May 17, 2012 Dear Bear Cubs, I have been too busy to write you lately. Last week we finally arrived at our end point of our trip-Key West, Florida. Key West is the last island in a string of island reefs known at the Florida Keys that are 150 miles long. It took us three days to sail from Miami to Key West. There’s an easy math problem for you…approximately how many miles did we sail each day? Would you like to hear about my adventures in Key West? We met some friends of Captain James and Mrs. Little. Uncle Chris and Ms. Anne flew to Key West to spend several days with us. They were very nice to me and treated me just like family. The most amazing thing was that we spent four nights in a resort hotel. Uncle Chris invited us to stay with him at this beautiful place called Parrot Key Resort and Hotel. We had our own bedroom, and I even had my own BIG bed! Unfortunately the adults had so many activities planned for each day that I didn’t even have time to go swimming. We were so busy each day that I would fall asleep in Mrs. Little’s purse before we even got back to the hotel.
On Sunday we took Uncle Chris sailing on Ragtime in the Florida Bay. After sailing for a couple of hours, we came to a reef called Sand Reef where we could snorkel. Have you ever done that? I have snorkeled in Mrs. Salyer’s swimming pool, but she doesn’t have fish and coral reefs in the bottom of her pool. It was so exciting to see the tropical colored fish and the interesting shaped corals growing on the sea floor. At first I was scared because all the fish were bigger than me, but Mrs. Little assured me they wouldn’t bother me. In fact they mostly ignored us. I don’t imagine they’ve ever seen a bear. Maybe they thought I was a baby human??? After snorkeling for a few hours, we sailed back to Key West and watched the sunset in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, not the Atlantic Ocean. Ask Mrs. Salyer to show you Key West on a map. It was a beautiful sunset. Apparently watching the sunset in Key West is a touristy thing because they even have a place on shore called Mallory Square where hundreds of people gather each evening to watch the sunset.
On Monday Ms. Anne’s flight arrived. We drove to the Key West airport in Uncle Chris’ rental car to pick her up. She was so happy to finally meet me. I guess she’s been reading about my adventures.
After letting Ms. Anne deposit her suitcase at the hotel, we drove downtown Key West for a sightseeing day. We went to three museums: the Truman Little White House, Mel Fischer Treasure museum, and the Ernest Hemingway House. They were all very interesting. Maybe Mrs. Salyer will let you look up these places on the Internet and read more about them. I think my favorite was the Hemingway House because of all the cats. Apparently Mr. Hemingway had this cat that had kittens and then more kittens. Now there are more than 40 cats living at the house and are all relatives of that first cat. They were quite friendly. They are also polydactyl which means they have 6 toes!!! Some have the extra toes on just two feet and some on all four. Something else you should research.
On Tuesday we went sport fishing. Uncle Chris hired a man by the name of Captain John to take us out in his big fishing boat. We motored a long way off shore, about 20 miles. Captain James and Uncle Chris caught a humongous fish called an amberjack. It weighed about 65 pounds and took them 45 minutes to reel in. It was strong and fought so hard that they had to take turns with the reel. When the fish finally was caught, everyone was exhausted, even the fish. I sort of felt sorry for him, but he was put in the ice locker. Next Captain John took us to a place where we caught 13 dolphins. I was concerned when they said dolphin because I love those creatures but these are not the same kind of dolphin. They were about 24 inches long and look nothing like the dolphins you see swimming in the ocean. After we got back, Captain John cleaned the fish and gave us a bag to take with us. We took it to a Thai restaurant that he recommended. They cooked it for us. I have to admit, it was delicious!
Wednesday was our last day with Uncle Chris and Ms. Anne. We had breakfast at a French restaurant and then went to the Key West Lighthouse and the southernmost spot in the United States to take our picture. At the lighthouse I had my picture taken in a banyan tree. Notice how the branches grow to the ground. Something else to check out. I hated to see Uncle Chris and Ms. Anne leave, but they had to go back to work.
We are on our way home now. We spent the night in Marathon Key at a mooring field. Tonight we will anchor near Rodriguez Key and then should be in Miami by Saturday evening. I miss you all and am sad I will not be there for graduation to tell you good-bye. Have a great summer and come see me next year. Don’t forget about me when you go to middle school. Much love, Cubby