“Hey, y’all.”

Everything is going well here in the Keys! Even Ranger Dave is happy! ♪”He is back in the saddle again.” ♪ Getting use to waking up early and seeing the sunrise on the beach, especially now that the weather is nice and sunny and no rain! And he likes driving around in his cart.

Three Cheers for Ranger Dave !! 👏

A walk around the campground

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Beautiful day for a wedding at Far Beach

Walks at Dagny Johnson State Park, Dagny Dave’s old stomping grounds.

😊 😉 😎

AQUARIUM

Pictures behind the scenes at the aquarium.

The pictures below are of the five 100-200 galloon tanks with various fish, a lobster, crab and different corals. These are the tanks that have to be maintained daily, with feeding the fish, water changes, vacuuming, cleaning the glass and chemistry tests.

Ranger Serena vacuuming tank #1

Upstairs at the aquarium is how you get to the 30,000 gallon tank. When I feed the fish I make sure I don’t step off the edge. That wouldn’t be a pretty sight if I did. 😒

The pictures above are of the 30,000 gallon tank in the middle of the aquarium that I don’t want to fall into.

Some of my favorite fish at the aquarium

Meet Louie the lobster and Carl the crab

My favorite is the lion fish. He is edible and I hear very good tasting, as long as you don’t eat his 18 venomous spines along the top of his body. But if you look close at his face he looks like a sad bull dog. So I don’t think I can eat one.

Find Waldo the fish? He likes to hide.

Ranger Shep, will soon be leaving John Pennekamp  to embark on a new adventure.  He bought a sail boat and will be sailing off to  Trinidad.   We got a chance to see his boat before he sets sail.  We wish him the best of luck!

Ranger Shep, now Captain Shep

All the volunteers, Ranger Elena and Ranger Drew got together for a Thanksgiving Pot Luck dinner. There were 18 of us that gathered for a dinner that delicious and all had a good time!

That’s it for now y’all! Take Care and Be Safe!

TIME FLIES OR DOES IT

We have now been here almost five weeks. For some reason it feels like a lot longer than that???. Could be with all the turmoil of being evacuated. It cost about $200.00 for us, with gas and campground fees, to leave and come back. This week has been super windy and not a lot of sun, but warm. Going to the beach and sitting there is like getting beat up, with all the sand being blown around in your face and the wind. People are doing it though, if you only have a few days here, i guess. Better weather is coming this week, nothing but sun, way less wind and 80’s. We have been in a low profile, places to go are still closed like visitor centers and museums or you have to wear a mask. Plus the park still has far beach closed, and none of the boats have gone out due to the wind for at least ten days. Our jobs are going good and no complaints, why should there be we are only volunteers HA, HA. The other day Bob and Nicole gave us some yellowtail they caught on a fishing trip. We cooked it up and it was very good.

Cooking up our fish
Yellow tail and brown rice, Yum, Yum

One thing we are doing is watching Breaking Bad. We are in season three right now and it is wild, we are hooked. Other than that not a lot. All of us volunteers are planning a get together for thanksgiving this Thursday. See how that works out.

TROPICAL STORM ETA UPDATE

We are now back home in Key Largo.

It has been an interesting last 5 days. Saturday, the park here closed, as the storm was upgraded to a warning, as a matter of fact only the state parks closed here in the keys. Everything else was open, i mean open????. We were allowed to stay till Sunday morning which we did. We traveled 190 miles in the rain and wind, up to Labelle Florida just east of Fort Myers. There we stayed at the Ortana corps of engineers park. We have stayed there before and they had a few spots open. You would think 190 miles away would be far enough to get out of the storms path, Nope, outer bands of rain and wind got us. It rained cats and dogs all Sunday, Sunday night and into Monday morning, with Sunday night gust of wind over 50 mph, the RV was rocking baby. Another volunteer couple Bob and Nicole from Colorado stayed at the park also. Sunday early evening she came over and brought us a huge amount of spaghetti, rigatoni, and garlic toast. She cooked all day, What a treat, it was very good. Monday things started to calm down. We decided to go into Labelle and have dinner, we asked Bob and Nicole if they wanted to join us ,and they did. We went to a place i found on the internet that had BBQ. It was called the Log cabin. What a surprise that was. Three of us had the pulled pork sandwich and Bob had the sliced beef sandwich. The dinners came with two sides. This was all for ten bucks each ,what a deal. It was great fun, we got to learn a lot about them and there life in Colorado. When we got back , we all had messages from the park, saying we could come back Tuesday. Since i had to gas up, we decided to have breakfast in town on Tuesday, of course we went to the log cabin, it was great. We then got all hooked up and traveled another 190 miles back to key Lago, just a lot of wind this time. We got to the park after three or so and learned the back gate had a giant tree fall on it. since this is the only way i can get into our spot here, we were told to go to site three for now, which we did. When we came to the volunteer village to look at the tree, we met up with Bob and Nicole. After talking to them and looking over the situation, they persuaded me to try and get into our spot from the front way, OH BOY. Hooked back up and proceeded to pull in, with not a lot of other volunteers here yet, i had room to swing wide, and after a few back and forths i was able to get in. Glad were in and don’t have to move again, Hopefully.

We were also suppose to have worked Monday and Tuesday, but with us out of the park!!!!. today Wednesday we both did work, Melissa was at the aquarium ,and i opened the park, then i had a thirty pound leaf blower strapped to my back all day, and blew my brains out cleaning the park roads of leaves and debris. I am tired tonight. We have the next five days off, but might work Friday to make up one of the days. We are both along with Cooper none the worse for wear, but don’t need to do this again.

Our spot at Ortana, mean looking clouds.
Our fabulous dinner from Bob and Nicole.
Our dinner joint
Tree down at the back gate.
Cooper having fun

Hi y’all

We’re here once again at John Pennekamp in Key Largo!

Key Largo is the first of the fabulous Florida Keys and is the self-proclaimed Dive Capital of the World. It is home to the world’s largest artificial reef, the 510-foot USS Spiegel Grove, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the African Queen. What more can I say?

It’s good to be back and see some familiar faces and sights.

SNORKELING ON FAR BEACH

All you need is a good dose of vitamin sea.

fHALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES AT JOHN PENNEKAMP 
While there’s no big Halloween event this year because of covid, John Pennekamp State Park will still be full of magic on Halloween.  Bringing handmade  ocean reefs  outside the aquarium  and having scavenger hunts. 

Making and then putting everything together

Seagrass is important

Seagrasses are sensitive to changes in the environment and act as a key indicator of the lagoon’s health. Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that require sunlight and thrive in clear, shallow waters. As a key foundational habitat.  Lagoon, seagrasses form complex and expansive meadows. Essential to the lagoon, seagrasses provide nursery and refuge habitat for many species, produce oxygen for animals, absorb excess nutrients, and help maintain water quality. Do I sound like Dave?

One of the scavengers hunts was find out how many fish were around and in the pavilion. Nicole one of the volunteers made all the fish.
Halloween night at Far & Cannon Beach

Look up in the sky…… it’s ……..

Ranger Smith
Ranger Fish in Spongebob

NO IT’S RANGER DAVE!

Lookin good Open Ranger Dave

Aquarium Maintenance

I got a great volunteer opportunity, even though the aquarium is closed due to covid and being short staffed, I still get to be at the aquarium behind the scenes.  Helping Lindsey & Serena, two great rangers, with the goings on in the daily activates of the aquarium. 

I only was there for one day so far, but it’s all about Chemistry.

I got to  monitor the water levels in the different tanks..  We never had an aquarium as kids , so this is all new to me.  We monitored  the Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and  ph levels with test tubes, eye droppers, different dye solutions and color strips.   We also tested the temperature with a thermometer and the salinity level with a refractometer which is kinda hard to read.

Then they started talking about different corals and fishes, it was like they were talking another language.  It was a fun day! Looking forward to learning about aquariums!

Ranger Lindsey cleaning one of the aquariums

Ranger Serena, is holding a large piece of paper for Lindsey so she can see the “limescale, dirt, on the aquarium walls.