Monday, March 13, 2017

Bonnet House, Anniversary Lunch, more diving and sailing.

The Bonnet House, also referred to as the Bartlett House, was built by Fredric Bartlett in 1919. He used it as a winter home for his first wife, Helen Birch and their son. Helen was the daughter of Hugh Taylor Birch, who has a state park named after him, right across the road from the Bonnet House. Named so because Hugh saw an alligator in the canal wearing a water lily like a bonnet.
Bartlett was a famous artist and later married Evelyn Fortune Lilly, ex-wife of Eli Lilly.
She put the estate in a trust so that the land can never be developed and it remains the way it was when she and Fredric occupied the home. The home was also one of the first snowbird residences in the Fort Lauderdale area.
We could take all the pictures we wanted of the outside, but not of the interior where much of Fredric and Evelyn's art work is stored. 






Fredric built this aviary in Massachusetts and shipped it to Florida to house birds and monkeys. At one point, there were 30-40 monkeys on the property. Evelyn liked to dress the monkeys in costumes and keep them in the aviary while she and Fredric dined on the terrace. After dinner she would let them out and the monkeys would do tricks for food.

They were avid collectors of sea shells and Fredric used them to decorate the place. 


March 4 was Becky and my anniversary. We celebrated twelve years of not killing each other. We left Patrick at the trailer and went to the Quarterdeck on Dania Beach Pier. It was rather windy (read 30 mph+ gusts) and they tried to seat us on the patio facing the ocean and then put us in the restaurant at a booth. Come on. Anyhow we took it and ate some fish. It was over priced and the service wasn't great, so I won't go back.



Patrick and I continued to sail on Fridays. When we don't have much wind, we go fishing. Two weeks ago, we got caught in a rain storm, while on the sailboat. It was an interesting experience. Last week, we ran outside of the channel markers and ran the sailboat aground. With some maneuvering, we freed it and continued on.
I'm the captain now.
One of our fishing trips netted jacks, cow fish and blow fish. I had something rip all the line off my reel. That's what happens when you fish with other people's equipment.
Cow fish

Blow fish

Jack

a release operation for a ray

Another jack in the bucket.

Jacks for dinner. 
The beach on West Islands Park by the fishing pier. A little slice of heaven.

 The same day we were killing time waiting for them to take us fishing, we walked over the Grove Marina and looked at all the go fast boats. Miami Power Boat Club was having a poker run. The show stopper was this 52' MTI catamaran named Black Diamond. 

Behind Black Diamond is her chase boat, an MTI 340X, Black Diamond Express.

Probably thirty boats total from the racing cats to the Cigarettes and Fountains to multi engine, center console, fishing rigs.

The money shines around this place.

Patrick made use of his Christmas gift, an introductory to flight lesson. When he came back, I asked him if he liked it and was ready to take lessons, he shrugged and said maybe. I met the man who owns Boatpixs.com. He also give helicopter lessons and he asked me what I was doing hanging around the flight office. I told him I was waiting for him to give me helicopter lessons. He said, "get a waiver from the doctor and I'll take you up." I had to back pedal a little bit as he started telling me about all the handicap guys he has certified. They weren't paraplegics, but he said they could figure something out. Stop talking and take my money!


I have been diving as well. I started going out with Captain Slate's in Tavernier, south of Key Largo. We've been to reefs because the weather hasn't been cooperative. Saturday, the 11th, I finished my Introduction to Technical Diving class with Kary McNeal, by diving the U.S.S. Spiegel Grove, off Key Largo. In the well deck, we were 117 feet deep. Kary took photos and I'm waiting on him to post them. Until then, some from other dives! Thanks to Underwater Imaging for many of these of me.




 I'll leave you with a beautiful Florida Key's sunset!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bimini

2/1/2017
We took a day trip to Bimini, Bahamas with Don and Robin Thomas, as well as his daughter and her boyfriend. FRS Ferry Service took us over in just under two hours.
Not much to do in Bimini but dive, fish and drink. There is a Holiday Inn on the island and several other old hotels. Hemingway used to spend time here. The place he hung out and had lots of pictures and memorabilia form his time on the island burnt down a few years ago.  Bimini was one of settings in Hemingway's book Islands in the Stream.


They had a ramp to make the ocean accessible.

 We rented a golf cart to roll around in.


This place sells conch salad and cold rum drinks.

A giant pile of conch shells. The shells were everywhere.


Lunch break!


My lunch. B.K.O knock out punch. Man did it ever! Great stuff on a hot day!

Coconut Brian. He mixed rum into the coconut water and make a smooth concoction. He also offered a wide variety of recreational drugs, or so he claimed.




 We had a rushed dinner and got back on the ferry at 5 for a six o'clock sailing. We were back in Miami at 8pm.