Archive for September, 2011

The Key Largo Chill – A Refreshing Boat Drink Recipe – VIDEO

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It gets hot in the Florida Keys, shirt drenching, sweat dripping hot. They only thing you can do is run and jump into that beautiful water or mix yourself up a refreshing Boat Drink! I mean you could go for ice water or Gatorade, but those drinks have no business being on this island blog now do they. Pull out the rum and saddle up for a great Boat Drinks video Castaways!

Mr. Coastlines Tanlines, Carl Grooms, and I teamed up to film the Key Largo Chill boat drink. We were heading back from the Conched in Key West charity bar crawl and thought we’d stop off in Key Largo at Jimmy Johnson’s Bill Chill to take over the bar and mix up some rum. Hey when you’re famous (in our own minds) like us, people just let you do whatever the hell you want.

The Key Largo Chill Drink Recipe Video

The Key Largo Chill is a great drink, uses simple ingredients, but is much greater than the sum of its parts. The key ingredient in my opinion is the coconut water. It just adds that totally refreshing taste to the drink.

The Key Largo Chill Drink Recipe


  • 1oz. White Rum – We used Siesta Key White Rum
  • 1oz. Cruzan 9 Rum
  • 2oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 2oz. Coconut Water
  • 1/2oz. Lime Juice

Mixing Instructions: Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice. Shake. Strain and pour into highball glass. Can garnish with pineapple and lime. Raise glass and toast.

Mix this boat drink up and let me know what you think. I’m putting good money on that you’ll love it.

Big thank you to Carl Grooms for filming this video. I also want to thank Amanda and the  crew at Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill Bar Grill in Key Largo. If you’re in Key Large you have to stop by, its a great place that sits right on the water, has a huge tiki bar, sports bar, seafood bar and more.

Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill
104000 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037-2906
(305) 453-9066
Enjoy the boat drink Castaways!

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Featured Artist – John Reno

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Who is John Reno, you might ask? John is a singer/songwriter from Fairhope, Alabama. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, John knew at an early age that music was his passion.

John is not your typical acoustic guitar playing singer songwriter. John’s musical style can be defined as trop rock – a mixture of rock-n-roll and country music with an island theme, and lyrics depicting a laid back lifestyle. John not only defines this musical genre – he lives it!

After getting a degree in accounting from Loyola University and doing a stint as an accountant in Boston, one day John never returned to work after lunch. At lunch, he bought a guitar and by the end of the week, John Reno was born. Within a short time, John Reno was playing at the local clubs and at colleges in the Providence/Boston area. Being a Louisiana boy, and longing for “short-pant” weather, John returned to the Gulf coast area.

John settled in Fairhope, Alabama. Fairhope is the perfect town in the perfect location. Located on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and only two and one half hours from New Orleans, John is at home!

He has, however, done his share of traveling. John has performed from Maine to Mexico and was one of the feature performers on an around the world cruise. Currently, John is touring to promote his new CD – Magic Chair. John is accompanied on this CD by many talented musicians. Magic Chair is the audio definition of trop rock.

John’s Band, the Half-Fast Creekers, consist of a unique combination of instruments and personalities. Dennis Gray, a retired young salt, is the tuba player. (Yes, the band does have a tuba!). Kurt Schneider, a semi-retired architect, plays harmonica and percussion, and Chip Collins, hits the bongo, conga, drums and percussion. John Reno and the Half-Fast Creekers have a diversified song list. In addition to performing the songs written by John, the band’s repertoire has been described as Hoagy Carmichael meets Toby Keith in Margaritaville.

Magic Chair is John’s fourth CD. Magic Chair contains ten tracks that flow nicely from one song to another and demonstrates the magic tone of John’s voice. Each song tells its own story. One song, Heartaches and Hangovers, was co-written by football legend, Kenny “Snake” Stabler. The title track, Magic Chair, puts you right there. This is a song that everyone who listens to it will identify with. Always having a sense of humor, John has included a cover of a song he considers a classic, I Lobster but Never Flounder. To showcase his sense of style, Magic Chair also features an instrumental piece, Mortise and Tenon, as well as a haunting rendition of Drunken Sailor.

John spent ten years touring colleges and universities performing a Caribbean inspired show called “Pirates, Parrots and Margaritas.” This show featured a combination of Jimmy Buffett’s greatest hits along with island Caribbean classics. During this time, John was nominated by Campus Activities Today Magazine as “Best Solo Performer”, “Best Unsigned Artist” and “One of America’s Hottest Acts.”

In addition to the island music, John also performs songs that show his “other side.”
These songs are a masterful blend of musical satire and humor and songs that are just plan funny. These are songs that poke fun at the human condition and highlight John’s

Other John Reno compilations include: John Reno and The Half-Fast Creekers: A Bona Fide Social Club; John Reno – Calypso Joe and John Reno: Total Renovation. John also has a single on the trop rock compilation called Thongs in the Key of Life. John’s CD’s are available on or by visiting John’s website:


Until Next Time…  Trop On!

Book Review: Below Mile Zero by Brooke Babineau

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Drugs, suspense, human relationships, murder and life on the rock – Below Mile Zero by author Brooke Babineau is a thrilling tale of guy who tries to get his life right but instead discovers the dark under belly of Key West.

I’m not much of a fictional novel reader, I tend to stick to light magazines with pretty pictures. What can I say, I’m a simple soul. Below Mile Zero however, pulled me in and I couldn’t put the book down.

Without giving to much away, the story is told through the eyes of a drifter that can’t seem to straighten out his life. He keeps finding himself in situations that threaten his freedom and the breath in his lungs. You follow the main character from his time in New Orleans to him washing ashore in Key West. Throughout the story you’ll read about real life places on the rock and you can’t help but put yourself in the same situation.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to be entertained. It’s interesting to see a different, more local and darker side to our favorite southern most island. We think of Key West as a rum soaked, happy-go-luck, anything goes type of place, but when you add drugs, sinister characters and double-crosses, even the most beautiful places can be turned into a war ground.

If you’re interested in the book here is a link for you.

If you’ve read the book, let us know what you thought of it.


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Say Yes To Sailing the Grenadines aboard a Tall Ship

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Sailing aboard a double masted tall ship is about magical as sailing gets. Now throw one of the most beautiful places on the face of the Earth into the mix, to good to be true? No way baby! Say hello to the Diamant of Island Windjammers Cruises.

Grab your sunscreen because we are heading to Grenada and sailing north into the Grenadines.

Welcome aboard Diamant, a 101’ brigantine schooner.  Built in 1978, Diamant has been well maintained and refurbished in order to sail you through the beautiful islands of the Grenadines. Diamant hosts an intimate group of twelve passengers in six air conditioned staterooms.

Grenada Cruise

The good people of Island Windjammers were nice enough to invite me to spend 6 days aboard the Diamant. They also let me know that they have 1 or 2 cabins left on this cruise and the cruise that leave the very next week. Anyone who calls and mentions RUMSHOPRYAN get a special discount! Let me know if you’re interested in the cruise.

Our typical 6 night tall ship sailing cruise itinerary includes:

  • Sunday: Passengers board – Grenada
  • Monday: Sail to Carriacou, Sunset sail to Union Island
  • Tuesday: Sail to Bequia
  • Wednesday: Sail to Tobago Cays, Sunset sail to Mayreau
  • Thursday: Sunset sail to Carriacou or Union Island
  • Friday: Snorkel and swim at Sandy Island, Afternoon sail to Grenada
  • Saturday: Passengers disembark

The above itinerary is just an example of what you may experience on your Island Windjammers tall ship sailing cruise. The captain may make changes based upon the weather, local activities, and several other factors.


Grenadine Islands

Free rum, unspoiled Caribbean islands and a romantic wooden schooner…let’s go make some memories!


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The Phriends of “Amo Bennett” FUNDRAISER

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The Phriends of “Amo Bennett” FUNDRAISER

Most of you know James “Amo” Bennett, a fellow Parrot Head Phriend with the North Coast Parrot Head Club, and Island Time Radio show co-host, but you might not know the struggles he is going through. His son James Jr. who is now 13 years old, has leukemia and has been treated for over 5 months for the cancer and is waiting for a Bone Marrow Transplant. James Jr. has been in & out of Akron’s Children’s Hospital for 5 months now.

Amo has been driving to the hospital after work continuously to spend the night with his son during his treatments. Let us just consider the gas and parking costs Amo endures to stay at the hospital and keep close to his son during this traumatic time.

We can only imagine the struggles a parent goes through when their child is diagnosed with Leukemia, the mental anguish is hard enough, but when you add the financial burden of the hospital bills and the ongoing travel costs for gas, parking, non-covered medical expenses, the situation is mind numbing.

The fund-raiser will be at:


12792 Prospect Rd.

Strongsville, Ohio 44149

from 5-8pm on October 8th, 2011.


Email: Fran Endo at for tickets, or more information !

Donations – contact Fran at the email above for details

Includes, Draft Beer, Well Liquor & Wine, Wings, Boneless wings, Rigatoni with meat sauce, Hot Dogs, Cheesy Potatoes, and Meatballs with BBQ sauce.

We will be selling tickets & would appreciate it if you could come & ask your friends/family & neighbors to come & enjoy a few hours out & help with a great cause.

We plan on having a few of our musical entertainment phriends provide live entertainment during our 5-8: PM benefit for Amo.

Note: This is not a sponsored NCPHC event.

Only One Day In Key West? 5 Things Not To Miss

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Key West is a small island but it’s bursting at the seams with things to do, to see, to buy, to marvel at. Many people visit the island via a cruise ship and only get to spend a precious few hours ashore, so you better make them count!

Get out your pen and paper and get ready to jot down these 5 things you must do if you’re only spending one day in the Conch Republic!

1. Hit the Beach

Key West Beaches

Photo via

Key West isn’t known for it’s beaches, but if you’re on vacation or holiday you’re going to want your toes to sink into some sand. The most popular beach on Key West is Smathers Beach. Located on the south side of the island, Smathers is easy to get to and has plenty of space to call your own. In my opinion this isn’t the best beach, people in the know ditch on Smathers and head for the beach at Fort Zachary. This beach is protected by a couple man made sea walls that break the surf and offer a great place to snorkel. I was surprised by a large barracuda one time that was stalking on the rocks!

2. Hit the Bars

Key West Bars

Key West is famous for its bars. If you haven’t heard of the Duval Crawl then you’ve been living under a mountain. If I only had one day in Key West I would definitely hit places like Margaritaville, Captain Tony’s Saloon, Sloppy Joe’s, Irish Kevins, Schooner Wharf and new favorite Virgilio’s.

3. Hit the Water

Key West snorkeling

Key West is surrounded by beautiful clear blue water and coral reefs, you can’t help want to dive right in. The best way to do this is take one of the many snorkel boats that make daily runs out to the reefs. You’ll see beautiful coral formations and a bounty of underwater sea life. Then when you get out of the water they’ll have free beer for you! At least they did on my boat, I love Key West.

4. Southern Most Marker

Key West

It might be cliche and it might be touristy but getting your photo taken at the southern most marker is a Key West must, especially if you’ve never been before. The marker famously says 90 miles to Cuba and it marks the southern most part of the continental United States. In reality the distance to Cuba is a little more than 90 miles and the southern most part of Key West is actually further west and part of the military base.

5. Sunset at Mallory Square

Key West Mallory Square

Mallory Square – Photo via

If you haven’t seen a Mallory Square sunset then you haven’t been to Key West. People gather at the large square on a nightly basis not only to watch the sun dip below the horizon but to take in the spectacle of performers. You’ll see things like a sword swallowing pirate, cats that walk tight ropes, a guy that does floor gymnastics and just about anything else you can imagine. It’s crazy but it’s all Key West.

That is my top 5 Key West musts. What would you add to this list? Which of these have you done?

(Sunset photo from Visitadude via


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On Island Time in Deshaies, Guadeloupe

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September 26, 2011

I have said before that every day should be an adventure.  This week I have done my best to live up to that mantra. This week’s journey sort of reminds me of the theme song to Gilligan’s Island the old TV show.  We left Roseau early in the afternoon, a week ago Sunday, and began our short journey to Marie-Galante a short 20+ miles from the Island of Dominica.  We should have made it there in a matter of just a few hours, but wouldn’t you know it, the weather felt the urge so remind us that we are in the tropics and that a beautiful day can turn into a pretty dismal mess in a hurry.  Sunday was a good example of that. 

Without incident, we sailed up the eastern coast of Dominica and out into the open 18 or so mile stretch of water that separates Dominica from Marie-Galante.  We were only a few miles out when clouds started to build to the west and to the south of us.  With a heading pretty much due north, we thought we could outrun the storm behind us.  If I had to guess, I would guess that we are not the only sailors to ever make that mistake.  Within the hour, the weather had caught us and the blow began.  Thom and Sarah’s boat is a seaworthy craft, but we were tossed around for most of the night.  We finally decided to stop the run and turn and face our medicine, or to be more exact the storm, head-on.   Our headlong drive into the storm put a little off course, but thanks to the great navigator, Sarah and the salty captain Thom, we were never in danger.  Sarah was able to re-plot our course as soon as the weather permitted.  By daylight on Monday morning we were about half way between Marie-Galante and Gaudeloupe.  Since only about twelve miles of water separates them we had a choice to go to either one.  I was given the option of which port to call our next one, and in my normal decisive manner I chose neither and asked if there was any place to anchor and fish for a while. Sarah soon had us on route to Petite terra Guadelupe, a tiny little island on the north east tip of Gaudelupe.  By late in the day we had arrived at the tiny island paradise. We were not alone there. More than a dozen sail boats, all about the size of the Wingate’s boat the Sanitas.  We chose to navigate our way into Petite terra pass the home of some of the most beautiful water in the Caribbean.  The pass is fairly shallow with plenty of places to anchor and stay for a few hours or a few days.  With water so blue you would think it had been colored with food coloring, and so clear the the boats seem to hover in the air above flying schools of fish beneath their hulls, this may be the place I have searched for my entire life.  One thing led to another and Monday turned to Tuesday and Tuesday to Wednesday before we even talked about moving on. 

However, let me back track just a little. On Tuesday, I rose before sunrise and took a quick dip in the waters of the pass.  As the sun quickly rose, the waters of the pass seemed to glow as the beams struck the small waves to my east.  I treaded water for a few minutes and then climbed on the boats stern and slipped back into my shorts and made coffee for me and the Wingates.  The peacefulness of the morning on Petite terra is without rival.  I have not been everywhere, but of those I have traveled, this tiny island is among the most peaceful.  The sweet smells of others cooking on the boats float on the wind and mingle with the aroma of coffee and the sweetness of the natural vegetation from the island as they passed us at anchor here.  I took the inflatable to the flats to the south of us and snorkeled and fished for most of the day on Tuesday and that night we dined on the bounties of the sea.  I brought a bottle of rum on board and with that and a couple of limes and some sugar I mixed-up rum drinks for all of us.  We sat on deck and watched the stars appear above us as night fell and before we knew it, we had drunk that whole bottle.  With the night on Tuesday came a strong wind and I decided to sleep on deck so I could enjoy the stars.  Though the clouds threatened a few times, the night was dry and windy and I slept peacefully with nothing but the heavens above as my cover. 

Each day there was the same but different.  I started with a swim and coffee and I spent some time reading and trying to forget that the world exists beyond my vantage point here in the islands.  There was time for snorkeling and visiting with the other sailors over lunch or dinner or a drink. 

Today I am still technically with Sarah and Thom even though they are not here and won’t be for a couple of more days.  On Thursday we sailed to Deshaies, Guadeloupe.  The boat is anchored at marina and I am spending most of my time on board with only short trips to shore when I need necessities like beer (found a great one here…Corsaire) and ice and a fresh baked croissant or two. There is promise of more bad weather and we are going to stay here until that threat moves back to the more normal range.  From what we understand there is a weather system forming to the northeast of the islands, but it really shouldn’t do much but provide us with bands of strong wind and rain.

Once the Wingates return to their boat, they have promised me a couple of days on the island to explore, but I haven’t yet decided whether I will stay a while or move on with them as they head wherever it is they are headed.  I think I have written enough for today.  My fingers are tired, my computer battery is low as is my personal battery, so  I think I am going to indulge in a little afternoon nap before  the sun goes down.

One last thought before I stop placing words into cyber space.  Having a little time to think, a boat on which to rest , people from every corner of the earth doing the same things you are doing a stone’s throw from you on a the deck of their own little home on the sea helps to bring the world into perspective. We are indeed all just passengers on this stone tumbling through the universe and I am glad this stone I am one is 3/4ths covered with water.

William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

Featured Artist – Actually A Book of Stories Told by Trop Rock Artists

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These are the stories as told by the singer/songwriters in their own words about their songs. What they were thinking about or what inspired them or what happened that caused them to write the song. Sometimes the inspiration is described as “Research”, when you’re out partying a little too much and wind up in an awkward situation. No problem, it was just “Research for a new song I’m trying to write”. This book is just a whole lotta phun!


The book was inspired by Sunny Jim and his Research song. I heard his song one time, I believe it was at the Boatyard  Bar and Grill in Annapolis, MD and after he had been telling stories about his other songs, I thought to myself, there has got to be a book in all these stories. And I was right. With Michelle Becker’s help I sent out the initial poll for stories via email to all the Margarita M.A.F.I.A. singer/songwriters. I got an immediate and positive response and from there, started looking for more singer/songwriters who had some great songs and stories. I ended up with about 59 of some the most well known singer/songwriters and even an actor and TV producer in the book. Including, Peter Mayer, Will Kimbrough, Sunny Jim, Scott Kirby, Howard Livingston, Brent Burns, Jim Morris, Tall Paul, Crawdaddy, Gary Seiler, Jerry Gontang, Richie Saccente (Young Rebel Goombas), John Reno, Del Suggs, Rob Miller (TV Producer, twentysixmiles), John Schneider (Star of twentysixmiles), this was the interview that was done by Jimmy Pirate for the Margarita M.A.F.I.A. May 2011 artist of the month featuring Rob Miller and John Schneider for the TV Series. Also in the book is Scott Nickerson, founder of PHiP, Inc. and many regional and local artists as well. We only have three female artists in the book, Michelle Becker, Cindy Walsh, and at the last minute I was able to include Lenore Troia. Of course there were a lot that didn’t make it in this book, not by choice but because I didn’t have their email or web site or perhaps they just didn’t have time to fill out the forms and write up the stories. But maybe in the next book you’ll see them.


Each of the singer/songwriters have about 4-7 songs in the book along with the stories behind the songs and the lyrics. And lots of pictures of them at their shows or with other singer/songwriters and even a few celebrities. Many of the artists sent me their stories/lyrics/pictures but for about 25 I had to do live face to face interviews or phone interviews, recorded the interview and transposed everything. Then had them check it to make sure it was what they wanted in the book. (what a long process that was!)

This book has been a lot of phun to put together and I’ve gotten to know them a lot better than I ever would have otherwise. They are just a great bunch of people.


We are planning a second book and have 45 people that I’ve either contacted or have on my list so we’re hoping to get something started around the first of the year towards the second book. I’d like to find more females for the second book and some younger artists like the 15-year-old kid, Nicky Fabb that Swim Skinny found. The future of any musical genre, sport, hobby, etc is dependent on getting young people involved.


Speaking of the second book, we are holding a contest in the first book, where whoever gets the most signatures in the book from all the featured artists will win a free full color copy of the second book and a full page picture of them holding the first book with all the signatures. They will have 2 years to get all the signatures. It’s all explained in the book.


The book will be released in Key West for the MOTM 2011 Don’t Stop The Carnival, 20th Anniversary.

I will be at various venues and will have my locations posted to our web site and Facebook so people will know where we will be. There will now only be one version of the book. A Color soft back. It is 8×10 and 463 pages. It will sell for $70 and $10 of the color book will go to charity. There will only be 2000 printed so be sure to order yours online to make sure you get one. We are also putting together a composite CD of 19 of the singer/songwriters. These will sell for $15 and $3 goes to charity. If you purchase the Color Book and CD it is only $80. You can also buy 5 books together on-line for the same shipping cost (USPS Flat rate medium box $10.95).  So if 4 of your friends get together you can save on shipping.


The other important part of the sale of the book is the singer/songwriters will be sharing in the profits. They can sell the book and CD at their events and reap the rewards as well. Books can be ordered via email or purchased via the website through PayPal. Many of the singer/songwriters will be posting the book on their website so you can go to their website and the link will take you to our website. Or they may offer the book directly from their site as well.


The main purpose of the book is to promote Trop Rock music to people who may not have ever heard of this wonderful music before and to help raise a little more money for the charities that the singer/songwriters support.


Contact: Contact Us 

Facebook: TropRock Songs

PayPal: Purchase the Book
We are pround members of the Chesapeake Parrot Head Club, the Washington Area Parrot Head Club, The Eastern Bay Parrot Head Club, and the Margarita MAFIA.

Castaway Gear In The Wild – THANK YOU!

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I love receiving photos of you Castaways wearing your “THE LIFE” t-shirts, Castaway hats, and keeping your drinks cold in RumShopRyan koozies. It’s absolutely awesome to see and if I could by all you guys a boat drink I would!

Here are some of the most recent “Castaways in the Wild” photos I’ve received. Thank you guys!

If you would like submit a photo simply go to the RumShopRyan Facebook page and upload a photo of yourself rockin’ some Castaway gear. It’s that simple.

I’m thinking about doing a Castaway hat photo contest, so make sure you have a hat! Shameless I know. The prize will be one of these fridge bottle openers and maybe a gift card to Margaritaville’s online store or Blue Chair Bay.

Here are this week’s Castaways in the Wild

Castaway Hat

Billy rockin’ a Castaway hat on the lake. Wish I was there!


Castaway Hat

Carla shines bright in her Lime Castaway hat!

 For MORE go to

Thanks for all the great photos guys! Keep them coming everyone and I’ll feature you on our “Castaways in the Wild” series.

Have a great weekend!


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Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys – Island Lime Videos

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Inspiring, rejuvenating, breathless beauty, those are the words that come to mind when I think about Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys. This time last week my toes were buried in the white sands of this park, a needed pit stop on the way to Key West. I’d been driving by this island park for years and never stopped before, I now realize that I’d been making a big mistake.

This episode of Island Lime Videos takes us to the shores of Bahia Honda, where the water is crystal clear, the coconut palms dancing gently in the sea breeze, and time slows to a conches pace. Enjoy the video and watch as the island slowly unfolds before your eyes.

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys

Beautiful isn’t even a strong enough word. We should come up with new adjectives to describe places like this.

About Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park was part of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway holdings. The railroad remains were converted into what is known today as U.S. Highway 1. Presently, the Old Bahia Honda Bridge serves as a reminder of Flagler’s dream. A section of the old bridge offers visitors a panoramic view of the island and surrounding waters. Since the initial acquisition of the first 13 acres of the park in 1961, Bahia Honda has become well-known as a recreational treasure.

Living History
When traveling through the Florida Keys, visitors see remnants of an extraordinary feat of engineering – Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad. Life in the Florida Keys was changed forever by this construction project that began in 1905. Thousands of men worked on the railroad that was built above the water and islands from Miami to Key West. (Info from

Have you been to Bahia Honda before? I’m already planning another visit to the Keys and I can guarantee you that this jewel of an island will be on the itinerary.

Cheers to the weekend Castaways!


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