Monday, June 28, 2010

Mr. & Mrs. Watson, I Presume

This past week, our friends Craig and Karen from Kentucky, traveled to Key West to tie the knot. They were married on Monday with an intimate ceremony on the beach in between rain showers.
Come Thursday, they were headed back to Fort Lauderdale for a couple of nights before catching a plane back to the 'Ville and Jeff talked them into stopping at the S/V Exposure and spending the night. Jeff prepared for their arrival by making them an extra large welcome greeting with a can of spray paint and a tarp. The boys had been teasing Craig that he would hereby be known as "Mr. Watson," that being Karen's former last name - since she's the one who presumably will be wearing the pants in their new family. Hence, the giant-sized jab.

Upon arrival, we showed the newlyweds the boat and around the marina. We eventually made our way to the tiki hut where we sat and caught up as we looked out across the harbor and enjoyed the substantial breeze we were having. We decided a dinghy tour was in order and loaded into the boat. Because of the wind, the harbor was a little choppy so we decided to head into Sister's Creek for a calmer ride. Then we took the right hand turn into the smaller, mangrove-lined Whiskey creek.
We stopped briefly at the S/V Perseverance, anchored at a fork in the waterway, where the dog got a drink of water and both Craig and Jeff went for a refreshing swim.
Then it was time for a little exploring.

We set off to the left of the fork, since neither Jeff or I had ever been that direction and wended our way back through the mangroves. Very soon, the path got smaller and the water got shallower. We lifted the motor and pulled our way through using the overhanging branches. We made our way to a large opening only to find ourselves in about 3 inches of water. Across the way someone had marked an entrance/exit and we aimed for it by walking the boat through the shallow lagoon. Even though the water was only a few inches deep, while treading through it we sank almost to our knees in the ooey, gooey marl and seagrass. We made it to the other side only to find the waterway too narrow for the dinghy to pass through the exposed roots. So, it was back the way we came and out the mangrove paths. We made it back to the harbor with a few cuts and scrapes and a dinghy full of broken branches and plant debris. If I'd have known we were headed out for a deep woods safari I'd have packed a cooler and taken the camera, but I guess some of the best adventures are those impromptu ones that just happen.

By now, it was time to feed our guests some dinner and we headed to Lencho's for the all-you-can-eat mahi fish fry. The boys munched on big slabs of crispy fried dolphin while us girls stole tiny bites and nibbled on our own mexican fare. Then it was back to the boat where Jeff broke out his guitar and serenaded us in the cockpit.

Soon it was time to turn in. Jeff had to work Friday, I was volunteering at DRC, and the "Watson's" had a 3 hour drive ahead of them to FLL.
We said our good-byes in the morning and parted ways.
It was great seeing Craig & Karen - happy as clams in their newly wedded bliss!
We truly enjoyed being part of their Keys experience.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend in Key West

This past weekend, my friend, Deborah, came to Key West for a visit. Deborah and I have known each other since we were in 5th grade which makes her my longest running friendship - going on 30 years now. She brought her Dad, Charlie [aka Chop], whom I also have known for 30 years. She was meeting up with a couple who used to be her neighbors in Lakeland, FL, Mary Sue and George, who came down to Key West to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Also joining her was another couple whom Deborah has known since her early college days in Costa Rico, Rich and Carol who currently reside in nearby Islamorada at the Sea Base Boy Scout Facility. I had met both couples before, so when Deb called and asked if I'd like to come down and join them I thought it sounded like a good time. I arrived at The Grand just a little after 4pm where I found everyone gathered and waiting to get the evening started. We started off walking towards Duvall St.
Since it was Charlie's [picture left] first time, he had a list of some of the more touristy destinations that he wanted to visit. First stop was Margaritaville. We all ordered fruity, frozen drinks and Charlie shopped for souvenirs. Next was Fat Tuesday's for another round of fruity, frozen drinks. Then Captain Tony's for a Pirate Punch, The White Tarpon for a Key Lime Martini, and then to Mallory Square to watch the sunset. Afterward, we crossed The Hog's Breath Saloon off of Charlie's list where more drinks and souvenirs were purchased and then it was time for a bite to eat. Fogarty's was nearby and looked inviting with all of it's outdoor seating and we ordered appetizers and split a couple of sandwiches. After filling our bellies, we hailed a cab and headed back to the hotel to turn in for the night.

The next morning had us setting off to finish up the list at the Southernmost Point with a stop at the Southernmost Beach Cafe for bloody mary's. After that, we dropped in the outdoor bar at La Te Da for more bloody mary's for some and iced tea for me. Then a slice of pizza was in order and a walk back to the hotel.

The highlight of the weekend was still to come. Rich had made a phone call early in the day to a friend with a sailboat and asked if he was willing to take us out for a sunset cruise. The cool thing about it was I knew the owner of the boat and his wife, as they had been residents in Boot Key Harbor last year. I was looking forward to seeing Julie and Hammer well as his dog, Stevie, and her cat, Toni.

We met up at the Jewel of Athena around 6:30 with bags of ice and a bottle of rum, dropped the lines, and pushed off from the dock. After a short bit of motoring, the sails were hoisted and the motor silenced as we sailed by Mallory Square and past several other boats out for the same reason we were.

We had good wind and great time. Hammer even let me take the helm for a bit. We returned to the docks just after dark and Hammer brought out his guitar and serenaded us with several songs.

We eventually made our leave and headed to The Rum Barrel for a late-night bite to eat...I had the patty melt and it was fabulous.
And I don't even feel guilty about the late night indulgence since we walked all the way back to the hotel afterward.

I returned to Marathon early this Monday morning to do the Cruiser's Net [VHF Channel 68 @ 9am] and put my feet up for a bit.
Deb and her Dad will by stopping by Marathon tomorrow on their way back to the mainland and I look forward to their visit.

Thanks for the invite, Deb!
It was fun.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Friday is Monday?

Jeff just recently received a promotion at his job in the City Marina and is now the official Assistant Ports Director...that puts him as second man in charge around here.
With the promotion came a change of schedule. He'll be working 4 - 10 hour days from 8am to 6pm - Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with the rest of the three days off.
As far as working on the weekends goes, pretty much, here in the Keys, there is no difference in a weekday and a weekend - you can find just as much to do and see on one day of the week as any other, so it doesn't have the same blah, I-might-miss-out-on something feeling as it might have up on the mainland.
It's nice having him off for the 3 days and I am hoping that it will give us an opportunity to do some stuff around the Keys we haven't done yet, but the schedule is taking some getting used to. Monday after work is now "Friday Night" and when Friday rolls around and it's time to head to shore in the early am, it sure feels like Monday morning.

Congratulations, Jeff!
Friday is Monday and Monday is Friday...pass it on.