Category Archives: Coastal Cruising

Butterfly Blues and Seeing Red

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s very colorful here. About a week ago, I decided to check out the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, which is lovely and tropical (and very popular). Of course my favorite butterflies were an iridescent blue–you know how much I like blue!–but they were so fast, they proved nearly impossible to photograph. Here’s probably my best shot .  ↓

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Not amazing, I know. I actually even started to get irritated, both with the butterflies and with the people in the way of my shots, before realizing how ridiculous that was. By deciding I absolutely had to have a perfect photo of this one kind of butterfly, I was completely missing the whole experience. And seriously? Angry with butterflies?

Besides there was plenty of orange to be seen . . . Koi at Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Flamingo at Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

And if that wasn’t enough nature, I knew I could easily find a pelican posing at the harbor.  ↓Pelican Posing

And how about a bit of fun red:

Key West Cruising
Key West Cruising

We, along with Tom and Lexi, met this guy one night at a local restaurant and he promised us a ride if we’d flag him down, but he already had a passenger, so maybe another time. Anyway, super friendly guy.

Seeing his bright red car directly after my unsuccessful blue butterfly photo shoot made me smile and think of the expression “seeing red.” How quickly I can get annoyed when things don’t go exactly the way I want. But of course I’m not the only one. The other day we were headed home from one of our walks when we saw a woman in a car completely lose her cool, honking and yelling at the car in front of her to get out of the way. A woman on a bike then yelled at her to take it easy, so she yelled back and flipped her off. Yikes. Another day in paradise.

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. ∼Ambrose Bierce

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ∼Mark Twain

And I couldn’t resist this one:

Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things. ∼George Carlin

Of course I know there are serious things in this world that absolutely deserve an angry response and serious action, but if we tend to get caught up in the small irritations, how do we have time to deal with the important issues? So to soothe the savage beast in all of us, here’s a bit more blue and orange, with just a hint of red. Maybe it can remind us to try to keep the unrighteous anger in check!

Sunset from Sunset Pier
Sunset from Sunset Pier

Wishing you peace!



Bahia Honda Blues

Saturday we went on a quest for great water photos, so headed east to Bahia Honda State Park, pronounced, according to a local guidebook, “Buy a Honda” . . . no offense intended to any of you Honda owners with this post’s title.

Today has been rainy and windy (and I’ll bet it’s worse where you are–sorry!) so it seems the perfect day to share photos of the long-promised, soul-soothing, stunningly-spectacular blues to be seen down here in the Keys.

Here’s a preview . . .

Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park

Unfortunately the blues also came into play in the Got-the-Blues kind of way, because we  had driven all the way home in bumper to bumper traffic, and I had loaded the photos onto my computer, before I realized I had spots on my lens. Gha-a-a-a-a-a! As a result, some of my shots are not great. Some required strategic cropping. Some would benefit from skills and/or software I do not possess. Of course, NOW my lens is sparkling clean, but Bahia Honda is an hour’s tedious drive from here.

So . . . how can I re-frame my thinking about this one? Um . . . it is true that I’m very glad I do at least know how to crop photos now, therefore sparing you the worst of it, so there’s one positive. I can also focus on the fabulous water and not on the slightly spotty sky, so there’s two. I can also be grateful I was able to go in the first place, especially on a cool, breezy day that kept the crowds away, so that’s three AND four. Finally, we have to drive right by this park on our way out of here on March 6th, so maybe I’ll get a second chance at frame-worthy photos. Okay. I’m better now.

So back to the beautiful kind of blues . . . enjoy!

Bahia Honda State Park Beach
Beach at Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park

The water surrounding Key West is rarely (maybe never) quite this fabulous, so this was absolutely worth the drive (even in a Honda).

And now a quote or two about my other favorite blues . . .

Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen. ∼Amy Winehouse

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. ∼Duke Ellington

Colorful Key West

After an excellent couple of weeks, Tom and Lexi have left us, but we have another month here in Key West, before beginning our slow journey back to Colorado. Definitely loving the warmth and the color. From flowers . . .Florida Bougainvillea

Hibiscus PeachBaby Bananas. . . to the roosters that roam freely everywhere . . .Key West Rooster. . . to the changing colors of the sea and sky . . .

Sea, Sky and Seagull. . . to decorations on houses . . . Colorful Gecko. . . to clothing at the neighborhood laundromat . . .Tie-Dye Laundry Guy. . .  to the stunning sunsets for which Key West is famous . . .

Sunset from White Street Pier -- Free

Sunset from Sunset Pier -- a couple of drinks to justify taking the table

Key West Sunset 2. . . everything is very colorful here and I love it. LOVE it. (Okay maybe not exactly LOVING the tie-dye pants, but still.)

It makes me wonder if one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of winter is that I miss color as much as I miss light and warmth (and my comfy flip-flops, let’s be honest). If that’s true, WOOHOO, because I can fix that. I’m thinking big green salads dotted with orange bell peppers, blue china bowls heaped with shiny fresh lemons, bright red sweaters and flowers in vases . . . . Okay I’m starting to hear Julie Andrews singing in the background: ” . . . these are few of my favorite things . . . . ” so I’ll stop now!

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites. ∼Marc Chagall

The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant color, well arranged, resplendent. ∼Vincent van Gogh

One can speak poetry just by arranging colors well, just as one can say comforting things in music. ∼Vincent van Gogh

Here’s wishing you color and light and warmth during this final stretch of winter!

On the Way to Warm and Weird

We actually arrived in Key West Sunday afternoon, the first of February, where it is–as promised–warm and weird, but I’m a bit behind with my posts, so here are a few shots of the three-day road trip down from Folly Beach.

Tom and Lexi at the Carolina Cherry Company
Tom and Lexi at the Carolina Cherry Company
Carolina Cherry Company
Carolina Cherry Company

Tom and Lexi came down with us and we all took a break at the Caroline Cherry Company, which sells, jams, ciders, pralines (YUM), and even canned condensed she-crab soup. Plus there were samples of other irresistible treats, so that ended up being a pricey little stop.

None of us had ever been to Savannah, Georgia, so we decided to have lunch there along the river. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea, since finding parking was nearly impossible.  We eventually found a parking garage and drove around and up, around and up, traversing about six floors until finally ending up on the roof. On the plus side, we had excellent views of some great architectural details:

Architectural Detail Savannah 1Architectural Detail Savannah 4

Soup of the Day SignSince we were driving, you’ll be happy to hear we did NOT eat (drink?) here. →

Instead we chose Huey’s and ordered regional and New Orleans inspired cuisine like po’ boys and red beans and rice, all excellent, and then drove the rest of the way to St. Augustine, Florida.  The historic part of town was all lit up and gorgeous when we arrived, but I didn’t get even one picture of that. Only the sunrise over the Atlantic from our balcony:

St. Augustine Sunrise
St. Augustine Sunrise

Saturday we drove to the southwest edge of Miami — and actually survived the experience — no thanks to the INSANE people on I-95. Lexi white-knuckled it all the way, and she wasn’t even driving. Seriously. The absolute worst,  most-reckless drivers any of us have ever encountered and not even ONE state patrol car. Probably afraid for their safety! Way too many NASCAR wannabes, including one idiot who took an exit from several lanes over, but mistimed it, so he had to drive over dirt and grass to exit, all at about 70 miles per hour. YIKES.

But, ah-h-h-h-h-h-h, evening at the Sofitel Hotel, where the staff speaks French, as it happens, so fun for me to chat a bit in French. David just enjoyed NOT driving:

David on the terrace of the Sofitel Hotel, Miami
David on the terrace of the Sofitel Hotel, Miami

The crazies were still out for the first bit on Sunday, but things slowed down on the Overseas Highway that links the Keys. And the blues of the water on both the Gulf and the Atlantic side of the road were absolutely breathtaking and soothed our frazzled nerves. I promise to get some photos for you.

Until then, here’s hoping you thrive this weekend, not just survive!

“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”  ∼William Goldman, The Princess Bride