Day four of my AAA Florida Keys adventure continued in
. Key West
Cypress House, the B&B where I headquartered in
, served a terrific breakfast that was included in the nightly rate. The other travel writer staying there and I wolfed down fresh fruit, bagels, bacon, eggs and assorted pastries. All my good intentions for taking it easy on the food that morning lasted until I hit the kitchen. Key West
Our morning was free. The Newman Agency that honchoed this extravaganza provided us with its
that was good for free admission to all sorts of attractions and tours. It also offered free meals at some hotels and free drinks at a few other places. V.I.P. Pass
I spent my morning strolling around
and reacquainting myself with the sights. The difference between Duval Street at 10 in the morning and Duval Street at 10 at night is startling. Unlike the French Quarter in Old Town , though, despite curb to storefront drunks crowding the street at night, everything is relatively clean the next morning. The next morning on Bourbon Street, you can see the remains of the drunken carnage the night before; not so on Duval Street. New Orleans
I met up with the rest of the group and we headed to Hogfish Bar & Grill in the Safe Harbor Marina on
for lunch. What a treat. I had the fried Hogfish sandwich smothered in cheese and grilled onions. Oh man, it was good! I washed lunch down with a couple of Mille Lites. The total bill was 21 bucks -- a bargain by any standard. Stock Island
Our big organized activity of the day was a boat trip with Dancing Water Spirits Retreat that runs out of Murray Marine at MM 5. We were hosted by none other than the Dolphin Whisperer herself, Captain Victoria Impallomeni-Spencer.
She has been conducting expeditions into the water wilderness for 30 years. She knows a lot about the
waters and its wildlife. And, when I say, a lot, I mean nearly everything there is to know. Florida
She didn't promise us a dolphin encounter, but she seemed quite confident she would conjure up a few. Using a combination of music played through her boat's audio system with speakers attached to the boat's hull, as well as a sonic signal she puts out using the electric motor that raises and lowers the Yamaha 200 engine she called the dolphins.
For the first hour her choice of music probably lulled the dolphins to sleep. I'm surprised several of them within hearing distance didn't fall asleep and drown. It was the sort of music that plays in the background in $1,000-per-day spa. Snore….
Finally the music selection improved, but the dolphins still did not come. We puttered around for another hour. Eventually we gave up and just as we began to turn to head back, four dolphins came swimming up. They played around us for 45 minutes. Swimming around and under our boat, they frolicked like kids as
talked about how intuitive they are: they know we are, she told us. Okay, fine. Victoria
I have no doubt she can produce dolphins on just about every 3-hour cruise.
It was a great day on the water.