Friday, July 6, 2012

A Little about Key West

Enigma is docked at Oceanside Marina.  It is actually in Stock Island which is part of Key West.  Stock Island was supposedly named for the herds of livestock kept there.  Another theory is it was named after an early settler.

Key West is only about 90 miles from Cuba.  It is the Southernmost tip of the continental U.S.  The name Key West was named so because:

1.)  It is the most Western Key (obviously)


2.)  The Spanish name Cayo Hueso (pronounced Kajo Weso) which literally means Bone Island or Bone Cay.  This is because of the bones left behind of some American Indian tribes that used the grounds for a battlefield.  Since the Island is mostly coral shells they could not bury the dead, so they just left them there.

Key West is also the only continental city to have said to have never had a frost, ice or snow.  The lowest recorded temperature is 41 degrees in 1886 and the highest is 100 in 1880.

Salt was one of the major industries here and the number one salt producer for the U.S. until the 1950's when the Army Corp. on Engineers filled them in after a hurricane. Doing this actually about doubled the land mass.

Of the few beaches on Key West the most popular public beach is Smathers Beach.  It is a 1/2 mile long white sandy beach.  It has public restrooms and water sports such as parasailing and jet skies.  Did I mention it has white sand?  Due to the barrier reef the Key does not have waves, therefore no natural sandy beaches.  All of the sand here is shipped in.
There is also a beach called Dog Beach.  Apparently this is a favorite amongst the canines due to the rocks.  No restrooms for mom and dad though.  There are also two dog parks.  One for the little dogs and one for the larger dogs.  As we passed by in the trolley there was a miniature doberman in with a lab.  The looked to be friends so I am not sure if the large vs. small is really enforced.

The Bahamian immigrants were called Conchs (pronounced conk).    Presently the residents that were born here are called Conchs.  The residents that were not born here are called Freshwater Conchs. Many of the boats and homes here fly the Conch Republic flag that can be purchased at a place on Duval Street.

Hope everyone has a great day.

Patti and Bill :-)

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