Monday, February 25, 2013
MISSING GEIGER KEY ALREADY
If your ever down Key West way you want to pay a visit to Geiger Key Marina Fish Camp Restaurant & RV Park. Geiger Key is about 10 minutes north of Key West and it is the real deal if you want to experience the laid back Key West lifestyle that is now elusive in Key West as a tourist destination. Geiger Fish Camp is where the locals go to hang and it is a trip back to what Key West was like 40 or more years ago. Quite a mixture of folks ... tourists with trailer folks with a few fisherman covered in fish blood standing at the bar. There are other good fish houses like the Marathon Fish Company and the Bass Pro Fish House, but none that have the unvarnished back in time ambience of Geiger Key.
The Marina is not fancy, it is on the water in an area that is fairly remote and lots of mangrove sprouting everywhere. There are a handful of seasonal trailer sites that fill up a year in advance. No fancy yachts here – just a few dozen fishing boats. The restaurant is open air with a large thatched roof traditional Tiki bar that free pours many cocktail concoctions. The beer is ice cold. The fish is caught locally and brought right to the dock. The prices, like the ambience go back twenty years in comparison to Key West prices. The friendly but aggressive waitresses fly around like crazy trying to keep up with demand. The kitchen has attitude and the cooks duel back and forth with the servers. There is no loud music, just happy people at the bar and eating at picnic tables.
The food is to die for. The fish is as fresh as you’ll ever find it and it is cooked the way you like it. I recommend a blackened Hog fish sandwich which comes with fries, homemade coleslaw and dill pickle. Chase it down with a cup of Conch Chowder. The beers go down more than smoothly in this hot humid climate ... but remember there is nowhere to sleep here, so you have to drive back to Key West (unless you get adopted by one on the trailer park folk). Best to have a designated driver and spend a lazy afternoon lunch that might even stretch into dinner hour where you get to do it all over again. Pace yourself, take your time and soak in what Key West was like in the 1960’s.
I’m missing Geiger Key already and it would be one of my primary motivations for planning to go back to the Keys. The marina is also a pick up point for deep sea fishing charters.
Come early before noon to snare a seat at the bar www.geigerkeymarina.com
Friday, February 01, 2013
THE DIPPER SURVEY SAYS ...
This past while, Georgian Bay has been in the news for something people don’t talk about much or admit to – skinny dipping! There are not many pristine waterfront locations around these days that are not built up with cottages, lakeside homes or busy beach areas. Georgian Bay has more than it’s far share of secluded drop dead beautiful scenic locations where one could skinny dip, if one wished to do so. Some folks are less shy than others. We were at anchor last summer and the sailboat crew beside us that dropped anchor had no qualms about dipping au naturel in a busy anchorage. As Jerry Seinfeld would say ... “not that there’s anything wrong with that” but for most, it’s not mainstream, if you know what I mean.
So anyways we thought we should correct some mistruths about skinny dipping on Georgian Bay. This has played very well in the media and was all over Twitter and other social media for a while. I believe Mountain Life Magazine first published the notion of top spots to skinny dip on Georgian Bay. You’ll notice they didn’t say Muskoka, Kawarthas or Haliburton ... they said Georgian Bay. Nothing quite comes up to the pristine standards of Georgian Bay for this kind of activity.
The Toronto Sun picked this up and the story went viral. Other publications followed like the Sudbury Star and many regional papers. Even local municipalities and business associations got in on the act. Skinny dipping has become a tourist promotion. Some of those Top 10 locations will be getting busy with all the publicity. Some were popular swimming holes already ... you have to be brave if there’s a dozen people swimming in suits and your going to join the party skinny. More realistically the best locations are going to be isolated. Some of the Top 10 be be sure are nice scenic locations - like The Grotto, Indian Head, Killbear Park, Covered Portage ... but I for one cannot imagine dipping at Killbear’s well used beach head ... except maybe in the middle of the night.
I was shocked to see some of the better locations absent from the Top 10. Our own poll suggested that only real cruisers would know the genuine top ranking locations to dip. Now the clear (no pun intended) real winner is the turquoise crystal clear waters of Topaz Lake an easy hike up from the Pool down at the base of Baie Fine fiord near Killarney. I know officially it not on Georgian Bay, but for God’s sake ... it’s a hope skip and a jump up the La Cloche Mountains from Georgian Bay proper so it qualifies.
Nothing like the Bahama Blue water of Topaz surrounded by windswept pines and white quartz cliffs. Truth be known, Topaz Lake as isolated as it is ... is a dead lake. That’s why the water is so clear and blue. Acid rain from the Sudbury nickel mills took it’s affect on the little lake many decades ago and that slight difference in PH keeps the fishes and organic material from taking hold again, even though the accident rain has been greatly eliminated in the north. Anyways, according to those that really know, Topaz Lake is the numero ono #1 spot to be a dipper. Good luck getting there without a boat though. Same goes for Covered Portage Cove. All the more reason to buy a boat and start cruising.