Last weekend, my husband and I took a long weekend trip to Key West, FL (our first time)! One of my college friend's was getting married on Sunday evening, so that left plenty of time for sightseeing and enjoying the beautiful weather.
I was blessed with many animal sightings, but one in particular felt magical. We just arrived at our kiteboarding destination on the flats (1-3 feet deep), when the instructor pointed to two dolphins about 20 feet away. He exclaimed, "The dolphins never come up this close to the flats! I haven't seen this in years!". Funny enough, I had said to myself a few days before, "This weekend would be perfect if I could see wild dolphins.". Guess the dolphins heard me :) I honestly believe that my intention was heard by the universe.
The other animals I spotted included:
- Sea Turtles (from the seaplane ride to Dry Tortuga)
- Sting Ray (from the seaplane ride to Dry Tortuga and on the flats when kiteboarding)
- Fish (when we were swimming in the ocean)
- Chickens (roaming free in Key West)
- Cats (at Hemingway's House)
What a treat! I visited Hemingway's birthplace in Oak Park in January, and now I visited Hemingway's House in Key West just a few months later. Obviously, my favorite part was learning about all of the cats that reside there. Apparently, all of them carry the polydactyl gene, yet only a few actually are polydactyl. Hemingway had a white polydactyl cat, Snowball, who stole his heart and there begain his love of polydactyls. All of the cats are outdoor and indoor, and are seen by a vet regularly. Their births and deaths are also recorded. Once a mother has one litter of kittens, they are spayed, in order to keep the total number of cats at the residence around 40-50 cats.
The cats roam the house freely. How fun is that?
Cat Acrobat Show
Leave it to me to find the traveling street cat acrobat show at random. The trainer's poise and vocabulary was, shall we say, interesting. He sang, kind of, in French the entire time. I wonder if that was him trying to be entertaining, or it was actually a type of Keep Going Signal. The show was entertaining, in a "this looks like chaos, yet the cats still know what to do" way. At least the sunset was pretty?
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
It was a busy, crowded day at the conservatory, yet still quite enjoyable to see the butterflies!
The Bad: Exotic Bird Man Posing as Rescue Organization Owner
I was a bit wary when an older man with a beautiful pink cockatoo approached me and set his bird on my shoulder. I only had looked his way when he approached. It was a beautiful bird, I must say, but why was he so forward? I asked him about his bird, then he proceeded to say "It's 10.99 for a photo, and I can take it for you.". I asked, "How many birds do you have? Are you part of a rescue or sanctuary?". "I have about 10 birds, all of which are rescues. I run a rescue organization by myself." I replied, "Oh, that sounds nice. Where did you get the birds from originally?"......silence.
No picture with the pink cockatoo for me. I do not support frauds. I believe this man just owns these exotic birds to exploit them when people want to take a photo with them at midnight on Duval St. That night, I was proud of myself for "putting my money where my mouth is" and not supporting that man. I did think his bird was beautiful and healthy looking though.