Another stunning day at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo. And did you know... that John Pennekamp, a former city editor at the Miami Herald, was a leader in the fight to set aside part of the Everglades as a National Park? ...Great idea John! In recognition the USA's first underwater park was named in his honor.
In an ever-changing world it's heartening that some things stay the same...like the migration pattern of these Great Egrets who head south for winter, traveling as far as the West Indies or southern Central America. They migrate by day in small flocks and stop at night. Yesterday our guests Christina and Florin from Germany witnessed the late arrival of this final group at our favorite little island in the Keys. Another spectacular sunset cruise. A bird-watcher's delight!
Before most people have had their first cup of coffee, fishing guides at Azul del Mar slip their lines and are well on their way to another adventure. Mike and Erika, guests at the small Key Largo Boutique Hotel, were probably as surprised as this healthy Tarpon at their early morning rendezvous. Mike's not fishing for compliments these days but this is one fine specimen weighing in at more than 10lbs and 37 inches long. Of course once the photo shoot is over this catch of the day will be released back into the wilds of Everglades' National Park. What a wonderful way to start the day for at least one of the two subjects in this snapshot! Together with back country, flats and fly fishing excursions you can also head offshore to the Gulf Stream for some deep-sea fishing action. Mahi mahi (so good to eat that you have to say it twice), tarpon or sailfish will likely be your catch of the day there - depending on season. In this fight you're guaranteed a ringside seat - so be sure to book ahead through the hotel.
Our Everglades' Eco Tours into the wilds of Florida Bay are world renown. Early morning or afternoon matinee makes no difference... you simply never know what's going to surface! Take this little manatee aggregation for instance (yes, a gathering of manatee is called an "aggregation"). Talk about "in your face"! One of Azul del Mar's most famous guides, Captain Mike Makowski, snapped this "family" photo on his iPhone over the shoulder of our Canadian guests Scott and Christina during their half-day tour. Apart from Key Largo's amazing sunsets and evening star-gazing opportunities, a trip into the wild and wonderful wilderness - known around here as Everglades' National Park - never fails to amaze! Whether it's a pod of dolphin, flights of migrating ibis, a float of crocodiles or today's aggregation of manatee you can count on our guides to make memories that last a lifetime. At our little boutique hotel we offer guests wildlife of a completely different nature!
Living close to nature, like on the fringe of Everglades' National Park, it's normal to visit the unexpected. But occasionally when nature comes to visit you it comes as quite a shock. Take this little fella for instance... Clinging desperately to a cluster of leaves as the combined effects of a cold front and a north wind last week knocked him out of a gumbo limbo tree. Iguanas are common visitors to Azul del Mar in Key Largo these days. The little Godzillas, with a population of tens to hundreds of thousands across the region are becoming a nuisance. Anyone is free to trap them at home but Florida law forbids relocating them or cutting them loose into the wild somewhere - since that's pretty much where this thing started years back!