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.
So here are a few sun facts to ponder.... The sun is 109 times wider than the earth and 330,000 times as massive. Meaning 1,300,000 earths would fit, squished inside the sun. Yikes! And what's worse - one day the sun will consume the earth. : ( However, given that light from the sun takes eight minutes and twenty seconds to reach us I'd say that's fair warning - although the fact it will already have gobbled up Mercury and Venus might give us a clue. Until then we'll just have to keep watching!
A world-class fight deserves a world-class finish.... photo finish that is! So when our guests Anna and Chris from Mississippi landed this 30lb grouper what better way to end the struggle than with a photo. Complete with hair, makeup, sunglasses and high-fashion gloves Anna forgot one small thing - the fish wasn't ready. And the fight wasn't over! Our offshore Captain, Zane Albury, tells us that grouper can weigh-in anywhere up to 600lbs which makes this baby look like chum. OK, quiet on set, take two...!
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!
Ever hear the expression: something fishy in the air? Well here you go. A beautiful Spotted Trunkfish held aloft by Captain Mike Makowski. Perhaps not the best swimmer in the world, this puffy little guy tries to blend in with patch reefs or sea grass beds. But not here; he's about as obvious a fish out of water as you could ever imagine in this stunning photograph. Although he looks soft and cuddly the Trunkfish is protected by a bony outer surface that acts as body armor. Fully mature the shy but curious fish grow to 12 inches or so and sport a couple of long, sharp spines just to keep things awkward. Regardless this is one impressive little fella. Nice catch Captain!
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.
"Where's my suite?" It's the question we're asked most when booking our beautiful boutique hotel in the Florida Keys. So looking back from the water there's the Sea Front Suite, Orchidea, (with it's peek-a-boo Sea View on the lower left) and Royale, our Super Deluxe Sea View Suite (with six tall, bay view windows directly to the right). Upstairs are the identical Deluxe Sea View Suites, Celeste (to the left) and Aquamarina (right). Both have picturesque Florida Rooms with elevated water views overlooking Florida Bay and Everglades' National Park. Not shown are the Tropical Garden Suites, La Palma (to the right side) and Caribe (adjacent to our butterfly garden (directly behind Orchidea) and just a few steps from the beach. It's a pretty blue/green day here on Key Largo - the longest Key!
Graphic designer Nick Feigley can whip these sketches out in about fifteen minutes... making us envious of his creative talents. If you sit right here, looking out across the downpour blue dock towards Everglades National Park, you'll understand how perfectly Nick captured this Florida Keys Scene at our all-adult, boutique hotel. Nick was staying at Azul del Mar in Key Largo - perfect for recharging those creative batteries. In fact perfect for anyone looking to escape the day to day. Only one hour from Miami International Airport and yet a world away! Decompress at Azul Del Mar in Key Largo.
In Spanish - "Azul" - means blue. Driving the Florida Keys from Azul del Mar in Key Largo last week this was truly an Azul day. Absolutely stunning!
The sun goes down in a blaze of glory at Azul Del Mar hotel. Reflected vividly here in the waters of Blackwater Sound, Everglades' National Park transforms into an overnight Planetarium - complete with its gallery of shooting stars. Lounge on the dock for awhile and count them. This summer's Perseids meteorite shower arrives July 17 to August 24. The Geminids shower is just before Christmas from December 7 to December 16. Be sure to keep your eyes on the skies!