Welcome to my cyber island! I live on an island called Key West. Mangoes (pictured), Key Limes, Oranges, Guavas, Tamarinds and Spanish Limes (Mamoncillos) are grown here. MangoescontactThe island is approximately two miles wide by four miles long and is known as the Southernmost City in the continental United States. The island first appeared on European maps during the 1620’s. The first inhabitants were the Calusas Indians who were pushed South by stronger tribes of Northern Florida.

Legends say it was the bones of the Calusas Indians the first European settlers found on the beaches of this island. The discovery of the bones led the Spanish to name the island Cayo Hueso (pronounced 'kah-yo WAY-so'), a name that was later Anglicized to Bone Island.

Today the island is called Key West. It has been home to Native Indians, Pirates, Ship Wreckers, Sponge Fishermen, Cigar Makers, and Shrimp Fishermen. Much of the island was covered by mangrove marsh land. The only solid land was limited to a very narrow section of the Western end of the island.

In my youth, the island held several mangrove swamps of which I have fond memories. Our neighborhood band of brothers would conduct expeditions to "explore" the mangrove swamps Ha, can you imagine a parent letting a child do that today? Today a parent would get arrested for letting a child even play near a swamp. Bah, who is afraid of a few snakes.

MeThe Calusas Indians and Spanish Settlers have been replaced by a race we call the Great Northern Snow Bird. They have a common expression: “We do it better up North” and upon making the declaration, proceed to change the very nature of the island that caused they came to love. Sadly, the Victorian architecture I grew up knowing, that which drew the Snow Bird to my island has been slowly replaced by architecture better suited to the Cape Code area of the New England states.

The United States 2000 Census reports the island of Key West is home to 25,478 permanent residents which I think is crowded (concidering we import our water and our electricity from the mainland which is 160 miles away). The problem is, our population doubles or triples during various festivals (e.g. Fantasy Fest) held throughout the year. Our median age is nearly 40 but the island is still “Party Central.”

Key West and the Florida Keys are blessed with extremely nice weather (excluding the occassional hurricane or two), warm clear waters (great for swimming, snorkeling,scuba diving as long as you ignore the toxic wastes) and terrific off-shore fishing (if you have a large boat capable of great distances). Ok, ok, so I am trying to paint an ugly verbal picture. You can't blame me for wanting to keep paradise for myself.

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