We turned right in a campground/marina on Big Pine Key.  At first we just drove into the residential area for a quick look.  There were a few houses under construction.  As we turned around at the dead end, we saw a Key deer.  This species is endangered, according to the signs all over Big Pine Key.  I found out a few minutes later that they are more protected than endangered as deer roam the campground each evening.

We decided to check into the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge campground for the evening.  Our spot was not available for another hour, so we took a walk around down to the Atlantic side of the beach and onto a nature path that followed the beach at times.  There we discovered 2 Cuban chug boats.  I thought they must have been there for a long time, but I found out later they had only been there for a matter of months.  As a matter of fact, one resident told me the last chug ended up on their beach back in December.  He even showed me a picture!  I was surprised at how recent these events were.

big pine key channel

Returning to the office to check in, we found out our spot was still not available, so the staff assigned us a more exclusive spot right on the canal.  Roadie looked rather comical hidden between 2 large 5th wheel trailers, with only bicycles in our yard, not a fancy boat.

The campground had a lot going for it.  A great roof top pool, plenty of waterfront to walk along, a great marina vibe and lots of activities.  I decided to swim and then take in a wine glass painting workshop.  Basically, you get a wine glass, some acrylic paints and brushes to work with and choose a pattern you want to paint onto your glass.  While you paint, a plastic glass is filled with your favourite wine and you chat with other painters.  Fun and relaxing!  I can tell you I am not an artist when it comes to painting glasses.  I think I will save my painting for houses next time.  But it was all in good fun.

We had a quiet evening back at the camper while I barbequed us a nice meal.  After dinner, we walked over to the lodge to get some pictures of the sunset and I spotted a large key deer drinking some fresh water right outside the lodge office.

The next day, I took in a morning aquafit class and got to know the residents a little.  The day was spent at the pool, reading, swimming, trying not to be annoyed by the 20 teenagers that took over the pool for a few hours.  The pool bar opened in the afternoon and the late day was spent swimming and chatting once the kids were gone.

After dinner, we decided to join some of the residents by the firepit on the waterfront.  Unfortunately, I was bitten mercilessly by small midges.  I hadn’t realized it until the next morning when my legs were so itchy.  In all, I counted about 30 bites all over my uncovered skin.  I swell up easily from insects bites, so I am a bit spotted.  I am trying not to scratch!


Day 3, I went to another aquafit class after breakfast, then Leon came to join me for a swim before we packed and left the camp for our adventures further north.  The drive over the causeways was so lovely with all the turquoise waters.  Just an amazing place, the Florida Keys.