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John Pennekamp SP, Key Largo, FL

Chokoloskee Island is one of the "Ten Thousand Islands" that make up the lower Everglades and provide a delight for kayakers and fishermen. To say that this area is abundant in wildlife is a serious understatement: everywhere you look or listen you can find them, and the photographic opportunities are superb. My 200 mm lens really got a workout.

Everglades blue bird.jpg
Many more photos on the Flickr album!

Everglades City is a piece of "old Florida" that is probably going to disappear in a few years. Already we can see the condos and "vacation villas" showing up and displacing the older residences. The town doesn't look like much at first, but digging in you'll find a numerous small restaurants and cafes, fantastic boating, fishing, sight-seeing opportunities, and great scenic vantage points from unexpected locations.

Everglades City.jpg

On our way out, we stopped at City Seafood on Begonia Street to pick up something interesting for lunch. This turned out to be some large grouper sandwiches and a bunch of steamed spiced shrimp. $6.95 for each item, and everything was terrific.

Everglades City lunch.jpg

Before we left the Everglades, Brad and Mary urged us to drop in on the H P Williams Wayside area on the Tamiami Trail. (The Tamiami Trail is also known as Route 41, the two-lane road that stretches from Miami to Naples, and then northward to Tampa.) This is an ideal stop for the Airstreamer, since there's a parking lot with dedicated spaces for RVs, and superb bird and gator viewing. Bring a long lens or binoculars, but most of the creatures will be within 100 feet of you as you walk the boardwalk.

Now we are in Key Largo at John Pennekamp State Park. I am hoping to go snorkeling today at noon, if conditions are good. The sun is in and out of clouds but the sky is mostly clear and we are enjoying upper 70s while even in Tampa it is 15 degrees colder. The water is a balmy 78 degrees here, and the seas should be reasonably calm, so the only real blotch on the snorkel trip is that there is a "Man O'War" jellyfish warning in the water. Still, the boat trips are going to the reef, so apparently the operators feel conditions are still acceptable. I'll report on that tomorrow.

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