Thursday, April 2, 2020

Key West - Osprey Harassment

He's about to take off! 
We occasionally get a bird perched on top of our mast. It provides a magnificent view, I guess, of the surrounding territory. The trouble is that they tend to "let go" from that perch and I have to clean it up.

In the air!
Given that, I encourage the bird to move, in this case, an Osprey. I'mi sure he was surveying this domain for food from his high perch. I was not keen on that idea due to past experience with what's left. So I pounded on the shrouds but it had no effect. I tried the halyards, same result. Then I went forward and pulled back and forth on the furled jib and that did the trick, off he flew.

There he goes!
Dennis, the one that runs the Breezin charter was near and he took photos of the event which I've included in tonight's blog. The last entry is a video of the Osprey flying away. They truly are beautiful birds but you really do not want them at the top of your mast.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Key West - A Zoom Family Get Together

Here you see the Zoom app on our iPad with each attendee getting a screen with audio
We expanded our Family Get-Togethers to twice a week. After discovering Zoom (app for Apple, Android, or PC products), we've enjoyed the last meeting so much that we'll have two meetings a week now. Everybody gets a box on the screen with audio so everyone can hear and see everyone else. It works without a hitch and best of all, it's completely free.

So today we had my daughter and her two kids in Pennsylvania, Philip and Monique and their three kids in Connecticut, Shirley and Raechel in Indiana, with us in Key West. The connections were flawless and we all had a good time seeing each other. It's no substitute for in-person meetings but it's a big step up from just texting.

I'll end with a flower, I mean, do you really want to see more virus news?
Florida just declared a statewide stay at home directive for the next 30 days so we have to sit tight until things ease up. Our county has 27 cases but the daily increase is now down to 1 or 2 a day, much less than last week. That helped, no doubt, by the blockage of US 1 where only residents of the Keys are allowed in. Over the weekend, the police turned away almost 1000 cars, that's got to help slow down the spread.

Our only concern is the hurricane season coming up, we really need to get out of the Keys before then, the middle of July at least.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Key West - Walks in the shade and alleyways

Eaton Street Seafood Market still has takeout but no eating outside
We always go out for a walk in the morning before the heat of the day. In this day and age of social distancing, the walks are somewhat modified. We were headed away from the docks and as we walked on the sidewalk, we saw one person headed our way. As he got closer, he stepped out into the street (there's no traffic!) and walked by. When I looked back, he had returned to the sidewalk. He had maintained the requisite 6 ft easily and then some.

It's becoming a common occurrence on our walks. We even do it. We saw a man walking a dog towards us so we crossed over the street with Hoolie on the other sidewalk and continued on, it's become second nature. When standing in line at the bakery shop, the people stand 6 ft apart. It looks a little strange but as time goes on, it looks less strange every day. Such as the times.

Schooner America 2.0 is locked up tight, waiting for the virus to subside
We use Winn Dixie's home delivery today to get groceries. Our "shopper" identified herself via IM and we chatted back and forth as she looked at our list and tried to find the items we had specified. It's in real-time. She couldn't find a few of the items and even said the bagged salad I had listed didn't look so good. I told her to buy what looked best and to substitute similar items for other things on the list if they didn't have them in the store.

When she was done, she texted me when she was leaving so I met her at the end of the dock and loaded the cart. The cost by the month was $15 and there was no extra delivery charge above that if the total of the groceries was above $35, we easily passed that hurdle. However, I did give her a good tip. We are really loaded up on boneless chicken breasts. It's like a universal meat and there are a zillion recipes for dinner with chicken breasts.

We continue to bide our time, watching the news occasionally, we can't take the news all day, just in small doses. The route into Key West is still blocked and they are turning away hundreds of cars with people that are not residents of the Keys. As one person said, we are the nation's largest gated community. The virus ought to die out if the people that have it are isolated and no new cases are allowed in. We'll see.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Key West - Statues as art?

A nice addition to any yard, I can see it in my front yard now...
Key West is home to a number of would-be artists. They try to make their own mark, some are good, some are something other. As I was walking around the harbor walk, I sampled a few of the local tries.

On the other hand, it's hard to picture this anywhere - but Schooner Wharf
Several are by the Marker Hotel and one was by someone associated with Schooner Wharf. Our custom continues to walk in the shade since the sun is so hot at this latitude.

By the Marker Hotel
The statues make an interesting diversion along the way. I don't think I would want to buy one for New York but in Key West, it's fine, I guess.

Waterfront decoration
We continue to press on. The governor of Virginia just announced a stay at home order carrying through until June 10th! That is seriously impacting our plans since we wanted to be at Stingray Point Boat Works at least by June. We normally get there by May 15th but with the delay, we were hoping for a June arrival.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Key West - Wyland, birdhouses, yellow flowers

Wyland's art on the wall as well walk in the morning
There is an artist that paints sea scenes all over the world, Wyland and he has a mural in Key West too (see photo). His murals are all over the world and he periodically renews the paints as they fade with age. We see this one every morning when we go out for a walk. We will occasionally walk down Duval Street to see him at work when he's in town.

If one is good, why not eight?
We took our usual walk on the shady side of the street and Ann took photos for use in her paintings. We've fallen into a routine of Ann taking an art class from Great Courses that's free if you have a library card from any public library. You can download Kanopy as an app to your smart TV or Roku or Amazon Firestick and take any of the Great Courses for free. It's a great way to learn a new skill. All the courses are taught by college professors or leaders in their field and are professionally done, highly recommended.

I liked the illumination from the back
For some people, one birdhouse is not enough but then some seem to go overboard! At least there's no shortage of housing down here for birds. While Ann takes a Great Courses study, I just catch up on all the SiFi titles I've missed over the last two years. Altered Carbon is one I'm into now, a great series while Ann takes the How to Draw from a professor at Washington State University.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Key West - What do the charters do when there are no tourists?

What to do all day if you have no business?
We've been here 10 years and we've known Dennis for the same length of time. He runs a sailboat charter called Breezin that takes tourists out for a sail three times a day when there business. He has a five-star rating on TripAdvisor with 208 reviews where every single one is the highest possible rating of "Excellent". So what does Dennis do now that there are no tourists to take out for a sail, well just look at the photo. He's been in Key West doing this for the last l7 years, he's not hurting.

Nice beach, no people allowed
The beaches are closed for the most part. We have such wonderful weather and yet the beaches are closed. It's all for the best, I guess. Key West can be isolated by cutting off entry via US1 so it should be a test case of how to control an outbreak. If you can't stop it here, you can't stop it anywhere. So far, we have 19 cases of the virus, most travel related but not all. We'll see how it goes. At this rate, it may be June before we head north although we're hoping for a much earlier date. It all depends on how things progress. At any rate, we feel very safe here, not so much on the way north.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Key West - Places with Takeout - The Dirty Pig

It's nice inside with a large area for the Blues band and plenty of seating
Restaurants come and go in Key West. Some stay around longer than others but new ones are always popping up. A welcomed addition is The Dirty Pig which is a barbeque restaurant serving North Carolina style BBQ. They are located in a place that must attract the local residents in order to be successful since they are off the main drag. They specialize in Blues music and they attract a crowd.

The most important part of the restaurant is the BBQ cooker which starts up at 6:00 am every day.
However, like everywhere else in Key West, they are currently only doing takeout. Well, actually, almost all restaurants are closed, only a few are continuing to do takeout and The Dirty Pig is one of them. They have a number of trophies on display from awards they've won in touring competition. From what I've had (before the shutdown), the awards are well deserved.

It will be cook's night off Saturday or Sunday and we'll take a plate of BBQ over to Fleetwing and dine looking out over the water in 77F weather. We are quite isolated but well situated, it's just wait and see what happens. US1 was closed off today which only furthers the isolation. No boats are allowed into the Keys so we ought to have a very controlled environment which ought to be a good thing. We're biding our time.