We sailed down to Key West on 12/17 and planned to spend about two weeks. Our friend, Steve, had been in Key West since the beginning of November and had everything dialed in for us. We just showed up and a mooring was arranged (Thank You, Dennis), the local spots were dialed in, and Steve let us use his truck for errands. We definitely had an advantage with his help.
Key West is a great place to be entertained - there are bars, shops, and restaurants to suit just about anyone's likes. And the "people watching" in Mallory Square as well as Duval Street can be thoroughly entertaining, but as a transient cruiser, with a dog, the logistics of getting to the dock and walking around town proved to be a little difficult. It seemed everything got a little bit wetter, a little bit dirtier and a little bit saltier. Things that were working on the boat in Marathon decided to stop working in Key West...bilges, anchor lights, etc...To fix those things meant another wet dinghy ride to a dirty dock and usually took a few hours before you even made it back to the boat, let alone begin the repairs. Nonetheless - we loved it!! We had a great time and every morning the sunrises and sunsets were some of the most beautiful we have ever seen - and we are suckers for sunshine.
Our holidays were full of good tidings and Christmas Day involved relaxing at Schooner's Wharf Bar listening to Michael McLeod. Verne arrived on 12/27. We picked him up at the dock in our dinghy and as we were pulling out of the harbor for the 2+ mile ride back to the boat, Verne said "Hmm, it looks like a squall might be coming." By time the words had finished coming out of his mouth, we were hit by WALLS of water. There was 2 inches of water in the dinghy and every single thing was soaked - Kala (who was so sweet sitting still and quiet as she was soaked to the bone), the groceries, Verne's luggage, all of our clothes were wringing. When we got on the boat we pulled up the radar and found there was, in fact, a tornado warning in Key West and water spouts had been spotted in Boca Chica, but it was passing quickly. By 1 a.m. all was quiet on Fleming Key.
The next day, Gunnar and Amanda joined us on Stella Blue and we all prepared to say goodbye to Key West and start heading north again, waiting for our weather window to cross to the Bahamas.
|Cruising by the cruise ships as we turn in front of Mallory Square|
|The Porch - our favorite people watching spot|
|New Orleans style via Key West|
|Stella Blue Crew|
|Chartered schooner at sunset. People paid to see what we saw from our mooring every night.|
|Capt Tony's - the original Sloppy Joe's (oldest bar in KW)|
|More Capt Tony's...|
|Kala loving the beach and the clear water!|
|Sun blazing sunset (Stella Blue on left)|
|Key West Bight City Marina - this is the dinghy dock when it wasn't crowded|
|Baxter installing the new anchor light on the very top of the mast|
|Working on the bilge|
|The aftermath of the "Verne" storm - one boat sank, two others ran aground|
|Goodbye Key West|