Long ago in a faraway land off the coast of Connemara, Ireland was a small Island called Inishbofin, a rugged terrain criss crossed by stone walls, loved by outdoorsmen and inhabited by mostly fishermen and farmers. However this Island was also home to a family of Mermen and Mermaids. If a human was lucky enough to capture a peek of these enchanting sea creatures it would be in the darkest hours of the night sky.
One starry night a beautiful mermaid met her fate when seen dancing in the moonlight, she was captured by a local fisherman who fell deeply in love with her immense beauty and insisted on making her his bride. Her mermaid family had seen the fisherman approaching before she did and scattered off in fear of being captured. The young beautiful mermaid was left all alone with no protection, she felt the fisherman’s devotion to her seemed to be an offer she could not refuse and reluctantly agreed to marry him. As time passed the mermaid gave birth to seven children. Her youngest daughter named FIN was blessed with the same rare beauty and whimsical disposition as her mother. Fin had fiery red hair, a strong lean body speckled with freckles, exquisite eyes, green as the fields of Ireland yet deep and mesmerizing as the ocean after a storm. Her beauty and intellect was so exquisite her mother felt a driving force to protect her daughter at all costs from the local fishermen who were captivated by her presence. The young daughter’s only refuge and enjoyment from the shores of Inishbofin was collecting conch shells, swimming in the sea chasing after dolphins and splashing with the seals. The young daughter was astonished by her own speed and fluidity in the water and often felt an odd sensation whenever she dove into the sea, as if her legs were beckoning for a transformation. Her mother knew the time had arrived to share her secret of being a mermaid and told her daughter she too was a mermaid and the vibrations of the ocean had been calling her name to return to her true family, living in the Gulf of Mexico. Fin was exhilarated to begin a new journey
of her life in the sea. Fin and her mother spent their last evening together sharing stories of the vast ocean, its dangers, inhabitants and especially the ways of the sirens, who were dangerous yet beautiful creatures with enchanting voices who were half woman and half bird, once humans who were cursed by men to be vile creatures for eternity.
After she gave her mother a farewell kiss, she splashed her fins waving goodbye. Fin swam diligently across the Atlantic Ocean, but before she reached the Gulf of Mexico she discovered a ship in trouble that was headed for some jagged rocks and she knew from her mothers stories the sirens were trying to lure the ship to wreck. Unfortunately some men had dove into the sea, caught in the sirens methodical trance. To rescue the humans, Fin swam faster than the sirens. The Captain expressed his gratitude by mounting a figurehead of a woman with wings of an Angel on the stern of his ship, “The Flying Cloud” to honor the mermaid forever. Fin was flattered by the Captains graciousness. She smiled and flapped her tale creating a fantastic glittering splash and gracefully disappeared.
Fin ventured on towards the Gulf of Mexico where she came upon a pair of sea cows, also known as Manatee’s. They greeted her with an intuitive familiarity and together set off in search of Fin’s Mermaid family. Along their journey the sea cows guided her across shallow waters. Fin spotted a group of humans splashing on a sand bar, and they introduced themselves as the Timu- can and Caloosan tribes. The tribes had been hunting and fishing all day near an Island they discovered, it has been said these tribes were the first to discover what later was named Anna Maria Island. The tribes invited her to join their celebration and gave Fin her own tribal name “The Freck- led Fin”, after her unique and unfamiliar freckles. The tribes were known to share the waters peacefully with the mermaids and mermen. Each of the tribes said they had seen her kin living not too far away. The Freckled Fin thanked her new friends for their warmhearted kindness and continued on her journey.
As Fin darted between the deep and shallow waters, along the way she heard a dangerously familiar sound, three sirens in the mangroves trying to lure a group of sailors off course with their enchanting voices attempting to cause their ship to wreck. The Freckled Fin acted swiftly as she swam ferociously to the ship, she gestured to the men aboard to cover their ears, the sailors having heard stories of sirens taking men’s lives complied with the mermaids request. Fin knew if anyone was able to resist the sirens song, the sirens would perish, and so they did! Once again Fin saved the lives of sailors, possibly Spanish explorers as they shouted “Mucho gracias” repeatedly and blowing kisses to the mermaid as their ship safely sailed on its course. It is known some Spanish explorers including Hernando de Soto traveling on the ship The Spanish Crown in 1539 found and named Anna Maria Island also known as Anna Maria Key.
After the ship sailed on, Fin approached another key which was bustling with activity and a symphony of angelic voices echoing from winged creatures expressing their delight for this spectacular sanctuary surrounded by crystal turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. It was here Fin finally met her family, who had long been anticipating her arrival. The family told Fin the heavens would “be very pleased by her brave actions and kindness shown to the humans she met on her adventure.”
The Freckled Fin spent her sea life happy, joyous and free, dancing merrily each night under the stars in the moonlit sky. This Island life in Anna Maria was a soothing reminder of the love for her mother and her earlier years in Inishbofin.
The heavens above were indeed extraordinarily pleased with the Freckled Fins continued kindness and respect towards humans, birds and all sea creatures that she was adorned with wings on the last day of her sea life. Her spirit soars above in the blue skies of Anna Maria Island.
The wooden statue of the Angel hanging in our restaurant is the actual figurehead from the ship named “The Flying Cloud”.
As they were burning the ship because it was no longer in use the Captain saw the arms of the angel engulfed in flames and ran to rescue her from destruction and pulled her body out of the fire. For the next quarter century she remained safely in his care. At the right time she was presented as a gift to hang in the restaurant for all to enjoy her presence. She now watches over our establishment as she did for The Flying Cloud. We are honored to have her fly over The Freckled Fin.
Share our love of The Freckled Fin and let the fin begin!!