Thursday, February 22, 2018

Key West - BO's Fishwagon, another institution in Key West

BO's Fishwagon is under all that foliage 
As much as Schooner Wharf is unique, then BO's Fishwagon is just as iconic It really did start out as a food wagon that found a home on the corner of Caroline and William street. It's been there 30 years now and still going strong. By the way, the BO part stands for Buddy Owen, the original owner and not the other meaning...

You order here at what's left of the food wagon
Once the wagon was set in place, the rest of the surrounding tables and roof (what there is of it) grew like topsy. Some tables are shielded from the rain and some are not so be careful where you sit if rain is expected. They are famous for their fish sandwiches and conch fritters. The procedure is to find a table somewhere and go up front to order at what is left of the food wagon. Once you order, you can return to your table and they will bring it to you.

You can take a scenic table by the sidewalk or inside
There are no walls except what has been built up over the years by memories left behind. The ceiling is lined with memorabilia from former customers and the interior walls are likewise decorated. One could just sit and take in the ambiance for several hours. You can choose to take a table "inside" or on one boarding the sidewalk where you can share conversation with those walking by. 

On Thursday through Saturday there is a live band that plays in a newly designated bandstand close to the wagon itself, that's new for this year.  BO's Fishwagon is yet another must see place in Key West, don't miss it if you're in the area. 

And, there is usually a band playing and there's never a cover charge, just eat
Ann and I continue on a recovery trajectory. According to literature, we should be contagious free by late Friday and fully recovered  by Saturday. While being grounded, so to speak, I've completed my evaluation of 14 iPad navigation apps and written a treatise on the subject. I expect to publish the results within the week. The evaluation was one of the biggest efforts I've ever undertaken other than my yearly guide. Hopefully, it will be of use to some people looking for a good iPad navigation app. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Key West - Key West Institutions, Schooner Wharf

Here's the entrance from the ocean side (they also sell t-shirts)
One of the attractions of Key West Bight Marina is the closeness of Key West life. Duval is only three blocks away and Schooner Wharf is only 300 ft away. Given that contrast, we more often than not wind up at Schooner Wharf as opposed to somewhere on Duval Street. It originally was on a schooner but moved ashore years ago. It's totally unique in Key West. I mean, where else does happy hour start at 7:00 am! However, it ends at noon but starts up again from 5:00 to 7:00.

Looking into the area you can see the one giant tree that the birds like
Notice the canopies at the left
Walking into the place, you will immediately notice it has no roof and no walls, it is classic Key West open air. They have live music at least from noon through 10:00 pm everyday and they serve great drinks (voted best bar in Key West for six years) and great food. It is always crowded but you can usually find a table somewhere.

Leaving Schooner Wharf from the land side, rustic
Although there is no roof, they do have stretched cloth high above the tables, like a high, tent material. You may ask why? Well, think about the birds in the trees, need I say more? You will also find chickens roaming through the area looking for handouts. If you're even in Key West, it's not to be missed.

Don't forget to  buy a T-shirt, they are known worldwide
Meanwhile, we've found out more about our virus. It turns out that it's really a modified form of a flu virus and we are contagious to some degree for 7 days after we came down with it starting the day before the symptoms. That would make this coming Sunday the first day we're no longer contagious. We still feel kinda of crappy but at least we're improving each day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Key West - Two Sloppy Joes

This is the one on Duval Street
The original Sloppy Joe's restaurant and bar was in Havana, Cuba. Hemingway was instrumental in getting a bar in Key West renamed to Sloppy Joe's. However, it is not the Sloppy Joe's on Duval Street. There's a bar just off Duval named Captain Tony's Saloon that was the one Hemingway frequented. The Sloppy Joe's part was moved to Duval Street after Hemingway left Key West so there's no record of him ever having visited the Duval location even though they picture him prominently in the restaurant.

This is the original Sloppy Joe's just off Duval Street
The one on Duval Street is the famous one and the one all the tourists go to and they have the famous Sloppy Joe burgers. We had one last year and listened to Barry Cuda play and the burger does have a unique taste. True to its name, we ate the Sloppy Joe with a fork. If you ever come to Key West, you ought to eat at the place once just for the experience. There is always someone playing and it's open air (no AC) but that's part of the charm. Unfortunately, if there is a tour boat in town, it's almost impossible to get a table.

Ann and I are gradually recovering from our combination cold and stomach virus. It seems to last about three days so not much was done today except laundry. The boat is back to a two person layout now and we're just waiting to recover. We still have over a month to go in Key West and we're looking forward to it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Key West - Last day and a sick day for us

The picture was taken before the crud hit us. That's Naalie to the left of the photo and Sarah to the right
Sarah: This morning we had bagels and did some homework. After that we got ready and headed for the beach. The entrance to the park is real fancy and new. It was pretty windy today, but there was no rain. At the beach we went swimming and I had my leftover Cuban sandwich for lunch. The sun was nice and hot; with the breeze it felt pretty nice. After the beach I headed over to an appointment for my sunburn that looks weird. Now were just settling down and were probably going out to enjoy are last night in Key West, bye.

Natalie: Today was a calm, fun day! I finished up my homework, which got a burden off my back. Then it was not rainy today so we got our swim gear together and went out to the beach. Sarah and I swam for a while then dad joined me for a climb on the rocks and mom took me to get some lunch while Sarah and Dad had the rest of the Cuban sandwich! Sadly our beach time got cut short due to a really bad sunburn on Sarah. But this did not stop dad and I taking an adventure to the southernmost point of the continental U.S.A. First we went to a little beach and walked all the way to the end of the dock to take a few pictures. It was a good thing since having no patience waiting in a long line just to take a picture in front of a big buoy! Dad and I found an ice cream place and talked with a nice lady from Massachusetts. After coming back to the boat and showering, I am ready to settle down, Au revoir Key West!   

It was a good day for the crew but not for the captain and first mate. We both caught something and spent the day in bed. It was a big nasty so please excuse the short post. I think Ann and I will hit the hay by 9:00 at the latest. Hopefully, we’ll be better tomorrow. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Key West - Our first day of rain, on and off

Sarah with homemade donuts
Sarah: Today I woke up and helped mom make donuts because it’s a Sunday morning. After breakfast we got ready for the beach. Sadly it was too rainy, so Natalie and I just did some extra homework. We didn’t actually go to the beach because it started to rain so much. There was a big catamaran that almost hit the party boat when it was coming in (Editor's Note: the Party Boat was supposed to signal they were backing out with three toots on their horn, they did not. The catamaran was supposed to give one toot before they came around the corner so the Party Boat would be aware of their location, they did not - two wrongs). Also I decided to make a vision board of how I am going to become a captain. Today was a pretty down day due to the rain and I did everything in my bathing suit. Tonight for dinner were having some fresh shrimp and we had some chips for an appetizer. Nothing to crazy to talk about, but were still in beautiful Key West; to a better tomorrow.

Natalie: Today was Donut Sunday and supposed to be beach day but I will get to that later. Dad and I went out to the car before breakfast to get my drawing of Adele for art class, I worked on it a lot today with the help from Nana. When we came back from our little walk to also get coffee for the crew, there were lots of gray clouds and I smelled the air to see if it would rain and I was quit certain it wasn’t. We got back to the boat, got ready for the beach but sadly had started to rain even though my early forecast had predicted other wise (I had concluded the rain didn’t have a scent due to the different climate, because believe me, my nose is never wrong!). Most of the day was spent listening to the rain, doing my homework, and relaxing to Ms.Fisher’s Murder Mysteries! We will end the day with a very delicious shrimp, corn and potAtoes (I say that like the British)!   

The rain wasn't supposed to last all day but it didn't tail off until 2:00 and that was a little late for a day on the beach. So we just had a lazy day on the boat. Meanwhile, Sarah mapped out her future. She made a poster detailing her future activity with drawings and text after graduating from high school. Her path includes training to become a professional yacht master and then a move to Florida to work at one of the tour boats in the area, saving up her money to buy her first sailboat, probably a 25 ft sailboat. She will work on her Captain's License and become a First Mate on a boat and then gradually go up the scale to a 30 ft, then 50 ft and then 125 ft boat (it's all on the poster!) Finally she'll get a 200 ton license and enjoy a life on the sea. It's quite a plan. She's very determined, I have no doubt she'll do it. She's a Freshman in high school and already she has a plan for life! I find it amazing at such a young age. 

More people are coming to Key West!
Hoolie and I took a walk down Duval Street and found that Key West is attracting more people now. Duval was certainly more crowded than we first arrived. The crew will take advantage of the weather on Monday with a day at the beach at Fort Zachary. Ann has caught a cold from somewhere so we may stay at home, we'll see. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Key West - We sail!

Intent on holding that line!
Natalie: We had a fun day sailing and taking walks down the docks. Woke up to some bacon and pancakes then worked on some of my homework while Sarah, Dad, and Grandpa got ready to go out sailing. We had ham and cheese for lunch then at 1:00 we headed out on a sailing adventure! It wasn’t very fun for me because I got seasick and so did my Dad. But we came back early so I was ok! After that Grandpa and I went for a walk around Caroline St, and with Hoolie, too! Sarah and I had more ham and cheese for dinner when everyone else had chicken salad and to top it off we ate ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert!

Sarah: This morning I woke up and was ready to sail! Dad made amazing pancakes for breakfast with bacon. After that we had to do our homework for school. When I finished my homework I helped grandpa get the lines ready for our departure. Soon later we officially left, right away we put the main sail up. It was wonderful feeling the wind and hearing the waves brush against the bow of the boat. When we went past the beach we put up the jib and turned off the diesel. We didn’t see any sea life and Natalie was a little sea sick so we turned around. Our highest speed was 4.5 knots, but the on the way back it averaged at 3. I sailed the boat mostly back and was able to put ropes on a piling. Afterwards we went to CVS and got ice, basically walking around some more. We had dinner and ice cream; we might also be watching a movie, bye.

A Saturday tradition is for Philip to make pancakes with bacon so he didn't miss a beat this morning and all was well. The main event of the day was sailing in the afternoon. The winds were forecast to be 10 kts or so, not too bad for some of our less sailing experienced crew. getting off the dock was an all-hands on deck exercise. Two lines on each side had to be removed off pilings, two forward lines removed, aft lines untied, dinghy untie and retied to a side line staying with the dock, and the electrical line unplugged and tied to the boat. The stepping platform had to be removed too and the anchor raised. No big deal - but don't forget anything! More than once we've come to an unexpected stop backing out of a slip due to a forgotten line.

The new moon ove Schooner Wharf, warm night, light breezes, bliss...
Now everyone is tired, full of chicken sandwiches and watching Captain Ron, the favorite movie for sailing families. I think the kids have seen it a dozen times and we've seen it at least five times that I can remember. That's where we learned the "Captain Ron Maneuver" that's we've adopted when going into a face dock. We used it once at Hinckley's in Savannah when the tide was running 2 kts, the wind was blowing  and there was exactly one boat length of dock space among expensive Hinckley boats. They had their crew out to catch us (about five dock hands...) and Ann was at the helm as usual and headed in at about a 45 degree angle, swung at the last moment and put it in reverse. The  boat lost forward momentum but continued to turn and was flush against the dock. That's when one of the dock hands shouted out, "Captain Ron Maneuver!" We both said, "Yes!"

Friday, February 16, 2018

Natalia is on the left, Sarah on the right
Natalie: Today was a peaceful day, I relaxed in the aft cabin for a while then the crew went out on a grocery run. During this time my dad and I stayed behind to help a fishing boat come into the dock next to us. After that we headed on a walk for two hours and had lunch at The Island Dog, I definitely recommend the chicken caesar wrap! With that we came back to the boat where I cooled down in the air conditioned aft. When the relaxing was over Mom, Sarah, and I went on a walk all around Duval St and had some gelato at Duetto very, very good. For dinner we had a very cranberry, chicken, and many different salads, and coleslaw. When dinner was over Sarah and I ate Oreos on the dock watching the boats come in or as I call it enjoying life!  

Sarah: Today I woke up and had cereal for breakfast in the cockpit. Today was a grocery day so we went and conquered the store with three whole wagons. After we did two trips from the car to get the bags on the boat me, mom, and Natalie went on walk. We went down Duval Street seeing the different shops. After a while we stopped and got some amazing gelato. We went up and down the streets watching the trolleys pass by. Afterwards Natalie and I hung out on deck while I read some of Grandpa’s book. The sunset was gorgeous to watch and the breeze felt wonderful. I heard from my friends in Connecticut that it was rainy but in Key West it was in the 80s. We had dinner and now Natalie and I might play some Black Jack, bye!

Typical alley sight, this was from a tree in full bloom
Having two teenage girls on board is an experience. I think they are enjoying Key West and the change in the weather from Connecticut. I explored more of the backstreets of Key West. The alleys usually border the backyards of the houses and they plant ornamental trees and flowers which are in full bloom. So Hoolie and I walk along and enjoy the view.

This is the sunset the girls were enjoying
Saturday is our sailing day as our weather continues to be extraordinary. With all the crew, it's no problem backing out and unlooping the lines off the top of the pilings. Philip has a personal challenge with his sister who reached 8.2 kts when she sailed Fleetwing! (not that there's any competition between siblings...)