Sunday, April 3, 2016

Key West

Key West was different than we remembered it. We spent several months in Key West about two years ago and were excited about our return this year. However, something just wasn’t right. Whether it was us or something else, we don’t know. It was crowded, the people weren’t as friendly, we experienced an unpleasant encounter with the local Laundromat, things felt expensive and we couldn’t find decent internet.

Upon our arrival we anchored further from the main island just North of Wisteria Island. Then later we moved anchor over to Flemming Key. It was a slightly shorter ride and more protected, however, we noticed the conflicting currant and winds issue, which is a well know problem for the anchorages in Key West. 
The monthly price for the dinghy dock is $80, so we split the cost with buddy boat friend, Bob. Therefore, we had to use Bob’s dinghy anytime we went to shore, but it worked out because we were usually all together anyhow. We thought about paying the fee to use the laundry and showers…until we were told the prices: $65 per person to use the showers for a month. Are they out of their minds? In addition there is an added cost to use the laundry facility, but that’s not all. On top of the fee to access the facility the washers and dryers cost per load like that of a traditional Laundromat. Yes, we decided they are out of their minds and we opted not to pay to access the showers or laundry.

A local musician playing his craft.

This is what happens when you collect more 'stuff' than will fit on your boat.

Nice skies.

Tall ship - a common tourist attraction. This may have been the sunset cruise. 

An entertainer in Mallory Square.

A young couple with four children on a catamaran from France anchored next to us. With Jimi being watchful of boats anchoring too close, he went over to talk to them. They had just completed a long sail from Cuba; they were tired and hungry and needed to check in with the U.S. authorities. Jimi gave them the run down on the area and they went to shore. The following morning they came over needing to use our phone. I made us coffee, we helped them with the check in process via telephone and we visited for a while. We saw them one other time before they had to leave. The family is on their way to New York City, where they have rented an apartment for a month and more family from France is flying over to join them. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet them again one day.

One of our first stops was to our favorite little sandwich and coffee shop, The Cuban Coffee Queen. By far, they have THE BEST Cuban sandwiches around. Jimi and I can split a sandwich for $7.50 and our bellies will be plenty full. The coffees are pretty great too and less expensive than Starbucks. And so we frequently visited The Cuban Coffee Queen.

Hey - we found a chair bigger than the one in Fort Meyers.

Portuguese man of war floating past Sanibel.

This guy is made from sea sponges. Looks like the beast from Beauty and the Beast.

We showed Bob around the area with numerous long walks, had a few drinks at the Conch Republic Seafood Company, visited the Mel Fischer treasure and spent our time as leisurely as we could. I tried to get internet at the library, but it was only good enough for surfing; trying to upload or download was a waste of time. I tried at a few other places, but I was consistently disappointed. The only good internet we found was at The Cuban Coffee Queen; however it isn’t a place I could sit with my laptop. It’s a small building with a couple of outdoor benches and standing room only.

Our friends, Judy and Gary on s/v Cool Runnings were in the marina an island over. We never got over to see them, but they took a shuttle to Key West and we met up with them for a quick drink. It’s such a special thing to meet up with friends practically wherever we go.

At the local Laundromat in downtown Key West we had a run-in with the grumpy man, who runs the place, when Jimi confronted him for spending ten plus minutes yelling profanities about me. I couldn’t get the dryer door to stay shut and he felt I slammed it too hard; its people like me who break the washers and dryers that he always has to fix. Anyhow, we left and will never return there. Next time we’ll go to a different Laundromat.

On March 16th I received an email from my boss at Cencorp. The lady we hired less than a year ago quit and he wanted to know how soon I could get to Texas. The next day I was on a plane to McAllen, Texas. Since then, I have hired a replacement and gone to a permanent full time status with the company.  This changes things for Jimi and I. First of all, it means we will have to stay in the United States and it means I won’t be working on my own schedule, but will be a 9 to 5 employee now. Jimi and I decided this would be a good move for us for a while. I’m still in Texas and plan to fly back to Florida this coming weekend.
This is the plane I was on, when I left Key West.

In the meantime, Jimi said his good byes to Key West and our good friend, Bob. He left at 3 a.m. on the 24th arriving at Smokehouse Bay in Marco Island that evening. He stayed there for about a week and then made his way up to Cabbage Key and finally to Charlotte Harbor. He is pleased to report that all three sails were fantastic.
Jimi enjoys his bongos.

Anchored in Charlotte Harbor, he decided we may as well make use of our Astro van and he rode his bicycle nineteen miles to reunite with it.  Now he can pick me up from the airport and we’ll have transportation when we need it.

Our adventure may not be as exciting for the next eighteen months or so, however, we hope you stay in touch and continue to read our blog. We never know what we’ll write in the sand and then what the tide may wash away. For now, we plan to be somewhere on Florida’s west coast. Keep us in mind if you plan to be in the area.