Our cabbie had this scraggly hair, the laid-back demeanor and vernacular of a hippie and I thought he looked suspiciously like a pirate as well, but what else would one expect from Key West?! He was quite talkative and very informative about the Keys AND I suspected he might have just been "smoking the peace pipe" if ya know what I mean. Oh well, he was the only one who had agreed to drive us to where our boat would be picking us up and after all, it really wouldn't be a trip for us if something "colorful" didn't happen along the way.
After "Jonathan the Pirate" dropped us off at our destination, we walked around inside this thatched roof, hut structure looking for someone; It was 8 p.m. and I hoped that someone was still there waiting for our arrival. Robby found a young girl in the back and she quickly came out to welcome us and offered us some Rum Punch; I thought that would be the perfect drink choice after spending a half hour on the road with our pirate. Our boat would not arrive to pick us and another couple up for another 30 minutes and we were starving, so the attendant gave us menus, we told her what we wanted to eat and she arranged to have it in our bungalow when we arrived.
We road on a boat called "The Truman" out to the island. It seems that President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, had spent a good bit of time on this island so there were many references made to them...
There are 30 suites on Little Palm Island, which means that there are not many people on the island at one time. Oh, there are also people who dock their fishing boats or yachts there and come on island to eat at the restaurant.
Each bungalow is a thatched roof structure that has the number, suite name and guest name...
One day we rented kayaks and made our way through the mangroves.
Another day we took a small motor boat out and explored the area just out from the island and Robby fished a bit while I read.
Eventually we would make our way to the pool area, that was extremely lush and shaded for lunch. Often times, the Key Deer would join us! They Key Deer are an endangered species that one can find all over the island. They swim in and out from the mangroves and are VERY friendly!
In the Keys, people "celebrate" the sunset...I had never done this before, but if I lived in the Keys, I could sure make it a habit...
And one of my favorite times of the day was when we came in to get ready for dinner in the evenings. On the deck of each bungalow guests got to enjoy a bamboo shower. I found that I LOVE showering outside with the warm, salty ocean breeze blowing. I hinted about REALLY liking the bamboo shower but Robby told me there was no way he could put one at our house...I'm not so sure about that.
Since there were no phones or televisions on the island, you may wonder what in the world we did in the evenings when most times at home we can be found vegging out in front of the T.V. Well, there was a game set in each bungalow and other games that could be found in the island library. We had never played Backgammon before, I immediately decided that would be our challenge for the week. We found a set of rules and I told Robby to figure out how to play the game and then teach me. This game was so addictive that we hurriedly made our way back from dinner each night for our next match! I also rediscovered why children love to be read to. While visiting the gift shop one day, Robby bought a book and as I was laying on the dock, I closed my eyes and as the sun's warmth brushed across my face, I asked him to read me some of it; what a treat!
Here is a copy of a poem that could be found in each bungalow. I unrolled it and read it when we arrived. When we got ready to leave the island, I read it again, rolled it up and placed it in my suitcase...
If Once You Have Slept on an Island
If once you have slept on an island.
you'll never be quite he same,
you may look as you looked before
and go by the same old name.
You may hustle about in street and shop,
You may sit at home and sew,
But you'll never see blue water and wheeling gulls
wherever your feet may go.
You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
and close to the fire keep,
but you'll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
and tides beat through your sleep.
And you won't know why and you can't say how
such change upon you came,
but once you have slept on an island
you'll never be quite the same!
- Rachel Field