Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cabbage Key

Cabbage Key is an island near the southern end of Cayo Costa.  It is a popular place with a long and interesting history.  Last Dance took a spot at the Cabbage Key Marina to provide the crew an opportunity to explore this island.

The Calusa inhabited this area at least 3700 years ago.  They were known as the Shell People because their diet consisted of seafood, mainly shellfish.  The oyster, clam, and scallop shells were stacked in piles known as shell middens.  Thousands of years of shells make high mounds.  The Spanish came and the Calusa are no more.  In 1929, Alan and Gratia Rinehart purchased Cabbage Key and built their winter estate on one of the shell middens.  In 1944, Larry and Jan Stults bought the island, turning the house and property into a resort.  It has continually been operated as a resort since, with only two other owners since 1969.

The main house now is a restaurant and bar with 6 hotel rooms.  With just a few buildings on the island, which is reachable only by boat, a restaurant that seats 200 people would seem of inappropriate scale.  That is, until you see the big ferries bringing people to the island for lunch.  Cabbage Key is purported to be the place that Jimmy Buffett ate his Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Their cheeseburgers are good, but the rest of the menu is not notable.  It is the environment makes eating at Cabbage Key a must.

The walls of the restaurant and bar are covered in dollar bills.  Patrons write their names on a dollar bill and tape it to the wall.  With the many thousands of visitors a year, the dollar bill wallpaper becomes quite thick.

A few of the dollar bills signed by the more famous of the visitors are famed.  Of course, Jimmy Buffett's dollar bill is behind the bar,

along with one signed by Jimmy and Rosilyn Cater, and one left by John F. Kennedy, Jr.

On the wall, among many dollar bills is a poster signed by Randy Wayne White, one of Glen's favorite authors and a resident of nearby Sanibel Island.

The Cabbage Key dockhouse

The dockhouse has the marina office, a gift store, and the marina showers.  The shower sign indicates its location and provides a suggestion.

Behind the dockhouse, on the highest point of the island, is the original water tower, completely constructed of wood, including the tank.  It also serves as an observation tower and home to a family of Osprey.

Those who only visit the restaurant miss much that Cabbage Key has to offer.  Most of the island has been left in its natural, undeveloped state.  A walking trail runs the length of the island through a variety of native vegetation. Many of the plant varieties are labeled, making the walk an educational tour as well as a pleasant walk.

The Spanish Stopper tree grows in south Florida and the Caribbean.  It gets it name from the anti-diarrhea properties of the berries.

The Florida Strangler Fig is a parasite.  Its seed lands in a crack or crevice of a tree, then germinates sending air roots to get water and nutrients from the host tree. The roots eventually reach the ground and the Strangler Fig continues adding roots until the root system is strangling the host tree.  This Strangler Fig has attached to a Cabbage Palm, its favorite host, completely girdling the tree with roots.

The grounds also included some non-native plants that added color.  The experience of touring native flora is better at Cabbage Key than in the State Parks along the coast.  A park with an entertaining restaurant.

No comments: