John & Anne Wiley

2013/06/23

To Keys (2)

After great fun with friends Georgia & Bob in Boca, we flew the Florida Keys in a few hours. I’ve long wanted to do that, and now we very much want to go back and spend some time there. For now tho, we have a lot of pix. So here are a few from just the part of that flight from Boca to Keys.

1279 Boca Takeoff

1279 Boca Takeoff

Even after our flights in the Bahamas, this was a beautiful beginning. I’ll spare you most of the things that caught our eye, and zip ahead to this small detail almost lost in our expansive view out toward the vast Atlantic from the inland waters off Miami.

1283 Miami Monument

1283 Miami Monument

I haven’t looked it up, but all true Miamites probably know everything about this statue on a tiny sheltered island. I guess it was once visited by thousands, but now it’s fenced off and the trail to it from the surrounding shore doesn’t look especially well-traveled. There are innumerable other oddities in these waters, including a golf course community on the top-middle islet in this next shot.

1285 Storm Golfers

1285 Storm Golfers

Now keep in mind that we saw ample evidence of storm ravages all along the Gulf, on the Bahamas, a good portion of the way up the East Coast, and of course everywhere in the Keys. So an islet barely above sea level exposed to a raging Atlantic for me conjures images of storm golfers. People so dedicated to the sport that a mere hurricane wouldn’t interrupt a game. Something does seem to have interrupted whatever used to happen at this viewing stand on the bay.

1290 Empty Stands

1290 Empty Stands

Traveling the continent as we have, it’s endlessly fascinating to plumb the psyche of those who live in each region, state and city. People ask where we’re from, and next express their terror at the notion of living where earthquakes can crush them in an instant. Of course, here in California the idea of hurricanes punctuating stifling heat is not attractive. 🙂

But I digress. Continuing our beautiful and intriguing jaunt, we crossed this narrow emerald marble of water near Homestead AFB out to the Keys.

1299 Quiet Gem

1299 Quiet Gem

It reminds me of quiet moments in childhood, gazing into a marble and imagining an enchanted world inside. But in mere minutes we were turning up the island chain and flying over Key Largo. If you ever saw the old Bogart flick, like me you might have imagined something other than what we saw.

1309 Key Largo

1309 Key Largo

Now it’s a small city astride the bustling highway. But still, in undeveloped areas along the coast are glimpses of a slow life intimate with the sea.

1316 Lost Key

1316 Lost Key

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2013/06/21

Abaco (2)

Some angles of light on water were truly remarkable during our flight from Grand Bahama Island to the neighboring Abaco.

5717 Light On Water

5717 Light On Water

I liked how reflections of waves mingled with ripples of sand, especially on the exposed coast of Abaco.

1086 Treasure Cay

1086 Treasure Cay

On the sheltered side there were interesting sights too, like this abandoned catamaran that evokes dreams of cruising the world’s oceans that ended on this deserted beach.

1097 Broken Dream

1097 Broken Dream

The channels cut to Marsh Harbor are so straight, they add a geometry to the aerial view.

1152 Marsh Harbor Lines

1152 Marsh Harbor Lines

This last pic somehow says “Farewell Bahamas” for me, even though of course we were there for a few more days.

1179 Bye Bye Bahamas

1179 Bye Bye Bahamas

But that’s the last of my collected pix from our stay there, and next my review will move on to our return to Florida.

 

2013/06/20

Freeport Fun (2)

Revisiting pix from our time on Grand Bahama Island, it seems like years ago we had so much fun in Freeport and Lucaya. For example, this sunset by the pool in our second hotel.

0068 Enchantment

0068 Enchantment

Enchanting as this iconic scene was with so much Islander ambiance and gentle warm breezes rustling the palms, we had so much more to discover! For example, the next day checking in to our third hotel where we remained for another five nights.

0841 Grand Lucayan

0841 Grand Lucayan

It required three photos stitched together for my wide angle lens to take in this entire view from our balcony. Looking at it now is still somewhat overwhelming. Then there were the many small things, like the night I taught Anne chess on this walk-around board below our room.

784 By a Nose

784 By a Nose

She didn’t think it possible for her to learn chess, yet in the end she nearly won. A change came over her when the pieces became her “children” and she began fiercely defending every one of them. 🙂

But with our love of flying, you can easily imagine how our day flight out over Abaco Island and back was also an Islander highlight. Taking off past Freeport, I noticed this abandoned resort that evokes impressions of past glory and memories other couples have from their Bahama vacations.

0895 Freeport Past

0895 Freeport Past

Among the many exquisite memories we had from that brief flight, was the amazing tropical colors. Like the variations in blue along Grand Bahama’s mostly deserted coastline.

0974 Colors

0974 Colors

It’s not just that you need to see it to believe it. You need to see it to even imagine it, because photos don’t begin to capture the colors so strong they make your teeth throb. I guess boaters see it some, especially sailors who climb up into the rigging. But I think to really experience Bahamas water colors you need to fly on a low lazy wander like we did that day. I’ll post a few more fav pix from Abaco before moving on in this review of Islander images and memories.

2013/06/17

Saint Augustine (2)

Revisiting my pix from our first Saint Augustine stop on our Islander Adventure, I’m reminded of the charming walk we had in the back streets of the tourist district.

0048 Back Streets

0048 Back Streets

Then we met up with our charming hosts for an evening of laughter and fascinating conversation.

0056 Fun Friends

0056 Fun Friends

The next day we saw the same back streets again, in the context of this little gem of a town.

0698 St. Augustine

0698 St. Augustine

Soon we were following yet another long barrier island, similar to those on the Gulf Coast yet uniquely Floridian.

0717 Nearing Daytona

0717 Nearing Daytona

Daytona Beach showed off its colorful seaside attractions and wall of tall hotels.

0730 Daytona Beach

0730 Daytona Beach

Before long we angled out away from the shoreline and began our long climb to gain altitude for the crossing to the Bahamas! It was so exciting for us to cruise the Freeport shoreline as we descended to that airport marking the third country we’ve explored in Tripp.

0806 Unknown Home

0806 Unknown Home

Unknown to us then was the fact that most of our week on the island would be based at the big curved hotel near the beach. Also a night in the hotel behind it on this side of the marina. Such great memories from that stay! Maybe I’ll find more pix to share in another post, before bringing you along on my review of the next leg of this Big Adventure.

2013/06/13

Blown

Flying out of New Orleans, one of the first things we noticed was the aftermath of hurricanes in general and Katrina in particular. Lots of missing homes.

0600 Missing Neighbors

0600 Missing Neighbors

Many of the driveways lead to empty foundations, some to new homes, and a few still to apparently damaged and abandoned buildings. The same sort of destruction was scattered all along the Gulf, including this large waterfront hotel complex near Biloxi.

0619 Checked Out

0619 Checked Out

The barrier islands show every sign of changing at the whim of wind and wave. In this pic you might also make out the tiny wake and canopy of a kite surfer near the lower middle.

0653 Wind, Wave, Sand

0653 Wind, Wave, Sand

We were blown too, while idling along at 115mph and clocking up to 190mph (getting 25mpg fuel economy) with our tailwind. That put us at about the same speed over the ground as this jet going the other direction into an airport to land.

0662 Slow Jet

0662 Slow Jet

Getting to St. Augustine ahead of schedule, we had time to wander the back streets and discover the slowed contrast of this relaxing little restaurant.

0677 St. A. Dining

0677 St. A. Dining

Even the main tourist walking strip is a quiet and calm contrast with New Orleans where we’d been in the morning.

0695 St. Augustine Walk

0695 St. Augustine Walk

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