Monday, February 17, 2020

Key West - Kapok Tree, BOs, and Dennis

The Kapok Tree - I've only seen one in Key West
You'll never see a Kapok tree much farther north than Key West. The biggest one I've ever seen is near the Green Parrot. The branches go in all directions and occupy an enormous space. It's one of the most photographed trees in the world. I think it's beautiful.

It doesn't look like much but then that's BOs for you - however, they have the best, pure fish sandwich in Key West 
They were working on BOs Fishwagon today up on the roof. It appears they were working to stop one of the many avenues of leakage available to local rainstorms. The repair started out with a blue tarp (what else!) I'm not sure if that's the repair or they intend making something more permanent - but then this is Key West and maybe that's the extent of the repair?

Dennis doesn't sail at night - but has great sails during the day!
One person we've known for the past 10 years is Dennis who runs a sailing charter called, Breezin from our dock. I think he holds some sort of record for five-star reviews, he always makes sure the customer is completely satisfied. If you ever want to get a personal taste of sailing in the Keys, you can't do better than Dennis at Breezin. He's on Dock E, right down our dock. He's a great guy.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Key West - The Green Parrot for jazz on Sundays

Good to listen to!
There are certain places in Key West that you must go to at some time. They are the essence of Key West. One such place is the Green Parrot bar on Whitehead Street. They always have live music but it's special on Sunday afternoons where they feature jazz.

Yep, that's a parachute over the bar
We always make it a point of dropping by Sunday afternoons to listen to their jazz band and whoever happens to drop by to do some solo jazz. This time we found a seat and could actually sit, a rarity at the Green Parrot, usually it's standing room only. I bought each of us a beer and sat back to listen to the music. They also feature free popcorn throughout the day so we had several servings of that too.

I hope they don't run out...
As it turned out, all of the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club members in Key West dropped by too and joined us. We had two former Commodores (Bill and Bill), and two professional party-goers that used to own a vintage wooden boat - well, you know about wooden boaters, not to be trusted after a little imbibing of the spirits. That left just the two of us to keep order in the house and we did just that, I think, the memory is a little fuzzy after the mandatory beers.

At any rate, fun was had by all and we plan on repeating the event next Sunday afternoon, drop by and join us. We'll get there around 1:30 or so and stay until 3:30 or later. Remember, if you're in Key West, you must stop by at least once to pay your respects to a very unique, open-air, bar.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Key West - We see Peter Vey and I'm feeling better

We both love his use of color and light
Today was a day of recovery and I'm feeling much better. So far, Ann has not caught it but it's still early for that and I don't want to jinx the outcome. Mostly, it was just boat work, slowly but progress nevertheless.

The gallery is beautiful but Peter Vey's paintings are the star
The big event of the day was for Ann to see one of her favorite artists in Key West, Peter Vey. He had a reception at Gallery on Greet Street which, by far, is our favorite gallery in Key West. Peter Vey's paintings sell in the $15,000 to $30,000 range so we cannot afford them but we like to look and admire.

Ann comes alive like nowhere else when talking shop with another artist
She was able to talk to Peter for about 15 minutes on painting and she enjoyed every minute of that. Peter paints in oils with a palette knife which gives a unique style to his work. You can see some of his paintings from the website link above. If you're in Key West, be sure to drop by the gallery, it's worth the trip.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Key West - Tiki Bar, still sick

Floating Tiki Bar!
Slept yesterday from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am! I can't remember the last time I did that. I'm still trying to fight it off and it does seem a little better today. So as I sat in a daze on the back of Fleetwing, I see this Tiki Bar come by. They didn't stop to see if I wanted anything... Probably just as well. He goes up and down the fairways in the harbor around sunset.

Meanwhile, I'm persevering. I think I can skip the 7:30 pm bedtime tonight, at least. We are starting to reconnect with people from the Poughkeepsie YC and friends we've known from Key West in the past. There won't be much activity here until I recover so bear with me.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Key West - I get a head cold

Hoolie was the start of the show at Faustus supermarket, everybody wanted to pet him
I came down with a head cold last night and it's miserable. You're not supposed to get sick in Key West, I think there's something in the brochure about that. So here I am in paradise and moping around the boat, not good! It's cold medicine tonight and early to bed for me.

The freeloaders all lined up for the evening feed of fish
The worst thing is that Ann will probably get it too and with her history of allergies, it could turn into something worse.  There's nothing to do now but wait and see. I'm going to bed and it's only 7:15!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Key West - Friends from the frozen northland

A fixture on our afternoon walks. The goldfish is right at the bottom (away from fishing cats)!
We are starting our afternoon walks in the shade earlier than usual. Our saying was, "Walk in the sun in February but walk in the shade in March". We seem to be getting the warmer weather of March earlier than usual. Nevertheless, Key West has never had a frost so it's a tropical climate.

Flowers, complete with a bee
The bathtub fish tank is still there, just like the last 10 years. Some things never seem to change. Last year they had screening over the top to prevent "fishing" by the local cats but it was gone this year. The lone goldfish was at the very bottom of the tank, on purpose? The flowers are coming out too and even the bees as you can see in the photo.

Bill Spencer and Bill Washburn. They don't look frozen but then they've been at Schooner Wharf for an hour.
We had two visitors today from the Poughkeepsie YC so we will explore Key West restaurants with them. We hope to get a sail in this next week so we can test the engine shaft alignment done yesterday but that depends on the wind, it's been blowing 20 kts or more most days. I would like a 10 to 15 kt day to take the boat out.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Key West - High Speed Ferry

It's rather imposing from the front
The Key West Express runs between Ft Meyers and Key West. It's a 170 ft long catamaran that cruises at 34 kts at a round trip price of $155. It runs daily but we've never been on it. We've had friends that have taken it for a visit with us. It's about 2 hours faster than trying to drive from Ft Meyers to Key West plus you don't have to find a parking place.

How do you know you're getting fresh fish? You buy it at a market where you see the fish come in!
That's the Half Shell Fish Market
Today we had our prop shaft aligned. We had a vibration right after we had work done to replace the aft oil seal on the Volvo diesel. The mechanic evidently moved the alignment and we suffered through that for the trip down. The mechanic we found in Key West took about two hours to do the work. We ran Fleetwing in idle in the slip and it seemed to be okay. We will take it out for a sail later this week or next to give it a good test. I'm used to a smooth engine and prop shaft. Hopefully, it's back to the way it was.

Well, I hate to pass up a bargain. Everything in the store is only $5, including the tee shirts.
They are of good quality, just last year's designs but fine for me.
It's been warm here, in the 80s, more so than in years past in February. It's still not too hot since we always have a good breeze in the cockpit. We aren't doing too much yet, still just taking it easy, after all, it's Key West speed now.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Key West - Schooner Wharf in pictures

Now this is "Open Air" for a restaurant, Schooner Wharf
There are certain icons in Key West that everyone should visit while in the area. Near the top of the list (after Mallory Square) is Schooner Wharf. It is totally unique in the Key West fashion. It's an open-air restaurant with live entertainment continuously. What other restaurant (bar?) has three Happy Hours! For the record, they run 8:00 am to noon, 5:00 to 7:00 pm and 2:00 to 4:00 am!

Everyone faces the stage
The stage is a fixture of the restaurant. All tables face it and the best of the local bands always have a time slot sometime during the month. I have my favorites I always try to catch but they are all good.

The view from their top bar, "what roof?"
They have an extensive menu and the setting by the harbor can't be beat. What better way to spend an afternoon or evening than sitting by the harbor at Schooner Wharf while listening to a local band?

Have a cigar, any cigar...
If you want a cigar, they have a cigar stand with a wide choice, part of the advantage of being "open-air" I guess. It's only about 200 feet from where we're at but things still quiet down at night after 11:00. We just enjoy being here, so close to everything, especially Schooner Wharf.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Key West - Everyone left today, at 6:30 am

The dinghy docks are not free, $87/month!
We are by ourselves now. All our company left for points north, back to the cold weather. Too bad but we continue to enjoy highs in the 70s and lows only in the high 60s. That's not hard to take for the next two months. We can view the frozen north on our webcams and that's about as close as I want to come.

We are on the small side for boats in this harbor
We are going to take it easy for a while and rest up from all the excitement. I have a mechanic coming by on Tuesday to do an alignment on the engine shaft to prop shaft. When I had the aft oil seal replaced, the alignment that had been good for 15 years was disturbed. Hopefully, the mechanic can put it back right.

Now we have to plan the rest of the stay but we won't start that activity until Monday, it's rest and recuperation for now.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Key West - Barry Cuda and our crew departs

It was Saturday night so Barry was playing at BO's Fishwagon. It's always good to hear Barry
Last full day in key west :( :( :( :(! I have to say, I will miss this place. We took a 4-mile walk down Duval, to do all the things we wanted to do in Key West. We got lunch at a place called Viva Saloon. And something really odd happened to Finn today. All the chickens now call Finn the chosen one. We were sitting down on the cruise ship docks, and as soon as Finn sat down, more than five chickens came out and looked him dead in the eye. Spooky. Hmmm. Ummm, what else... We got a few souvenirs. I got 2 key chains, one for me and one for my teacher, and 2 paintings. The painting had the US's southernmost point and the other of the Key West famous Cuban Coffee Queen. I thought I might put one on my desk at school. After all, they had to be small so we can take them on the plane. After our 4 mile walk, way after, we walked to the Sails to Rails museum. Why it's called that? In case you didn't know, well, you might if you've been on vacation here, The 8th wonder of the (Modern) world went up from Key West to Homestead, Miami. And, you might have guessed, it was the Flagler overseas railroad. Named after Henry M. Flagler, the creator of the Florida east coast railroad and many hotels. This train bridge was more than 7 miles long, yet it was destroyed 2 times by hurricanes and was blown out to the Gulf of Mexico. So it would make sense to make a museum honoring it. My legs are still are weak, VERY weak. Finn probably mentioned his ukulele. He had to return it because he rented it. We returned it a day late, but they didn't mind. Well, that was all to~ Wait! we walked to the southernmost point! A big concrete thing that says, "Conch Republic, 90 miles to Cuba, Key West southernmost point." Probably the most famous thing on the iland. We, of course, got a picture with me in front of it, but we couldn't get a picture with the letters. There was a line, a VERY long line, to do that, so that was a no. Alright, THAT was all! BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The Key West flowers are starting to come out
The crew departs Sunday morning at 6:30 am in order to catch their flight back. It's been a great week and I think Rowan especially enjoyed his stay. He writes pretty well for a 10 year old! I corrected a few spelling errors, mostly just capitalization but the flow of words is all Rowan. It will be quiet next week.

We will be settling down into our Key West routine of exercise in the morning, a walk in the afternoon and listening to music in the evening. We will be visiting our favorites and you're invited to come along for the ride. It will definitely be low key but then that's Key West!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Key West - The Dirty Pig BBQ restaurant

It's off the beaten path, just north of the parking garage but it was full
Today was SUPER rainy! My brother, Finn, was sleeping in the cockpit when the rain started around 5 am. Around 6 am he came downstairs to the main cabin so he wouldn't get wet. The rain went on until 12, then things started to dry up. After the rain, my family went for a drive in the rental car to get some lunch. We ended up finding chain restaurants, Popeyes, Sonic, Five Guys, all of those. We finally found a place very close to the seaport we're docked at called, um, what was it... Oh, right! Something like conch republic seafood co. So we ate there. I think I ordered the conch burger, without veggies. After, we got back on the boat (That burger did not like my digestive system!), and I took a 3-hour nap. After my nap, It was time for our wine, well, I had grape juice :(, so y'know. I think I used my tablet a bit after that (Just built a casino and the temple of doom in Minecraft! in 1 day!). And then we went out to get some dinner at the Dirty Pig. I was, of course, still full from the conch republic seafood co, but I ate everything on the plate, which was 3 pulled pork sliders. They also had a live band there, and I kinda liked that. For some reason, whenever I took off my Hoodie, I got super cold. Odd. I don't really think I'm ready to go back to Pennsylvania, because if I can get cold here, I can get SUPER cold up there. It is a bit late, so I don't think Finn will be doing the guest blog tonight. Well, that was all today. Bye!

I guess it's appropriate that a blues band should be cast in a blue light!
We were guests of Carrie and Mike tonight so we went to a new BBQ place that just opened a couple of months ago, The Dirty Pig. It's based on the North Carolina style of BBQ, more of a vinegar type of sauce. They certainly have the act together as far as the food, it was very good. To my surprise, the place was packed on a Friday night. It has become very popular and for a good reason, the food. They also have a band every night with the emphasis on blues. On the other hand, the service was slow due to the crowd.

The winds are due to abate and the temperatures to rise on Saturday. We will be looking forward to that. The crew has one more full day in Key West before heading back on Sunday.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Key West - the crew explores the eateries

$90/ft a month here, out of our league, The Galleon
From Rowan
Today there WAS stuff todo. Let's see... My family and I went for a walk to Mallory Square, so we could get something to eat and drink. We were going to get something from the island juice bar, but the line was AGONIZINGLY LONG!!! While we were waiting there, we saw 2 chickens, a rooster, and a hen, fighting on the branches of a tree. Then another 2 roosters jump on top of the roof of the bar. And the thing is, seeing a chicken fight really isn't that rare. Hm. After a while, we found a little place called Falafel King. It didn't look like a very good place to eat, but their food is amazing. Just so you know, falafel is a middle eastern food that is pretty much a vegan chicken nugget. Not saying that in a bad way, it's pretty good. After a while (And lots of people saying, "My legs are tired."), we got home. Well, we got on the boat, and we had our wine. Something kinda funny, my brother, Finn, has to use the public restrooms because he can't fit in the boats' bathroom. In a little, we will go back home, and this time I mean HOME, not the boat. Mom and dad told me that a package got to our house, and apparently, it's for my birthday. and, mom told me that it was a lego set of the International Space Station!!!!! Another thing to add to my lego space museum, and you probably didn't know that I do, in fact, have a lego space museum. I got a buncha lego space sets for Christmas, and I started making those (One of those sets included the Saturn 5 rocket, and that was a day's work.). The table that the museum is on is very cramped, so first I have to assemble the ISS, then string it from the ceiling. That was all. Bye!

Guest blog by Finn
Hello everyone if you don't remember me my name is Finn. I was on the boat for about a month and a half and now I'm here on vacation. I thought I would make a little blog for myself just for today. it's been interesting being back on the boat after all this time. when we crossed the bridge to Key West a crazy amount of memories came too me. Mel Fischers, the wreckers museum, and even the old schooners coming out to take people on sunset tours. it was just as I remembered. there have been some changes though. I have been dabbling in guitar and I had missed it so I rented a ukulele and just started playing. I learned a good amount of songs such as Over the Rainbow and Hotel California. I also discovered I had a good voice so I can sing along with the songs. Anyways I have gotten off track. so we started the day off with the Cuban Coffie Queen wich I can now enjoy and believe me I see what all the rave is about. Their coffee is to die for. We had some work to do in the morning so it was uneventful but the afternoon was the highlight. we were just walking down the street looking for something to eat when we came upon a little hole in the wall restaurant named the Falafel king. the place was a little underkept and the walls had cracks in them but the food was equal to a top-notch dining hall in France. we decided to visit the place next time we come down. we walked around a little bit after and headed back to the boat. Tonight the plan is to go to Duval street and grab some dessert. Anyways coming back to this place has been a blast and it really has brought back some memories but there must be an end to this blog post so I guess this is goodbye fellow sailors.      

If you want to save a little money, A&B Marina is only $85/ft for a month. Whoever said Key West was cheap?
Well, what more to say. Rowan does the regular blog as part of his duties aboard Fleetwing but Finn wanted to contribute for old time's sake. I guess the memories live on. Key West and boat life have a way of living on long after you've departed the boat. One of the good things about Key West is that lots of chefs like to retire here. They come and open a small restaurant as almost a hobby but they do outstanding work in serving delicious meals. I think the crew found one such restaurant today.

It was too windy to sail today with winds topping 25 kts and they are predicted to be in that range for the next three days at least. It really puts a crimp in the local tour boats that offer snorkeling and such. It's just too rough to be in the water snorkeling. The weather is warm, up to 80, but too much wind. Once inland, there's no problem with the wind and we can enjoy the sights and sounds of Key West. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Key West - We sail!

The chief sailor - Rowan's mom, my daughter Caroline
We really got to sail! But there was a buncha stuff before. Let's see... In the morning, we went to the Cuban coffee queen, And let me tell you, their Cuban bread is THE BEST. I highly recommend it. Hmm... we went to a local Winn Dixie pharmacy to get groceries, and after, we set sail! Really! A couple of times we had to change the direction of the sail. That reminded me of that one scene from the movie "The Polar Express," when the polar express is on the ice and the conductor keeps shouting, "LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT!" Each time we did that, the boat would lean port or starboard. Well, I just had my wine, or, well, grape juice, and am down bellow in the main cabin, In a fair amount of heat. Or humidity. I really don't know. Valentine's day is coming up at my school, and we have to make a box to hold our valentines. Second grade, I made a box with a bunch of cool gadgets. Third, I did designs with a UV pen. Fourth grade, where I am now, I'm thinking on one that can move. Well, that's really all we did today. Bye! 

Finn, "I could do this for a living!"
Everybody crashed early last night but we still expected a late rising from our crew but they were up at their usual work time - the force of habit is hard to break. We put together a supermarket shopping crew and got a gargantuan amount of groceries, we hadn't been for a while.

With the big powerboat gone, we can see the sunset from Fleetwing
The attraction of the day was going out for a sail. We are tied to the dock with a spiderweb of lines so it took some planning to prepare our leaving. We wanted to make sure Style and Grace was with us so we counted lines carefully (so as to not leave one still tied when trying to leave, we've done that before!) and everyone rehearsed their roles in removing the lines at just the right time as Ann backed Fleetwing out of the slip. 

What better way to end the day than with
a great ice cream cone
The weather could not have been better with 10 to 15 kts of wind without any gusts and temperatures around 80. Finn was heard to remark, "I could do this for a living!" After a couple of hours of sailing, we returned and did pretty good in getting back without drama. Everybody is wiped out now and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Key West - Rowan's parents and brother arrive!

Rowan is one happy kid to have his mother back
Today my parents and brother got here, so that's good. Tonight we got dinner from the Cuban coffee queen. I had a grilled cheese. I also heard our cat, Aku died :( :( :( :(. I'm still very sad, but we will get some chickens in the spring, so yeah. I finally got to show off my Minecraft creations, including a MASSIVE, high tech bee farm, a space shuttle THAT CAN GO INTO SPACE, Boeing's new starliner capsule, That was constructed in real life to go to the ISS, so I had to make a space station, and soon to come, an underwater base. Finn and I got presents from Our Aunt Monique, and that was very nice. Those were the things that I liked today, and that was all that happened today. So, I guess, bye? That was all, I'm not joking. So, yeah, bye!

Finn and I took a walk down Duval Street when taking Hoolie out tonight. The Bull is still there!
Today, Rowan finished the last of his schoolwork, mainly math, so he could enjoy time with his family in Key West. I think they got up around 3:30 am to make it to the airport on time for a 6:15 flight. They must be beat. Rowan was all enthused to see everyone and spent all evening showing them everything he did.

Nobody felt like going out for groceries for dinner, so we sprang for Cuban Coffee Queen Cuban sandwiches. They are always filling and good. Our goal on Wednesday is to sail in the afternoon. I imagine the tribe will sleep in late (except for Rowan, he's an earlier riser) and then we'll get moving for the afternoon adventure. Winds are predicted to be around 15 kts, perfect for the crew from up north.

The weather has turned warmer with a high of 80 today and the same predicted for Wednesday. It's very nice to sit out on the back of the boat and talk the night away. There are no bugs in Key West, at least where we're at in the Bight. Everything is opened up.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Key West - The aquarium and Mel Fischer's museum

But what if it went "BOOM" just then??
Well, today there were, wow, really things todo! We started out with a walk, then breakfast, and then school. Math was the most confusing part of school. We had to add and subtract mixed numbers with models and you have 2 use equivalent fractions to rename numbers to, um, I'm already stuck. But today's highlight was when Granpa and I went 2 the aquarium, where we saw turtles and lobster and sharks and all that sealife. We were offered the chance to feed a few fish, and, well, I refused because, well, the stuff they feed them is just plain gross. There wasn't anything more to do in there other than a touch tank, which, again, gross, so we left. The aquarium was not that big, It was really a large hallway, fish tanks all around the walls, 2 BIG tanks in the middle for the turtle and sharks, and on the starboard side, there was a pathway leading to an outdoor tank with a BUNCH of big fish, and 2 tanks for alligators on the starboard side. Since, like I said, the aquarium was small, we went to the Mel Fisher Museum. In case you didn't know, 

We saw this manatee along the way in the harbor
Mel Fisher is a famous treasure hunter that moved to Key West in search of the wreck of the A... um. I forget the name of the vessel, but he came here to find a sunken Spanish galleon. He did find multiple artifacts including iron and gold ingots, lengths of gold chain, and even an emerald cross that all belonged to the shipwreck. Over time, the government was longing to have those artifacts, so claimed ownership of the artifacts. Fisher took this to the supreme court and after 8 years in the legal prosses, the court said, "Finders keepers." Fisher kept searching for wrecks until he died of some sort of cancer. Today, Fisher is remembered by the museum and his son, Kid fisher, who continues his father's treasure hunting business to the present day. So yeah, we went to the museum and saw cannons, anchors, flintlocks, and other items recovered from dives his crew went on. In the section on pirate artifacts, they had a station where you try to make certain knots that sailors used. The only one I could make was a basic cleat, which I already knew how to do because I use it to tie up the dingy when we go out. When I looked on top of the station, I saw a knoos, witch is, well, um, nevermind. Then I looked up. I saw what looked like a REAL skeleton, just peering out of the top left corner of the gallery. Have things gotten 2 spooky? Well, I think I've completly wasted your time, so ima go. Bye!

You see this scene all over Key West
Wow, I guess Rowan had a lot to say about our walkabout today! There are lots of things to do in Key West and Mel Fischer's museum is especially good. I think Rowan enjoyed the cannons the most. He loved to stick his head in the barrel for picture taking. They used to have a large gold ingot that you could touch but I didn't see that there today.

Carrie and family are due to arrive Tuesday afternoon on a whirlwind trip from up north, just for a few days until Sunday. We will certainly get out for a sail with the full crew which we always enjoy in Key West.

Now it's time to get the boat ready for visitors, lot of stuff to move out of the aft cabin!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Key West - Dog Park Day

"Honey, I shrunk Rowan!"
Today was D0nUt Sunday! I had a scone and a sticky bun. It wasn't raining like a nuclear reactor(To simplify, it wasn't raining hard), so that's good. my crisals havent grown yet, but it does take a few days. Let's see... I watched The Secret Life Of Pets 2, we took Hoolie to the dog park, and I started making a zoo(Because Nana challenged me 2.) In Minecraft. That was, wow, really all that happened today. I surprised myself. Hm. Well bye, I guess.
Chase that ball!
"Rowan, don't you know how to spell 'Crystal'?
Sure, it's c r y s t a l.
Well why did you spell it crisals?
I thought it was funny.
How about 'dont"? There's supposed to be an apostrophe between the 'n' and the 't'.
Sure, I knew that.

What are they looking at?
Such are conversations with a 10-year-old. We had wanted to see Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden but no one answered when we called so I walked over and found out that it was too cold for the parrots! Maybe it will be warm enough on Monday. I had not realized that parrots needed such warm weather. It only got to the middle 60s today, too cold!

We took Hoolie over to the dog park and he had a good run. He chased balls, ran the perimeter to look for anything new, just being a dog with more room then he's used to having. It's due to reach the low 70s on Monday so we will explore more then.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Key West - A day of rain but Barry Cuda at BO's Fishwagon

Barry plays a plain piano, nothing fancy - definitely not a keyboard. He wheels it all over Key West, right down the streets
Today was SOo0Oo0Oo0 rainy. You couldn't even go for a nice stroll outside without it pouring on your head every few minutes. That was pretty much all today. Let's see... I started a crystal growing kit that I got for my birthday, we watched an Indiana Jones movie. After a while, Grandpa and I went out(When it was not raining, but we didn't make it back in time :(. ) to get some hot dog buns for dinner, and right now we're chilling in 16-knot winds. When Grandpa and I went out, we were drenched. I had to put on a new shirt. That was pretty much all we did today. When it rains here, and if it rains this hard here, we have limited options on what todo. Again that was all. Bye!

BO's Fishwagon is a very original place, definitely old Key West
Rowan was right on about the rain. It started last night and continued all day, off and on, until 4:00 pm or so. A day of rain is rare in our experience here in Key West. It's supposed to be the dry season this time of the year.

Barry sings along with the songs he plays
The big event of the day was going to hear Barry Cuda play at BO's Fishwagon. He's our favorite musician in Key West. We had heard that he was not going to be around this year but it was a false rumor. Barry plays the piano but nothing recent, just old time tunes. He's an institution in Key West and wherever he plays, he attracts a crowd. He usually brings along other musicians that like to play with him. Nobody uses sheet music, they know every song by heart. We just enjoy his music and will go wherever he plays to listen.

Sunday should be a better day and we'll do some exploring.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Key West - We visit the lighthouse

The view from above - kinda scary
Today we got to see the lighthouse! 88 steps up and down (editor's note: he counted?!) and there is NO elevator! My feet still ake, REALLY ACHE, from scaling the lighthouse. Even when I bend my knees, my legs fall apart. There's this cool thing about the mirrors in the lens, where no matter which way the light is coming from, the light emitted goes in 1 direction. So when the lantern spins around in the lens, instead of spraying the light all around, it becomes two fixed beams that spin around, pretty neat. That was today's highlight (Get it, high LIGHT. Hehe. That was a horrible "joke."). We did some schoolwork, had a nice walk, that was really all. Bye! 

The Fresnel lenses were fascinating and very pretty
You can see that the excitement of the day was climbing the lighthouse. It was built on the highest point of land in Key West so it's a little inland now. The point of the Fresnel lens was to direct the light horizontally so a faraway boat could see it. All the lighthouses had them and the exhibit in this lighthouse was excellent in showing the advantages of the design.

The view straight down, a long way it seemed
We took the Duval Street free bus to the lighthouse. They have expanded the route to include the park by the Coast Guard boat which is also near the Eco-Discovery Center, a free exhibit that you don't want to miss while in Key West.

The kid has Saturday and Sunday off from schoolwork which he's looking forward to and for that matter, Ann too. The plan is still to finish up on the schoolwork on Monday and Tuesday so he's free to enjoy Key West with his parents on Tuesday afternoon and during their stay.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Key West - Another school day and my new laptop arrives

Island Time at Schooner Wharf

Today wasn’t COMPLETELY normal. We went to the grocery store, did some school, that was pretty much all. Right now we’re chilling in a good amount of humidity. Grandpa got a new computer today. Something was wrong with the old 1. We saw a bunch of chickens when we were walking down the street in the morning. Even a few little chicks. We were very productive in school today. Ended around 12 PM. There was nothing more, nothing less today, so that was all. Bye

One of the very few grocery stores in Key West - fine if you want steak for $36/lb
It was another school day for Ann. They had a routine by now of getting up at 6:30, going out for a walk, doing schoolwork until around 1:00 pm and resting in the afternoon in Key West weather. I discovered that Barry Cuda is back! He will be playing at BO’s Fishwagon this Saturday and we will drop by to say hi. One’s one of the entertainers we love to listen to. He plays nothing after 1960 and that’s fine with us. 

Tonight we went by Schooner Wharf to listen to Island Time who plays steel drums. I like to just listen. There are many other bands too but I like them less except for the Jazz bands at the Green Parrot which are nice too. On Friday, we headed to the lighthouse as part of Rowan’s lesson in history and we’ll take the free bus to get there (it’s still running!) We haven’t really explored Key West yet since Ann’s been working with Rowan most of the time. We’ll explore when everyone returns north.