That one time I brought my home grown mango
to a watermelon picnic on July 16,
but over 120 years late.
(tap or click pic to read)
By coincidence, my mango fiesta privada at Sand Key
was on the same date, thus continuing the picnic.
The Sand Key lighthouse was the second of the six Florida Keys offshore reef lights to be constructed during the second half of the 19th century. It was also the second lighthouse erected on Sand Key, replacing a previous brick structure which was completely swept away during a fierce hurricane in 1846. This skeletal iron tower once stood on a sizable island of actual dry sandy ground. However later hurricanes would wash away much of the sand above water as early as 1856. This resilient lighthouse still stands, but currently Sand Key is just a small sporadically roving sandy shoal which appears and disappears with the years and seasons.
From time to time, sand can build back up around the lighthouse shoal large enough to support additional structures and buildings. While the sand lasted in would attract people to visit and also large number of animals, particularly birds. It’s been written that thousands of terns once congregated on the Sand Key shoal to nest. Due to the close proximity to Key West and the many visitors, the Tern eggs were gathered en masse for food. Even the lighthouse keepers would get in on it and gather bucket loads full to give away. By the turn of the 20th century, the takings were so great that out of over ten thousand birds nesting, only a few hundred were actually left to hatch. It was also during this time that many birds were being slaughtered in huge numbers in an orgy of greed, sometimes wiping out entire rookeries in an afternoon. This decimated water bird populations on the islands, particularly in Florida Bay and the Everglades.
This is the only offshore Keys reef lighthouse where
I was able to stand under it on (mostly) dry ground.
Outrage over wholesale slaughter of shorebirds by the millions prompted the earliest conservation efforts with the passage of laws to curtail the millinery trade. In fact, in 1905, Guy Bradley was hired to serve as the first Audubon game warden. In 1905 he was shot and killed by bird poachers in Florida Bay, just outside of Flamingo. The same year the National Audubon Society was founded. Today the Tropical Audubon Society continues locally to advocate for conservation, education and preservation of our wetlands and wildlife. On Sand Key itself, the keepers would eventually become wardens themselves and secure the Tern nests on the island. However hurricanes have always blown away everything else save for the lighthouse itself!
Kayaking through South Florida
nautical history from Key West!
Full story at:
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With that said..