Searchin’ For My Long Lost Shaker of Salt . . . and some Hogfish 7/20/15

One of our Georgia friends saw a photo I posted on Facebook during our Islamorada trip and quipped, “Wait a minute.  You live at the beach, but you also go on vacation to the beach?”

It does seem a little excessive, doesn’t it – especially as much as I complain about the heat.  But – when your kids invite you along on their vacation, you happily say “YES” and start packing!

Ted and I dropped the pooches off at Lily’s Thursday morning, then turned the truck southward.  Ted hadn’t been to the Florida Keys since he was a very small boy, and the furthest south I’d been is Miami.  What we’d both forgotten was how LONG Florida is.  We consider ourselves living a little north of the middle of the state, but the trip to Islamorado was an almost six hour drive!

Julie, Matt, Jordan and Matthew went down on Tuesday, so they’d already been there a couple of days when we arrived.

Breezy Palms Resort was our destination - nestled directly on the Atlantic Ocean.

Breezy Palms Resort was our destination – nestled directly on the Atlantic Ocean.

Breezy Palms Resort was our destination - nestled among the palm trees right on the Atlantic Ocean.

Islamorada is called a “Village of Islands” and is located on the islands of Tea Table Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Windley Key and Plantation Key.

The kids had towed their boat down from Ormond Beach and had chosen Breezy Palms because they could tie up at the dock there.  We walked down to the dock to wait for them to come in and watched fishermen cleaning the day's catch . . .

The kids had towed their boat down from Ormond Beach and had chosen Breezy Palms because they could tie up at the dock there. We walked down to wait for them to come in and watched fishermen cleaning the day’s catch . . .

. . . . and throw the leftovers to the waiting Pelicans.

. . . . and throwing the leftovers to the waiting Pelicans.

There were other seabirds waiting for hand-outs . . .

There were other seabirds waiting for hand-outs . . .

. . . and an unbelievable number of iguanas roaming around.

. . . and an unbelievable number of iguanas roaming around.

This big guy always got my attention when I walked outside.  I kept my eye on him constantly  . . . .

This big guy always got my attention whenever I’d walked outside. I kept my eye on him constantly . . . .

. . . because you never knew where he was going to pop up next!

. . . because you never knew where he was going to pop up next!

Soon the kids arrived from a day of fishing and snorkeling, and after they cleaned up we went out for what was to become one of many, many meals of fresh seafood.

Soon the kids arrived from a day of fishing and snorkeling, and after they cleaned up we went out for what was to become one of many, many meals of fresh seafood.  Thursday night’s choice was the Islamorado Fish Company, where we first heard of and ate hogfish.  They showed us a picture, and the name is actually a little too glamorous for what this fish looks like.  But, man oh man, was that some good eating!

At 5:15 the next morning I awoke to Matthew leaning over me whispering, "BeBe, it's time to go fishing!"  Say what???

At 5:15 the next morning I awoke to Matthew leaning over me whispering, “BeBe, it’s time to go fishing!” Say what???  But by 6:00 a.m. we were pulling away from Bud n’ Mary’s Marina, where we’d grabbed breakfast sandwiches, bait, and gas for the boat.

It was hard to take in so much beauty that early in the morning, but I tried my best to capture it.  There were a few clouds, but the sun rising through them just added to a scene that was just surreal in its beauty.

It was hard to take in so much beauty that early in the morning, but I tried my best to capture it. There were a few clouds, but the sun rising through them just added to a scene that was surreal in its tranquility.

All the Hewitts love to fish, but Matthew definitely takes it all in and processes it through a young teenager's brain.  His passion to learn every single aspect of fishing knowledge is a grand thing to behold.

All the Hewitts love to fish, but Matthew takes it all in and processes it through a young teenager’s brain. His passion to learn every single aspect of fishing knowledge is a grand thing to behold.

Almost past the rocks . . .

Almost past the rocks . . .

. . . and several miles out to sea.  We came upon our first group of boats - all stopped to catch bait fish.

. . . and heading out to sea. We came upon our first group of boats – all busy catching bait fish.  We continued on out for a little over eight miles, looking for . . . .

We were looking for the "seaweed line", flying fish, and seabirds.  All three of those indicate there are fish around.

. . . . a line of seaweed, flying fish, and seabirds. According to Jordan, all three of those indicate there are fish around.  As soon as we saw all those signs, Matt and Matthew began to put out all the trolling lines.  Just take my word for it that trolling is a lot of work.  They put out six lines and were constantly checking to make sure the lures hadn’t been covered with seaweed.

.. . and Jordan took over the duties of keeping us parallel to the seaweed.  Every Hewitt can capably "captain" the boat.

Jordan took over the duties of keeping us parallel to the seaweed. Every Hewitt can capably “captain” the boat.

We hooked and lost several fish before getting this small dolphin aboard (this is the dolphin you eat, not the "Flipper" dolphin.  In seafood restaurants you would order it as Mahi-Mahi. This one went back into the ocean to grow some more.

We hooked and lost several fish before getting this small dolphin aboard (this is the dolphin you eat, not the “Flipper” dolphin. In seafood restaurants you would order it as Mahi-Mahi. This one went back into the ocean to grow some more.

With the fish bites not coming at too steady a pace (we didn't catch any keepers), we headed in, with a stop at Alligator Key Lighthouse.

With the fish bites not coming at too steady a pace (we didn’t catch any keepers), we headed in, with a stop at Alligator Key Lighthouse (where the water was a blue unlike any I’ve ever seen except in Bermuda) . . . .

. . . for swimming and snorkeling.

. . . for swimming and snorkeling.

Matthew also impressed us with his backflips off the boat.  The day before Julie and Matthew had climbed to the top of the lighthouse, then back down to the platform you see beneath the tower.  They both jumped off from there!

Matthew impressed us with his backflips off the boat. The day before we arrived Julie and Matthew had climbed to the top of the lighthouse, then back down to the platform you see beneath the tower. They both jumped off from there!

Ted - bless his heart - had to take a little nap on the way back to shore.

Ted – bless his heart – had to take a little nap on the way to lunch at Island Grille – also by boat.

We arrived back at the Breezy Palms around 3 p.m., where Ted and I claimed exhaustion and the kids went back out on the boat.  Ah, to be young!

On Saturday morning Ted and I went out to do a little island shopping, while the kids went out to sea again (they promised to come back and get us for lunch).  We saw a lot of things we’d have loved to bring home if we’d brought along a moving van, but our only purchase was a pelican for the front yard (more on that later).

We boated around to the bay side for lunch at Robbie's, which took us past house after house . . .

We went to lunch Saturday on the bay side at Robbie’s, which took us past houses . . .

. . . that were unbelievably beautiful - and HUGE!

. . . that were unbelievably beautiful – and HUGE!

At Robbies, we bought a bucket of fish and fed the tarpons, ate a great lunch, and asked a tourist to snap a family photo.

At Robbies, we bought a bucket of fish and fed the tarpons, ate a great lunch, and asked a tourist to snap a family photo.

After lunch the kids returned to fishing, and Ted and I just took it easy for the afternoon.

Before dinner on Saturday night, we went for drinks at Zane Grey Lounge and walked outside on the porch . . .

Before dinner on Saturday night, we went for drinks at Zane Grey Lounge – then walked outside on the porch . . .

. . . to walk the sunset.

. . . to watch the sunset.

it was Chef Michael’s for dinner, where we all had seafood again (Ted and I have been checking to make sure we aren’t growing fins).

Matt once again had hogfish - a whole one, beautifully and lightly fried, with all the trimmings.

Matt once again had hogfish – a whole one, lightly fried, with all the trimmings.  Ugly, yes.  Delicious, YES!

We left the Keys around 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning . . .

. . . and stopped by Delray Beach for lunch with Blake (it seems everyone in the family except Jason now lives near the water.

. . . and stopped by Delray Beach for lunch with Blake (it seems everyone in the family except Jason now lives near the water).

What a wonderful vacation time with family!  We came in late Sunday afternoon, and I started doing wash.  I didn’t even unpack what I didn’t wear – I’ll just put the washed stuff back into the suitcase and then pack another one full of cool weather stuff for Michigan.  Gotta be prepared for everything in Michigan!

See you back here in a few days – probably before we leave on Saturday morning for our trip North . . . . . . .

Oh, oh, oh – almost forgot!

Our pelican buddy from Islamorada - safely transplanted Sunset Inlet.

Our pelican buddy from Islamorada – safely transplanted to Sunset Inlet.

15 thoughts on “Searchin’ For My Long Lost Shaker of Salt . . . and some Hogfish 7/20/15

  1. Love all the family pics! The Keys are so fun and the water is so clear!

    You are such a trooper to get home from vacation and then pack for the next vacations which is just a few days away! I am sure that Bear and Maddie will be excited to get back to Mackinac where it is cooler!

    Take care and good luck this week getting “organized”! LOL!

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  2. Loved all the pictures and inforation about Florida. We have been there several times but not that far south. The water is absolutely beautiful and your pictures are too. We have a college friend in Miami….maybe now we will be inspired to visit!! Waiting patiently for Mackinac Island stories. Travel safely!!

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  3. Oh my, it’s getting closer and closer. 🙂 So glad you got to spend time with the family AND Blake too. What fun ,and that water looks so awesome!! That beautiful color makes the water LOOK warm. I don’t know if it is but…it ..feels..like it. 🙂 The sunrises and sunsets are simple beautiful and Matthew and Jordan are getting so big!

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  4. Wow! You have introduced me to another beautiful place! And how sweet it was for the children and grandchildren to want you to enjoy it with them. So glad you had fun!

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  5. Another fabulous trip for your family. The water, I could watch it all the time. You were so busy. You did great. I would need a slower pace. The Island life is just about ready for you.
    Take care

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  6. Looks like a great trip! Sirena and I loved our mini vacation in Islamorada. We too are at island grill and at the fish company. Excellent food!

    Safe travels to MI!

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  7. I love that you share such times, complete with pictures! To live vicariously through you, lol. I would so not care if I did start growing fins…..I could eat fish like that every single day. Thank you for sharing. Would you, by chance, be at Mackinac for Labor Day? I told hubby I’d walk it with him this year. I’m far from being able to do that at this time, but if I had the possibility of meeting you to look forward to, I’d try to perservere through!

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