Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Key West - The Gardens Hotel


They also have parakeets that will give you the eye in the garden!

One of the places we like to go from time to time is The Gardens Hotel. As the name implies, there are gardens to walk through by the hotel but they are noted for jazz on Sunday afternoons. It’s usually very crowded so you have to arrive early to get a seat. 

A garden to stroll through

There’s no cover charge but they have a great wine bar. The wine is electronic. You buy a card and use it to push one of three buttons on a selection of dozens of bottles of wine. You can purchase a taste, a half glass, or a full glass - your card is debited with each choice. 

On other days, starting at five, they have a grand piano that’s played by local musicians. It’s nice to sit by the piano with wine in hand and listen to fine music in the afternoon. Our faviorite pianoist was Jimmy Olsen, just like the person in the Superman comics. He plays broadway musicials, great fun. 

Monday, March 27, 2023

Key West - Change of plans!


A  sunrise on our way to the local urgent care center this morning

Our intention was to leave Key West Tuesday morning but our colds have gotten worse. I took Ann to the urgent care center (Advance Care - excellent service!) to have her looked over. The short of it is that we need time to recover fully. It’s no fun cruising if you don’t feel up to par. 

The “Better than Sex” restaurant in Key West - supposed to have great desserts

The marina is far from crowded so there was no problem extending our stay - except for the prices, but then it’s Key West. We will take it a week at a time and see how our recovery goes. We took a COVID test  this morning and it showed as a negative - it’s just a bad cold. Everyone I’ve talked to around here has had the same experience - something going around.

With that piece of good news, we are just going to take it easy for a while and let nature take its course - for recovery, hopefully. We will probably be here for the next two weeks and then look for a window once again to go east. Oh well, time is our friend when cruising. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Key West - One more day, then we’re off

Signs to all parts of the world - do you see your home?

 I walked Hoolie this morning and once again noticed the arrow tower of distances to various people’s homes. It’s a real global community that comes to Key West. The direction signs have been there ever since we’ve been coming and I’m sure, many years before that. No one seems to be in charge of the signs, they never seem to be taken down or “renewed”. I imagine there are stories behind each one. 

A typical boat going out three times a day - snorkeling and such

Speaking of signs, our sign on returning north is getting close Tuesday still looks like a great day to move east with winds of less than 10 kts. We’ve enjoyed Key West as always, having wine on the back of Fleetwing and watching all the sunset cruises move out by us. We have one right at the end of our dock that’s usually full. They offer snorkeling during the day but a sunset cruise at night too. Everybody just comes to have fun in the warm weather, why not?

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Key West - Are there panhandlers in Key West?


Our lone oldster - he’ll accept money but never ask for it

In the two months I’ve been in Key West, I’ve never seen anyone asking for a handout. There are no cardboard signs that I’ve seen being held at intersections with a plea for money. The area by Key West Bight is especially looked after.

One more time - a visit to Schooner Wharf in the afternoon

That’s not to say you can’t contribute if you want. In the area around our boat, there are two oldsters that will sit or stand near the area but not occupy a bench (they are for tourists!) They’ve been there ever since we’ve been coming to Key West over 13 years ago. In my experience, they never ask for money, they are just present. The locals support them with small donations. In the first few years we came, there were more - again, never asking for money (discouraged by the police?) but present if you wanted to donate.

No clouds but good color in the sky

Key West likes to make their town a welcoming experience to tourists. It’s one of the few places we can sit out at night and never see an insect. They have excellent mosquito control. I know the local officials can enter any yard at will and inspect for standing water which are breeding grounds for insects. For example, I’ve never seen a bird bath in Key West. Of course, it helps that we usually come during the dry season but nevertheless, yards are actively monitored. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Key West - End of the dry season?


Storm clouds! That’s Dennis’ boat on which he take riders out for a sail

We’ve had two month of almost no rain, not even enough to wet the streets. It’s also been much warmer than we remember from past years. So this morning, we were surprised to get soaked during our morning walk. It wasn’t just a shower but rather a downpour. 

I haven’t seen a wet street scene for the last two months - no wonder there are no bugs in Key West

We took shelter along with two others under a palm tree, which we found out, directs water away from the central trunk given the way the fronds hang (who says you don’t learn something reading these blogs!) You never realize the amount of trivia you accumulate over the years until you do a New York Times crossword puzzle. Ann and I finish one each day. 

The rest of the day was dry as usual and it warmed again into the high 70s. We are looking for a Tuesday departure date given the changing weather outlook. So far, they all agree that Tuesday is a good day with winds of 10 kts or less but then when has a weather forecast ever changed?

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Key West - The electric revolution has reached Key West


A typical electric bike - they are not cheap! (But the fuel is)

The biggest change I saw this year in Key West was the ubiquity of electric driven bikes and scooters. There were always electric golf carts for rent for tourists but the transportation used by the workers has always been bikes or manual scooters. That has changed. 

There are levels of sophistication - this one is upscale

When I’m out running in the morning, there’s a steady stream of people whizzing by on electric bikes, often going as fast as the local traffic. Mixed in with the bike traffic are the scooters, also electric. Both can go at least 30 mph. Nobody wears any protective gear when using the electric driven vehicles. Strangely enough, there are the traditional bike riders too and they are all decked out with helmets and pads - but not the newly minted electric riders. I hate to think what would happen to a person on an electric scooter going 30 mph if they hit a bump and fell off. Disaster!

In the other hand, you can get a scooter and whiz along

For a minimalist approach, there are those that electric skateboards - going just as fast and sometimes on the sidewalks instead of the street (look out, coming though - at 20 mph!). As they say, experience is the only teacher, provided they live through the experience. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Key West - Flowers out in force with spring weather


I love these flowers - they are all over

The cool weather followed by a renewed period of warm weather seems to have invigorated blooming flowers of Key West. On our afternoon walks, we are seeing more and more flowers come out. 

These flower sprout on bare trees, lovely

Particularly pretty one are on what appears to be trees. The plants have no leaves, only the yellow flowers. I’m sure someone can comment on what they are but I just like the beauty. 

I have no idea what these are - but such a red color!

Ann and I had a night out at the Waterfront Brewery. They have reasonable prices compared to the rest of Key West and the food is good. We got a walkway window and watched the crowds go by. The appetizers of buffalo wings was especially good.

It’s that time of the season when we’re starting to look for a weather window. We thought that Saturday would be a good days to head east but the weather changed and now it’s not so good. We’re looking for a calm ride to Marathon so we will just wait until the weather suits us - maybe Tuesday as it looks now.