If time is money and you have more time, Do you need more money?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bobbing for Apples

I know it's not Halloween, the apple with a big "A"

Almost two years ago I jumped into the apple barrel head first with the iPhone 3 (already surpassed by the 4).  It made a few things much better especially the Charts and Tides app.  After all this was the motivation to upgrade once again.  I had been living with a Blackberry but moving onto the boat I downsized the bill and was using a cheap phone.  Just because the phone died with a little salt water didn't mean I had to go full out again on the bill.  Recently I updated this old i3 to iOs 6 and installed Garmin Blue Charts in anticipation to use it in the Bahamas.

Fast forward to the Florida Keys.  During the last few months I had been staring at the iPhone 4, not an "S" or even the 5.  I just needed what I already had but wanted a newer phone.  First I did the normal online stuff then I actually went into the Marathon AT&T store.  LOL.  Nothing more needs to be said that a person didn't say on the morning net a week or so after our visit.  Bottom line, we didn't give them our money.  One our first trip to Key West we did the stop in and touch it thing,  We also looked at the iPad and mini iPad.  We brushed off the sales person and continued to process the info.

Then on our next trip to Key West we stopped in again, brushed off the salesperson, and processed more info.  We finally approached the attractive 50 something keeping the gate and asked "who do we talk to?"  She set us up in the system for the next available sales rep.  Mean while she spoke to The Fisher King and asked about his "Mum".  Yes she had a heavy English sound.  I couldn't help the voices in my head... "Have you seen my mummy?" over and over.  I guess we watch too much BBC TV.

We can confirm that Doctor Who returns to BBC One 
during the Easter weekend on Saturday, 30 March, 2013.

The four reasons for making the current jump and "bobbing for apples" once again in the barrel were simple.

  1. It was on sale for 99 cents. LOL  I mean just short of $170.*
  2. It afforded us a hot spot for the internet, sucking up our data plan of course.
  3. The Lifeproof case and LifeJacket would in theory make it waterproof and float.
  4. I needed a fix for the "Want a new toy" bug.
*Your mandatory one time activation fee comes out to "Way too much!", the Lifeproof case and the LifeJacket would bring the total close to $170 for a 99 cent phone.  This does not include the upcoming Ram   brackets to mount it near the helm as a back up device and a second one for a safe location.

So here we are pacified for the moment with a new iPhone for me and a new to him iPhone web browser for the Fisher King. (Shh don't tell him it is OUR backup, for those just in case times).  We actually had a just in case time when the Blue Charts crashed and I needed to access Charts and Tides (now on both phones) on the old phone.  

On to the third dipping of the head in the barrel hoping to pull out a nice shinny Apple.  The iPad fever was getting pretty bad also!  After all our laptop, built like a tank, was around 7.5 pounds.  We had been using this recycled Tough Book due to our original ASUS net books not surviving our cruise last year.  We diligently did our internet research of pluses and minuses on the ipad.  We did the research onto other platforms like google and windows.  With the holy grail of iPads (iPad Retina 128gb AT&T ) now running $929 we could not justify what we really wanted.  Enter eBay, okay that was quick enough, no way to guarantee a quality item.  Then Amazon was a little better as was just poping down to Game Stop with their recycle system.  The good thing about Game Stop is if the local shop had one you could put hands on it.  But the best they had was iPad 2 16gb AT&T for $475.  Still a little bit steep with the small memory amount.  The store up the road had a 64gb AT&T for $595 but I couldn't come off the boat cash even for the larger memory.  

The it was off to Craigslist.  A couple of days later we finally broke down and made a couple of calls.  The first was for an iPad 2 32gb AT&T that never returned the call for $325.  The next was for an iPad 2 64g AT&T that was way too far for us to bike or even bus.  Only about 20 miles but that could be a full day one way and need a decoder ring on a bus.  After a few minutes to process the other options we called in favors and secured a ride to his meeting location.  Feeling like "a drug deal about to happen" things took a turn for the better as the neighbor hood containing the 7-Eleven we were to meet at became very respectable.  The 7-Eleven was even brick instead of block.  After meeting the well dressed gentleman, his wife and daughter with him,  the iPad looked new!  He offered a bill of sale and all that would make one feel better about a 7-Eleven "deal".  If anyone needs an iPad it seems his business sales off all the "out of warranty" iPads when they are replaced.  We now have an iPad 2 64gb AT&T for $425 compared to the new price of $829 at Apple.  

What pushed us over the edge of the barrel once again?
  1. The new toy fix from the iPhone 4 only fueled the need for toys
  2. We got a fair deal compared to the $595 at Game Stop and $829 new.
  3. The Lifeproof case and LifeJacket would make it water proof in theory.
  4. I was tired of dealing with 7.5 pounds plus a charger every time we went to shore for internet.
  5. Enough space for part of the photos and song libraries.
We now have to learn iTunes proficiently.  LOL.  I never liked it.  We are trying to go from "removing after every forced use" to actually having to use iTunes.  Maybe one day it will grow on us.  For now we are syncing two iPhones and an iPad still using the old Toughbook.  Will this mean we need a MacBook pro?  I hope not!  LOL.  But it would give us more Apples from the barrel and a secondary system to use all the current programs.  For now it is The Fisher King's boat school that keeps us mandated to Windows.

What are the short comings of the iPad?  
  1. For us number one is the fact that boat school needs Windows
  2. That getting items from the iPad to another device is an effort, but not impossible.
  3. You must use a Mac or Windows computer to do the sync.  I know iCloud but that is another adventure one day.
  4. The need for an external real keyboard for long entries like this one.  And No Mouse!
  5. The iPad loves iTunes and doesn't play well with other means of acquiring music and videos.

With all this sync'ing keeping apps seperate and consolidated is getting simpler.  The Fisher King doesn't need everything I do and vice versa.  Really, I don't need to be killing zombies every bus trip.  Here are the most used apps from the growing iStuff on s/v Gemini Dreams.
  1. Charts and Tides
  2. Garmin Blue Charts, Buy the whole North America for only $5 more!
  3. Drag Queen,  Just met someone that wouldn't down load it because of the name!
  4. iBooks,  Great Place for all the pdf manuals.
  5. Google,  Keeps better bookmarks
  6. Google Earth
  7. Google Translator
  8. Gmail, Apple gives Gmail the short options in the original email controls.
  9. Flipboard,  keeps track of iGoogle and Google reader plus so much more.
  10. Around me
  11. Skype
  12. Windfinder
  13. Jasmine
  14. OnLive Desktop, Windows productivity online
We have others of course but they are more for entertainment than anything really useful.  One thing I really miss is LastFM on the iPad.  It keeps going to scrobbler..  I just want plain old LastFM and my favorite channel.***  And what is up with Hulu wanting only Plus + on the iPad!  

Why do I insist on putting Saint Lu vids on the blog?
I like the music and it is not available in the US by normal means.

*** Well I have been able to push the LastFM phone app onto the iPad using iTunes but as will all good things LastFM has now upgraded to a pay site and will only allow 50 songs for free.


Clicky Thumb and Grunts

Clicky Thumb as we have been calling it over the last couple of weeks in short is an inflamation on the guides around the tendon of the thumb (or fingers).   At first it was just a little click as I moved my thumb joint.  Over the next few days it became worse, making me mentally retrace all my actions over the last few weeks trying to find a reason.  Then about a week into the ouch phase I finally looked it up on the internet.  The greatest place for all us self diagnosing, not going to the doctor types.  Seems I acquired this little ailment during washing of our clothes.  (One of the main causes seems to be wringing out clothes).  I guess we have to plan on "plan B" in the future as I sit here with a brace on my left thumb.  What would our cruising season be without an ailment of some sort.

Yesterday was the day of the grunts.  For the first time since we were staying at Sun Harbor Marina we went fishing with the girls.  To make things simple we only took the dinghy across from our anchored Vega to the city park.  It afforded us a couple of docks even though our expectations of great fish were very low.  Over the next 4 hours we caught countless grunts, lady fish, baby snappers, and Amy's "day winning" little 11" flounder!  It was a great day with all of us hanging out for the day.  Too bad we didn't bring the camera or even take a single iPhone picture.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Bitching About Other Cruisers

We often bitch about places and businesses but for the most part other cruisers are all good.  This brings us to our topic of the day.

Shortly before we passed Cayo Costa we were sailing, you know with the sails up.  We were coming up to marker R56A which is a Starboard (right) turn.  We were about 100 feet from it and 25 feet to the west.  A safe clearing distance.  All Good Right?  Well there was this trawler catching us and closing around 2-3 knots.  When it became apparent he wasn't going around I expected him to slow and follow us around the marker.

WRONG!  First it was the Bwonk! Bwonk! of his horn. So I motioned him to our port.  We had the main laid up against the port spreaders and if we blinked we would turn toward starboard.  This is where things get interesting.  As we cleared the marker, ready to turn he revved his engines and stuck his bow between us and the marker with another Bwonk! Bwonk!  The Fisher King came bouncing up the companion way wondering what was up.  Asking why he was soooo close.  We veered off quickly trying not to gybe the boom.  There must have been less than 6 feet from his hull to ours and a crap load of space on the other side.

Watching him over the next mile or so we could see that he was running the chart plotter to steer the boat.  Charging dead ahead toward a marker then changing course at the last minute.  Leaving massive amounts of room on the other side.

Well he is gone, we are safe, no big deal!  Strike one!

The next morning after we made it through Roberts Bay and  passing through Siests Key Bridge we had the gaining trawler squeeze through the bridge at the same time.  Passing us with a Bwonk! Bwonk!  WTF?  Strrike two!

Then as we waiting in the fog for the new schedule of the Cortez Bridge a trawler pulled anchor and sped quickly toward the bridge as it opened.  Our stern was still between the spans as the Fire Dog IV passed us once again.  Strike three!

Maybe this is the last time we cross paths with them.  We hope!


Taking Time To Visit Annapolis

We took time out to visit s/v Velocir in Annapolis, MD

Where is the sun?

Actually just kidding.  Glad to hear you are making another cruise this summer guys.  You will miss the clear blue waters as we have.  This is actually the morning after we anchored at Long Beach as we approached Cortez.

 Another Vega anchored at Cortez

Cortez and Anna Maria Bridges are on new schedules mark your chart book.  With all the fog on the water this morning you would think that the wind was calm.  Not the case.  We were getting over 20 knots and gusts approaching gale force.  Trying to hold upwind of a bridge is not fun at least it was these two with plenty of room to maneuver.   Once past Anna Maria we went wing and wing with full sails at close to 20 knots.  Wheeee!  All the way across Tampa Bay except for when we had to avoid the cargo ship that wouldn't get out of OUR way. lol.  We must have been doing 8 knots or more with the wind, waves and current all on our side.  We always use the Sunshine Skyway Channel instead of taking the long way through the actual intercoastal.  About the second set of markers we fog thickened and with the squirly boat in such a narrow channel we chickened out.  Dropping the wing and wing.  I have hit the edge of this channel before when I was going slow and  blinked.  I didn't want to do it at over 8 knots with sails up.  This was a great decision as by the time the sails were down we couldn't see the next markers.

Making along with limited viability the Fisher King ran point and moved to the bow to help look for markers.  We started the motor as a back up just incase we needed to change course quickly.  When I needed to top off the fuel he took the tiller and made a little mistake of mistaking the warning marker for a channel marker.  After all it was pea soup.  As I turned around to take over and saw the warning marker I gave the tiller a hard pull just as  the sounder alarmed.  The genny was pulling us along and the motor was running.  Our next little panic was have we passed the turn?  No big deal as dead ahead is an anchorage.  Trying to balance going to fast and reading a chart we found the marker numbers and decided the second pair ahead would be our turn.

Structure E has a new schedule also! Top and Bottom of the hour!  We didn't find this out until after we got no response from the hand held, tried the main radio, tried the conch horn, tried the back up hand held and returned to the first radio.  After calling 5 or 6 times we finally got a response.  He blamed the bridge inspectors but I guess when you got to go, you got to go.  It was 42 after now and we missed the opening that no longer exists.  So our haste was a waste.

They are building a new bridge at Structure C

I wish all the motor boats made this little of a wake

 Madeira Beach Osprey


Other photos we have failed to get off the iphone until now

Ron and Jo, the first people I actually met in Boot Key two years ago at Super Bowl
s/v Thyme Hyssop & Wry

 The Fisher King making palm roses

Pool at the legion

Big Fred

s/v Sea Salt that we met last year in Bimini

Breathing Red, Fast Rides, Broken Motors and Bad Food

Our plan had a stop at Pelican Bay.  Pelican Bay is the anchorage at Cayo Costa State Park.  Two things led us not to make this stop.

First was the stiff South Easterly breeze.  After making it through the crowded (not so much today) first mile of the intercoastal we raised the sails and we on another zip of a ride.  Through this zig zag course that runs everything from South West to North we made great time with perfect wind.

Second was the fact that just after Fire Dog IV tried to run us over we started to cough.  This cough continued all the way up to marker 74, the turn off to go into Pelican Bay.  The feeling was just like a couple days back when we sprayed ourselves with deet to prevent the bugs from eating us.  As you spray around your face and head and of course naturally breath in you cough.  It even had the same kind of taste.

With both of these taken into account we pressed on.  I hate the Boca Grande Bridge almost as much as Lake Wimco, just saying for reference.  As we entered the narrows above Gasparilla Sound it happened.  Ka- thunk zoom!  Our little motor was free revving, in a narrow channel, with a breeze.  With just the genny out we managed to travel far enough to I felt one of the little pockets  would offer enough room to anchor and take care of the situation.  My hope was just a pin.  It turned out to be just that, nothing major.  But we didn't have a pin.  What could we use?  We found an aluminum rivet that was undersized but our only other option was stainless.

A pair of Eagles in Lemon Bay

All good and we pulled the anchor.  Off we went  until about marker 16 in Lemon Bay (luckily they were done with their previous red tide).  We sailed across lemon bay and turned into the anchorage just before Lemon Bay Bridge, dead into the wind.  With the anchor down we set off on finding as acceptable pin to use for the final couple days before we would be in Clearwater.  We found a left over pull pin from a fire extinguisher that was was accidentally discharged a couple years ago.  With a quick clip from the cutters we made it do.  Pulled the anchor and motored farther up into the anchorage.

Feeling beaten up a little we decided to have dinner out!  Big mistake!  We rowed up the anchorage toward the neon signs in search for the two restaurants listed for this anchorage.  We tied up to the first one we found, the White Elephant.  (If you stop here try Flounders not the Elephant)  We sat down and ordered an appetizer first,  MZO  (Mushrooms, Zucchini, and Onions).  This item was fair.  Then we ordered the sub par dinner with excellent french fries.  The crinkle cut ones like in a truck stop.  They were awesome.  The grouper sand kind of sucked and The Fisher Kings Steak, veggies and potatoes sucked.  I made a mistake in ordering a basket of fries since the first 12 were so good.  Did I say mistake?  The fries came out double fried full of grease and just not good!  The the really bad part....paying $70 to get out!  Never Again!

The next morning we made it to Long Beach without slamming into the sea floor this time.  Hoping to recoup our expectations of dinner we tried eating out once again.  This time at the Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant.  Everything here was acceptable and we walked for half the price of the White Elephant.


A Hitch Hikers Guide To Little Shark River

We left Marathon just after the cruisers net with East wind forecast.  It always seems that a forecast of east winds in the Florida Bay are less than actually forecast.  At least for us they are.  So we spent a calm day slowly sailing toward Morgan Beach (an outside anchorage).   As the day closed we found ourselves once again with a sunset out in the LAKE of Mexico (Florida Bay).

Ripples in the Florida Bay 

We spent another night out in the bay.  With the wind still light from the East we decided to head off toward Little Shark River to wait out the oncoming front.  The slight increase in observed wind propelled us forward at 3.5 knots.  Just the right speed it seems for Spanish Mackerel.

The Spanish liked our slow trolling

We arrived and tucked just past the bend in Little Shark River.  As we entered the anchorage we were at idle speed when I dropped the anchor.  Damn!  The current was so fast that when the anchor caught it was like setting it at full throttle.  I barely got it sopped just over the 100 foot mark on the chain.  Needless to say that the next morning I had to motor up over it to pull it out.

The locals

 Low tide

Sunset at Little Shark River

The Vibrant Twilight

We left Little Shark River the next morning headed off toward Morgan's Beach at Cape Ramano.  But as our luck has it the front we stopped into Little Shark River to hide from fizzled out and we were left once again with light winds.  With the constant light winds and slow going I thought I would get some down time and let the Fisher King captain while I napped.  Within 10 minutes of stretching out I felt the boat change.  His response was it is still on 300 (degrees).  I knew something was different and it appeared that we were loosing almost all the wind.  I decided to pull out the spinnaker and give it a hoist.  By the time all this was done we had no wind, zero, nada!

This is where we found out the secret to hitch hiking in the Little Shark River.  If you are a no-see-um and the crew of the sailing and motor vessels keep their screens up to keep you out you actually have a second chance.  Stow away and tell all the other teeth with wings creatures you are hitch hiking your way to paradise.  Soon you and your closest 10 bazillion friends are having a free ride to the next tropical human paradise.  No more dwelling in the swamp!  No more left over gator scraps!  You now will have fresh meat for life.  Seriously when the wind died we thought we were in a bee swarm that we could barely see.  We only got glimpses when the sun hit them or the actually landed on the boat again.  As the wind increased to around 5 knots it looked like someone had peppered the boat!  I wish I still had a garden sprayer!

We motored up and I had just enough rest to make me more tired.  Clicking across a little over 4 knots we found a sunset just shy of the Cape Romano Shoals marker.  Too close (and upwind) to the shoals to heave to and feel comfortable we anchored for dinner and a movie.

Sunset at Cape Romano Shoals

Just about to the end of the movie we had surprise winds.  At least more than the WX called for.  It was getting a little like Nixon Bay out here so we decided to pull up and sail off into the darkness.  Keeping a watch out for the marker, the marker that was supposed to be flashing every 4 seconds!  The coordinated for the marker passed about 1/2 mile north of us and we still have yet to see a flash, or even a reflection from our spot light.  Oh well.  As the shoals cleared off safely behind us at 3 am I heaved to and went below to catch up on the nap I had planned on 14 hours before.  Being waken by the alarm every hour doesn't give you much rest but some is better than none.  Maybe I should have gotten up every half hour as we covered 12 miles during that 4 hour nap.

At 7 am I flipped the Genny over started off on a zip of a ride.  From 12 miles off Cape Romano to Gordon Pass we zipped along at full hull speed or more.  Somewhere past Gordon the noon sun started the onshore shift and we slowly lost our power.  We still had enough to sail up the coast but it was diminishing.  By 3 pm we were feeling the effect of the daily sea breeze vs  dominate wind.  Our east wind was climbing up and over the sea breeze.  Vroom went the little motor as we were going to be able to make it to Estero Island or the bridge at Sanibel Island.

We entered the anchorage on the East side of  San Carlos Bay just after sunset.  The wind had been coming from the west for a couple hours now but we knew that was to change around 10 pm.  It was an easy entry into the anchorage but we knew the wind was not in our favor for the night. I don't understand the names of the Active Captain anchorages here.  West is East and East is West?  With the 4 hours of nap time since yesterday morning we were going to deal with it.    

The wake makers paradise awaits us tomorrow, the beginning of the intercoastal.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crimson Tide

No RJ is not a post about Alabama.  Instead it is a post about Harmful Algal Blooms.  NOAA weather (WX) radio has instituted a new announcement due to the conditions being so bad this year.  I bet you can't write the website down!  Turn on your WX weather and listen to the computer animated voice read off the web addresses to both information and comments about the new advisory.  If you can there is a court needing your dictation skills.

What does this have to do with cruising?  Coughs, other resperatory issues, dead fish and contaminated shellfish.   It makes staying at some of the south west coast anchorages unbearable.  Cayo Costa one of our normal stops recently was so bad that I didn't even stop!  For those heading through this area be prepared.  Maybe a cough drop will help ease the cough after every sentence.  Made me feel like I was back in the machining industry.  Actually we sprayed some deet bug spray when we were in the everglades and this is just like standing in that as you inhale.  Have a good trip breath easy.

Shown in this satellite image is ocean color data revealing high concentrations of chlorophyll over a large area (in red), warning scientists of potential HAB activity off the Florida Gulf Coast. Water samples are used to provide data on the algal species to confirm the presence of harmful algae.

The information below is from NOAA and can be found on their press release site. 

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

NOAA adds red tide alerts to Beach Hazards Statements

Red tide threat lingers off Florida’s west coast

NOAA has added a new service to alert the public when red tides threaten human health at Tampa Bay area beaches. The new alert is timely since many of southwest Florida's beaches are experiencing or are under threat of red tide.

The alert is part of a broader experimental initiative NOAA's National Weather Service has been testing since June 2012, called the "Beach Hazards Statement," which also alerts the public for coastal hazards such as rip currents. The Tampa Bay weather forecast office is the first to issue the Beach Hazard Statements to provide coastal residents and visitors with information to protect their safety. NWS is partnering with NOAA's National Ocean Service to provide these alerts to the public.

"Red tides can have significant environmental impacts and threaten the health of some people," said Richard Edwing, director of NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. "Currently, the National Ocean Service forecasts harmful algal blooms to give state and local organizations advanced warning and therefore more options to manage the impacts. Through this partnership with the National Weather Service, we can broaden public awareness about harmful algal blooms, their potential impacts and possible precautionary measures."

Red tide can cause acute respiratory problems for people, especially those suffering from asthma, emphysema or other chronic respiratory disorder. The Tampa Bay weather forecast office will issue a Beach Hazards Statement for red tide when its sister organization at NOAA's National Ocean Service forecasts a potential for moderate or high respiratory impacts along southwest Florida, extending from Levy County south to Lee County.

Red tide is the common term for the harmful algal bloom species, Karenia brevis. NOAA's National Ocean Service has been providing operational forecasts for harmful algal blooms of Karenia brevis in the Gulf of Mexico since 2004. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., provide NOAA with expertise and data to identify and track harmful algal blooms in the Gulf.

"Beach Hazards Statements for harmful algal blooms will be a valuable supplement to the FWC's statewide red tide status reports," said Gil McRae, director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. "We look forward to continuing to share our monitoring information with NOAA to enhance this important resource."

Beach Hazards Statements for the Tampa Bay area are found here, and will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and other National Weather Service systems, for broader dissemination. The public is invited to comment on the usefulness of the Beach Hazard Statements and to help NOAA evaluate whether the statements should be used in other parts of the country.

other pages:


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Picture Worth A Thousand and/or A Thousand

While in Boot Key Harbor s/v Threepenny Opera recently offered their time and experiences while cruising Cuba.  They are a Canadian  flagged vessel.  Through their wonderful fore sight to record this radio broadcast we now have a digital copy .


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bahia Honda Flora and Fauna, a Boatschool Report

So Bahia Honda turned out to not to be all about fun.  I had a report I had to make on it. So here is my photo report.  We walked the whole south side of the island!

Calusa beach

Calusa beach viewed from the old bridge

Someone else escaped Boot Key Harbor for a day

Diamondback Anoles

Invasive species, the Iguanna

If you look close on the wall you will find my hiding spot

The butterfly garden

Gulf Fritillary

Miami Blue Butterfly

The Miami blue (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) is a small butterfly that is native to coastal areas of southern Florida. Once very common throughout its range, it has become critically endangered, and may be the rarest insect in the United States. Its numbers have recently been increased by a captive breeding program at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Zebra Long Wing

Brown Pelican

Portugese Man of War

Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it's not even an "it," but a "they." The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue color of their pneumatophores.

The tentacles are the man-of-war's second organism. These long, thin tendrils can extend 165 feet (50 meters) in length below the surface, although 30 feet (10 meters) is more the average. They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful, but rarely deadly. But beware—even dead man-of-wars washed up on shore can deliver a sting.

Muscles in the tentacles draw prey up to a polyp containing the gastrozooids or digestive organisms. A fourth polyp contains the reproductive organisms.

Man-of-wars are found, sometimes in groups of 1,000 or more, floating in warm waters throughout the world's oceans. They have no independent means of propulsion and either drift on the currents or catch the wind with their pneumatophores. To avoid threats on the surface, they can deflate their air bags and briefly submerge.

From the road looking toward Sandspur Beach

Florida Thatch palm
(Thrinax radiata)

  • Also known as the Silk-top thatch palm
  • One of the few palms native to Florida Keys
  • Has a slender grey trunk with dark green fan leaves at the top. Leaves are about 3ft long with drooping tips at the end. It produces white flowers that grow on the yellow stems to 3-4ft long.
  • This slow growing palm can get up to 20ft tall.

Florida Silver Palm 
(Coccothrinax argentata)
  • Small, slow-growing fan palm with leaves that are dark blue-green above and silver-colored below
  • Flowers white small on light orange branches. Fruits globose, half an inch in diameter, green turning purple or black when ripe.
  • The Endangered Florida Key Deer feed on the fruits of the silver top palm

Seven~Year Apple
(Casasia Clusiifolia )

  • reaches a height of 20'.
  • leathery leaves are up to 6'' long.
  • fruits resemble small pears and are black when ripe ~taste like licorice.
  • small white flowers are very fragrant 


  • It is a important land builder,And masses of air roots collect silt and debris.  
  • Fruit resembles lima beans and sprout on the tree.   
  • Fragrant flowers are the main source for mangrove honey.


  • This will grow in shallow salt water areas on curved prop roots.   
  • Valuable as a land builder.   
  • Cigar shaped seedling develops on the tree.  
  • It has a small pale yellow flower.  


  • One of three mangrove species.  
  • It prevents shoreline erosion and even builds land. 
  • It grows landward of the other two mangrove species.
  • Seeds germinate while on the tree.

Tidal pool located within Bahia Honda

(Conocarp erectus )

  • It grows as a shrub or a tree to 30'.  
  • It may be the most numerous shoreline tree in the Key's.  
  • Hard, dense wood used by early settlers
  • Fruits resemble old fashioned round buttons

Black Torch
(Erithalis fruticosa)

  • Shrub or small tree, usually grows behind primary dune.  
  • Very tolerant of salty conditions.  
  • Flowers are white and star-shaped.  
  • Fruits are black when ripe. 

Wild Bamboo
(lasiacis divaricata ) 

  • Woody main stem may reach a length of 12'.
  •  Leaf blades are narrow and 2-8'' long.
  •  Native to south Florida, the Keys and the bahamas

Golden Beach Creeper 
(Ernodea littoralis)

  • Requires very little water and can grow in poor soils. 
  • Vine~like shrub with curving branches which grows close to the ground. 
  • Grows on the edge of plant communities in full sun and salt sprays. 

Lantana Involucrata

  • Shrub grows to 5` tall.
  • White flowers grow in clusters.
  • Small fruits are lavender.
  • Light green leaves are rough and smell like sage when crushed.

Bahama Nightshade
(Solanum bahamense)

  • Shrub,grows to 6` tall.
  • Flowers are purple with yellow stamens.
  • Leaves are 3-6" long and wrinkled.
  • Fruits are red and poisonous.
  • Related to tomatoes and eggplants. 

( Pithecellobium Keyense)

  • Shrub found on the back~dune.
  • Fragrant fuzzy flowers.
  • Bean pods twist open when ripe to reveal shiny black seeds surrounded by bright red arils.
  • Seeds used to make necklaces.

Sleeping  Morning
(Waltheria indica)

  • Woody shrubs ,grows to 6`.
  • leaves covered with soft white wooly hairs.
  • yellow flowers grow in clusters and open late in the morning  

Wild poinsettia or Painted-leaf
(Poinsettia cyathophora)

  • Resembles the cultivated variety of poinsettia.
  • perennial herb with thin leaves that are all or partly red.
  • found along roadsides in hammocks and coastal areas.   

7 Mile Bridge viewed from the east end of Bahia Honda

Bahia Honda Ohio channel bridge.  We walked the whole south side bridge to bridge

Sunset as we dinghy'd back to s/v Gemini Dreams