Friday, February 26, 2010

Sick & Tired

So, call it the flu, a cold, or a virus, but whatever bug was creeping around the marina, I managed to catch it. It started with a sore throat and a restless night and developed into pure blown feeling bad. The first day was spent mostly in bed, cold chills one minute than hot the next. Jeff brought home chinese food [yummy...egg foo young!] for dinner and some of that nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so I could rest medicine. The next day I didn't even bother getting off of the boat and Jeff procurred us some Dion's Quik Chic Chicken [you'd know what I was talking about if you listened to Keys's all the rage!] with a side of plantains & macaroni & tell me where else can you buy fried plantains in a gas station? The third day, I actually drug myself to shore for a shower and some groceries and made myself do a couple of chores around the boat...exhausting. How can my head feel so hot when my feet feel so cold? Day 4 had me doing laundry at 6:30 am [no line!] with a quick jaunt for fuel and to the library and back in bed by may have been mid-morning for the rest of y'all, but I had already put in a full day. Today, the 5th day of my convalescence, has me feeling better...ish. The few coughing jags that I've underwent this morning have had me eyeing the NyQuil, but so far I've restrained. It makes me feel funny and then I can't tell if I feel bad because of the bug or the remedy. I am mostly just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am reading a good book third one for this week, and the Pig Races are this weekend so I am looking forward to those festivities.
So wish me well and stay tuned for racing pigs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Dad Visit

My Dad, Tracy, just recently paid us a visit and brought with him the lovely woman he cleverly conned into marrying him 26 years ago, Barbara. They arrived a day earlier than expected when they made the best of their weather window and left before an impending snowstorm dropped several inches of the white stuff in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The weather was sunny and warm ...although not quite as warm as one would hope for... when they arrived on Thursday, and they did a little sight-seeing before coming out to the boat for sunset and dinner. We had BBQ chicken on the grill accompanied by steamed shrimp, basmati rice, and fresh veggies. Jeff broke out his guitar afterwards and gave our visitors a song or two. We called it an early night since they were beat from their long haul to get here and I delivered them back to the docks so they could retire to the Blackfin Resort for a good night's sleep.

Friday morning we ventured across the street to the Stuffed Pig for "Gravy Pigs" under the tiki hut and then explored the area a bit with stops at Keys Fisheries, Daffy Doug's, Burdine's [for dinghy fuel], Ore Seafood, and Castaway's to check out the evening's specials. The afternoon was actually nice enough to take a dinghy tour around the harbor and up Sister's Creek and to soak up a little sunshine. Later on, we met at Castaway's for raw oysters and a bit of dinner. We had planned to stay for the entertainment, but the weather took a serious turn for the worse with big winds, big rain, and a big drop in temperature. We scrambled to our respective vehicles and called it another early night.

We had a big day planned for Saturday with an all-day, outdoor concert at Lazy Lakes RV Resort featuring Howard Livingston, Chris Cook, Cowboy Troy, Mac McAnally, and Jerry Jeff Walker just to name some of the day's venue. The proceeds from the show went to Habitat For Humanity and we had purchased our tickets in advance.
The weather was not ideal.
It was a little too cold and a little too windy with not enough sun.
We managed to have a good time anyway and enjoyed a lot of good music, free hotdogs, and people [and dog!] watching.

Click here to visit this album - click "slideshow" for a bigger show.

Sunday was spent recuperating and we met for dinner at Lencho's mexican restaurant.

Monday, we made a trip to Key West to see the Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens and the Butterfly Conservatory, where Barbara and I were both lucky enough to have butterflies perch on us, and then we grabbed some dinner at Keys Fisheries.
Tuesday, we had planned on doing a little fishing, but the weather just didn't cooperate. We let some of the drizzle and clouds burn off and then we headed to Crane Point to have a look around. By the time we were done walking the grounds, we were all starved and we headed to Herbie's for some lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent in preparation of an early morning departure the next day. The Hurricane, conveniently located on the Blackfin property, always has "Taco Tuesday" so for dinner we walked over and had us a few $1 tacos.
They were off the next morning before sunrise for the 2 day trek back to Ferdinand, Indiana.
The visit didn't go exactly how I had it planned.
The weather just wasn't nice enough to do much fishing or sunning on the beach.
So, even though there are lot's of things to see and do in Marathon, most of them are weather pending.
But that's life on a's all weather pending.
I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my dad, and Barbara and hope they come back when they can enjoy all the things they missed this time around.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guests and Fish

We recently had company here on the S/V Exposure. Meet Steve and Lisa Lindell. They hail from Louisville, Ky and had big plans to bring their RV down to the sunshine state for a long, relaxed vacation...until it came down to a part for the RV that just wasn't available quickly enough. So moving on to plan B, Lisa and Steve made a quick phone call to confirm availability of the guest bed, packed the car, and fled the snow & ice. They arrived Tuesday, the 2nd of February, just in time for sunset and dinner at Dockside, and spent 8 nights and 7 fun-filled days on the boat.

You know what they say about guests and fish, right?
Both stink after 3 days...

But that just wasn't true with these guests. I only mention the fish because we actually caught some!
On Wednesday, after a filling breakfast at the Stuffed Pig, Steve went up to the bait shop to procure a fishing license and then went out and caught us some dinner. Several mangrove snappers, a couple of grunts, and a jack fell to Steve's fishing prowess. He was tickled enough with his catch that he teasingly stated that he would now only be addressed as "Captain Kingfisher." His rein was short lived though when he and I went fishing on Friday and I started raking them in. He was a good sport to admit in front of others that not only did I catch more fish, but that I also caught the biggest of the lot and that I was hereby to be referred to as "Madame Queenfisher." When he asked how he could serve his queen, I merely requested that he clean my fish...and he did. The fish were great cooked on the charcoal grill, served with basmati rice and a concoction of black beans with sweet potatoes.

But their whole visit was not spent fishing, there were other fun things to do. Wednesday's Meet & Greet here at the marina was a special treat when we pulled the sailboat up to the seawall to take on some fresh water. We iced down the fish and ordered pizza to be delivered. In the meantime, everyone stopped to say hello or to ask to see the boat and Jeff did several question and answer sessions when asked about the Rutland wind generator quietly turning. People really are friendly around here and that may have been one of things that Steve and Lisa enjoyed most about Marathon.
And speaking of friendly, thanks go to Deb for the invite to lunch at the Hurricane...we all really enjoyed our time there Thursday afternoon.

Saturday was a beautiful day in the harbor and we went on a dinghy adventure up Sister's Creek to rescue a run-away dinghy belonging to an absent resident. Then we were off to the tiki hut to grill some burgers and chorizo and play some music. Did I mention that Steve is a great guitar player? He and Lisa perform together...professionally...she sings real nice...and we were all treated to a great jam session.

Sunday, I volunteered to work the Pigeon Key Art Show, so as I went to put in my time, our guests went a' wandering - first to the local's art show in the K-mart parking lot, then to the official show in the park, and then eventually all the way to Key West. They made it back in time for the Super Bowl festivities @ the marina. A big screen TV was brought in just for the occasion and the building was open until the game was over. Since it was a little cool out, I whipped up a pot of vegetable soup and had it waiting to warm them up on their return back to boat.

Monday, after a yummy breakfast at the cuban restaurant, we decided to make the 2 mile trek out to Pigeon Key. We didn't see much wild life on the way out, but we did spot 2 sea turtles out for a swim. Once on the island, we somehow managed to get booted out of the museum for not following the tour schedule...I must say, I've never gotten kicked out of a museum before now. It certainly gave us something interesting to comment on on the 2 mile walk back. Once back at the boat, Lisa opted for a nap while Steve and I went out to hunt and gather some dinner. First stop was a local fishery for a pound and a half of Key West pink shrimp to be steamed later then to the grocery for a slab of ribs and a green vegetable. The steamed shrimp made a great appetizer served with a bit of garlic butter followed by rotisseried ribs and cheesy broccoli. As my guests, it is a requirement that you eat well!

Tuesday found us on the road to Big Pine bright and early to find the elusive key deer that Lisa claims to have never seen in all their years of vacationing in the Keys. Well, we spied deer right away upon entering the protected now she believes they really exist. Then, with a right at the light, we were set to find more wildlife...and boy, did we! We all happen to look down the same side road just in time to see a large cat slinking across the street...and I don't mean one of the domestic variety. It looked something like this but the tail was bushy and more pronounced. Everyone who has heard our account has had an opinion on what kind of cat we might have seen ranging from a Florida panther [a type of puma] to a black bobcat and although the Florida panther's numbers are on the rise, black ones do not seem to exist. Most likely it was a bobcat...but without a better look, we'll probably never know. Our next destination was the Blue Hole where we got to see an alligator swimming in the freshwater lens and converse with a local teenager who seemed to know quite a bit about gators and the surrounding wilds of Big Pine. By now, my company was sufficiently starving so I whisked them off to one of my favorite breakfast spots, the Cracked Egg. We made it back to the marina for yoga, showers, and a load of laundry, and although we swore we'd never eat again after such a huge breakfast we rallied and grabbed a late lunch at the Keys Fisheries of fried grouper and conch sandwiches followed by ice cream for Steve and a trip to the dollar store. Back at the S/V Exposure we relaxed and enjoyed a splendid sunset, complete with conch blowing and cocktails. And once again, even though we swore we'd never eat again after such a fabulous lunch at the Fishery, Steve insisted on taking us all out to dinner for their last night in town. We ventured off to the newest eating establishment in Marathon, El Siboney, for tasty Cuban cuisine: roasted pork, grilled skirt steak, and stuffed shrimp accompanied by mounds of yellow rice, bowls of savory black beans, and baskets of flaky cuban bread and we washed it all down with a pitcher of sangria. What a great note to end on.

Sadly, this morning Steve and Lisa packed their bags and started their trip back to the frigid north. We'll miss them and hope they come back again soon.