Day 253, December 30, 2012 (Marathon, FL): Marathon looks like it has sustained one too many tropical storms. Over the years since we have been coming to the Keys, many of the city’s facilities appear to be in want of some renewal. That doesn’t stop fisherman, divers, and partiers from coming in droves. Yet, the prices are out of sight.

Little wonder! When the northern states are frigid, here we are enjoying 80-degree weather. The image at the left is on a key at Cape Romano a little north of here featuring old friend Stanley and me beach walking. Same feel of late summer. Oh horrors! A cold front came through last night with a howling northwesterly that blew out the humidity and dropped the temperature 10 degrees. Regardless, it is still a day at the beach. Whatever they like to do best they can do it in warm weather.

We made the mistake of going through Boot Key Harbor the other day to Sombrero Key—run down and noisy but okay docks and close to Publix. Overseas Highway is the thread in the necklace to the Keys and everything is strung out up and down this busy thoroughfare. Whether it is kayaking in the mangroves with Missy at right, watching the dolphins, or schmoozing friends, running the road is a requirement. Other than hanging out at Sombrero Key, one needs transportation. There is an inexpensive bus service to Key West and a taxi service that covers Vaca Key/Marathon for five bucks.

We met Kermit and Missy of Good Karma with the family herd in Tavernier for a fascinating paddle  through the mangroves in Florida Bay followed by pizza and beer/wine at their rented house. What wine goes with pizza?

The Dolphin Research Center in Marathon is a must. The goal of the research center is to understand dolphin intelligence and learning capacity. The sad fact is that the descendants of Flipper are obliged to learn circus tricks to attract the public to pay the modest admission fee to  keep DRC going and keep the house that Jack built from falling down. Marine iguanas show up periodically, too. Handsome devil!

And don’t forget the sunsets!