Thursday, April 30, 2020

Key West - Our first day out of Key West was a doozy

Goodbye Key West - we left at 7;00 am
We left Key West with a wind in our face of about 18 kts, it was supposed to be 10 to 15. Okay, we thought, it's predicted to lessen by 11:00 to 10 kts and then to 5 kts or so after that and change to out of the west, just the right direction to push us east. It was not to be. The 15 to 20 kts lasted until just past 1:00 and the direction was out of the south, plenty of fetch in that direction. It was a very bouncy ride, not what was predicted by Grib or PredicctWind - or any of the weather apps nor by the text weather advisories by NOAA for the coast. They were all uniformly wrong.

A nice sunset after a rough day
As added spice, just as we headed into our anchorage at Long key, a storm rolled through with top winds of 42 kts in driving rain (with crab pots around!) This was as I negotiated a narrow channel to stay away from shoals. I was often at a 45-degree angle to my forward progress vector trying to stay on course and also avoid the random crab pot here and there in the driving rain.

As I motored up the channel, my speed dropped to 3.8 kts, I thought there must be a heck of a current! A glance back provided a source of the problem - my dinghy had flipped over upside down in the high winds. It made a good storm anchor. Now the problem was how to right it?

An aside: Ann and I have five grandkids trying out the learn-at-home mode of acquiring knowledge. I suggest a home exercise in physics, after all, what else do they have to do? Let's assume a 9 x 4 ft square (we physicists love to approximate things, it's the technique, not the measurements) dinghy that's upside down.  It has been dragged by a boat for some while which has resulted in a partial vacuum between the dinghy and the water it's immersed in. The soft dinghy provides a very good seal against the water. If you try to pull the dinghy vertically to right it, you will create even more suction - resisting your efforts to pull it vertically off the water surface.

Problem 1:  Assuming a flat 9 x 4 dinghy with a rubber seal (the inflated tubes, 2 feet deep)  against the water surface, how much force is required to lift the dinghy one foot (the dinghy weighs 120 lbs).

Problem 2:  How would you propose lifting the dinghy to right it? Brute force or finesse? What method would you use and why?
Problem 2A - If brute force, how much is required?
Problem 2 B - If finesse, what technique would you use? Finesse is the essence of the solution, go for it but don't damage my dinghy! Describe the finesse technique in detail.

Problem 3: Depending on the technique, how much force would be applied to the point of attachment on the dinghy for righting and what would you use on Fleetwing for that force?

Answers will be graded and due at our Sunday Sherer meeting! (reward certificates will be given! - non-monetary! - learning is its own reward.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Key West - Too used to beauty

It really is a pretty area, I love these schooners, here's the Appledore
Maybe beauty is just in the eye of the beholder but if you see beauty all around you, it becomes assumed. We've had nothing but terrific weather with no rain. The coming summer offers another scenario that could include a hurricane. We recognize all that and it's time to move on. We could always hunker down in our boat here for along time but if a hurricane comes our way, we've no place to go. If the virus is still active then, how do you practice social distancing in a hurricane shelter?

I walk by here every day, oblivious to the beauty
So on Thursday, we will set out. We had our final pumpout, the bottom was scrubbed so we can make our usual 7.3 kts going north, and we had laundry done (how do they fold everything so neatly?? - especially the fitted sheets?) We send out a bag full of laundry and we get back something half the size - did they miss something - and where is the laundry bag? - it's folded neatly in the bottom of the stack). We could get to like sending laundry out.

Some are getting a little anxious down here
We plan to get up around 5:00 am or so, take Hoolie ashore, position the dinghy aft of the boat, undo all the lines, and head out. For those interested, you can track us at Fleetwing Location.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Key West - Oil change, getting ready to depart

Just enjoying the warm weather and the sunset at the Western Union pier
We are checking off things to do before leaving on Thursday. Yesterday it was being sure the outboard motor started and today it was provisioning and changing the oil on the diesel. Once again we had all the groceries delivered right to the dock, we never entered a store. I went across the street to pick up the oil for the diesel and that consisted of me calling the marine store in advance and them meeting me in their parking lot with a case of oil. I never went in a store there either. Such is the new normal.

Dennis tests a new sail
All we have left is to get the bottom scrubbed so we can make our usual 7.3 kts north, which is important for the long legs, those 10ths of a knot add up quickly. We are looking forward to getting out of hurricane range before the hurricane season sets in. There are enough marinas open on the way north that we don't anticipate a problem stopping at night.

Our freezer is packed full, our cupboard is full, we are ready to go!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Cruising Key West Bight

We've had some bad experiences over the last couple of years when we've started the dinghy motor after an extended layover. I just put the motor up on the rail with no special treatment and when trying to start after several months, it would not. The first time lit cost me $200 and the second time it cost almost $400! Finally, I learned my lesson - which was - to run the outboard dry for an extended absence, anything over a month. The newer motors have very fine needle valves that are relatively easy to gum up. I can go over a year on my 25-year-old snowblower but not on modern outboards. So I learned my lesson with pain of pocketbook! The last two times of extended layover, I've emptied the carburetor by just letting it idle without the gas line attached. After about two minutes, it uses up all the gas in the engine and stops. Now it's easy to restart, no more problems!

Fleetwing is now preparing for a Thursday departure date
To celebrate, I took a tour around the harbor to let the motor drink of gasoline for a while and it ran perfectly. We really, really need a dependable motor for getting Hoolie ashore at anchorages! While motoring around, I took a video just to show the area and how unlike Key West is now compared to its usual liveliness.

Meanwhile, we continue preparing for a Thursday departure date. The weather is ideal for going east and we need to escape from Key West and not get trapped by a developing hurricane.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Key West - Gatherings, Decisions, Sunsets

 A little excitement by Schooner Wharf
There is a small but growing crowd outside Schooner Wharf in the evenings. It's not out of hand but people surely want to socialize. I don't know what the occasion was but everyone was dressed in weird costumes - which is about average for Key West anyway. A police car came by to check up on the social distancing rules but moved on after a bit.

Turtle Kraals is deathly quiet
We walked around by the Cuban Coffee Queen and back to the boat. The Turtle Kraals sure looked forlorn, just no one was around. When we entered the narrow walkway by the restaurant, a couple coming the other way took the long way around, which is what we all do nowadays to avoid close
contact. Everyone is pretty good at maintaining the 6 foot guidelines.

A quiet sunset over the harbor
We made a major decision today. We're going to start our journey north this Thursday and hope to reach Miami late in the day on Friday at Marine Stadium. There are enough marinas open on the way north that we will be able to find one each night. It will be a Cannonball Run. We're not stopping to smell the roses since nothing else is open along the way. It will be a stop for the night and off the next day at daybreak. We will fully provision here in Key West with deliveries right to Fleetwing, we won't be getting off the boat anywhere along the way. It's better than being in a car trying to get home since we won't be using rest stops or restaurants, just what's on the bost.

Ann, we had a nice sunset to top off the day. I have to start the dinghy motor on Monday to be sure that works followed by another provisioning order from Winn Dixie and laundry by delivery.  We are ready to move north.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Key West - Fish schools

We are getting restless. The days are passing by and we're still here, no farther north than last month. Judging from the announcement on the Monroe County website, they don't expect to reopen the Keys in May. That really puts a kink in our plans for moving north. The waterway north is moving in Florida and farther north but not in the Keys, everything is still closed including all marinas. The school of mullet in the video used to number in the hundreds but after "harvesting" by the local birds and big fish, their numbers have declined precipitately.

So we talked it all over between us and figured that we need to move soon since waiting for a formal opening in the Keys is at least a month away, if not later. The weather is looking good for a Wednesday or Thursday departure date but the big unknown for us is what to do with Hoolie. He's never learned to go on the boat and our plans include an overnight stay at 5 mile bridge before continuing onward to marine stadium the next day.

So many decisions to make. We'll rethink everything at least 10 times before departing but we feel we have to start moving north before the hurricane season. I'll do some weather forecasting tonight and we'll see what the best plan is.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Key West - Bird Bath and flowers

This is some sort of tree, I wish we had them jup north
We took a walk along our usual one when the temperatures get too hot. It's shaded from the afternoon sun but still open to the occasional breeze. I like it because it lets us keep tabs on the bathtub birdbath. The guy seems to have a long-standing fight to keep goldfish alive in the fishbowl. He claims all sorts of enemies as villains in depleting his population of goldfish. Personally, I think the local cats do a job on that washtub. For a while he used to put plastic over the tub to prevent "harvesting" of his fish but that's an occasional thing anymore.   

The bathtub fishbowl perseveres but no fish at the present time
The route also has gorgeous yellow flowers that grow over the walkway and different ones that grow on a tree, both are pleasing to just look at while walking.  Hoolie sees it as an excellent opportunity to spread his DNA around. However, when he's done, his tongue is handing out - it's hot!

We walk under these everyday, they form an arch over the sidewalk
No news is good news. Key West is still sitting at 35 for the virus cases but the Keys are still on lockdown.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Walk along the Dock in Key West

I went over to A&B Marina and started a walk back to Fleetwing. You won't see a lot of people but there are a few out, mostly by Schooner Wharf but not inside, that's not allowed. They will buy a drink and stand outside on the boardwalk with a few other imbibers. There's no music playing at Schooner Wharf, a rare thing in itself. I did see one girl with a guitar and perhaps she was hoping for some donations.

It was a nice evening and normally everything would have been packed, but of course, not today. Maintenance is still being done with the washing of the docks every morning and they are continuing to work on the renovations for the showers and restrooms. I can't imagine why they can't get that done before August - the target date for completion!

We're just biding our time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Key West - Zoom and a 0.1 k run

Talking to everyone on Zoom in the salon
The humidity was wonderfully less today, down from 85% to 40% at the present time, it feels like a whole different place! We remain in limbo, waiting for something to happen in a world where nothing is happening (down here). Thursday will be a planning day for us to try to figure out how to get out of the Keys which remain in lockdown.

They still have a sense of humor down here
Wednesday is family get together day at 7:00 pm so we had everybody in a Zoom meeting. It's a no-cost way for keeping in touch. It's nice to not only hear everybody's voice but also to see them. Everybody can talk and Zoom takes care of putting all the audio together so it's understandable by the attendees, even when some talk at the same time. Our next Zoom meeting will be on Sunday at 1:00 pm.

I've been asked for more walking videos so I'll see if I can do one of the marina area. It will be short on people since no one is around but you'll get an idea of where we're spending our time waiting all this out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Key West - Statues

All hail to the Key West rooster
Key West can also be a place of illusions but some are better than others. The rooster is king of the streets in Key West and it's only natural that there are statues in his honor. This one is just north of the Bight in an otherwise yard in disarray, sort of like Key West at the moment.

Of course, here's another Key West activity that's dormant for now
We heard from the county executive today and they do not intend opening up Key West (or the Keys) until Miami is opened up to the same or more degree. I think they are fearful that as soon as they lift the US 1 blockage, there will be a flood of people escaping Miami for the warm shores of the Keys. The infection rate has leveled off but it has not gone down yet. It's like the price of gasoline used to be, rapid to go up but it took forever to go down. Now, of course, even that time tested example has been exploded.

So here we sit, unable to move north until the Keys declare an all-clear for marinas to reopen. That could take another month! If we had a boat capable of 20 kts or so, we could make a direct run for it from Key West to Miami but we only do 7 kts at best, not fast enough - and, of course, we have Hoolie to get ashore three times a day - so here we sit until things change.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Key West - Pastels apace

The original is very vivid
Ann continues to paint every day. She's done more pastels here than at any time compared to up north. The temperatures in the morning now are still too hot for any painting in the cockpit so now w spend most of the time downstairs in the main salon.

I do like the composition
Ann paints from photos but they are just a starting point. It's not reality that matters, it's the composition of the picture, the way the elements of the picture come together, that's the creative aspect of painting. We once toured the Andrew Wyeth gallery in Maine and there were many painters in the gallery that were just as good technically as Andrew but they fell short on composition. Their paintings looked ordinary compared to Wyeth's.

Good clouds are hard to do, the photo is a poor representation of the original, oh well.
Ann strives for composition and varies reality to suit her idea of the picture. For me, I take a photo and just use that but it's not good enough for an artist. I'll never be a painter.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Key West - Even Flagler is wearing a mask

Henry Flagler - railroad builder to Key West - properly outfitted for the coronavirus outbreak
Henry Flagler built a railroad to Key West and he's something of a hero in the area. They have museums in his honor and statues all over the place. There's even a statue down by Key West Bight and someone thought it was appropriate for the statue to also wear a mask in these days of the coronavirus pandemic.  It's also the place where the train shuttle would be leaving but it's vacant now.

Really large leaves for a vine climbing a tree
Everything seems to grow bigger down here. Up north we have these small vines that circle the trees which are some form of ivy and in some cases poison ivy. Down here, the leaves of the climbing ivy are much, much bigger than up north. The trees and vines seem to grow together okay so I guess they get along. Still, it looks odd seeing such large leaves on trees that have much smaller leaves for themselves.

The "forever" car
We passed by an old truck that has been there at least 10 years and probably much longer. The truck is old but the flowers persevere from year to year. It's nice to admire when walking along in the morning.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Key West - mast climbing

Up, up and away...
Even during the coronavirus attack, boat chores continue. The guy across the way has been up his mast several times in the past three days. He has a self-climbing type rig where he does not need a hoist to go up a line. We watched from afar and were aghast that he did not have a safety line. I cannot understand the logic there. Just because the line has not broken in the past does not guarantee future performance. I guess it's a Darwin selection criteria, people that go up masts on a single line will eventually die out from accidents that are entirely preventable. It defies logic.

Once again, right at the top
The guy survived today and will probably take that as a positive that he can continue doing what he's doing - until it doesn't. Nobody goes up our mast without a safety line, that's for sure! Otherwise, today was a demonstration of heat, 89 as a high with very little wind. It's good weather for going north but the timing is not right, yet. As I've said previously, we need the Keys to open up to transients before we head for Miami;.

Our A/C is keeping pace with the heatwave. We now turn it on at 6:30 am and it runs all day but we do turn it off at 10:00 for the night. We like a quiet night more than a cool night. That may change in the future, but not yet.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Key West - Schooner Wharf Specials

Tyupical Key West transportation - what is it?
Schooner Wharf has a full takeout menu which consists of their regular menu packaged for takeout. However, they do have some menu items unique to the virus problem. With one selection, you get a complimentary roll of toilet paper! How's that for a creative entree?

Such a deal!
They have signs at the entrance that they only have takeout but that also includes alcoholic drinks too. Schooner Wharf is all open-air anyway, it's not as if the customers are inside an enclosed area like a traditional bar. So Schooner Wharf is surviving, I guess. They can't be doing all that much business but they are alive.

We had our second load of laundry do today with pickup and drop off right at the bow of Fleetwing, I could get used to that. Just how do they get the sheets folder so neatly? The laundry always comes back in about 1/2 the volume that we send out.

The standard sign in Key West
More heat today, up to 89 this afternoon, we're fine as long as the A/C keeps chugging away. We also got our third load of groceries delivered too. The Winn Dixie website has their entire inventory on line and you just pick out what you want and a "shopper" collects the items and delivers them to the boat. With the laundry, it's our way of staying out of crowds and self isolating.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Key West - Three story buildings and sunset

All empty, of course
There are very few three-story buildings in Key West but this is one of them. Key West maintains a tight control on building height, a general maximum of 40 feet is the rule here. Evidently, there are a few exceptions but the general rule applies. Of course, there are a few hotels that exceed that max but there' on "Hotel Row" where you see 10 or 20 story buildings along the beaches like in other places along the Florida coast.

brillant red!
We had a virtual cocktail party with Ann and Leathem Mahaffey in New York this afternoon on Zoom. We usually get together every couple of weeks but with the virus and us being in Key West, that was not happening so Leathem scheduled a meeting on Zoom. With that, we chatted for about an hour discussing all sorts of things and had a great time. We were sweltering in 89-degree heat while Ann and Leathem were in the 30's.  It was fun to see old friends, even virtually.

A hot sunset
Even at 7:30 pm, the temperature is still 83F here. I took Hoolie out for a short walk and then retreated back to our A/C boat. We used to turn on the A/C around 3:00 in the afternoon but with the summertime type heat, t's more like 8:00 am now. It's getting warm here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Key West - A Walk to Fleetwing Along William Street

(make sure you don't have mute automatically on for your browser)
We walk every day around 3:00 pm or so thought I would take you along on the way back to see the sights and sounds of Key West at the present time. The walk starts by the local fish market that for now only has takeout at select times during the day. We will pass by the local gardens and stop to talk to a guy taking care of his fishbowl which consists of a bathtub filled with water. He was complaining that someone was killing the fish?! Maybe it's the local cats. He usually has a screen covering the bowl but not recently.

 Onward we march and see what's left of BOs Fishwagon (not much) and stop to admire more flowers. We cross Elizabeth Street and past the chicken rookery under the porch by Only Wood - you can hear the roosters crow. Then it's a slow walk (it's 88 outside!) to the Bight, up on the deck and a left turn down Dock E to Fleeting. You can see the step I have to contend with in getting back on Fleetwing. I hope you had a nice walk.

 We got our masks a couple of days ago and it's mandatory wear when going into a store although the only store we enter is the local convenience store. They installed floor to ceiling plastic windows to protect the cashier with a little opening to pass cash. I think we are in for the long haul with this virus, it's not going to stop anytime soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Key West - Ghost Town

An incredibility busy area, usually
I don't know how Duval is looking since we stick pretty close to Key West Bight but it sure looks like a ghost town around here. We had one other transient boat by us and they decided to stay another month. They go out to fish almost every day. The only entertainment is from finding something to do inside but then that's the same situation we would be in at home up north, except it's warmer here.

Where all the party boats dock - but not now
If you go inside any establishment to buy food, you're expected (the law) to wear a facemask and thanks to handmade ones from Monique that arrived yesterday, we're all set in that department. Nevertheless, we'll still be having our groceries delivered and laundry done for us. If we're going to all this trouble, we might as well make the shelter in home order complete.

So the days are passing and we'll see how things develop over the next few weeks.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Key West - Door decorations and Hoolie

Wreath - Key West style
What do people do in Key West to decorate their doors for the holidays? Up north, we put wreaths on the door and maybe some brightly colored bulbs. In Key West, they do something different. We saw a "wreath" today made of starfish. They were all bleached white but were arranged in a circular pattern. I thought it looked quite nice.

"I'm here, ready to do my job of cleaning up any leftovers!"
I took Hoolie out as usual but he was reluctant to go. He always likes to hang around food when it's being put away, perhaps something will drop on the floor? If so, he wants to be right there to clean up! So when we returned to Fleetwing, he wanted to go right downstairs even though Ann was up in the cockpit at that time. Once he satisfied himself that there was no leftover food, he retreated to the cockpit once again. He's ruled by his stomach but then many of us are.

It's getting warmer, into the mid-80s now and we've started turning on the A/C right after breakfast. We're still hoping for mid May for a start north.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Key West - Easter Sunday

We hae a very nice French wine, a Rose.
We didn't get our traditional donuts this Sunday due to concerns about the virus so we just had cereal for breakfast. I did stop by and get a local Sunday paper which was filled virus news, so much for that.

The Easter spread - yummy!
Ann attended the Sunday service at our church in Lagrangeville, NY via Zoom. It was a two-way conversation and she enjoyed the church community. That was followed by our weekly Sherer Family Get Together at 1:00 every Sunday with Carrie in Pennsylvania and Philip in Connecticut and Shirley and Raechel in Indiana. We spend about half an hour just chatting back and forth. We also repeat the meeting every Wednesday at 7:00 pm.

Then Ann started preparing our Easter Sunday dinner a little fancier than our usual fare with a port tenderloin, deviled eggs, potato salad, coleslaw, cornbread, and a chocolate cake topped with chocolate syrup and ice cream. We had a feast!

With all that, we are stuffed and ready to retire and watch our programs for the night. It was a nice way to commemorate Easter. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Key West - Flower Power

This is actually a tree and it's just now coming into full bloom
The virus news is never-ending and not particularly inspiring. For me, it's back to basics of enjoying what's around me. The beauty of Key West and the glorious weather. We limit our virus news, there is so much of it, even a limited amount overwhelms the senses. For such times, we take walks and look at the local flowers. More and more are starting to bloom and we greatly enjoy just admiring them.

To me, it's a pretty flower which also grows on a tree
Social distancing has become the norm, so much so that it's starting to become socially unacceptable to not wear a face mask. I think we have some on the way in the mail. Once we start going north and pull into a marina, I think it would be imperative to wear a mask. Already in Key West, about half the people you meet in the street are wearing a face mask. Going north, it will probably be almost 100%.

One of these days, I'll learn the names of all these flowers, maybe that's a task for another time, it sounds like work. Ann says it's going to be a rude awakening when we starting moving again and have a tight schedule where things have to be done! Until then, the days pass by quickly, biding our time.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Key West - Palms and flowers

Just a typical flowering plant along our morning walk
The best time to walk in Key West is in the early morning before the heat of the day. With the complete absence of crowds, it's easy to stay within the 6 ft rule when passing other people. Key West never gets as hot as central Florida but the full sun can heat you up in a hurry, even if the air temperature is only 80F.
It always amazes me how thin and tall the palms grow

So we walk on the shady side of the street and admire the plantings cultivated by the residents, including those on alleys. We have noticed a few more loiterers than in the past when the streets have been full of tourists. They've been fine, no one asks for handouts, they just seem to be enjoying the warm weather.

The contrast between the early morning walk and in the afternoon is rather stark. On the dock, we get a breeze but once inland, the breeze dies and the sun beats down. We usually turn on A/C around noon or so until we go to bed. We like the ports open for the night.

Another example along our walk
We continue to bide our time, waiting for a window to go north but we don't expect one until the middle of May at the earliest due to the virus. I guess there are worse places to be...

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!