Thursday, April 9, 2020

Key West - Anywhere from here

Where do you want to go?
There are still a few iconic spots in Key West along the waterfront, besides Mallory Square. In Key West Bight there's a tower of direction signs, pointing in all directions that have accumulated over the years. No one really controls it, it just seems to grow haphazardly as people add signs. It's been there as long as we've been coming to the island. One of these days, perhaps I'll add Lagrangeville, NY.

Everywhere is accessible
They also have a few anchors scattered about but not of the minor variety, there are really big. They are the type you see in movies of pirates. Between the two anchors is a marker that used to point the way into port but now sits on dry land. They kept the marker but Key West grew up around it.

Anybody for an anchor - old school?
So Key West has changed over the years, inching its way out into the water to grow the land acreage. I think all cities by the sea have evolved the same way. Even the Poughkeepsie YC did the same thing. One wonders if the process is now complete and won't grow anymore. In Key West, at least, I think it's reached its limits. There are watchdogs now to prevent such growth where there didn't used to be. In the meantime, I'll enjoy what's here, waiting for things to calm down, I hope.
This marker used to be on dry land!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Key West - Pastels by Ann

Ann at work
Ann is an artist. She currently paints in pastels although she has used watercolors in the past. We've settled in a routine where she is up in the cockpit during the day and I'm down below working on Facebook or Waterway Guide activities. She has all her pastels spread out and she paints what comes to mind. During the self-isolation period for everybody, many artists have stepped up and offered free on-line courses or demos for those with similar interests that are also housebound. With that, Ann will spend the morning doing pastels and an hour or so in the afternoon tuning in to the latest offering from artists in the same predicament.

The finished product
Ann has been painting for 50 years and our house in New York is lined with her works which I greatly enjoy. On the boat, we don't have that kind of room so she works in 9 x 12 inch format mostly. I've included a couple of her recent works. A recent collection can be viewed at Pastels by Ann. 

Another painting finished earlier
The days go by quickly here. Ann's in the cockpit and I'm down below. We walk in the mornings and afternoons but we don't go into any stores. Our groceries are delivered right to the boat as is our laundry. We are about as isolated as we can be. As long as the internet holds out, we'll be fine. We have lots of food, there doesn't appear to be any shortage of that and with the water and electricity in the marina, we're doing fine. We are just biding our time until things improve.
Meanwhile, Key West is rather empty

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Key West - Fish Hunting

They swam around, constant motion with the occasional jump out of the water
We've seen schools of fish in the marina. They're about 4 to 6 inches long and about 100 in a school, we think, maybe more. You would think they would make an ideal meal for a pelican, osprey, or tarpon. We did see a tarpon cruising through them yesterday but he was not in evidence this afternoon.

This pelican made several passes. We couldn't tell if he caught anything or not.
At any moment, we thought an osprey would dive in front of us but there were none around. Eventually, a lone pelican came by and skimmed the water with his beak. The osprey catches his prey with his claws but the pelican, apparently, uses his beak to flush the fish in. After several passes, we could not tell if he caught anything or not. He tried about a half dozen times. If he did catch something, it was hidden in the large pouch under his beak.

Such is the excitement in Key West at the moment. We had thought the virus had peaked here but with another high day after several days of ones and twos, it has further to go before flattening. So here we sit, waiting for better news.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Key West - Roosters and Hens and chicks

The Key West rooster in all his glory
Key West is famous for the roosters that roam free and six-toed cats. The roosters are everywhere and they somehow seem to avoid being run over. All cars stop for them if they want to cross over a street, no contest. The roosters are brightly colored but the hens not so much.

things start out promising
Then reality sets in
At first, you'll see hens with quite a brood of chicks but as the year progresses, the brood gets smaller and smaller. Still, there are plenty of roosters and hens so enough survive to sustain the population. The roosters are mostly all look-alikes but not all. There are a few oddballs pitched in to keep things interesting. They mostly hide in the corners but you see them once in awhile.

And the misfit is over in the corner
It's starting to warm up big time. The highs are typically in the lowe 80's now and we run the A/C in the afternoons. Ann does her painting in the cockpit and I'm downstairs doing taxes, Facebook stuff, or articles for Waterway Guide. It's the same sort of work we would be doing if we were up north at home - except we're warmer, just waiting for the things to settle down.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Key West - Festive and New Market opens for take out groceries

A celebration?
We were on our daily afternoon walk when we noticed that the store owner was out front of New Market which is next to Harpoon Harry's. I walked over and he said he was takeout only groceries which amounts to walking inside the door and ask the store manager what you want. He then goes and delivers it to the table at the store entrance. They were concerned about elderly relatives and wanted to take additional precautions. It seemed reasonable to me.

Blooming all by themselves
The streets are still deserted but there are signs of a revival in places, witness the colorful balloons on one side street. Westmarine is all sold out of balaclava as one means to cover your mouth. We're just careful not to walk too close to anyone and there are lots of wide-open spaces now with all the crowds gone.

Mallory Square is closed so we see the sunset from our doick now
The high winds have gone and it's warming up, we don't mind. It's still cool enough at night for a good night's sleep without the airconditioning running.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Key West - Some close, some stay open - cops around

BOs Fishwagon looks a little lonely
BOs Fishwagon is still open for takeout although they don't seem to be doing much business. Waling along Elizabeth Street, Harpoon Harry is open for takeout but New Market next door is closed. The sign on the door said it was only for two weeks due to a concern about bringing the virus back home to elderly relatives, understandable.

Harpoon Harry's is still open for takeout too
There was a great commotion by Only Wood and the workout center. I counted eight Key West police cars with their lights blinking at the scene. I never figured out what the issue was but the cops were out of their cars talking to a group on the sidewalk. I didn't realize that Key West even had eight police cars!

I didn't know there were eight police cars in all of Key West - they all must have been here!
As we sit on the back of Fleetwing, we're watching two police officers walk along the dinghy dock and we're guessing they are looking for people not allowed in. Key West is closed to tourists and anyone new coming from somewhere else. The US1 blockade is still in effect and the police are to enforce the marine rules of no new transients too. As I'm typing this, Ann just called me and said the police just took someone off a dinghy in a stretcher (7:20 pm). That's kinds of scary although we don't know the cause of the problem yet which leaves it to our imagination for the moment. I'll find out tomorrow morning when I talk to the dockmaster. 

Meanwhile, we had a great dinner of Skillet Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms. Ann found the recipe in a magazine and it went together beautifully. We do eat well on Fleetwing!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Key West - Renovations

Renovation Time! No access for five months!
The city marina is old. The other marinas have passed it by in the measure of facilities for boaters. The showers were ancient and toilets were few. Finally, the city decided a renovation was in order and started on the project this week for the city marina showers and heads. When I asked how long it would take, the dockmaster just smiled and said it's due to be done by August - but in Key West we always double the number of days to get anything done. I said I was familiar with that from the time I spent in the Caribbean, it's called "island time" which does not equal our time, it's always longer, much longer.

A very odd view of the dinghy dock at Key West, where is everybody?
Hopefully, we're out of here by the time it's finished but that means we have to send our laundry out to be done since the laundry is part of the upgrading project. We tried that for the first time this past Thursday and it worked out better than I expected. Okay, I thought, we can handle passing the laundry bag to the guy on the dock and getting it back about two hours later, good service, plus it keeps us out of crowds. The clothes come back clean and pressed, not hard to take.

As you would expect, the dinghy dock is not at all crowded anymore. You want a dock, no problem, just motor right up (but pay the monthly fee). We're up to 38 cases here in Monroe County, higher than I wanted but better than most anywhere else for the same population.