Monday, February 21, 2005

Dry Tortugas Trips

Well, the busy season is here. For anyone who is thinking that they would like to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, you will need to make advanced reservations. Both the Dry Tortugas seaplane, and the Dry Tortugas ferry sell out at least days in advance.
Remember, the seaplane trips can be half day or full day. Most people opt for the half day at $179. The full day is $305. Includes gear and beverages. Meals are not included on the plane.
The ferry, on the other hand, is a full day trip and does include meals. A continental spread for breakfast and a beach-side picnic at lunch are provided on the ferry trips. The food is good, the trip wonderful, and the experience overall is out-island heaven.
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Key West Golf

For golfers, information about the Key West golf course is now available. Tee-times, directions, and other particulars about the course are available. But, even more valuable (especially when it's time to play) is the tips and secrets to playing the Key West Golf Club.
This par 70, eighteen hole course, features the unusual mangrove hole. This is a par three over a stand of mangroves. The green is completely invisible from the tee box, and the only clue to it's position is the extra-long flagstick.
It's a course that can be a lot of fun. It is pricey, but then again, what isn't in Key West these day.
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Key West Fishing

Well, the first big change has occured at the Key West Kayak Fishing & Eco-Tours site, Key West Fishing. Now the site has a whole new look and feel. Instead of being just a way to find out about the kayak fishing trips, the site is growing to become a resource about fishing in general in the Keys.
Key West flats fishing, Key West deep sea fishing, and Key West fishing charter pages have been roughly sketched out and will be added to. I hope to have information about species of fish: bonefish, tarpon, marlin, and everything in between. From tackle to technique, the site will discuss all aspects of Key West fishing. Local charter boats will be invited to contribute fishing reports as well. I'll bring on-board a bunch of charter boats, some from each discipline of fishing, to be featured. I especially want those local guides who are excellent and experienced, but have limited web presence.
Stay tuned if interested as much more will be added.
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Monday, February 14, 2005

Key West Fishing

Things are changing over at the Key West Kayak Fishing website. The site will be changing it's focus from being a kayak fishing charter to a sort of encyclopedia about fishing in Key West and the Florida Keys. Soon to be added will be extensive sections on all types of fishing trips: Deep Sea, Flats fishing, light tackle fishing, reef fishing, party boat fishing, spearfishing, and of course kayak fishing. I'm going to be really generous with the information. Suggestions and secrets to technique, equipment, and experiences will be included. Let me know if you would like anything else. I'm excited about the new effort, and can't wait to spill the beans. The whole site will also get a new look. Suggestions are welcome. Best Fishes!
Key West Florida
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Monday, February 07, 2005

The Real Estate Monster of Key West

Friends, last night, went on about the state of things in Key West. Change has sped up in a town who's once-most-endearing trait was it's slow pace.
The supply side of the housing equation has been rigged, driving the price of homes into stratospheric ranges. The Real Estate Monster of Key West has such an appetite, that it is beginning to eat the fiscal engine of the city: tourism. It has been quoted by city officials that 10% of the hotel rooms have applied to convert to luxury condominiums. When we sell off the hotel rooms, we sell off the visitors and all the amenities that go with it. Clearly, remove the tourists and you don't need three hundred fishing guides, twenty snorkeling boats, 40 attractions, and 200 restaurants and bars to service a population that isn't even on Key West for seventy percent of the year.
Maybe that does solve the affordable housing problem. Get rid of the industry, remove the workers, and you can have a retirement/speculator community, just without any businesses. There she sits, ninety miles from the mainland...Rising a few feet above the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. No people=no problem.
Everything seems to be for sale, and for prices that make people rich or priced-out of the community. This threatens the city in ways that no other community has experienced.
So, friends are discussing the foreboding change on Key West. And I'm reminded of what someone once wrote about the island, termed "sliding baselines". Basically, everyone gets here, looks around, and says "This is great! Look at this place". But in five years, they are saying "Man, I remember what this place was like five years ago. It's going downhill." Yet someone new is always arriving, saying the same thing, "This is great! Look at this place!". Sliding baselines.
I think that I remember better days in Key West, and then a true old-timer tells me of fishing for yellowtail snapper off of Mallory Square, the water being crystal clear up to the docks. And I remember, that my complaints about the good-old-days fit into the sliding baselines formula. Like our new neighbor down the street who looks lovestruck. He's fallen for Key West, and is happy he spent the $500,000 for the 500 square foot condo.
One thing I'm pretty sure. Speculative frenzies end with a particular smashing fit. Realtors are rabid on the island, popping up like mushrooms from cow dung. It is not widely known that the realtors have cornered the market. Homes put up for sale have a very good chance of being bought by a real estate agent, only to be quickly resold with a hefty tax applied. These home would have normally been bought by a local, community member. Today, most sellers having held their home for decades, calls a realtor, and doesn't realize that they are dealing with someone who's interests are not aligned with their own. The realtor ends up with these properties that are marketed to out-of-state, second-home buyers. A real shame, and I suspect that the current mayoral administration hasn't grasped the consequences.
Buckle up boys and girls, my hunch is this sure bet has longer odds. It's only beginning to get wierd. Get your rubbery neck ready.
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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Key West Fantasty Fest

Well the party of the year, Key West Fantasy Fest, is still over six months away, but it's a good time to mention it. By the time the Halloween week is near, every hotel on the island is sold out. So for those of you planning on visiting us at our bawdiest, start looking at Key West hotels soon.
And what about costumes? I can't ever seem to come up with anything good by the time rolls around. Though through the year I think about it, and am reasonably sure that I'll come up with something, I've really failed these past few years. I usually blame the vague themes. I mean, how do you dress for "Delerious Dreams and Hillarious Screams"? There was a time a decade ago that the themes were easy to join in: "TV Jeebies" was a particularly good one.
This year should be different. The theme is "Freaks, Geeks, and Goddesses". Now I just have to pick one.

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