Monday, October 29, 2007

According to Jim

Hi my name is Jim and I own and operate a little hotel in Islamorada called Pines & Palms Resort

Over the years we've heard all the questions and tried our best to answer with quality information to help people have a pleasant stay when visiting our little islands.

There is so much to do especially if you like fishing, diving, boating, and eating (we have lots of great restaurants here). It's difficult though, when you only have a few days or a few weeks, to know where to go, what to do, and who to contact. I can help you with all of that.

It's the off season now, so there's not too many people visiting but the fish are still biting and there's plenty of fun to be had. We've finally moved off the extreme heat and humidity of the summer. Water temps are cooling and fresh schools of bait are arriving daily with lots of game fish following. If you plan to visit, it's supposed to be a bit windy this week so don't plan on much diving.

I'm more of a backcountry and reef fisherman but I keep up with the local off-shore scene too. I'm also a certified diver, birdwatcher, naturalist, and boater with over 40 years on the water.

Let me know if you are coming for a visit and I'll try to help with your plans.


amy garcia said...

Hi jim,
My husband and 6 kids are coming to Duck key 1/1-1/9 2008. We have rented a great house on the water with a big pool but are thinking about a boat rental. We did this in St. petes last year spring break and it was the highlight if the trip. Any suggestions on where to get a boat for like 2 days? We have a dock at the house.

Jim said...

Hi Amy: It all depends on what you want to do with the boat. Are you crusing around the shallows just having some fun or are you going out to the reef? Are you looking to put 8 people on a boat all at once?

I would call Bump and Jump at 305-664-9404. They have your basic center console boats that are about 23 feet long. The boats are nice and clean. They also deliver. If you want a pontoon boat, I would call the Watermark Marina at 305-664-3380 (for shallows cruising only).

When you call to make a reservation, make sure to tell them how many people you have and what you plan to do with the boat. Let me know what happens or if you need more info.


amy garcia said...

Awesome-thanks for the info.
What is a reasonable price per day for a deck boat? We will be just cruising around no fishing. Also, Duck key is nice isn't it? I have not heard too much about it except that it is pretty secluded and upscale.

Jim said...

The Watermark Marina (the one at Snake Creek) has the best deck boats I've seen. I called them for you this morning and unfortunately they don't deliver or allow their boats to go as far as Duck Key. FYI, their rates are $325 per day plus tax, fuel, and $1000 security deposit on a credit card.

Hawks Cay Water Sports (305-743-0145), located right on Duck Key, has one pontoon boat, it's a fiberglass style boat rather than the traditional metal pontoons. They said it's about 6 years old, 30+ feet long. It's $269 plus tax and fuel. If you want it, I would call soon to reserve. I usually recommend looking at the boat first (there are some scary boats out there). Maybe you can ask them if they have a web site with a photo.

Duck Key is nice and you are right, it's pretty secluded, like it's own little town. To me it's just too over-built, not a square foot of land left, everything is too close together.

People don't really live there either, most are second home owners and vacation rentals. There are a few restaurants but you'll probably want to venture to Islamorada to try some of really great Keys style places, to shop around, and to see some attractions.

It sounds like you already have your plans set this year for Duck Key. If you decide to come down next year, I recommend renting a home in Islamorada and I can give you the name of some rental agents here. Certain areas are about as upscale as you can get. You will find much more to do and get a better authentic "Keys" and island-style experience.

Good luck and have a great vacation.

Marjorie said...

Dear Jim

We are a British family with two small kids and have relatives staying with us over the Christmas period.(Parents, brother and girlfriend) We would all like to stay in The Keys for a few days beginning of January but the hotel scene is not ideal for us because of the children. We need to be able to sit together at night in a living room/on a porch where we can relax but be in earshot of the kids.
Do you have any suggestions ? (We would like something nice and comfortable - not necessarily loooking for Cheeca Lodge style luxury, but something inbetween!).
Thanks, Marjorie

Jim said...

Hi Marjorie:
Let me give you a couple of ideas.
First, we have some larger accommodations at Pines and Palms Resort. Our oceanfront villas come with a private entrance and carport parking. These are actually condos that are next to the resort units on the property. You get about 1700 square feet of space including a full kitchen, choice of 2 or 3 bedrooms, plus 2 and a half baths (the master suite has a Jacuzzi tub), living room and balconies overlooking the Atlantic. In early January, we charge $449 per night plus tax and security deposit. I know you don't want the hotel scene, but these give you the best of both worlds (there's only 25 total rooms at Pines and Palms).

Another nice option is a vacation rental. The problem here is the requirement of a minimum 7-night stay. I would recommend calling a local company run by Patty Stanley called Island Villa. You can view homes and prices on her web site at Prices range from $1000 to $10,000 per week depending on location and size.

Hope this helps!

Marjorie said...

Hi Jim
Thanks for being so helpful. We have 6 adults and 2 children, so that might be a squeeze to fit into one cottage. On the other hand, I know that my brother and his girlfriend don't want to pay $400 plus a night if they have their own place. What can you offer us? (I think it's probably best if we speak on the phone - i have left a phone message already with my number).

Anonymous said...

My husband, son and I are coming to Islamorada and renting a condo the first week in April Unfortunately the renters are not allowed to us the boat docks. We really don't want to have to take it out of the water every day. Do you know of a place where they rent dock space? Thanks.

Jim said...

Hello there: First of all we need to know what part of town you will be staying in and what size boat you have with the draft required. If you are near Bud n Mary's Marina you can rent space there. There are other places too but I need to know your approximate location.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim for getting back to me. Okay we are staying at Mile Marker 88 at Summer Sea Condos. Our boat is a 24 footer. Thanks again. Silvia

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim:
I last stayed at The Pines and Palms in 2001 and there was a Pelican named California that actually stole a steak off our grill! Is he still around? Have been back in a while because my parents have a place in Key West but plan on bringing friends boat and stopping there for a night or two this summer.

Jim said...

Hi there... I remember you!

I have told many people about your experience with California, our resident thief. The thing you might forget is that California is a Great White Heron. He still drops in at the resort but and I think he is getting old and there are other younger White Herons challenging him. The amazing thing is I see him now and again at my house on the bay side about 6 miles north.

Give us a call or drop me an email if you plan on visiting this summer.