What does everyone wish for when they travel or vacation? Good weather. We didn’t have good weather, we had great weather. First on the list – beach time! We packed a picnic lunch and headed to nearby Bahia Honda State Park.
Amanda’s father, Bill, joined the four of us for dinner at the Square Grouper, well known for its fresh seafood menu as well as its environmentally friendly “green” approach (all paper products and straws are made from corn products.)
The name, “Square Grouper” and it’s funky, slang meaning belies the excellent food and interior ambiance. “Square grouper” refers to the square bales of marijuana that drug smugglers would toss out of planes into the sea. the ocean current carried the bales to the Keys to be picked up, back in the 1970s and 1980s.
After a good night’s sleep, the next day was more outdoor time. Yeah!! Tim took the day off and we all headed over to Bill’s on the other side of Big Pine Key. The plan — use the 18-foot Boston Whaler to go snorkeling.The five of us with gear and lunches piled into the boat and out the canal to “bigger” waters between Big Pine and No Name Keys.
The water was bigger, as in wider, but not very deep. The big water farther out also looked very choppy to Bill so he decided it wasn’t the best day for snorkeling. 🙁 Oh well, so we turned around. The engine raced, but the boat suddenly slowed down, significantly. Uh oh. Did the prop hit the bottom?? The trip back was decidedly slower and more cautious.
When the guys announced that the “prop was spun,” I thought that was an odd conclusion to make. Of course the prop spins ! It’s a prop and that’s what they do – SPIN! Right? Silly me. “Spun your prop” is actually a technical term, of sorts. Evidently the prop was older and the stress of having 5 people in it was too much. A rubber sleeve that is pressed into the center of the prop was old and hard, got too hot and couldn’t grip the metal inside, so it “slipped.” When this happens you are lucky if you can even coax idle speed out of it.
Change of plans – let’s all go kayaking. Bill led the way to show us a hidden place.
The entrance into the mangroves was very concealed. Without Bill’s guidance, we would never have found it. This hidden gem turned out to be my favorite Keys adventure.