Monday, February 29, 2016

Key West - Taxes, not all vacation

A night scene along Duval Street
At least you can get all your tax forms downloaded from the web now. Of course there's TurboTax but what you really need are all the forms required for input (W-2s, 1099s, etc.). Every site had their forms online except one. Since we're not at home until June, it's important to get the online versions. So I downloaded the latest version of TurboTax from Amazon (is there nothing they don't carry?) I think 90% of the boaters here depend upon Amazon deliveries, often it's cheaper than buying anything locally, especially with Amazon Prime membership where 2 day delivery is free.

The parking is terrible, many just rent a bike for their stay
So after an exciting morning of doing taxes it was time for a walk. The weather is holding true to warming up so we admired the flowers coming out and the warm sun. I reset my Xfinity modem so the WiFi signal was channel 4 instead of the universally popular chanel 11. Doing a scan with one of my programs I found 15 WiFi stations on channel 11, the same channel my Xfinity modem WiFi was set to. There are some 40 to 50 WiFi stations in the harbor from all the marinas, restaurants and places selling shirts and stuff. Most were transmitting on channel 1, 6 or 11. I was getting sporadic service with the way the modem was originally set up so I looked for an empty channel slot and found channel 4 free. Usually you can reset the transmitting channel via the browser window to the modem but not for Xfinity. I called the office for technical support and he reset the WiFi channel to number 4. The reception by our various tablets and phones was like night and day, 20 to 25 Mbps where before I was getting 3 to 5 at best and often nothing at all. I just wonder how many people would know to do that and would just blame the modem for the problem?

Key West is starting to get busier downtown but the marina is starting to have empty slips now. Perhaps there are some that are finally getting over to the Bahamas but I don't really know.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Key West - Jazz at The Gardens Hotel

The setting at The Garden Hotel for jazz night every Sunday at 5:00
Every Sunday night from 5:00 to 8:00 there is a jazz group that plays at The Garden Hotel. It's not advertised very much but there was a crowd there anyway. An interesting part of the evening is the automated wine bar. They have about 30 wines in rows in a machine that accepts an electronic chip card previously used to deposit credit. For each wine you have a choice of a sip, a taste or a glass of wine. So you put your card in, push one of the selections along with one of the three choices for the amount and watch the wine dispense into your glass. Each wine stays fresh since it sealed from the outside air. Ann sampled the white wines and I sampled the reds. You can even have a private, serenaded dinner for only $350/couple! That's out of our league.

The McKeevers from the Poughkeepsie YC - great company
We did enjoy the jazz. There's no cover charge but we enjoyed sampling the couple dozen wines available through the automated dispensing machine. The setting is surrounded by gardens, you don't even know you're in Key West. It could be some Caribbean Island. We met the McKeevers there, they had saved a table for us. They are leaving Wednesday for points north, too soon for us.

You don't see a Red 0 every day
On the way back we stopped for dinner at BO's Fishwagon. It was not crowded since there was no band playing tonight. We had the usual fish dinner with conch fritters. The weather continues to warm up over the next week and maybe, just maybe it will stay that way and be normal for this time of the year, one can hope.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Key West - Art Festival Day

About 1/4 of the exhibits, close to the Truman Annex
The cold front passed and we have the north winds from behind it, a high today of only 64! However, with the passing of the front we do have sunny weather. Once you leave the area of the docks, the houses and trees deflect the wind so all you feel is the sunshine and it's quite comfortable although you would never know it from how the locals dress - full parkas with hoods drawn tight!

This guy followed us closely at feeding time at 4:00 pm by A & B Marine
Once a year Key West has the art festival at the end of February. This year it was the most extensive we've seen of any over the past six years. About 75% of the exhibits were of local artists of varying capabilities with emphasis on the varying. But this year they had some very good artists from outside the area. The best one in the whole show were paintings by Susie Poff. The paintings were bold and bright with color but not garish, the colors harmonized. She was easily the best in the show.

The rest of the exhibits were typical Key West, okay but nothing spectacular. Some of the jewelry was pretty good but not good enough to buy. We walked back in the sunshine out of the wind that seems to be a constant this year. It's predicted to warm up to back in the 70's the rest of the week with less wind, a welcomed relief!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Key West - Air Conditioning heat mode fixed and Barry Cuda

This bloom was on a ginger plant
Most of the day was spent installing a $6.50 switch that activated the reversing coil for the heat mode of the A/C. It was that or buy a new control board for $600 or so. The board is fine except for the one component that controls the reversing coil. Naturally, no repairman wants to replace the bad component (raw cost of about $5), everyone wants to just replace the board. It's actually not a bad choice given the $100/hour technician charge. However, my labor charges are considerably cheaper so I did a work-around.

Another bloom on a ginger plant - I haven't seen these anywhere else
That done, we took our usual walk to see the flowers that are starting to really come out now, one of the great things about Key West. Bill Washburn and Bill Spencer dropped by to say goodbye. They are returning home Saturday morning to the cold northeast after their two weeks in Key West.

Barry is playing to a sellout crowd at BO's Fishwagon - every Friday night
It's a Friday night so we walked the one block to BO's Fishwagon to listen to Barry Cuda. At BO's he always seems to have friends that come with him and play. Tonight he had drums and two on horns along with his own piano. They all play without music and it all sounds good, people were dancing in the aisles, a real fun time.On Saturday we'll attend the Arts Festival, a tradition in Key West the end of February. Many vendors set up to sell their wares and it's always interesting.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Key West - Returned the car, back to wind and cool weather

Hard to believe that  BO's Fishwagon is in there somewhere, kinda grew up around the wagon
Enterprise offers free pickup and will take you back to your place when returning a car. So I got a driver that had been to Cuba within the last six months. She spoke Spanish and stayed in the non-tourist section of Havana. What she noticed the most was that the Cubans were very rude. There's apparently no police either. She said that it was common for fights to breakout and if someone slugged another, nothing was done about it. It was tough on some Cubans coming to the US. If they slugged someone, they got arrested and went to jail, not so in Cuba. She was there for two weeks and although she said the beaches were beautiful, the people were not nice. I don't think I want to go anytime soon.

A prime example of Key West's protected roosters, they roam free in Key West 
I spoke too soon about the weather relenting. Now it's back to temperatures in the 60's and 10 to 20 kt winds, mostly in the 15 to 20 range. According to the forecast, we've got this weather for the next four days! On the positive side, we have full sun so the cockpit enclosure is nice and warm. Ann's has taken up painting again with her pastels in the cockpit, it's the roomiest area of the boat.

Meanwhile, I have boat projects to continue onward with, oh joy. However, it's a relaxed work effort. What doesn't get done today will perhaps get done tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Key West - Seven Fish for dinner

A public access beach on the south shore
Today we had a car so we restocked for the next few weeks. We had so many points built up from our month long rental over the holidays when we went north from Titusville that it only cost me $2 for the rental today. So first it was a trip to provision with fresh vegetables and a few odds and ends we needed.

Next was a trip around the island to see if anything had changed from last year. There is a lot of building going on in Key West. I think they expect a lot of new business from the potential opening up of Cuba along with the decrease in the price of gasoline and diesel, both about 1/2 of last year's prices.
The PYC crew of Ann and Bob Sherer with Bill Washburn and Bill Spencer

We met Bill Washburn and Bill Spencer of the Poughkeepsie YC for wine before going on to Seven Fish, one of the best restaurants in Key West. You have to make reservations at least a week in advance to get a decent table and time. It is not one of those places where you can walk in and get a table unless you don't mind waiting an hour or so.

So after about four glasses of wine with a full course meal, we are well oiled and ready for a night's rest. Thursday is predicted to be much cooler with a high of only 70, we'll manage.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You can always tell when a cruise boat is in town - the guide trains are full
Well, even in paradise you have to pay attention to the boat, after all it's your home, not a vacation rental. As such I have to fix the lack of heat output when switching to heat mode. It cools like a champ but will not heat on cold mornings. Of course that's of no concern down here now but on the way back north there will be cool days and we need the heat.

I really didn't want to learn about air conditioning on a boat but necessity demands it unless you like supporting the local repairmen all the time. The heat mode is actually just reverse A/C. There's a coil that's activated in heat mode that pulls a valve over in the A/C to direct the refrigerant from the cooling side to the heating side of the heat exchanger. The valve is controlled magnetically when the coil is energized. So the first step was to see if the solenoid was stuck in the cooling position. I bought a powerful magnetic and found that I was able to pull the solenoid to the heating position - so the mechanics were fine, a big relief. It turned out that the coil was not being energized, no voltage was reaching it.

The boat across from us on the same dock is always lit up at night
So it looks like I have a bad board, an expensive item. However, I found that I could manually energize the coil by just connecting it to 120v AC which is all the board does when heat is demanded. With that I ordered a switch and intend on connecting it between the coil and a source of 120v. If I turn it on, then the A/C will heat, if I turn if off I will get cooling, all for a cost of about $7 for the switch. The A/C is at least 10 years old so eventually something else will fail and I'll replace the entire unit but in the meantime, this will work fine. I checked with technical support for the A/C unit to be sure that the coil works with 120v with no limit on the amps other than the coil's internal resistance.

I included the above detail because it's typical of the types of maintenance you have to do on a boat if you're on it many months at a time. Apart from the cost of a serviceman, they are often not available at a moment's notice and you could spend more time paying dockage fees than the cost of the repair if you wait for them until they are free. Of course there are some repairs you cannot do but you surely need to tackle the ones you can.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Key West - Hatch repair

Bien is currently the number one rated restaurant in Key West per Trip Advisor, we'll try it soon.
On our sail yesterday I paid a "stupid tax" when I left the forward head hatch open. The jib line caught on the handle when we tacked and ripped the handle off and bent the hatch frame. So today was spent in trying to find ways to fix the problem. The boat was built in 2004 so we're already dealing with equipment that's been replaced with newer models and yet we want to maintain the same look on replacement equipment.

So it was off to Beneteau's spare parts site and I found a price of $205 to replace the entire hatch, actually a very good price compared with other sites. Unfortunately, the hatch was out of stock so now it's on backorder. All I wanted to do was to replace the top glass but the price for that was 80% of the price for an entirely new hatch complete with top and bottom sections and hinges with latch.

Full moon rising - like a summer's evening
That consumed almost the entire day, such is having a boat. On Tuesday I get to work on the air conditioning. It cools fine for which I should be thankful since we're in Key West but the heat mode no longer works. To gain access to the electronics I have to pull the entire A/C unit out of its locker, not looking forward to that. Then it's on to diagnostics and hopefully a fix, perhaps a loose wire? Isn't boating exciting...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Key West - Artisan Market and nearby Key West establishments

The Artisan Market
Today was Sunday morning donuts, in this case pastries from one of the oldest bakeries in Key West, Old Town Bakery. The pastries go for $2.60 each so you don't get many, in our case just two. It's a once a week splurge for us.

We liked the farmer's market section
Once a month they hold the Artisan Market in the area just east of Strunk Hardware. It seems to grow every year. The main attraction for us is the opportunity to obtain fresh vegetables although there's lots of other wares to attract your attention. So we descended upon the shops and stocked up on veggies.

Nothing like a good pastry shop on a Sunday morning
In the afternoon we went for a sail with Bill Washburn and Bill Spencer from the Poughkeepsie YC. They are down in Key West for two weeks so we took advantage of their presence for an outing. We stayed to the Western Way, a protected passage within the reefs and situated such that the sail was a broad reach. The wind piped up on the way back and we found that the forward hatch over the head was open. Unfortunately, the jib sheet caught on the open hatch lever and pulled it apart! The hatch stayed attached but the handle parted company. I see it as a "stupid tax" which the boat occasionally levies if you don't do things exactly right (we should have closed and secured all hatches before leaving the dock!) Oh well, now we have to replace the lid, it's always something.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Key West - First of three art weekends

 At The Lazy Dog - a typical band on Duval Street
Today was art day. We traditionally take a walk down Duval Street and go in all the art studios. Today there was a demonstration of oil paintings of wine bottles of all things. The artist was technically very good, just about perfection in capturing the transparency of the wine glasses, very hard to do. It's just that the subject matter did not especially excite me. Ann carried on a conversation with him and we saw more of his work in the back of the store. There is no denying his technical skills, just outstanding but he only paints wine bottles in various stages of being emptied along with the glasses.

Anybody for octopus?
We continued our stroll and went through a half dozen art studios, Key West is full of art galleries. The artists are both local (not so good) and nationally known artists (very good). Peter Max was represented last week and Wayland is always around his gallery on Duval.

Not for us but some go
Hoolie and I repeated our usual stroll of Duval Street at night. Every bar had someone playing a guitar and singing. As you walk along the street, the sound from one bar fades away into the sound from the next bar, it's never without music.

And the Paul Cotton Band is holding forth at Schooner Wharf
Sunday is predicted to be a calmer day with full sun, perfect for a sail. We may or may not go depending upon company but the weather continues to moderate, about time.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Key West - Friday is Barry Cuda night at BO's Fishwagon

Barry Cuda holding forth at BO's Fishwagon, note the elderly audience
We had meant to see Barry sooner but Fridays were always busy. He plays all over town but on Friday nights he has been a tradition at BO's Fishwagon for as long we we've been coming to Key West, the last six years. He plays the piano and sings but he plays nothing later than 1978. He wheels his piano down the streets of Key West from venue to venue. He doesn't like to play a keyboard, he prefers a real piano, unadorned with amps.

Tonight he had a drummer and bass violin with him
So tonight we dropped by BO's to listen. He's played all over the world including in the iron curtain countries before the wall came down. His music is easy to listen to but he also provides an active dialog on the background of the music he plays. Tonight he was in a Ray Charles mode which we greatly enjoyed.

The wind has piped up once again into the 15 to 20 range, not comfortable for day sailing but Sunday looks better. If the weather forecast holds, we'll go out for a sail if the McKeevers are available. This time I'll try to remember to detach the dinghy, last time I forgot and ripped the line off ("what was that noise?")

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Key West - El Nino weakens

The Shipwreck Treasure Museum, a lookout tower
The spat of strong winds and low temperatures in Florida is an after effect of the unusually strong El Nino in the Pacific. In a front that passed through Key West a few days ago that gave us 40 kt wind, there were three tornadoes around the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area. Two boats were overturned that were at anchor (everyone was safe) and power was out to thousands. The report is that the current El Nino is weakening but not gone yet. I would hope that the trip north and next fall will see more normal weather conditions, more like we've seen the last five years (not counting this year). One can hope.

Love the flowers
With the current highs around 72, it's still about 5 degrees cooler than normal but with full sun that's pretty good. It's good walking weather, we get much more exercise here in Key West than we ever would up north in the winter temperatures. We walked over to Duval Street which is always interesting. There was a cruise boat docked so the downtown area was flooded with people. They spend their money on souvenirs and perhaps a few tours but they don't patronize the local restaurants since all-you-can-eat food is provided on board.  

We met the McKeevers tonight at Schooner Wharf. They're down here for two months too but they arrived the end of December. We'll all go out for a sail if the weather is decent.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Key West - Boat arrangement from six to two

We're snugged up with the other sailboats on E dock
The organization of a boat for two is very different from for six. Our aft cabin provides huge storage for two people but for six it all had to be cleaned out. Now, with the departure of our visitors, we once again have the use of the aft cabin for storage. And, of course, we had a massive laundry to do. We wanted to wash everything to start out fresh. The marina here does have four commercial grade washers less than a year old, very good. Going down the ICW, you learn to appreciate good laundry facilities. It's the furthest thing from your mind when you first start out but your priorities change with experience. Good WiFi is also a priority but that's very rare. There's less than five marinas, if that many, that have good WiFi. The best one is the Titusville Municipal Marina which just installed a new system last year with transmitters every 50 feet along the docks. Nobody else comes close.

Close to Cuba so we get Cuban scenes in paintings
So Fleetwing is now set up for just us. We've ordered WiFi from Xfinity that's due Thursday. We've cancelled the cable TV, we've found that we watch Amazon and Netflix much more than broadcast TV. The cable prices are just not worth the money. We also have Verizon for our internet needs but 10 Gb doesn't go far when you like to stream Netflix every night. I ordered the modem and it's supposed to be an easy DIY (ha!) We'll see how it goes.

This sign has been year for the last 6 years
In talking last night about how crowded the marinas are this year, I totally missed the obvious reason as pointed out to me by a cruiser with a trawler, it's the fuel prices! They are 1/2 of what they were when we first started out several years ago. At $2/gallon, it's again economical for many to go down the ICW, something they didn't do with $4/gallon prices.My fill up is only 30 gallons at most compared to a couple of hundred for a trawler, a big difference at the cash register.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Key West - A sad day

There is now a brewery at the end of E dock, it was all construction last year
Our last visitors left today for Connecticut, Philip and his family including Sarah. They had a great time but it was time to leave, Sarah was very sad. She's been fighting a bout of pneumonia and she still either has a touch of it left or is suffering from the after effects. She will return home to fully recover.

Birds everywhere
Philip had a parking pass for the multi story garage but found that it was full on two occasions! It's three stories tall but every parking space was taken. He transferred to the parking lot behind the marina and found a place but it was full after that. There seems to be many more visitors this time in Key West than in the past. I can't remember ever seeing the parking lot by BO's Fishwagon full. Either Key West is becoming more popular or more people have retired and making the same trip we've done. Perhaps I've had an influence with my 2015 ICW Cruising Guide? When Philip left this morning, he had a car lined up patiently waiting for his spot. Generally it gets more crowded at spring break time, the first two weeks of March, we'll see.

Nice to start seeing sunsets again, this is our view from Fleetwing
We'll spend the next few days getting the boat rearranged for two people instead of six. The aft cabin will become more of a storage area to clear out the starboard locker. Meanwhile, the weather seems to continue its moderation, more like the Key West we remember, hope it stays that way.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Key West - A cruise boat stops by

The ship is the tallest structure in Key West when docked
It continues to warm up with a high in the low 70's. We took a walk in the afternoon to watch one of the huge cruise ships depart. It was the Carnival Conquest, 952 feet long and and 116 feet wide! It's almost three times wider than we are long. Although the channel into and out of Key West appears very wide to us, it surely shrinks when fitting a 952 ft boat into the seaway.  To add to the challenge, the ship had to do a 180 to return to the sea.

You can get a feel for how really big this ship is by looking at the tiny people on the top rail
The departing procedure was fascinating to watch. Nothing was rushed. First the forward lines and lastly the aft line and the captain applied side thrust with the bow thrusters and the aft props. The boat stately drifted off away from the dock. Pretty soon you could see the bow turning and the aft coming towards the dock, a pirouette. Before departing, the boat took on the Pilot for the area. Even though the channel is not very long, it's narrow when compared to this ship!

Finally getting ready to do a 180. 
So slowly the boat turned and headed out to sea without incident, always a successful departure when that happens. The crew completed the last of their shopping and returned to Fleetwing around 5:30. Now it's time to pack since they are leaving for the frozen north on Wednesday. They will depart Fleetwing Tuesday afternoon and take a room in Miami for an early morning flight the next day. The week just went by too fast as it always does. I think they are thinking already of next year.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Key West - A day at the beach

Key West has huge Banyan trees
Sarah is back with her blog:
This morning we weren't able to get any donuts, but my mom made scrambled eggs that were really good. Then Natalie and I got ready to go to the beach! When we arrived at the front of the beach it was really crowded. We went into the beach, it really wasn't that bad compared to out front. There were seagulls, almost white sand, and the ocean that was such a pretty light blue. It's weird standing in a place that looks like a front cover of a magazine. Natalie and I ran to the water wanting to cool down , but the water was cold. I had to make Natalie go in when finally she came in so we could play with each other. After I got out of the water we went and got some lunch. There is a little shack there at the beach and it's the only one. The food isn't five star, but  I like the pizza. After our lunch we played in the sand and walked down the beach with my dad. We found some interesting shells and coral that turned solid. We went back into the water and I tried to get big rocks out of the water. There are  really big rocks next to are beach spot and it's fun to walk on. You got to be careful because my mom could see you and get her camera. After the photo shoot I carried on going on the rocks. There were seagulls and they didn't want to move, but I made them move. After they moved the rocks were all full of poop so I turned around. We went to the car and put our wet cloths in and toured Fort Zachary Taylor. People were setting up a wedding and it was so pretty. We went up on the stairs and there was this beautiful view of the ocean with the sun. I thought it was the perfect place to have a wedding. When we arrived back to the dock we took showers to get the salt water off of us and we headed back to the boat. My Mom and Dad are going out for dinner and we are having honey spiced chicken with beans, Happy Valentines day!

Yet more flowers
We got a wake up call this morning that our house in New York had lost power! The temperature at the time was -10 with a 15 to 20 kt wind, not good! I had prepared the house with antifreeze in the baseboard, water heating and RV antifreeze in the toilets. The water was also turned off but freezing is never good. Luckily, the power came back on after three hours but as I'm typing this I just got another notice that the power is out again! It's now 10 degrees warmer than this morning, all of 0 F. Hopefully, it will come back shortly. 

Meanwhile, the gang went to the beach for the day and had a great time. They got wet, got sandy and got sun, not bad for February. However, as I write this I see that I've lost power at home again in NY but now it's 10 degrees warmer, all the way up to 0F!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Key West - The flowers are coming out

Outside Yours and Mayan, a favorite store of the kids
The weather in Key West appears to be returning to normal although it's still cooler than in past years. At least the wind had moderated, now mostly in the 10 to 15 range instead of what we've seen of 20 to 30 kts. Even the flowers are coming out. There's never been a frost in Key West so there are many tropical plants not seen further north.

The flowers are starting to come out
The intention today was for the kids to try out the local beach but that never seemed to develop, the manana syndrome set in and the kids, minus Philip, went for a shopping spree. Philip just wanted to hang out and read, relaxation he can never find at home - too close to work.

Key West is beautiful in bloom, now it's just beginning
The kids returned from shopping but came back with nothing in tow. Sarah and Natalie each had a certain amount they could spend and they first wanted to check out the prices and prioritize what they wanted before committing their cash horde. Sarah had her figures to the penny included the Key West tax rate of 7.5%. One of their favorite shops is Yours and Mayan, a speciality shop for Mexican hand made goods.

So the days are passing by and everyone is just enjoying the warm weather. They all saw the weather report for Hartford, a low of -7 F but with winds of 15 to 25 mph the wind chill is down to -27! Key West never felt so good.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Key West - We sail amongst the schooners

The Appledore out of Key West
The weather continues to moderate, more like the Key West of old. It's still cool, only a high of 70 today but with the full sun, it was warm. With the winds being in the teens, we went sailing and the entire fleet of schooners were out too.

The Jolly Rover
We didn't go out to the reefs but rather stayed in the western passage which is more protected and angled just right for a broad reach up and back. Monique and Philip got the requisite Cuban sandwiches from Cuban Coffee Queen, the best Cuban sandwiches in Key West.

America 2.0 - a new ship
Suitably supplied, we headed out to anchor before sailing and almost ran across a trailing line from a discarded (or lost) anchor. Missing that adventure, we then set sail and found us surrounded by schooners also taking advantage of the excellent weather.

We chased one in particular and was gaining when she turned to return home. Going downwind now we couldn't catch her. She had a huge sail out which just scooped up the wind. Then it was a time for a visit to BO's Fishwagon for appetizers taken back to the boat, a beautiful evening.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Key West - A cool day

A mess in the middle of the tourist area along the docks
The high was only in the mid 60's if that high but it's supposed to warm up over the next few days. The city is continuing major renovations of Caroline Street and now they are digging a trench to the ocean through the middle of plaza between The Raw Oyster Bar and the office for the Dry Tortugas shuttle, what a mess.

We haven't been to Mallory Square yet but we can still see part of the sunset
The marina no longer offers parking for its customers. Now you have to buy a separate monthly ticket from the city for $110/month. If that's not bad enough, Philip went to park today and found the garage completely full! So we parked on the street and found a space later on in the garage when some people left. Parking is not fun in Key West.

Schooler Wharf still has nightly entertainment, as good as ever
Since it was so cool today, we chose to provision, mostly chicken breasts and pork loins.We found Winn Dixie to have much better prices than Publix, our former favorite. We are now fixed for at least the rest of the month. Philip and family will be with us until Tuesday morning when they must return north.Then we'll be all to ourselves for the next six weeks, time to relax.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Key West - The second crew arrives

These were fiberglass but their were made from 3D images of animals caught temporarily. They are stunning when seen in person.  
Their trip was not uneventful. They landed at Ft Lauderdale fine and rented a minivan through AVIS. Around about Homestead they had a flat tire. It seems that the nearby AVIS offices were due to close before they could have reached them. Finally they found an office 20 miles back from where they came that was willing to meet them and them give a new car after a 45 minute wait. All this was happening mostly in the dark and it's still a long trip to Key West. Finally after much trial and tribulation they reached Fleetwing around 10:30 pm, a very long day after having to catch a 7:30 am flight out of Hartford, CT.

It was Ash Wednesday - Ashes to Go was the sign
With that as a lead in, not much was planned for today except sleeping in and going for a stroll in the morning. The high winds did not materialize, a first for this trip south, only 15 kts, a gentle breeze compared to past wind tunnel events. We hardly noticed the wind. Could it be that the weather is calming down??

We're not sure what we're doing the rest of the week yet. Planning ahead is not big on the agenda here. Meanwhile, the city of Key West is busy tearing up Caroline Street which is in the next block off the docks from us. They're installing storm drains as best I can imagine, big ones. Everything is a mess all around the area, much dust and dirt flying with sidewalks roped off.

As far as we could see, Duval Street looked as busy as ever, there's no shortage of tourists. Peter Max and Wyland are both in town this coming weekend and giving exhibitions which we signed up for, Ann likes to see artists at work.