As I sit here writing this blog entry, I’m thinking we didn’t do much this month and have been lazy. Then I looked at the pictures, and realized that MB has been running me ragged! We haven’t stopped, I’ve barely had time to work on the boat, although I did manage to rebuild the fuel pump, rebuild the carburetor, and change the filters, oil, and redbed the transducer for one of the depth sounders.
In addition to that, I caught a meal of fish, Grouper no less (actually, a little blue striped thing, but hey, it’s my “eat what we catch” program, and I also have a license for lobster. Not lobster like we know it, they have no claws, but they do have tails, so I bought this kit that has a little ‘tickler’. I am supposed to find a hole while snorkeling, push the ‘tickler’ in, tickle the lobster, and he jumps right into my net. Right, kind of like the Asian Carp, but I got it anyway, so we’ll see. Check the picture of MB in the dingy (she’s the one with the life jacket on) in the Atlantic Ocean.
When we took the dingy out, we decided to check and clean the bottom. There were enough barnacles, and growth under there to start a farm. It took two and a half hours to clean it. We will have to do it more often, and clean our big boat.
We decided to go to Key West by bus, and it was so grand there we went back a second time. Hog’s Breath Saloon (MB was on webcam there), Sloppy Joe’s, Margarittaville, Captain Tony’s, the list goes on.
Fabulous place, we also stopped at Schooner’s Wharf Bar and Grill, Michael McLeod has been singing and performing there for years, a real live Jimmy wannabe, although he’s different than Jimmy, you have to really listen to his music to appreciate it, as opposed to Jimmy’s music, that is just fun, even if you don’t listen. You can see the dogs at Schooners Wharf line up for food just like the waitress’s. They have a ‘running with the dogs’ in Key West, as opposed to ‘running with the bulls’. A VERY cool place.
At Key West, the land doesn’t go any further west. While standing on the wharf, there is nothing behind us but turquoise water. We made it. Need proof? Ok, there’s the pic of MB at the end of US 1, there’s a picture of us together at the end of the wharf, there’s a busker playing bagpipes, the sign says “Southernmost Bagpipe Player in USA”.
I have to speak a little on Key West; there are chickens in the streets, for real. There are folks in the streets trying to make a buck, notice the guy playing the flute, with a dog in ‘T’ shirt and sunglasses, whenever he plays the flute, the dog howls, all for a dollar.
We visited the Aquarium, with sharks, stingrays, Iguana’s and a wonderful tour. I enjoy these tours, you learn so much in a short period of time. Much better than trying to figure everything out yourself. We learned about sharks there, in fact I even handled one. Not slimy at all, kind of rough, like a snake. We also learned about Sea Turtles, and ‘bubble butt’. These hundreds of year old turtles get hit by a prop, and when they heal, it leaves a pocket of air at the stern of their shell, and they float ‘butt’ up. They will die at that point, the one we saw, “Rocky” was taken into the aquarium and kept. It was sad.
They produce nothing on Key West, other than relaxation, so in the old days, they made money by watching ships get wrecked on the rocks, and salvaging all the goods. Of course, they saved lives too, but once the vessel was scuttled, goods were there for the taking. And take they did, stories abound with the wrecks. There were towers, with bells, and when a ship went on the reef, someone rung the bell, and the wreckers would get ready to go collect their ‘booty’.
Ernest Hemingway lived here for a few years, we toured his house, one of the significant features was his six toed cat. There are 44 descendants of this cat living on the estate today. Lots of interesting features about the house, his life, and the property.
We had a surprise visit from Richard and Susan Schermerhorn and Ralph and Karen Thompson from Summerside, PEI, so we went to (where else?) Dockside bar and grill, and had an outdoor visit with drinks and food at the local Tiki Bar (check out the entertainer and his guitar).
Thanks for the visit, it was fun!! They went from here to Key West, so their fun is only beginning.
I needed to do some work up the mast (first time ever for me), so I called in lots of help. Colin and Pat from ‘Lady Margaret’ has befriended us, and we do stuff together (trips to Key West, they know their way around, Quilt shows for MB, navigation tips) they are incredible folks, and I will remember them always. They helped go up the mast, Pat took pictures, Colin tailed one of the lines (MB was supposed to be tailing the safety line; instead she was waving at the camera!!). Everything worked out; I lived, and will need to go up again before we leave. The return trip up the mast was far easier the second time, I even had a chance to wave for the photo.
Things were going so well with our preparations to leave that we had time to sit out in the cockpit and learn to blow a conch shell. Be sure to check out the video on the sidebar of Mary Beth, it sounds great.
We have now provisioned for our trip to the Dry Tortugas, and expect to be heading out in a couple days. We will be out of communication with everyone, with the exception of the ghosts of old Pirates past, and of course the Park Rangers after we arrive. The next blog entry will be after that trip, an unknown period of time. Whenever we run out of water and supplies, I suppose. No chance we’ll run out of food, with my new fishing rod and lobster catching kit.
I hope everyone had a grand winter; spring is on its way. Love to all.
Joe & Mary Beth Amelia aboard S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”