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Would you believe that just north of the Conch Republic’s borders in Miami Beach, a new sport described as scull-vaults-palms has caught on?  No . . . you wouldn’t believe that?  Maybe the heat has addled my brain.  Actually, the foto was taken looking down onto Indian Creek.

I saw a half dozen schooners around Key West, but this one (was at least a mile off) and

this one I could not identify.  They could be anchored just off shoals.

Parrotfish are quite colorful, even if viewed from outside the water.  Anyone have experience with any of these “waterproof” cameras?  I’m toying with #3.  Associated with the non-finny parrot variety, Key West

has enjoyed this place not quite as long as this sign would indicate.  US Route 1 has been around much longer.   I used to drive this road from Massachusetts to Maine, avoiding it in summer, since up there, I associate the name with “tourist trap” congestion.   But when you’re not in a hurry and want to see how one geoculture differs from the next,

the 2000-plus-mile road is the one to follow to here all the way from Fort Kent.  The black-and-white sticker I’m holding here is for  Capt. Joey’s Good Morning Gloucester, whose namesake town lies within 10 miles of Route 1 . . .  close enough for me to consider just off the road.

I’ve long  associated Key West with Jimmy Buffett;  a new name I learned on this trip is David Wolkowsky, an important Buffett patron.    As for “parrotthead” . . . I think it should be “pelicanhead,” given their relative population numbers in the Conch Republic . . .

Until I get an underwater camera and travel all the way back down Route 1, this will have to suffice as a foto of a ballyhoo, a newfavorite word from this trip;  I like worldkid66‘s description of a school of ballyhoo in the last paragraph.    Another “newfavorite” is

chickee, of which this is NOT one.   I just like the word chickee:  a wooden platform over the water, like a duck blind for hunters, where you could pitch a tent .  . . say in the Everglades.

The colors in the waters of the Conch Republic are magical.

and the number of schooners, like this unidentified one . . . surprising.

Hibachi (left) and another unidentified  landing craft  . . .  awaiting cargo?

Some transient islands aka keys near

Fort Jefferson were mentioned by our tour guide:  one island used as a cemetery for soldiers who died at the Fort was no longer there after a storm.   What’s magical colors for us represented hell for 19th century soldiers sent there from northern states.

Closing shot for this meandering series . . .WHEC-35 Ingham . . .  was once painted in dazzle colors like its neighbor WPC-78 Mohawk.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Click here for more background on the Conch Republic.

A new link on my blogroll is worldkid’s blog.

Unrelated:  Read this in the context of budget cutting talks and weep.  Anyone get a foto of these vessels as they make their way to the Texas scrap yard?

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July 2011