Life in the Keys, the pluses

Wherever we find ourselves, it can become easy after a while to focus on the negatives of a particular place. If we were to look at Marathon from that perspective, we would talk about the hot weather that reminds us more of summer than the winter season we always look forward to.

However the weather this morning was beautiful; the sun was shining and two small rain showers off in the distance provided us with two rainbows. The breeze was very pleasant in the cockpit as we had breakfast, and 3 manatees surfaced to say hello right near our boat. Life is good!

I have begun my weekly volunteer time at the Dolphin Research Center. I am reminded each week how interesting these dolphins are with such varied “dolphinalities”. One trait is common to all however: they thrive on contact with people, especially their trainers, but they also appear to enjoy contact with guests who get into the water with them.

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      This dolphin liked to practice beaching himself on the floating dock. No trainer involved. He was just having some fun.

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     Mother and baby spend their time together.

I have spent a little more time this fall with the birds at the Dolphin Research Center. There are 8, mostly macaws. These birds appear to be quite intelligent and social. They bond with their owners or caregivers and are greatly stressed when separated. Since they live so long- 60 years or more – this inevitably becomes a problem for most in captivity, since they outlive their owners. The birds at Dolphin Research Center have been donated by those who could no longer care for them.

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       This Hyacinth Macaw, the newest member of the DRC family, has already adopted the director of volunteers at the Center as its special friend.

As I write this addition to the blog, Sandra is teaching a class in pine needle baskets at the Art Studio. This is her first class at that location, but it is unlikely to be her last.

We are also getting back into Tai Chi classes. Although we have continued to practice on our own, it is helpful to attending classes once again.

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Last year while we were here, we attended several “Lunch and Learn” programs at the local hospital. These have always been informative.  We attended our first such session this year at the hospital earlier this week. The topic was “Pets and Your Health”. It was led by a local veterinarian who has been quite active nationwide as well as in other parts of the world speaking on various topics related to animals and health. We actually got lots of reinforcement for what we already believed about the value of pets for people.

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    So we now know that our grandson Nathan will be healthier because of his contact with his cat Sparkle and our dog Maddie.

We continue to do a bit of traveling here in the Keys. We spent another couple of nights out in the Bay this month – very enjoyable.

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          A peaceful day on the Bay

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      One of our stops was at Bahia Honda State Park.

And we also drove to Key West for our first visit of the season We spent the afternoon down there enjoying some food and the entertainment that only Key West can provide. They were beginning to prepare for their annual Fantasy Fest – a crazy celebration that takes place at Halloween each year. We decided we would not attend the Fantasy Fest itself, since there are so many people that attend and we’d understand that it’s really kind of crazy. We’ve heard stories from other cruisers who did go down, however, and it’s just as crazy as we thought.

Finally, we have begun to meet some of the other cruisers who are coming in for the season. One couple has spent the last 25 years on their boat which included a circumnavigation. It is always interesting to meet new people, on boats and living on land, and learn about their background and how they came to be here in Marathon.

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               Sandra’s latest basket with a fused glass center

Captain Bob
Carpe Diem

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