Left Miami this morning at 1:30, expect to reach KW at 3:30 P.M. Day warm, pleasant in shirtsleeves with v light underclothing; rather cloudy, few showers, then sunshine. We are coasting along within 5 or 6 ms of shore on the outside of almost continous line of islands along wh they talk of continuing the railway to KW, the water between the level islands being shallow. Low green coast, roundheaded trees, no pines or oaks, mostly Jumbo limbo, ficus, Sideroxylon, mangrove, etc. A strip of sand seen in some places, in others green to water with mangrove. The colors of water varied and charming, pale nemophila blue and lovely green in ever changing cloudlike patches, some purple, some black, with glistening brightness on the sides of small waves; no heavy swells, being kept out by a barrier reef low under water marked by row of lighthouses. Green and pale blue of water from particles of coral, the whole land the work of coral. Fine cumulous clouds taking the place mtns over the low green water and land. Arrived KW about 4 P.M. Went to Key West Hotel, very neat, clean, comfortable, good meals. [Nov 15]. Chartered sloop and sailed at 8:15 for Marquesas Keys for palms tho’ most not hitherto described, Phoenix microcarpa and P now in flr and fruit, one with white, the other with black fruit, first green, then purplish violet, then black; flowers fragrant, leaves silvery, glossy, satiny beneath, extremely beautiful. A succession of keys mostly small, the largest 1 to 2 ms lone with shallow water between extend to Marquesas group 18 to 20 ms from KW. All of these densely covered with vegetation and presenting smooth outline 20 to 30 to 40 ft ab sea; top of forest gently irregular with bosses of densely leaved branches of mangrove 2 sps and with crowns of 2 sps of palms, mangrove most ab and characteristic of all;
Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist