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Florida Vacation 2015...

This year we traveled to Florida for Sheila's 30th high school renunion and decided to make a vacation out of it by visting the Florida Keys, the Everglades and Clearwater Beach. We were joined by Sheila's good friends Juliann and the Lewis family.

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After spending a night in Ft. Lauderdale with Sheila's friend Juliann, we drove down to the Hawk's Cay resort on Duck Key just north of Marathon in the Florida Keys.

Stopping for dinner at the Lazy Days Resturant in Islamorda.

Hawks Cay Pool and Lagoon in the Background.

Fishing at the Hawk's Cay Marina.

At dusk the lobsters came out and cleaned up all the dead fish...


On this morning, we booked a snorkeling trip to Sombrero Reef with Spirt Snorkeling. After an enjoyable boat ride with some dolphin sightings, we arrived at Sombero Reef where there were plentiful fish to see including a nurse shark and many barracuda. Sombero Reef is part of the Florida barrier reef system which is the 3rd largest in the world.

Dolphins swimming alonside the boat...

The Sombrero Reef Lighthouse put into operation in 1858....


Another evening at Hawk's Cay where the Lewis's learned what happens when you cook a frozen pizza upside down (see below).

This is what happens when you cook a frozen pizza updside down!!


This morning we booked a fishing trip on the Marathon Lady which departed Marathon for a half day of reef fishing. We were again joined by eager dolphins on the ride out who impressively kept up with the boat for a couple of miles. Afterwards we had our haul of catches filleted and fried up into tasty fish sandwiches.

Checking out the dolphins following alongside the boat...


Our last evening at Hawk's Cay resort which featured a dark night with brilliant stars...


We drove to Key West for the day and took in the sights including brunch at Blue Hevean, Duval Street, Hemmingway's House, Sloppy Joes and the Southern most point in the United States.

Entering Key West...

Enjoying a wonderful brunch at the one of a kind Blue Heaven restaurant...

One of Blue Heaven's famous cats...

The Earnest Hemmingway house in which Hemmingway lived from 1937 to 1940 with his third wife. Hemminway would continue to visit Key West until his death in 1961.

The many cats in the Hemminway house are direct descendants of a cat owned by Earnest Hemmingway.
This penny was perserved by his third wife upon their divorce as Hemminway was said to toss it to her saying "Pauline, you’ve spent all but my last penny, so you might as well have that!”"...

The famous Sloppy Joes restaurant, a favorite spot for Hemmingway and other sportsman of the era.

The Doerfels, a bluegrass band featuring 5 brothers originally from Buffalo, NY where they all played ice hockey. Note the hockey stick instruments below:

The southernmost point in the United States.


These images are from the Dolphin show at Hawk's Cay...

After four days in the Florida Keys we began our journey to the Gulf Coast which entailed driving east on US 41 (also known as the Tamiami Trail - since it this portion of US41 goes from Tampa to Miami), which cuts right through the Florida Everglades. The Tamiami Trail rougly divides the freshwater portion of the Evlerglades from the saltwater portion.

We decided to take an Everglades tour on a classic airboat, so we stopped in Everglades City and took a tour with Everglades City Airboat Tours.

The big V8 driving the fan. Airboats were actually co-invented by Alexander Graham Bell of telephone fame for touring swamp water in Canada.

Today the Everglades consist of about 1.5 million acres of mangrove swamp, sawgrass praries and pine stands. Here we are cruising through a mangrove forest.

Sanibel Island...


The last portion of our vacation was spent in Clearwater where Sheila attended her High School Reunion. We stayed at the Hilton on Clearwater Beach.

Playing Shuffleboard at Grandma Gil's place...

While fishing from Grandma Gil's pier, we caught a 40 lb Cownose Ray. It put up a pretty good fight taking line out and battling for a good 10 minutes.

The boys with their cousins, Mariah, Noah and Savanah.


Click Here to View Clearwater Central Catholic 30 year Renunion Pictures