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.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crane Point - Vaca Key, Marathon

Crane Point has a natural environment and history preserved through few inhabitants and the formation of the Keys Land and Sea Trust.  It is a 63 acres piece of nature within a very developed City of Marathon on Vaca Key.  It is located on a point of land extending into Florida Bay.

Its history is presented through an expertly constructed history museum.  Nature trails provide a view of the plant and animal life that live in the Florida Keys environment.

The Caloosa lived in this area for at least 500 years before the arrival of the Spanish explorers.

Spanish artifacts are displayed documenting the Keys visitors of the 16th through 18th centuries.  The reefs of the Florida Keys wrecked many ships, leaving behind many items providing the evidence for archaeologists to document the history of these times.

Henry Flagler changed the Florida Keys by building a railroad to Key West, opening the Keys to travel by land for the first time.

One aspect of this adventure has been to sample the flora and fauna of different areas.  Crane Point Nature Center Museum provided many examples, artfully displayed.  Barracuda, Green Sea Turtles, and Key Deer have been viewed in the wild, but are much easier to photograph in the museum.

The unique aspect that saved this property is that only two families occupied the property in the 20th century, a time when the Keys had major development, favoring dredge and fill, destroying the natural environment.  George and Oliva Adderley, Bahamian immigrants, moved here in 1902.  They built a house of tabby that still stands today as a house museum, a testament to the strong construction being able to withstand many hurricanes.  Adderley made a living fishing and sponging, selling his catch in Key West, a long journey by a small sailing skiff.  The Flagler Railroad needed some of Adderley's property for railroad right of way.  Adderley negotiated with the railroad, trading the property for the right of way for a whistle stop at his property.  The train would stop at his property whenever he raised the flag, providing fast transportation to Key West.  The Adderleys lived on the property from 1902 until 1949.  Their house is the oldest house in the Keys, outside of Key West.

Francis and Mary Crane purchased the property from George Adderley in 1949, building an Art Deco winter home on the point.  The Cranes continued to preserve the natural state of the property, spending winters here until they sold the property in 1972.  To keep the property from becoming developed, the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust purchased the property, creating the museum and nature center -an opportunity to view the Florida Keys in their natural environment and the history of human interaction, preserved by a citizens group.

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