We found a new way to have fun. Now that there is a finished bike path from the northern end of Summerland Key all the way past us to the beginning of Sugarloaf Key we can hop on our bicycles and bar hop.
First stop: South 3 miles to the KOA Campground Bar
Second stop: Across the Overseas Highway to Mangrove Mama’s
Third stop: Back 3 miles north to our own Square Grouper
Fourth stop: Further north 3 miles to The Wharf Bar and Grill.
Then south again 3 miles back to Jolly Roger Drive.
The only thing you have to watch out for is when the bike path crosses the Highway. When this occurs you need to be VERY careful. However, we even had the traffic stop for us. That was kind of scary. Otherwise it is wait for an opening and make a dash for it!
The Wharf Bar & Grill took the place of the old Fish Cutters. It is really a great place. It has a lot of open air seating right along a canal with lots of working boats.
It is located at the far eastern end of Summerland Key, just before the bridge.
You can pull right up in your boat, as we did when Eric decided to just meet the girls at the restaurant rather than return home and get them.
The food is great. I love the Conch Chowder, which is as thick with ingredients as any you’ll get. Extensive menu, lots of other stuff available.
There is now an outdoor bar too.
Do not call the waitress “sweetie.”
25163 Overseas Highway
Summerland Key, Florida 33042
The “Bionic Hips and Knees Kayak.” Not a team made in heaven. Look at the expression of the paddler in the back. He spent the rest of the week kicking the yellow kayak. We decided to switch front paddlers to avoid blood shed. Things got worse as the pairs were now man and wife. After counseling there was no permanent damage to the relationship.
We started and ended at the Niles Channel boat ramp on Summerland Key. The trip was abbreviated from the planned itinerary due to crew exhaustion and failure to paddle in a straight line.
While out fishing on the flats one day, we spotted an Eagle Ray not too far from the boat.
We manuevered a bit and managed to get near enough to get this close up. You can really see the Eagle Ray’s distinctive spotted pattern.
We were out behind Cudjoe, pretty close to Sawyer Key.
On the way back from the flats we came across this sight. It is a classic “mud.” A mud is formed when fish stir up the “mud” by rooting around on the sea floor for food or a when group of predator fish do the same thing while attacking other fish.
In this case, the predators are dolphins. There were four of them going round and round and up and down feeding on some little fish we couldn’t quite spot.
The second photo shows three of them leaving the mud.
Cudjoe Key’s singular and distinguishing feature is the unmanned Navy surveillance blimp (don’t get technical here), Fat Albert.
Fat Albert is tethered to the ground by a cable and flies on almost all days with good weather. Fat Albert is located at the end of, what else, Blimp Road. To get close enough to photograph it though, as in this shot, you must be in a boat.
Bicycling to the end of Blimp Road is a nice ride from the house (maybe 2 or 3 miles). You just cross the highway and take Old State Road 4 to where it intersects with Blimp Road (at Coco’s Cantina, now closed, sob).
Fat Albert looks for drug runners and other smugglers, and broadcasts to Cuba.
It is great to have this “landmark” to steer by when returning to Cudjoe, although exactly where it is can be a bit confusing.
There is a very detailed article here: http://www.n-the-florida-keys.com/Fat-Albert.html
If we have guests that want to do some different things and we don’t have enough cars for everyone to go their own way, we rely on the Key West Transit “Lower Keys Shuttle.”
This bus runs up and down the lower keys between Key West and Marathon.
It is very inexpensive and it has a great web site that shows where the buses currrently are and gives an updated time of arrival at your stop.
So, if somebody wants to go to Key West, and some one else wants to go to the beach at Bahia Honda, just tell them to take the Lower Keys Shuttle. Our stop is right up Cutthroat and a few yards to the right on the highway.