This and That

This and That

14-JAN-2021 Thursday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Dale and I are back to being Empty Nesters. The girls have returned to Minnesota, and Dale’s brother Bruce and his wife Diana have returned to Cape Canaveral.

This and That – End of the Holiday Season

Yes, we really did see a real Flamingo in Florida!! An America Flamingo! It’s unusual to see a wild flamingo in Florida. The America Flamingo, once common in Florida was hunted out of existence for the plume trade in the 1800s. However, every now and then an off course flamingo from the Bahamas or Mexico ends up in the Florida Keys.

American Flamingo at Sammy Creek Landing, Sugarloaf Key

This and That – Along the Way

This and That – Out and About

This and That – Dining Out

And the Bubba goes to the ‘Hogfish Bar & Grill’. (People’s Choice Award)


This and That – Looking for the Green Flash

Like all good tourist we’ve been to Mallory Square for sunsets.

15-Jan-2021 update on the pedal pub – The tiki hut pedal pub was stolen on Jan. 13, 2021! Tyln Earl Morlang, 26, of Independence, Missouri, was spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard just off Fort Zachary Taylor State Park intoxicated, alone and slumped over the wheel. The boat was damaged with burn marks. Morlang had built mini fires, using lighter fluid, in cup holders, water jugs and coconut shells to stay warm. It melted a lot of stuff.
He remains at the county jail on Stock Island without bond.

Checking out the Southernmost Point at 8:30pm. We still had to wait in line, but not too long.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Pink lawn flamingos are NOT native to Florida. They are native to Leominster, Massachusetts, which bills itself as the Plastics Capital of the World. Union Products plastic company hired Don Featherstone, a sculptor at a nearby art school. His second project was to sculpt a pink flamingo. The first pink flamingo’s name was Diego.

There are more fake flamingos than real. Ornithologists estimate that there are only 950,000 flamingos in existence today compared to millions of plastic ones. Don Featherstone kept 57 in his backyard.

In 2009, the city of Madison, Wisconsin Common Council designated the plastic flamingo as the city’s official bird.

Drolleries and Yuks

How did the flamingo avoid the bird catcher?
– It stood still on a lawn and acted like a plastic flamingo!

Why did the young flamingos get in trouble?
– Their father finally put his foot down.

What do pink flamingos have on their front lawns?
– Plastic Italians.

Dale told me I had to stop acting like a flamingo.
– Reluctantly, I put my foot down.

At the Cat House

At the Cat House

02-JAN-2021 Saturday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

At the Cat House (A.K.A. the Hemingway House)

Ernest Hemingway was a famous for having polydactyl cats after being given his first polydactyl cat by a ship captain. Hemingway named her Snow White. Upon his death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida became a museum and a home for his cats. The Hemingway House currently has fifty-five descendants of his cats. About half of which are polydactyl. I’m certain we saw almost all of them!

Cats with thumbs, or any extra toes on their paws, are known as polydactyl cats, ie, cats with many digits. … (Pterodactyls were flying dinosaurs. They might have had extra toes 😉)

I never figured out where the litter box was.

Beginning in 2003, the Hemingway House museum was embroiled in a nine-year legal struggle against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over whether the Animal Welfare Act of 1966, which typically regulates zoos and circuses with big cats, applied to the museum’s six-toed cat population. The USDA even sent undercover agents to monitor the cats in 2005 and 2006. The museum owners contested the USDA’s claims in court.

In 2005 an investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) examined the cats in 2005, they concluded: “What I found was a bunch of fat, happy and relaxed cats.”

In 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that Animal Welfare Act of 1966 applied to the Hemingway House because it used cats in advertisements and sold cat-themed merchandise. (thx Wiki)


Next stop was the historic 65-foot Key West Lighthouse across the street that was built in 1825. The story goes, Hemingway used it to find his way home after nights on the town.

Next stop Southernmost Point. 90 miles to Cuba.

1:30pm status: 1 Cuban coffee, 9,088 steps, 37 chickens, 2 roaming cats plus over two dozen Hemmingway cats and way too many tourists.

We caught the shuttle back to the marina.

Every picture has a story

We were sitting on yes dears‘ helm, looked up and thought what the ???? as a giant box floated by.  I had to go take a picture. It was a houseboat relocating to the adjacent marina. It had to have been briefly on the Atlantic Ocean in order to get here from anywhere! I’m impressed.

7 Diamonds is back at Stock Island Marina and there’s a 30 something party on board. 7 Diamonds is a Numarine 32XP expedition yacht, built in Istanbul, Turkey, that newly launched in 2020. She’s 106 feet and sleeps 12. Her asking price was £9,500,000.

Next door’s boat had it’s toybox open.

Good Night


Floccinaucinihilipilification

Polydactyl cats have been extremely popular as ship’s cats. Although there is some controversy over whether the most common variant of the trait originated as a mutation in New England or was brought there from Britain, there seems to be agreement that it spread widely as a result of cats carried on ships originating in Boston, Massachusetts, and the prevalence of polydactyly among the cat population of various ports correlates with the dates when they first established trade with Boston. Contributing to the spread of polydactyl cats by this means, sailors were long known to value polydactyl cats especially for their extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard rodents.  Some sailors thought they bring good luck at sea. The rarity of polydactyl cats in Europe may be because they were hunted and killed due to superstitions about witchcraft. (thx Wiki )

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a polydactyl ginger tabby named Jake holds the world record for the most toes. Clocking in at a whopping 28 toes, Jake had seven toes on each paw—and each toe had a nail and pad.

One last story from the Hemingway House

During World War I, Hemingway worked as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. He served on the Italian front and suffered a severe injury the night of July 8, 1918, while handing out chocolate and cigarettes to soldiers. Hemingway was struck by fragments of an Austrian mortar shell. He was wounded in the foot, knee, thighs, scalp, and hand. In all, he absorbed more than 200 pieces of shrapnel—by his own count, 237.

In the aftermath of the explosion, the injured Hemingway reportedly carried a man to safety. (He was subsequently awarded a medal of valour for this action, among several others.) Hemingway was ultimately taken to a Red Cross hospital in Milan, where he met and fell in love with a nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. At age 26, von Kurowsky was seven years his senior. She did not fully reciprocate his love and refused to marry him.

She inspired the character “Catherine Barkley” in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. He got even with her at the end of the book. He killed her off.

That’s it 2020

That’s it 2020

31-DEC-2020 Thursday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

We decided to go visit Fort Zachary before lots of other tourist ventured out. We were there by 9:30am.

The three nautical mile limit refers to a traditional and now largely obsolete maritime boundary that defined a country’s territorial waters, for the purposes of trade regulation and exclusivity, as extending as far as the reach of cannons fired from land.

The ocean beach was too rough to swim. Besides, there were lots of jellyfish.

We stayed the course and walked the city.

Revelers

We truly hadn’t planned spending New Year’s Eve on Duval Street but we did. The evening was subdued. More than anything I was stunned at how many parents with small children were out! I can’t imagine any conceivable reason why any parent would bring underage offspring to Key West, other than being selfish. There is truly nothing here for underage children to do. Even the hotel pools are not youth friendly.

OK. Back on task…

I didn’t have my camera and my cell phone was at 30%. Key West has a mandatory mask mandate that about 70% of the people follow. It also has a 10pm to 6am curfew that was strongly enforced. Key West is usually packed with 50,000+ people for New Year’s Eve. There was probably about a quarter of that here this year.

$10 cover charge, but it was worth it. We stayed for less than 5 minutes ’cause it was tooooooo COVID friendly. No one was wearing masks (among other missing apparel).

With the 10pm curfew in place Sloppy Joe’s did not drop their New Year’s Eve Conch Shell and Schooner Wharf did not lower their Pirate Wench from the mast of a 100 foot schooner.

The Bourbon Street Pub did keep alive. However, “Sushi”, local drag queen Gary Marion, was dropped early (at 9:15pm) from the Bourbon Street Pub back patio balcony in a giant red stiletto. For social distancing reasons tickets to the event was limited. We watched it from over the fence from the adjacent street.

Had we been inside….. photos copied from Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO and Florida Keys News Bureau

Happy New Year!

Fair well to the old
Welcome the new,
Be healthy and happy,
And may all your dreams come true.

We’ve been busy

We’ve been busy

23-30 DEC-2020 Wednesday to Wednesday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

We’ve been busy. Too busy to blog as it interferes with my afternoon nap and painting my nails 😉 I’m foregoing my afternoon nap so here’s a thumbnail version.

Along the Way

Woo Woo! Emily and Sarah arrived Tuesday, Dec 22. We’ve been wandering around the marina and Key West. I love the free shuttle from the Perry Hotel.

Sloppy Joe’s and Captain Tony’s

The building at 428 Greene Street was built in 1852 and has gone through several incarnations. It started as an ice house getting it’s supply from ships sailing up and down the Atlantic Coast, and as the only frigid place on the island, it was also the city morgue.

During prohibition, Josie “Sloppy Joe” Russell, a local entrepreneur and one of Hemingway’s cronies, took out a lease on the building with hopes for the end of the drinking ban in near sight. Sure enough, in 1933, Sloppy Joe’s bar was opened and it was here that Ernest Hemingway spent many of his evenings from 1933 to 1937.

In 1938, the building’s landlord raised the rent by a dollar a week, and Russell retaliated. He marched up the street and secured a lease for 201 Duval Street where Sloppy Joe’s bar still stands today. The story goes that the bar patrons picked up their stools, their cocktails, and the liquor bottles, and walked the few short steps across Duval Street to the new Sloppy Joe’s location. Not a drop was spilled!

The 428 Greene Street location went through more several incarnations until 1958, when Captain Tony Taracino, a well-known ladies man and local charter boat captain, purchased the building in 1958 and naming the saloon Captain Tony’s after himself.

Captain Tony’s is where Jimmy Buffett got his start in Key West. Buffett played Capt. Tony’s in the early ’70s, and was often paid in tequila. Buffett immortalized the bar, and Tarracino himself, in his song “Last Mango in Paris”.

In the 1980s, renovations of Captain Tony’s Saloon were underway when construction workers found the bones of about a dozen bodies under the flooring. They also unearthed a gravestone for a young woman named Elvira, which remains on the floor of the billiard room.

And then there is Reba. Reba Sawyer was buried in the Key West cemetery after she died in 1950. The story goes her husband later found letters that exposed an affair between his wife and another man. They had their trysts at Captain Tony’s Saloon. The husband was so enraged that he dragged his cheating wife’s gravestone from the cemetery into the bar shouting, “Here is where she wanted to be. Here is where she will stay.”

Yet for us to discover another day is the below place below. It offers a little something for everyone. Bottom ups… The Bull on bottom, the Whistle Bar in the middle and the Garden of Eden (clothing optional) on top. I’ve heard there is free body painting if you’re optional in the Garden of Eden. We haven’t been to any of these… yet.

The ‘I love you drinks’ kicked in….. I think they were the Fat Tuesday slushies.

I took the below picture in case it was needed for future reference.

After the family bonding outing, the girls have been wandering the streets of Key West (specifically Duval Street, the Wharf and Mallory Square unsupervised while Dale and I have stepped through the city walking Emily’s dogs.

We’ve stepped the west end and the hotel shuttle has driven us through the other areas.

Of course I always seem to find the local cemetery.

This hotel had a great tuxedo boutique with awesome hand painted tuxedo shirts.

Meanwhile back at the marina

M5 pulled into port on Monday, December 21. She is the largest single mast sloop ever built with a 254.6 foot length, 48.6 foot beam and a 290 foot mast. Just for reference, yes dear… is a 45 foot long boat. M5’s beam is wider than yes dear… is long. yes dear… would fit cross wise on the beam of M5! M5’s mast, about 10 feet shorter than the pitch (length) of a hockey field, is topped with a red light as any structure that exceeds 200 feet above ground level needs to be marked (lighted) according to FAA/ICAO Regulations.

M5 is privately owned by Rodney Ray Lewis. He is founder, president, and chief executive officer of Lewis Energy, an oil and natural gas drilling company based in Texas with a net worth around $1.5 billion.

Today’s new boat line up.

M5 was kicked out of port today. She had sought permission to be at Stock Island Marina for ‘a few days’ but has over stayed her welcome. She has been here for ten days. The Navy stopped by and told her she had to leave. While M5 has been here the Navy and the Airforce have been rerouting their aircrafts. This morning before she left all incoming air craft buzzed her mast.

M5 is on her way to Alaska. Her mast is too tall for her to cross the Panama Canal so she has to round Chile’s Tierra del Fuego archipelago.

Winner of this years Ugly Sweater Contest

Merry Christmas to all in true Florida style!

Raccoon Key – Things that make me smile

Raccoon Key – Things that make me smile

22-DEC-2020 Tuesday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Things that make me smile.

Raccoon Key

I can honestly say we we biked on EVERY road on Raccoon Key. (Stock Island too)

We didn’t see any raccoons on Raccoon Key. Also, noticeably absent on Raccoon Key were chickens. There were none. I guess they just haven’t crossed the road.

Neighbors

Jimmy John’s in town. We’ve been invited over for sub sandwiches! (Not)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROCK.IT_(yacht)

Most of you are NOT going to get a Christmas card from us

Most of you are NOT going to get a Christmas card from us

20-DEC-2020 Sunday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

I’ve really been thinking a lot about palms since we went to the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden yesterday.  Maybe too much.
But think about it. Palm leaves resemble hands. They have a central ‘palms’ and ‘fingers’. Lot’s of fingers.

I’ve been thinking about chickens too. I’m going to quit hunting chickens and start hunting ibis. The ibis symbolizes great wisdom and the ability to work magic. They were symbols of good luck and to wear an ibis feather would bring good fortune.

Lastly, most of you are NOT going to get a Christmas card from us this year.  It’s not that you’ve been naughty. It’s simply Cuba is closer than Target, Walmart and Costco. We’ve been hitting up every store in Key West and Stock Island we can since we got here to look for Christmas cards that I wouldn’t be ashamed to send.  After about six stores we’ve scored a box of 10 and a couple of individual cards.

A very simple, very Merry Christmas to the rest of you!

Stock Island – Keep Pedaling

Stock Island – Keep Pedaling

19-DEC-2020 Saturday – Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Start pedaling. We’re heading east on the hunt for a breakfast spot here on Stock Island.

Deluna’s cafe. Neat little outdoor cafe tucked next to Boyd’s Key West Campground on the east side of Stock Island. Great Cuban breakfast sandwiches and cafe con leche.

May as well check out the rest of Stock Island. Stock Island is 576 acres, just under 1 square mile in size. It’s Florida flat with an elevation of 3 feet. Keep pedaling.

Just some of the stuff north along College Road.

The Monroe County Sherriff’s Office and Detention Center are also along along College Road. I was too busy checking out the golf course to remember to take a picture.

Keep pedaling around to the eastside.

Stop!!!!!!! Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. It looks like an outdoor Como Park Conservatory! Pay back time for every bait store I’ve been in lately 🙂

The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden’s hosts an annual fall Scarecrows in the Forest fund raiser event. The scarecrows are locally designed by individuals, creative professionals, organizations and businesses using natural and recycled materials.

Cuban palms section. This section was the most interesting.

Wax Palm (Copernicia fallaensis) is critically endangered. Only 100 mature trees remain in Cuba. The enormous, rounded leave blades are divided into 120 stiff segments. They grow to about 65 feet in height.

Petticoat Palm (Copernicia macroglossa) is most fascinating when young and view from above because its huge, stiff, bright green fan leaves have almost not stem and form a spiral growth pattern. When the leaves get old they fall over, die and cling to the trunk for decades forming the petticoat. They grow to about 30 feet in height.

Old Man Palm (Coccothrinax crinita) is now critically endangered with only 60 – 130 trees left on its native island of Cuba. Cousin It if the palm world.

Miraguamam Palm (Coccothrinax acuminata) The truck looks like burlap.

I’ve never seen Creeping Charlie featured in a botanical garden.

Cuban Chugs. Keep walking.

yellow boat – This boat arrived in Key West in 2008. The foam with plastic sheeting is had sewn. It is suspect that the boat was built inside a home.

This aluminum boat with foam outriggers arrived in 2008. The engine is a Nissan car engine.

Every boat has a story …

Time to restart pedaling. Now on to the south side of Stock Island.

Back to the Perry Hotel and Stock Island Marina. Start walking.

Disambiguation

I’ve been a little confused why addresses and place names are Key West and I’m on Stock Island.

Key West is an island in the Straits of Florida, within the U.S. state of Florida. Together with all or parts of the separate islands of Dredgers Key, Fleming Key, Sunset Key, and the northern part of Stock Island, it constitutes the City of Key West.

Stock Island is a census-designated place (CDP) & Unincorporated community on an island of the same name in Monroe County, Florida, United States. It is part of the Key West Zip Code 33040.

Drolleries and Yuks

What do you call a Christmas wreath made with $100 bills?
– Aretha Franklins

I’m Serving Chicken on Christmas Day

I’m Serving Chicken on Christmas Day

18 DEC-2020 Friday Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

I’m serving Key West Gypsy chicken on Christmas Day. Please RSVP so I know how many to catch.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Key West Gypsy chickens

Key West early settlers brought chickens here for food. Descendants of those chickens were later interbred with chickens brought in from Cuba and the Caribbean islands for cock fighting. Roosters are very territorial and will protect their hens.  For many years a winning fight rooster would be a source of income and, of course, bragging rights. 

In 1837 cockfighting was banned and as other sources of food became more accessible, many of the chickens were released to roam.

The Key West Gypsy chickens have a lot in common with rabbits. The population flourished. Chickens make great bug/pest control, but they are also nuisance scratching their little feet in meticulously maintained gardens and crowing. At one point, the rooster population grew so big that back in 2004 Key West hired a chicken catcher to reduce the population.  The work of the catcher was very controversial so when the contractor quit the post was discontinued.  The contractor didn’t even last a year.

Today the Key West Wildlife Center has a community trapping program.  Residents can trap nuisance chickens and bring them to the center.  The chickens are fed and cared for very well.  The Wildlife Center moves more than 1,000 birds a year to farms in central and northern Florida for their eggs and pest control. YOU can even adopt a chicken!

It is against the law to kill the Key West Gypsy chickens. Key West Gypsy chickens are included in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Local folklore says the law dates back to voodoo practices involving the sacrifice of chickens.

Drolleries and Yuks

Why did the chicken cross the road?
– To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.
– It thought it was a good idea at the time…
– Because it was free-range
– To prove to the possum that it could actually be done.
– To find a place where no one would question his intention of crossing the road.
– To get to your house.
Knock Knock Who’s there?
The chicken
– To get to the other side.


Why did the baby chicks cross the road?
It was take-your-child-to-work day

Heads or Tails? Tarpons -vs- Pelicans

Heads or Tails? Tarpons -vs- Pelicans

17 DEC-2020 Thursday Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

The Key West charter fishing boats had filled out at were back at the dock and cleaning fish. Heads and tails were tossed into the water.

Heads or tails? Tarpons -vs- Pelicans were vying for a free lunch.

One winner is the brown pelican in the center of the below pictures. Make sure you zoom in to look at him.

Stepping through town

Any restaurant worth it’s street address has one on its menu and you can even buy a Key lime slice at a gas station in this town. The Lime Pie Company makes it on several versions of ‘Best Key Lime Pie in Key West’ lists. We had to try it. To our surprise it only comes chocolate dipped!

Pie hole filled, we continued on stepping through town. ‘Stepping’ is Dale’s and my term for walking a block or two in one direction then turning and walking a block or two in another direction.

Key West became the wealthiest city per capita in the United States in the 1830s. It made its riches from wrecking and salvaging ships that crashed on the reefs and shallow waters offshore. Locals made their riches auctioning off or reselling the valuable cargo. Local homes contained an unusually high concentration of fine furniture and chandeliers.

Haint (pronounced “haunt”) blue is a collection of pale shades of blue-green that are traditionally used to paint porch ceilings in the southern United States. Gullah folklore held that ghosts, known as “haints” in the Creole dialect, could not cross water, and because blue resembles water, ceilings were painted this color to repel evil spirits.

Key West is the county seat of Monroe County, which includes all of the Florida Keys and parts of the Everglades. Monroe County was created in 1823. It’s courthouse was completed in 1890.

Harry S. Truman’s little white house in Key West became the winter White House for President Truman after his doctor, Wallace Graham, ordered a warm vacation. President Truman made 11 visits to Key West, staying a total of 175 days during his presidency.

Blue Heaven restaurant is located in the funky, historic district’s Bahama Village. This is our favorite find so far.

Blue Heaven restaurant has unique features and a unique history. It started as a small restaurant in 1992 and has slowly expanded to what it is now. It was a slow day. Devon, our bartender, took us on tour to make sure we didn’t miss some of the unique components.

Dance hall, a bordello and a playhouse. You can still peek through the slots in the doors. (make sure the one in the restroom in locked when you go in.) He also had us stand on the balcony so we could toss obesities to the passers below. (We didn’t)

Through the years the property has hosted cock fighting, gambling and Friday night boxing matches refereed by Ernest Hemingway.

The tree has grown around the old safe.

Chicken friendly. The hen has eight chicks under her skirt. She used to have ten but the restaurant is also cat friendly.

Fowl work by Jimm Sherrington (a.k.a. J.W. Sherrington), a local resident.

We are going to have to come back here and eat. Journalist Charles Kuralt said the scallop sauce “would make cardboard taste good.” Besides, they are also on several versions of ‘Best Key Lime Pie in Key West’ lists.

Duval Street Burn Out

Where it all ends

U.S. Route 1 or U.S. Highway 1 (US 1) ends at the corner of Flemming and Whitehead in Key West. It runs 2,369 miles from Key West, Florida north to Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canadian border, making it the longest north–south road in the United States.

Drolleries and Yuks

Who is Santa’s favorite singer?
– Elf-is Presley!

Life is Better

Life is Better

16 DEC-2020 Wed Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Stock Island Marina is a noisy marina. It starts around 8:00am with the Star Spangled Banner from the nearby Boca Chica Key Navy base. The for a couple of hours Navy jets an other aircrafts come in.  They fly overhead the marina, circle the key counter clockwise then land. From what we hear, there is an aircraft carrier somewhere, out there, in the Atlantic that they are practicing from.

At 10am the jets stop and commercial air traffic starts and run til about 1:00pm.  At 1:00pm we get a bit more Navy jets and other aircraft.   Commercial air traffic picks up again a little later. You get the picture.

Internet reception

Internet reception at a marina is a crap shoot. Some of the crappy marinas have the best internet reception and some of the best marinas have the crappiest. Stock Island Marina where we are staying was voted best large marina in the USA last year. Dale has gone to the front desk and asked a couple of times about what’s going on with the internet reception. Each time they’ve been surprised there’s a problem or responded “Yes, it’s been that way”. Yesterday’s suggestion was to take our things and go to the Captain’s Lounge in the club house and use the internet there. I told Dale I’d carry the Roku and he could carry the TV and I hope they wouldn’t mind me being in my PJs.

Dale told me I’m too harsh. The other facilities here are nice and the staff is great.

Our internet reception issue bubbled to a new management level today. The “fixer” came to our boat today and had us change slips so that we were closer to the marina modem. He also brought a booster for us to try. Moving the boat helped a lot. We are going to hooked the modem up tomorrow. Life is better.

Neighbors

Drolleries and Yuks

What do Santa’s elves learn in school?
– The elf-abet.

What do you call an obnoxious reindeer?
– Rude-olph.

What do grapes sing at Christmas?
– ‘Tis the season to be jelly.

What did the gingerbread man put on his bed?
– A cookie sheet!

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
– Ice Crispies.

I totally get Jimmy Buffet

I totally get Jimmy Buffet

13-15 DEC-2020 Sun-Tue Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

We took the free shuttle to Key West. It drops you off at the A&B Lobster House, a Key West icon.

I always have to first check out the water.

We loved the below shop. However, nothing in it would fit in our house. The owner said “Go ahead and take pictures”. So I did.

Last night we sat in one of the Stock Island Marina/Perry Hotel pools and watched Elf on big screen TV.

I totally get Jimmy Buffet. I’m on a mai tai diet. So far I’ve lost 3 days.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The lowest temperature on record in the Florida Keys is 41°F. While walking around Key West an iguana fell out of tree and almost landed on me. They say that happens when it gets cold. It was 81 degrees. I’d have gotten hurt if it landed on me as it made quite a smack when it hit the pavement.

Life at Sea

Life at Sea

09-12  DEC-2020 Wed-Sat
Marathon Marina and Boatyard, Marathon FL  
to SE side of Summerland Key, FL (27.5 nautical miles 31.7 statute miles)
to Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL (23.3 nautical miles 26.8 statute miles)

24°33’54.4″N 81°44’16.7″W Stock Island Marina, Stock Island FL
24.565116, -81.737974
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Dale fished along the way

The waves were a little to rolling for me to leave the helm to take any more pictures. yes dear… turned beam side to the waves when not actively piloted and it all goes to hell in the helm when that happens.

Then there were the crab traps and lobster traps we had to look out for.

Heading into SE side of Summerland Key, FL anchorage
24°38’13.4″N 81°26’15.4″W 
24.637064, -81.437607

We got an opportunity to see what a lobster trap looks like up close in the water. A little too close. A lobster trap line snagged on yes dears… rudder. It looked like it was trying to waterski on its line behind us. When we stopped it sunk. We tried all the tricks and couldn’t shake the lobster trap free. Thank goodness the line wasn’t in the props. We flagged down a lobster fishing boat down and he told us to simply cut the line. I snagged the line with the boat hook and Dale pulled it in. After carefully removing the three lobsters and returning them to the water, Dale cut the line close to the boat and tossed everything back into the water. The line cleared itself of the rudder and we were off. Life at sea.

Coming into Stock Island Marina

It was just like the old days at Ashland Marina, WI! Everyone on dock came to catch a line and the lockmaster himself came too.

Stock Island Marina

The Perry Hotel has an orchid garden.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Stock Island was the former home of the Islander Drive-In Theater, which was popularized by Jimmy Buffett’s hit song Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit. When the “Islander” first opened on Stock Island in February 1953, it had the largest screen in the state of Florida. It had parking for 600 cars and opened with “The Cimarron Kid” starring Audie Murphy and Yvette Dugay.

One of us didn’t want to anchor in the rain or wind

One of us didn’t want to anchor in the rain or wind

06-08 DEC 2020 Sunday/Monday – Marathon Marina and Boatyard, Marathon FL  (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

24°42’13.3″N 81°06’42.7″W
24.703693, -81.111846
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Floridana

Still Here

The rain quit but the wind hasn’t. We are still here at Marathon Marina.

Our original thought was two nights, which turned into three nights and then four. We are planning to stay tomorrow night too and that will make 5. In reality I don’t think Marathon is all that interesting. I’m reasonably certain we’ll go on the hook after that until Saturday when we check into Stock Island Marina for a month.

Along the Way

Coast Guard station off US Highway 1. I loved the day marks at the entrance. Red-Right-Returning.

I’m a bit spoiled. It’s hard for me to look at some beaches and get excited. Sombrero Beach is a pretty little beach but too crowded.

A lot of locals live in Boot Key Harbor

The bikes and scooters have been fun for exploring except for the time I fell off my bike. It shook me up more than anything. I did get a sizeable bump on my head. (Yes, no helmet) The choice was to either bike over to the clinic and get checked out -or- stop at the dive bar we were in front of for a few minutes until the little birdies circling my head flew off. The dive bar won.

Good choice. The dive bar had the most amazing black velvet picture of Elvis I’ve ever seen. Elvis himself would have approved of the 4 foot by 6 foot painting!

The weather has been so cruddy we haven’t seen a sunset or a green flash.

Neighbors

There are a lot of LARGE vessels in the marina going in and out. They all have thrusters; bow, stern or both. Thrusters sound like elephants mating. There are elephants mating at all hours of the day and night.

Checking out Relentless at the end of the dock. I’m sure she’s a charter but I couldn’t find any info on her.

M/V Wild Child and her matching camo dinghy are privately owned. The owner must be coming in as the crew was practicing dropping the dingy and they took it over for fuel. She’s for sale at  $1,795,000.

Nice Leopard 51 motor cat with hot tub on the bow. New they cost $1,500,000. A 2014 for $567,747 is a real bargain.

Look at the freeboard on the bow of this boat! I beat it is at least 10 feet. The boat’s from Nova Scotia.

Good Night

It’s cold tonight. We are about as far south in Florida as we can go and we might have to turn the heater on tonight!

We are Aqui!

We are Aqui!

05-DEC-2020 Saturday – Little Shark River, Everglades Park FL to Marathon Marina and Boatyard, Marathon FL  (41.4 nautical miles 47.7 statute miles)

24°42’13.3″N 81°06’42.7″W
24.703693, -81.111846
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

We took yes dear… for a quick trip up the Little Shark River before we lit out for Marathon. It was a little too dark for pictures and I’m having problems with my camera, both of them.

Proof that birds don’t always flock together.

Exiting Little Shark River

Flat earth

20 miles from nowhere, middle of the Florida Bay, we were hailed by a fishing boat flashing mirrors. There was not another boat in sight. They needed engine oil. Dale gave them some.

There were easily 20 plus fishing boats lined up on an imaginary fence that bounds northern edge of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

A little further along the the starboard engine needed a fuel filter. While Dale swapped that out I studied the bottom of the Florida Bay. The Florida Bay is fairly shallow. I think the deepest water we saw on our journey today was 9 feet. Right here it’s about 6.

Our path was charted to go under the 7 Mile Bridge near Marathon after calculating and rechecking time, tide and waves. It’s a max 19 foot vertical clearance. Worst case we need to go back out into the Florida Bay, around the shoals and over to Moser Channel where the vertical clearance arches to about 65 feet. It’s about 3 nautical miles away.

Heading into Marathon Marina where we plan to stay for two days.

There is more than one really sizeable boat in this marina. M/V CRU is at the end of the dock. She’s little by Bahamas standards. But then again she’s more affordable to rent for a week. Only $35,000 p/week + expenses. Sleeps 6 plus 4 crew.

CRU https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-49749/cru.htm

We are aqui, here in the keys.

Good night.

Tranquility

Tranquility

04-DEC-2020 Friday – Everglades Isle Marina, Everglade City FL to Little Shark River, Everglades Park FL (41.6 nautical miles 47.9 statute miles)

25°19’44.0″N 81°08’47.9″W
25.328879, -81.146637
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

It’s leaving time. Off on leg one of the one stop hop to the Florida Key.

Minnesota white pelican RV parks

Little Shark River

The is more diversity in the trees here at Little Shark River that there was at Everglade City. The mangroves have not completely cannibalized this area like they have near Everglade City. Neither Dale or I trusted The Mooch’s motor so we decide not to take the dinghy out 🙁

Total tranquility except for the ongoing bickering amongst the avians.

Good Night

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Out here in the middle of no where, off the grid, we were on full alert all night for the skunk ape. The skunk ape is Florida’s Bigfoot. It is named for its appearance and unpleasant odor. The skunk ape has been a part of Florida folklore since the settler period. Seminole myth speaks of a similar foul-smelling, physically powerful, and secretive creature called Esti Capcaki, a name which roughly translates as “cannibal giant”.

Little Shark River anchorage
Wait! Wait! There’s more!

Wait! Wait! There’s more!

03-DEC-2020 Thursday – Everglades Isle Marina, Everglade City FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

25°52’03.1″N 81°23’05.7″W
25.867515, -81.384914
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Wait! Wait! There’s more to Everglade City that we haven’t seen?

Then there’s the historic Rod and Gun Club. It has the feel of Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone and The Lodge at Yosemite. Built in 1864, the Rod and Gun has counted a few U.S. presidents amongst its guests including Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman and Nixon. It was originally built for fur trading between the Indians and the white men. It’s definitely a remnant of old Florida.

Picking up supper at Grimm’s Stone Crab. Only the claw is harvested.

Yew! Your hands smell liked fish!

Dale’s had a phenomenal few days fishing of the dock catching mostly tarpon and snook.

The fight

The finish

Bedtime stories

We visited with John and Bobby, two delightful RV park residents who owned their own RV lot. From them we learned that several of the RVs in the park were worth $2,000,000. Yes, my zeros are correct. $2,000,000. To bad it was dark or I’d of had pictures! Here’s a couple of links to some of the ones we saw in the park.
Newell https://www.newellcoach.com/
Volkner https://www.startupselfie.net/2020/04/19/volkner-mobil-performance-s-luxury-motorhome-with-garage/

I was surprised at how many companies there were that make these luxurious luxury motor coaches. It’s more than just these two!

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The Florida stone crab loses its limbs easily to escape from predators or tight spaces, but their limbs will grow back. When a claw is broken such that the diaphragm at the body/claw joint is left intact, the wound will quickly heal itself and very little blood is lost. Each time the crab molts, the new claw grows larger.

Laundry

Laundry

02-DEC-2020 Wednesday – Everglades Isle Marina, Everglade City FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

25°52’03.1″N 81°23’05.7″W
25.867515, -81.384914
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Today’s main event was laundry. Actually it was the only event.

Life’s been good. Every time I’ve washed socks this trip I’ve pulled out the same number I put in. Matched pairs:-) No, I’m still not wearing socks. I just washed a few straggler dirty ones.

Here’s the rest of the clubhouse.

Drolleries and Yuks

How do you make a waterbed more bouncy?
Add spring water to it.

Joy riding

Joy riding

01-DEC-2020 Tuesday –  Everglades Isle Marina, Everglade City FL (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

25°52’03.1″N 81°23’05.7″W
25.867515, -81.384914
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

First on our agenda today was explore the town and pick up some groceries. We took the scooters for a joy ride.

It didn’t take much more than 20 minutes to explore the entire town. Turn out we saw the majority of it coming into town on Barron River yesterday. It’s a Florida flat town.

The grocery store was very sparse. I was able to pick up some lettuce (lower bin on left).

Speedy Airboat Tours

It’s called Speedy for a reason. It was one heck of a joy ride!

Scooter about Everglades Isle Resort

Everglades Isle Marina and RV Park

End of the Work Day

Crab boat coming in from the Gulf.

I bet they had a hard day on the water. We are in this marina for a reason. We didn’t want to be on the water or sleeping on the hook. There’s too much wind. We will probably be here for about 5 more days. I’m taking another mini sabbatical from blogging.

Drollies and Yuks

What do you call an alligator in a vest?
~An Investigator

Did you hear about the law firm with the most intimidating lawyers?
~It’s filled with liti-gators.

Why won’t alligators attack lawyers?
~Professional courtesy!

What do you call an alligator with GPS?
~A Navi-gator.

Did you hear about the crocodile who became a congressman?
~He was an expert dele-gator.

What do you call an alligator that makes others fight?
~An Instigator.

What do you call a alligator that works on a farm?
~An irri-gator.

What do you call an alligator that sneaks up and bites you from behind?
~A tail-gater.

Weather

Weather

30-NOV-2020 Monday –  White Horse Key, Dismal Key Pass, Cape Romano Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve north of Everglade City FL to Everglades Isle Marina, Everglade City FL (16.5 nautical miles 18.0 statute miles)

25°52’03.1″N 81°23’05.7″W
25.867515, -81.384914
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Good Morning

The weather came up sooner than projected so we took off for Everglade City.

Along the Way

The storm was all around us, but fortunately not on us. We had wind and some light rain. Waves were running 2-3 feet with an occasional 4+.

Dale hates ANY wave over 6 inches

I was at the helm.

Indian Pass. There were lots of birds sitting out the weather.

There is a large bay between the small islands and Everglade City.

The Everglades Ilse Marina and RV Park is a high end luxury RV park. White RVs ARE NOT permitted to stay here. They also have to be under 10 years old. They do let 25 year old white boats stay here.

Welcome signs at the clubhouse.

Good Night

It rained for the off and mostly on the rest of the day. We briefly wandered out in search of food.

Today was not a 10. Interesting, but not a 10.

We might be here for a few days due to the wind.

Hunting for Easter Eggs

Hunting for Easter Eggs

29-NOV-2020 Sunday – San Carlos Bay, Sanibel FL to Rookery Channel, Rookery Bay south of Naples FL to White Horse Key, Dismal Key Pass, Cape Romano Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve north of Everglade City FL (31.0 nautical miles 35.7 statute miles)

25°52’18.2″N 81°34’10.8″W
25.871715, -81.569663
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Good Morning

Sunrise was brought to us by the color Orange.

Along the Way

Sunday morning early. Noticeably absent are the crazies.

If a dolphin in the area hears an engine running between 1200 – 1800 rpms it’s a given that it will be over to bow surf. We can’t see them bow surf from the helm due to the shape of our bow and chine. When I saw some heading towards yes dear… I ran out on the bow to take their pictures. You have to kinda lean over the rail to see them.

I missed a turn going into the Dismal Key Pass because I was watching the the chart plotter and not the Navionics charted path. Poor yes dear... Her bottom scraped in 2.8 feet of water even though the water depth was charted at 12 feet. She had to spin and GET OT OF THERE. Whew.

Speaking of charted paths. Some crabber dropped his crab pots right down the middle of a narrow skinny water channel. We slalomed through it.

Being Sunday and all there were day boaters around.

Dropping anchor.

Lunch was brought to us by the color Orange.

Mooching

We Mooched (dinghyed) along the Gulf side the islands. They were all rugged from the influences of the weather. The inner islands were lush and green. Besides, I wanted to shell and Dale wanted to fish.

The beaches were rugged too. They were covered with lots of old shells and broken shells.

Shelling is a lot like hunting for Easter Eggs. Some shells are laying just right out there in the open. Others are partially or mostly buried in the sand. I love walking in the water about thigh deep looking for shells primarily because I just like walking in the water and looking at things like rays, all kinds of fish, jelly fish, etc. In reality the best shelling is onshore near the wrack line or along the waters end.

Shelling is a complicated sport. Shelling is just the act of looking. Then there is finding, returning and giving.  Finding is self-explanatory. Returning is either putting it back on the water or tossing it on shore for someone else to find. Giving is giving it to another person shelling. There was no giving today. I was the only person on the beach besides Dale. Dale didn’t want shells. He wanted fishing.

I did a LOT of finding and returning today. Still, I kept a hoard of shells.  I’m thinking about doing some craft with the shells. I told Dale that if I can’t figure out what craft by the end of next 2021 the shells move to the ‘giving’ part of shelling.  I’ll probably plant them on the beach at Cape Canaveral or tuck one in the purse or suitcase of everyone who comes to visit.

For every shell I took I left many, many more.  My shell collection up to now has been take the smallest shell I can find. I still enjoy that aspect of shelling the most. I put a new twist on it today. I searched for the smallest sun-bleached shells. Ghost shells.

After a great day Mooching, the dingy dinghy motor reappeared just as we were heading out to a location where Dale could fish and I could watch for the green flash ☹ At least we didn’t have to paddle back more than a few thousand yards.

Good Night

We watched the sunset from the upper helm. Sunset was brought to us by the color Orange.

Today was another 10.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Alligators are toothy. They have between 74 and 80 teeth in their jaws at any given time, and as teeth wear down or fall out they are replaced. An alligator can go through over 2,000 teeth in its lifetime.

Now compare that that to sharks ….

While most sharks average between 5-15 rows of teeth, the aggressive Bull Shark comes in at 50, making their mouths amphitheaters of doom for other sea dwellers. Sharks lose on average a tooth a week. Also unlike humans, each lost tooth can be replaced within a day.

Whale sharks have 3,000 chompers. Their teeth are for filter-feeding plankton, krill and fish eggs.

We haven’t seen either sharks or alligators here, but we are on the lookout.