - what a setting
On the way back across the bridge, Barry's bad luck with the bicycles continued when Bike #4 sprung a flat tire, again due to a fish hook. Fortunately, he was able to ride quite a bit farther before the tire got too low, and he only had to walk a half-mile or less back to the cottage. Once again, my bike performed splendidly (heehee). Fortunately Tom was repairing bikes this afternoon, so it seems likely that Barry will be able to find yet another "victim" for tomorrow morning's ride before we take off for the long trek north.
After breakfast, we headed out on another nice sail. The wind had shifted to the east and was slightly lighter than the day before, but still good enough for a 4.4 mph average for the sail. The sun was out all day, and the high was in the low 80s -- blissful on the water. We were treated to the sight of several Magnificent Frigatebirds overhead during our sail, and as usual, little boat traffic, making for a relaxing sail. We'd packed a cooler with sandwiches and apples and enjoyed them during our sail.
All smiles today!
Long Key bridge that we biked across
Once again, we almost had the water to ourselves.
Cormorants on Everglades National Park boundary sign
After returning to the dock, we finally met Peggy, Tom's wife, a cute and outgoing little woman, and we had a nice conversation. She told us that Tom had been living on a boat for years when she met him, and they continued living on boats and cruising after their marriage for many years. Lately, they'd sold the boat and were living ashore. They own three rental cottages here on Conch Key, as well as a house they've just built and moved into across Hwy 1 from the cottages.
Peggy was nice enough to take us on a quick tour of the other cottages. She decorates them with nautical gear in full island style, and they are all charming; we'd be happy staying in any of them. No one else has been renting either of the other two cottages this week while we've been here, so we've had the place to ourselves, aside from Delisa and Mark in their docked boat, but we only see them occasionally.
This is one of the rental cottages across the street from where we were staying in the Treetop Cottage. It's absolutely precious, but not on the water. Love the Keys paint job!
We made our usual sunset pilgrimage to Seven-Mile bridge, where we did a four-mile walk. Along the way, we saw a huge spotted eagle ray swimming in the clear water below -- stunning! If you look really closely, you can see him in the photo below, taken from the bridge (at dusk, so it's dark). This is probably what we heard splashing in the water the previous night but never identified!
Spotted Eagle Ray
Historic Seven Mile Bridge (the walkable portion is only two miles each way now); the new bridge for motor vehicles is next to the old bridge.
Another pretty sunset
We chose to eat at Cabana Breeze again for our last night's meal on this breezy, pleasant evening, and it was delicious. I got coconut-encrusted flounder, served with salad, rice, and plantains; and Barry had shrimp quesadillas with rice and beans, plus a bowl of broccoli-cheese soup. For dessert, Barry couldn't resist one last piece of their delicious, tart key lime pie, while I indulged in a chocolate ice cream after-dinner cocktail. Dieting is definitely going to be in order when we get home!