February 28, 2007

New Jersey

We're in New Jersey. It is cold. And cloudy. And grey. Where's the sun? Oh, yeah, it's in Key West.

Posted by Heather at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)


We left Baltimore this morning, actually it was noon. We stayed in a nice hotel last night because it is so freaking cold out. Slept in and relaxed this morning, waiting for it to warm up so the bus would run nicely. Yes, well, it isn't warm enough. We've been on the road for two hours and we've spent more time pulled over than actually driving. The carburetor gets too cold when we're on the highway and it's icing up. Soo... we're making it back, but retardedly slow. Might be home tonight, but it looks more likely to be tomorrow.

Posted by Heather at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)


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Posted by Heather at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)

South of the Border

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Getting some Fireworks!!


Posted by Heather at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)

St. Augustine

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miltary hospital.JPG

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carriage house.JPG

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old town inn.JPG

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This gate, opened in 1739, provided the only access through the defense line on the north side of St. Augustine.

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To the Fort!

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This structure is a hot shot furnace for heating cannon balls to be shot at wooden vessels and to set them on fire. It is part of the water battery built by the US (1842-44) when this side of the moat was filled and guns were mounted on stone arcs behind the sea wall.

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Ponce De Leon Hotel.

This magnificent structure was erected between 1885 and 1887 by Henry M. Flagler, the hotel and railroad magnate whose activities contributed greatly to the development of Florida’s eastern coastal area. Designed by the New York architectural firm of Carrere and Hastings, the building reflects the Spanish Renaissance style through out. The hotel was the first major edifice in the United States to be constructed of poured concrete, a mixture of cement, sans and coquina shell. The interior is decorated with imported marble, carved oak, and murals painted by Tojetti and George W. Maynard. Its stained glass windows were created by Loius Tiffany of New York. The Ponce de Leon Hotel was the flagship of the Flagler hotel system, which soon extended all along the east coast of Florida. Located in the “Winter Newport,??? this resort hotel entertained celebrities from around the world, including several US Presidents. During World Was II, the hotel served as a Coast Guard Training Center. In 1968, this historic landmark was converted into Flagler College, an accredited liberal arts institution.

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Oldest Schoolhouse in America

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The dunce cap was not placed on the head of a bad child, but instead on the head of a slow learner.

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The Dungeon under the stairs for naughty kids

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The kitchen: The kitchen was not used as a cafeteria. The teachers who taught did their own cooking in this building and students brought their own lunches. South kitchens were often built as separate buildings to spare the main house any excess heat. Also should the kitchen catch on fire the main house may be safe.

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Chimney of the kitchen; the chains were used to ground buildings and prevent them from falling over during high winds.

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Wishing Well

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Posted by Heather at 09:40 AM | Comments (2)

February 26, 2007

Heading North

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Beep beep, here comes the bus!

We spent Sunday in St. Augustine, which is a BEAUTIFUL town!! That blog post will be up soon, but it will take me some time to go through all the pictures I took. We are now in Savannah, Georgia, soaking in what will probably be the last sun and warmth we'll have for awhile. See you soon!

Posted by Heather at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Washington Oaks Gardens

This area was part of a Spanish land grant to Bautista Don Juan Ferreira in 1815. It was then developed as a plantation by General Joseph Hernandez, an early Florida planter. George Washington, a distant relative to our first president, married Hernandez’ daughter, Louisa in 1844. They were given this land by Hernandez and remained here until 1856, developing the plantation and starting an orange grove. Louisa died in 1859, and George left, but returned in 1886, to live here the rest of his life. It was then purchased in 1936 by Mr. and Mrs. Owen D. Young, and the gardens, groves and plantings were expanded.

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Mr. Young, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1929, bought the property for Louisa as a wedding gift. The day after their wedding on February 20, 1937, the Youngs held an outdoor party at the renamed “Washington Oaks.??? Louise Young soon began work on the house and gardens she built here. Washington Oaks would become her masterpiece.

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Heath in the Rose Garden

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Herb Garden

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This majestic, moss draped live oak tree is presumed to be the largest at Washington Oaks. Live oak trees can reach heights of 40 to 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 to 4 feet. Their low, massive branches provided naturally formed, angled wood that was valuable in building wooden ships in the 1800’s. It was for that reason that one of America’s first forest reserves was established in the panhandle of Florida. Live oeaks are common on sandy soils and are among the more long-lived oaks, often achieving ages greater than 200 years.

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House Front View

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Side View

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View from the House

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Matanzas River, in front of the house

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Owen Young died in July, 1962. Soon after his death, Louise Young began to discuss the donation of Washington Oaks to the State of Florida for use as a state park. Mrs. Young’s wish was for the gardens to be “maintained in the present form??? as a memorial to her beloved husband.

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Old A1A

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Posted by Heather at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2007

Blue Spring

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Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring, meaning it discharges approximately 101 million gallons of water a day. Its water source is the Floridian Aquifer, which is replenished every year by rainfall in the area. While rain helps to “refill??? the Aquifer and the Spring, it also carries with it minerals from the ground.

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These minerals promote the growth of algae deep in the Spring, which is why the water is a cloudy bluish-green.

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Underground View

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Manatee Group

The spring water is always 72 degrees, which provides a stable environment for manatees during the colder months. November through March, the manatees leave the colder waters of the St. Johns Rover for the safety and comfort of the 72-degree spring.

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Mom and Baby tail view

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Mom and Baby side view

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Pair of Adult Manatees

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Spring Run
For hundreds of years the Timucuan Indians made the spring area their home.

BIG Fish!! There were SO many fish in the spring run, and some of them were enormous!!

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The spring run, river and surrounding swamps and upland provided food, clothing, shelter and materials for tools and weapons. Snails gathered from the sandbars were a staple food for these people. Over the centuries, the discarded shells formed a massive mound.
Jefferies Wyman, an archaeologist from Harvard, studied the mounds in the 1800’s. His work showed that the mounds were built three to four thousand years ago. Additional to the largest mound running along the south bank, on which the Thursby house was built, was a second mound running opposite to the first on the north bank of the spring, suggesting that the two mounds may have been one but were later separated by the spring outflow.

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The materials unearthed included clay effigies, shell tools, pottery, projectile points, and bone fragments, both animal and human. Wyman wrote that the human bones were punctured in similar ways to the bones of deer, opossum, turtle and alligator that he found. He attributed such “perforations??? to the practice of cannibalism by the native residents of this area.

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St. Johns River

Three years after England acquired Florida from Spain, John Bartram, a prominent British botanist, explored the St. Johns in search for its source and any valuable resources.

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On January 4th, 1766, he rowed his boat past sunning alligators

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and discovered the “surprising fountain???, the clear water of Blue Spring.

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By the mid 1800’s most of the Indians had been killed or driven south and pioneer settlers took their place.

The Thursbys

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After fighting in the Mexican War with the US Army, and exploring California, Lewis Peace Thursby left his hometown of Brooklyn, New York to live in Florida. He, his wife, Mary Ann, and their infant daughter, Mary Alice, arrived in Blue Spring in October 856, on a steamboat by way of Jacksonville. They were the first white permanent settlers in Blue Spring.

The Seminole Wares had removed most of the Indians from Florida, and the upper St Johns area was experiencing a surge in growth. The US was offering land grants and by the mid-1850’s the town of Enterprise, about ten miles south of Blue Spring, had emerged as an important port on the St. Johns River.

The Thursbys purchased 133 acres and a three-room log cabin for four hundred dollars from Samuel Parsons, a nurseryman from New York. Parsons had visited Blue Spring seasonally to collect exotic plants. The acreage was covered with hundred-year-old live oaks, towering pines, cabbage palms, cypress, sweet gum, and wild olive trees. Southwest of the house was a large grove of wild orange trees.

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The House the Thursbys built

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Circa 1900
For several years, the family lived in Parson’s original log cabin and in a more rustic cabin they built during the construction of their new house. Mary Ann Thursby had nine more children, raising them with no conveniences. Medical care was not readily available and the pioneer life could be brutal.

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Three of the Thursby children died in infancy and their first son, Lewis Jr., died after being bitten by a rattlesnake while playing under the house.

Mary Ann Thursby was given the honorary title of “Madame Thursby??? for all of her hard work. To feed the family, oranges, corn, beans, Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes were grown in the garden and hogs and cattle were raised.

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Rainwater was collected in a cistern for washing, cooking, and bathing. Spring water was used for drinking, but not water from the main boil. It was too sulpherous. The Thursbys would row a small skiff up the run to a small side spring and return with glass jigs filled with fresh drinking water.

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The Thursbys burned logs for heating and cooking. Potbelly stoves heated the house and an iron cook stove heated the kitchen.

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Natural air-conditioning kept the house cool. The Thursbys designed the house with tall windows and shutters to moderate temperature extremes in the summer. The porches were an important feature, used for relaxing and working on domestic projects as well as shading the rooms from the direct sun.

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Large Alligator

Posted by Heather at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2007

Sebastian Inlet

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Along this coast, in the early morning darkness of the last day of July 1715, a hurricane destroyed a fleet of eleven of possible twelve ‘homeward bound merchant ships carrying cargoes of gold and silver coinage’ and other valuable items from the American colonies on its way from Cuba to Spain.

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This flotilla was carrying several years worth of stockpiled treasure that had not been shipped due to Spain’s participation in Queen Ann’s war.

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Winds and waves stripped the eleven ships of their rigging and dismasted them. Ships began to founder and sink in the darkness. Some broke apart and probably sank in deep water. The decks of some ships separated from their hulls. Survivors clung for life to these outsize surfboards. Only the Urca de Lima survived the storm. She served as a supply base for the survivors until help arrived. She was never refloated but was burned to the waterline to hide her from pirates.


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This piece of wood is from one of the ships of the 1715 fleet. There are four holes, one in each corner in which wooden pegs were inserted called tree nail fastening. One peg still remains in the upper right hand corner. Notice the “Teredo Clams??? holes throughout the wood. Teredo Clams are a major problem for all wooden ships because once the teredo clam enters the wood it will live its whole life drilling holes.

Canon- found a mile off shore still loaded with a cannonball and barshot

About 1500 men, women, and children who survived the disaster and reached the shore made their camp along the barrier island near the place where the fleet’s flagship had sunk. The low, dense vegetation afforded some protection from the elements.

The castaways knew they were on the Palmar de Ais, named for the natives of the area. They understood they were about 180 miles from help at St. Augustine. Their greatest problem was enduring until help arrived. No Indians had met them or helped pull the weak from the surf. Native Americans who lived along the coast tended to move inland during the storm season. The survivors were on their own.

Many officers had survived. They organized search parties and camps. A few looters who fled with their ill-gotten riches were arrested as they neared St. Augustine. The rest of the survivors remained until rescue ships picked them up.

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Attempts to salvage the ships’ cargoes began almost immediately. Professional salvage crews, made up of natives and islanders from Cuba, replaced the survivors. Their efforts with diving bells, grappling hooks, and other salvage implements were successful.

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About 80% of the lost property was recovered by the crews of 1715-16. Archaeological work at the site revealed that the salvagers seem to have erected some temporary structures for use as storehouses for the recovered gold and silver.

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While the salvage operation was in process, many pirates attempted to steal the treasure, including Henry Jennings, and English pirate, who sailed to the site, drove off the guards and seized a large quantity of the recovered coins, which he carried away to Port Royal, Jamaica. But the great majority of the treasure was safely regained and moved to Havana by the Spanish salvagers. Nevertheless, salvage was completed by April 1716. At least one additional attempt was made in 1719.

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Not until 1928 was a wreck from the 1715 fleet rediscovered, the Urca de Lima, off Fort Pierce. The next clues appeared on the land; In the early 1940’s Spanish colonial artifacts were uncovered at a site south of Sebastian Inlet.

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In the mid-1950’s a hurricane completely changed the face of the shore. Kip Wagner discovered a second archeological spot: the site of the Spanish salvors’ encampment, indicating that treasure ships had gone down nearby. He soon located El Capitana and by the mid-1960’s had brought up silver pieces of eight, gold doubloons, bars and plates of both metals, pearls, jewelry, rare Chinese porcelains, and countless examples of everyday items used by seamen and passengers traveling in 1715. Major new discoveries are still being made along the Treasure Coast.

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Competition! We'd better get out there!

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Our treasure: three bottle tabs, a piece of foil, and an unidentifed piece of iron.

Heath's Treasure

The ships of the 1715 fleet do not rest alone. At least thirty vessels perished in these waters between the 1550’s and 1945. Ships and cargoes were lost to storms, unlucky mechanical failure, faulty navigation and the torpedoes or submarines. Crew of many other ships endured close calls along this shore.

Interesting Sidebar:

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Giant Sloth Jaw

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The Ais Indians were native to this area of Florida. Unlike most other FLorida Indians they were not farmers. They gathered wild plants, hunted deer and bear, and took birds, fish, turtles, shellfish, and manatees from the rivers and sea. Their midden piles (a midden is a garbage heap) of clam and oyester shells are still evident along the coast.

Posted by Heather at 12:11 PM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2007

Barred Owl Sounds

To hear the sounds a barred owl makes (until I get home to do my impression of them, which is quite accurate) please visit this website:


Scroll down past the Bigfoot Recordings to find Barred Owl Recordings. The one closest to the huh hu hu hu (while gargling) is the Mating Call.

Some info on this site: Barred owls are very different from other owls. They mate for life and are very family oriented. The male does not stray far from the female and the young remain at the nest as a family unit long after other owling species have left the nest. It is not unusual to hear an entire family of barred owls call out in territorial defense. This can be triggered by almost any loud noise at night. The mating calls & territorial calls are similar if not the same on occurence.
Barred owls have a variety of vocals which range from single "whhaaaa" type hoots, to the typical "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all" calls to primate-like "cackling". The latter being why they are so often mistaken for bigfoot creatures. Don't let these beautiful birds fool you out there in the dark. They do sound quite spooky when they really let loose, but... they are only owls, not bipedal primates.

Posted by Heather at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2007

Today we went boating around town!

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We hit a sandbar, but George pushed us safely back to the deep water.

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Blue Sky!

Posted by Heather at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

Animal Park

Here are some photos from the animal park we went to yesterday.

My favorite: the Barred owl

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Here is the owl puffing up to make his noise, which sounded really neat. Not just a who-whoing, but a huh-huh-huh-huuuuuu while gargling.

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Screech Owl

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Red Shouldered Hawk

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Blue Macaw- i think

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Albino Racoon- he wouldn't turn around so this is the best picture I was able to get. He was playing with the normal colored raccoon behind him.

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We found this Great Horned Owl on the nature trail. He seemed to really like having his picture taken!

Posted by Heather at 07:56 PM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2007

Julie and Dave

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Posted by Heather at 03:25 PM | Comments (1)

George and Lily

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We Miss You Lily!!!

Posted by Heather at 03:24 PM | Comments (1)

John D MacArthur Park

We went to John D. MacArthur park on Monday, even though it was rainy and cloudy. Most of this week has been rainy and cloudy.

george and heath on the path.JPG

george and grape leaves.JPG

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JDM beach.JPG

george on the boardwalk.JPG

Posted by Heather at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007


It's raining. Blah. And it's cold. 59 degrees!! We have to wear socks today because it's so cold. We just went to the hot tub to warm up. But it's raining, and we're bored.

Posted by Heather at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

Volksblast 2007

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On our way to Volksblast!

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Our Bus and friends

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Heath's Favorite Bug

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George's Favorite Bug

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orange bug.JPG

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This bus still had it's original sales slip- bought in the 70's for $5,600.

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Notice the slanted tire

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A man riding his motorized cooler

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Original Toolkit

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Triplets in a shopping cart

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blue ghia a.JPG

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blue vw a.JPG

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We arrived at Volksblast too late to register, so we were not entered in the contest. But, we did get a lot of compliments on the bus, and compared to all that we saw we thought we were definetly in the top 10. Especially when you consider that we use our bus every day (living in it) and most of the VW's at the show were only brought out of their garage's for shows, and really aren't used at all. We'll be sure to pre-register for the next show.

Posted by Heather at 05:26 PM | Comments (6)

Bahia Honda on Saturday

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View of Flagler's Railroad Bridge

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Walk on the beach, the water was so nice and warm!

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One Fish

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Two Fish

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Striped Fish

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Blue Fish

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One more fish

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View of the beach from the bridge

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This was Flagler's Railroad Bridge, and then it was turned into the bridge for cars. A bit narrow for two way traffic, don't you think?

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Sting Ray swimming under bridge

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Happy Hour

Posted by Heather at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Manatee Video, this one should work.

Yes, Julie, quite sure it isn't a rock. Unless you've seen rocks with whiskers coming up for air...

Posted by Heather at 05:19 PM | Comments (2)

February 11, 2007

Various Key West Photos

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Clear Water

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George has a new buddy

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George and Michelangelo

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Heath and Rick

Posted by Heather at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

George and his bus

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Posted by Heather at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)

Some photos of Fort Zach

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Posted by Heather at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

2 Nice houses

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Posted by Heather at 07:50 PM | Comments (2)


Here is a manatee!

Posted by Heather at 07:31 PM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2007

Last Sunset on Key West

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Posted by Heather at 06:26 PM | Comments (1)

Volksblast 2007!

Hello! I know I'm way behind on the blog! I have quite a few posts to do including houses of Key West, Key West Cemetery Letterboxing, a manatee video, Fort Zach, some sunset shots, and lots of other random but great photos.

We have left Key West and are headed to Miami for VOLKSBLAST 2007! Woohooo! It's $25 to enter the contest (proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity) and prizes are awarded (not sure what they are) by people's choice. We have done a great job cleaning her up and making her look beautiful, and with the hard wood floors and new interior paneling George has put in we think we have a great shot! Oh, and George bought a great hammock today that we're going to put up outside and hopefully that will win some points too. Maybe we should cook hot dogs and give them out to people? Hmmm... too much?

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I'll get my photos posted as soon as possible! See you soon!

Posted by Heather at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2007

Coconut Face


Posted by Heather at 10:26 AM | Comments (3)

February 05, 2007

Video of Val and Al, I hope it works


Posted by Heather at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)

Coconut Time!

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Stu found a coconut and asked George to help him get into it.

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First we drank the milk,

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and then ate the inside! Yum!

Posted by Heather at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Blue Heaven Saturday Night

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Saturday Night we went to Blue Heaven,

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with our friend Jean and his dog Maggie, who we park next to every day at Fort Zach. Jean is a composer from Canada, and he has done a lot of work for French films and Candian TV, among many other things.

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Also from the park, we have met Val and Al who were performing at Blue Heaven that night. Val has the most amazing voice!!! She could be famous in an instant. They live in a TINY town in Canada that is VERY NORTH! I think it is called Tour Le Sac, but I can't find it on any maps, so I have to ask George about that. They only perform in their town, where Val is a bartender where Al performs, and in Key West. They come to Key West in their vans every winter and play at local places a few times a week, including on Little Palm Key which is a very posh resort for only about 6-8 very wealthy people at a time. I'll try to upload a video clip so you can hear just how amazing she is!

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Maggie, who is very well behaved and speaks French. Yes, she actually speaks French. You know what I mean.

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From left to right: Heath, George, Maggie looking at Val eating her dinner, then the stripper... I mean dancer who I can't remember her name but she is buddies with some of the Ft. Zach crew, then Al, and another guy that owns a concession business, can't remember his name either.

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A few whisky's in...

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Yeah, we're having FUN!!

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Dining Area

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And in the morning we dragged our hangovers out of bed to go get some Checker's Burgers and onion rings for breakfast, and the lady gave us some fries too, which we were very glad she did. And then off to nap. Good times.

Posted by Heather at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2007


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Wrecker's Race

Posted by Heather at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)


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Friday Sunset

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George went rollerblading to get some exercise. He came back about 45 minutes later; he didn't go very far because he ran into Stew and they chatted...for about 40 minutes. Yeah, great workout!

Posted by Heather at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2007

Various Photos

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Mike and Emma

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Posted by Heather at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

More photos from Sugarloaf

Hello! Sorry for the delayed photos. I've been battling another cold. It's unbelievable; I wasn't sick for over a year while working at a crappy job, and then as soon as I'm on vacation I get two colds in a month. Anyway, I'm feeling much better now. So here are some photos from last weekend!

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Sunday was WINDY!!! And here are some pretty clouds.

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So we went to Mangrove Mama's to get out of the wind and cold. What Fun!! We had stone crab claws (delicious) and conch chowder, and coconut shrimp, and Julie and Alison had great pasta dishes- shrimp scampi and another with pesto and everything was absolutely delicious.

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Monday morning sunrise

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Back to Key West for a walking tour (for more photos check out www.JuliaMccurdy.com) and some PIE!! I love pie.

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Monday Night at the campsite. Geoge cooked delicious shrimp!

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George and Alison

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Heath and the Shrimp

Posted by Heather at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2007


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Today we went for a short walk on Big Pine Key on the lookout for Key Deer, which are very tiny and endangered. But we did not see any. Turns out the best times to see them are around sunrise and sunset. So then we were hungry and went in search of No Name Pub on No Name Key.

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And here we are!

This is the bar. As you can see there has been a long tradition of stapling dollar bills to the ceiling and walls. George already has a dollar bill here at the other end of the bar. So of course we had to join in and add a dollar bill from us. Julie had her colored pencils (which she carries with her everywhere) and that was very helpful to make ours stand out.

Ok, who can find our dollar?

Ha ha, just kidding. Actually it's not in this picture but I thought it would be funny if you started to look. This is the ceiling of the bar area.

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Here is our dollar! We put in in a less crowded area, and not around any other brightly colored ones. George remembers when most of the bills were that brown color because of the cigarette smoke. If you ever go to No Name Pub, when you walk in the door you will find our dollar a little to the left, above near where the waitresses pick up the food.

We just had some naps and are reading/sitting. It is VERY WINDY and we'd all like it to stop. Sky is grey, not blue as it should be. If it continues like this we'll be heading to Mangrove Mama's for din din and drinks because there is no way we'll be able to cook on our grill.

Posted by Heather at 04:45 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2007

Julie and Alison's First Day in Key West

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Happy Hour at the Conch Bar!

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First Conch Fritters

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And off to Mallory Square for the sunset and the performers.

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The Big Chair

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Drunk Driving?

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Alison in a hammock

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Julie and George in a swing chair

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First stop on Duval is the Bear Bottom Beach Club (and it is spelled Bear not Bare)

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Off to the Irish Pub

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Obnoxious Pub Singer

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And Sloppy Joes!!! Sloppy Joes... Slop Slopply Joes!

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Alison at Fort Zach

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Alison and George at Fort Zach

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Julie at Fort Zach

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Julie investigating in the rocks

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Our campsite on Sugarloaf Key

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We'll be here until Tuesday!

It was an awesome first day! We're all tired. We just finished a great dinner of steak, potatoes, zucchini, and bread with garlic oil. YUM!!!! Oh and beer and wine of course. Off to bed!

Posted by Heather at 08:14 PM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2007

Welcome Julie and Alison!

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Here is Julie and Alison during their first hour in Key West! And now it's off to the Conch Bar for Happy Hour!

Posted by Heather at 03:36 PM | Comments (3)

January 25, 2007

Rain Rain Rain

It is rainy today... Actually not too bad because it will cool things off a bit. It's been so HOT! heh heh heh.

Spoke to Julie today! She and Alison are arriving tomorrow! They will be landing a little after 9am and will probably get to Key West around 12.30 or 1.00; that's my guess. FUN FUN FUN!

Tomorrow night we'll have some dinner and then the Duval Crawl! Woohoo! Here are some pictures from last years Crawl:

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Woohoo! See you tomorrow!

Posted by Heather at 01:49 PM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2007

George and Mike Fishing

George and Mike just got back from a successful fishing trip! Some grouper and yellow tail, and a few sharks!

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Posted by Heather at 08:36 PM | Comments (4)

Dinner at Becky and Mike's House

Last night we had another great dinner at Mike and Becky's. Here are some photos of their house.

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And their bananas are delicious!

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Posted by Heather at 04:51 PM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2007


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Called Mom and Dad last night; here I am on the phone with them.

Here is our buddy Stu. He's 72 and is the epitome of a full time combat camper. He has completely customized his vehicle. The top of his Jeep is covered with solar panels, and there is a satellite up there (round thing at the front). Inside, he has a bunk, a fold up bike, a drop down flat screen tv (drops down from the passenger side visor); he has taken out the front passenger seat and moved it to where the back seat would be (he removed the whole back seat bench), and he has a camping refrigerator too. He also has a little George Forman grill, and some fishing poles, and also a metal detector, among various other useful items. Anyway, today we did some body work on the van, getting all the rust spots off and then patched up. Stu did his whole Jeep this past year so his expertise was a big help. We had most of it done it about 5 hours, with just a few spots left to sand and paint.

Lunch at the Conch Bar: fish sandwich and conch chowder. Mmmm...conch.

And the Sunset at the pier:


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Posted by Heather at 07:10 PM | Comments (1)

January 20, 2007


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The North Star is leaving. This is the owner of one of the racing boats; what a hard life.

Homecooked Breakfast! Yum! Mike caught some Mackerel yesterday, and we were lucky enough to bump into him at the pier. Boy, was it delicious!

Posted by Heather at 04:14 PM | Comments (1)

Last day of races

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tacking boats

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Ahhh... a little piece of home!

Posted by Heather at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

Various Photos

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Watching the Sunset

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The Fisherman

Posted by Heather at 03:51 PM | Comments (1)

Boca Chica Top Gun School

The other day we were at Boca Chica, at the end of the Navy runway. As we learned last night after talking to two army pilots at happy hour, Boca Chica is where the Top Gun flight school is held. Cool!

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Coming in for a landing

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Re-fueling jet

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The fighter jets took off quite often, one right after the other, and then they would fly next to each other and break off to one side one at a time. They were moving much too fast to get a good picture of. Above you will see the little grey smudge towards the left; that is the fighter plane.

Posted by Heather at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)


You may have seen programs on the Discovery channel about Mel Fisher and his discovery of the Atocha. We visited one of his shops to see some of his treasure. He also has a museum but it's $22 a person (yeah right!)

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Treasure Chest- the wood disintegrated underwater and this is what happens to the coins inside.

And here they are after a cleaning; ready to be purchsed (the least expensive is about $100, and the most expensive is a thousands of dollars.)

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Close up of coins

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Dollar Bill





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Flasks (for powder i think?)


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long key and some other items

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Spoon and coins

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Silver ingot (notice it it 98% pure silver)

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Gold ingot


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description of what a CINTA is

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Another shot of the treasure chest, which was my favorite piece in the whole store. It is one of the few remaining chests; all the others have been cleaned up to be sold or sent to museums. I can't remember how many of these she said was on the ship, but I'll find out.

Posted by Heather at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

Coast Guard Dill

Man over board!!

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Man in water 4 minutes!

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By the time they reached him (he was way back there, all I could see was the orange buoy he was holding) he was in the water for 8 minutes.

Posted by Heather at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2007

Friday Sunset

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Posted by Heather at 08:23 PM | Comments (2)

January 18, 2007

Beach Shot

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Posted by Heather at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)


Hi All! Just in case you all are wondering how tan I've become, it's this much:


Posted by Heather at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)

Boca Chica

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Today we are on Boca Chica, about 15 minutes North of Key West. The beach is at the end of the navy base runway, so fighter jets and re-fueling planes have been taking off all day- out for training runs. Pretty cool, we'll have pics up later.

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View from the bus

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George sunning

The beach

Posted by Heather at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

Boats Coming in from races Wednesday

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Posted by Heather at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Dear Connecticut

We hear it's pretty cold up there, We read it on the news.
We'd like ot try and warm you up, so you're not singing the winter time blues.

The winter has really got you down, and the temps are down there too.
Maybe these photos will take the chill from your bones; these are OUR kind of blues.

(Yes, i know the poem could use some work but i just have no motivation to put any more thought towards it; not that it took much to come up with.)

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Blue Water

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Blue Sky

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Blue Spinnaker

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Blue Boat

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Blue on my flip flop (Do you remember what flip flops are?)

Posted by Heather at 12:23 PM | Comments (3)

January 17, 2007

To Fish or Not to Fish...


that is the question.

Posted by Heather at 09:53 AM | Comments (1)


This is the Sunhippe. She is a shrimp boat. She was in Scarface.

Posted by Heather at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

USS Mohawk

The USS Mohawk was built in 1934 for the Coast Guard. The ship is 165 feet in length and served in WW II as part of the naval forces. Assigned North Atlantic operations, she launched a total of 14 attacks against Nazi U boats. The U.S.C.G.C. Mohawk is the only remaining Coast Gurad subchaser in existence. Highlights of her at-sea rescue operations include the rescue of 293 survivors from the USAT Chatham and the rescue of 24 men from the SS Barberry. As the last remaining ship of her kind, the Mohawk is the Memorial Ship of the "Battle of the Atlantic". The ship is undergoing a lot of restoration so some of the rooms we couldn't access. Here is the tour we took:

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Welcome to the USS Mohawk! Permission to come aboard, Sir!

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We start on the Starbord side to the bow:


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Ground Tackle(Anchor System)

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We'll head up top to the Open Bridge.

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This is the Enclosed Bridge. You can see the ships helm, engine order telegraph and navigation table.

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Telescope Viewer, not sure what that is called either.

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Some info on the guns on board

Back down and we enter the galley...

Meals for 134 men and 14 officers were prepared here.

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This is the stove and oven which was fired with fuel oil(George took the picture; blame him for it being out of focus!).

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The Radio Room and communications center was manned by 2 men 24/7.

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The equipment used

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How they received info

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Telex Machine

Now we go down below:

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The Crew's Mess Deck

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These lamps are above the mess hall tables; they are turned on when the tables were used as the doctor's operating tables. During WW II the crew's mess deck was also used to handle overflow berthing (hammock hooks on the ceiling) and was considered their mulit-purpose room in that it was the only area to relax, read and listen to the radio.

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We check out some various artifacts.


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And try some on.

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Sailor Heath

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Cheif Petty Officer's Bunk

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CPO Head

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CPO Toilet

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A peak further down below to the Crew's Berthing Compartment

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Crew's Head

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Crew's Head sinks

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Sick Bay (left side)

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Sick Bay (right side)

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Engine Room

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We go up the Passage Way Aft and enter the Officer's Ward Room (we didn't get a picture but it was as large as the Crew's Mess and had red carpet). 14 Officers ate and lived in this area. There were 8 staterooms around the perimeter; here are pictures of two of them.
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Officer's Bunk 1

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Other Side

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Another Officer's Bunk

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The Crew 1943

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Photos of the Snowy Atlantic

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End of the War Message

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When we finished our tour we hung out on deck to watch the end of the cross country bike ride completed by wounded soldiers. Very cool.

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George's New Toy

Posted by Heather at 08:38 AM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2007

Video of Kite Flying

Ok! I've reloaded the video; hope it works!

*Update 17 Jan 2007* Video marked as public, should play now for all.

Posted by Heather at 03:32 PM | Comments (7)

Who's that?!

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Are they pointing at us?

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It's Mike and his buddy! Out for some fishing.

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Yum Yum, we'll be sure to drop by for dinner tonight! mmm...fresh fish

Posted by Heather at 02:43 PM | Comments (1)

Kite Flying!

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Yesterday George saw a guy and a girl flying some kites and it looked like fun. So we went to buy one today, and BOY IT IS AWESOME!!! I really wasn't expecting much- BUT IT WAS ABSOLUTELY THRILLING!
So I'd like to announce my new career as an amatuer-soon-to-be-professional sport kite flier. I'm pretty sure that's what they call it but maybe I should do some research.

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I'll try to post a video so you can see what great kite fliers we are.

Posted by Heather at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)

Seafood Festival on Saturday

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual Keys Seafood Festival!

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On the menu is Conch Chowder, Chonch Salad, Conch Fritters, Lobster, Fish, Golden Crab, Rock Crab and Shrimp. Oh Yeah, and BEER!


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George, Becky and 3 month old Emma

Musical Entertainment

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This lady sure loved dancing. And this bum sure loved watching her. When she moved to the left, he moved to the left. When she twirled, he would twirl. I think he was dancing with her in his head. She didn't seem to mind.

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And of course a fire juggler. I thought he was going to swallow it, but he didn't. He just tossed it around a bit and then got on his unicycle.

Posted by Heather at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2007

Sunset at Ft. Zach

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Our first sunset in Key West. It's nice to be back. Here is Heath waving at the sunset cruise.

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and with some flowers.

We found this drift wood bench under a tree. Nice spot to watch the sunset.

And there it is, hitting the water. Good night Sun!

Posted by Heather at 04:04 PM | Comments (1)

January 12, 2007

Thursday, or no It's Friday.

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Last night at Long Key: Tailgate TV. Gotta love The Wheel!

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And we're off to Key West!

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7 Mile Bridge

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George and the Sponge Dude, down near Mallory Square

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Heath's New Necklace- Thanks George!

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The bus is back at Ft. Zach! Hooray!

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I'm sure everyone is familiar with this view from last year's blog.

And yes it is race week! We made it just in time. Not too many boats here yet, but everything is getting set up and put together.

Tomorrow is the 2nd Annual Keys Seafood Festival on Key West (Thanks for the tip Mom!) So we'll be sure to stuff up on great food and take lots of pics!

Posted by Heather at 04:44 PM | Comments (3)

January 10, 2007


Let's start off with some sunset photos:


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George caught this blue crab with this pair of tongs. Ha ha ha. His fishing expedition was less succesful, only catching two small fish. They were very pretty, though, with blue stripes. And I caught one small fish that was white with brown stripes. Very cool.

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Heath's Haircut: My last haircut was when Becky cut my hair in Key West last January. Yes, it IS about time I had my hair cut. George's mom did an awesome job and I am very happy to have much less hair to get all caught up and tangled in the warm Florida wind and water.

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Happy Hour Campfire

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Spider Crab: These guys hang out on trees and drop down into the water when they feel like it. Or onto your head...

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Woodpecker Tree

Posted by Heather at 09:11 PM | Comments (1)

January 09, 2007

Another day in paradise...

Here is a photo of the trees in front of our campsite.

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Last night (Monday, January... ummm.. I've forgotten the date already) George and Scott cooked steaks on the grill.


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George and George were successful at patching the boat.

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George and Scott had a romatic stroll down the beach at sunset.

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I was distracted by this hermit crab.

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This morning George and I went on the Nature Walk. Here we are!

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Nice View

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George spotted this osprey. So we got closer...

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Do you think he sees us?

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Here is George in a tree.

And he's off to go fishing: Captain Chamberlain's Casting Sequence
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George Sr. fishing

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Nothing biting on shore so George Jr. took the boat out. He is the speck on the horizon (above the word shore in this caption).

While George was fishing I was at the campsite...

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sitting in this chair doing crosswords and reading...

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and looking at this view. It was a wonderful day.

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I took a walk down to Scott's site. Here is his bus.

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Pelican on a zodiac

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Tree and Sailboat

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Zodiac and Birds

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Same one, but closer.

Posted by Heather at 03:40 PM | Comments (2)

January 07, 2007

Florida Rocks!

Back in Florida, and here is the first thing I did:

We spent the afternoon on the water with a cooler of Heinies (cheers Amy!), jumping in to cool off when it got too hot.

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Happy Hour begins: from left to right is Scott, George, George's dad George, and mom, Edy. Last night our neighbor came over to tell us that the International Space Station would be passing over our heads at exactly 6.27 and we would be able to see it for 5 minutes. And yes it did; it came into view directly over our site and was moving pretty fast! Not only did we see the space station but we also saw 2 or 3 satellites (one crossing the path of the space station)! Pretty cool! The stars were amazing! We stayed up listening to the waves on the beach and debating whether Casiopia was upside down or not.

This is the beach at low tide, which was a lot of fun to explore. I found lots of hermit crabs, some of which were bright blue with orange stripes on their legs, a party of snails that were opally color with green dots on their backs, a weird wormy thing squiggling around, an old rusted metal knife and an old VW fuse, which we all got a kick out of since George and Scott are VW nuts.

and high tide.

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Watch out for these guys! This is a man o war, actually 2 of them. And please note the long blue stingy thing. I got stung on my foot, but it really wasn't that bad; went away after an hour or two and some whisky. And it really was my own fault for getting stung because I couldn't resist poking them, and popping one (which was already dead so no harm done)!

And can anyone tell us what this is? We found it on the beach on our walk this morning. George jumped on it to see if it would pop...

but it didn't.

Well, it is time for my second nap of the day. Here is where I fell asleep earlier doing a crossword.

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No sunscreen, oopps! So I've moved to the top bunk of the bus,

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and will now drowse off again to the soothing sound of the waves and with the nice warm breeze of the keys softly blowing... alright I'll knock it off.

Posted by Heather at 02:18 PM | Comments (3)