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It's sunny, but windy this morning so while Tom is doing the breakfast dishes, I'm gonna blog. We've filled the last few days with both boat maintenance and checking out Marathon. Our bikes and legs have gotten a work out!
We found a pickle ball court and played on Wednesday. We haven't played since Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky. It got a little heated (it was 80 degrees and we were really sweating), we got a little competitive (we started swearing at each other) and we weren't playing by the same scoring system (the tennis players next to us on the courts started staring). Thankfully Griff called mid match to visit. We cooled down and no paddles were thrown ;)
Thursday was grocery day. We walked the few miles to Publix and cabbed back with our loot. Reprovisioning takes half the day and has become like a "date night". We both go to the store now which has never happen in our 31 year marriage. I always thought Tom was allergic to the grocery store. Funny.....he's not.
Friday we got an early start and headed out on our bikes to Crane Point Hammock, Museum and Nature Trail. Crane Point Hammock is 63 acres of tropical hardwood hammock in the heart of Marathon. Purchased by Francis and Mary Crane in 1949, they added flowering tropical plants and orchids to the hammock. Preserved from development in 1989 by the Florida Keys Land Trust, it is the largest tropical hammock in the Middle Keys. It has hiking trails, the Adderly House, Butterfly Garden, the Point and educational programs.
Crane Point is named for Francis and Mary Crane, a Massachusetts couple. At that time of purchase, approximately 600 people lived in the Middle Keys along with a profusion of mosquitoes. The Cranes built a causeway to Big Rachel Key where they built their home. The house was a very unique design for its time with walls of windows and large roof overhangs. It was the first modern house in the area.
After paying our admission in the Crane Point office, Tom recognized an old friend of ours from Rochester that we boated with back at BYC in LaCrosse. To our surprise and delight we crossed paths with Charlotte Quinn. She moved to Marathon 15 year ago and is now the CEO at Crane Point. It was fun catching up with her. It's such a small world.
Below are some photos from our time at Crane Point
Crane Point was very interesting and gave us a great overview of the area in Marathon, Middle Keys and the great effort that was put into conserving this portion of land for future generations to learn about and benefit from this native, tropical hammock.
After Crane Point we headed to Sombrero Beach. They were having a turtle release in the afternoon. There is a Turtle Hospital right down the road from the marina. We haven't visited it yet (waiting to do it with visiting friends, hint hint) and they announced that they would be releasing a batch of baby turtles into the ocean at Sombrero Beach. I guess even Marco Rubio (little Marco) was there. As you can see there was quite a crowd gathered.
Saturday we had a wonderful surprise! Our niece Sally and her husband, Ben from Minnesota came for a visit. Ben had been in Miami during the week for business and Sally flew down to join him for a couple of days of R and R. They have two little ones at home, Kip and Hattie that keep them very busy. Gramma Kris is at home watching them this weekend. They drove down from Miami for the day and we had a great time with them.
I told Tom the other day to limit my intake of Burdine french fries, but Ben is a fry fan so.....we went to Burdines for lunch and polished off another basket of fries! They are also IPA drinkers, so we tried a few local brews as well ;) Loved seeing them. Hopefully we'll see them again on the East coast later in the trip.
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.