Jan 5-10 2014 (Miss Zanzibar at Longwood, FL-Betty/Denny’s pad while John and Trish are in Marathon, FL)
Big Pine Key (MM 32-29) Be sure to stop at the Big Pine Chamber of Commerce (N end of Big Pine on the ocean side) first to get a map of where to go to find the Key Deer and Blue Hole. We also walked on the nature trails, but since it was about noon, no self respecting deer was going to be caught running around. There we saw Slash Pine, the only kind in the Keys and at the end of its range. At the Blue Hole, however, it was a very different story. Beware, the sign for Blue Hole is low and small; watch for Big Pine Road (on the right when going away from Hwy). You’ll see a small parking area to the left. Park there. Very short walk to the Blue Hole (former quarry, now a source of freshwater), under a beautiful canopy. We saw more wildlife here than anywhere else. Another note: there are 2 alligators. You’re likely to spot one as you stand at the observation post and look straight down or look for a nearby rock at the left. The one we saw was just below us then swam to that rock. Notice the turtle is starting to back into the water as the alligator approached. I learned that dragonflies eat mosquitoes. Can you find the Green Heron? As we were leaving, a man whispered there was a Key Deer to our right. Yes, we saw it!