December 22, 2011
During this special season we welcome the opportunity to wish everyone the happiest of holidays and peace in the coming year! We hope you enjoy this slide show illustrating the many different expressions of holiday spirit we’ve experienced during our 2011 Keys cruise and stay in Key West!
December 20, 2011
Bet you never did your laundry in this type of establishment. The front is a Cuban restaurant, and the back is an open-air laundromat. We sat in wicker chairs watching the world go by, eating an incredibly delicious pork panini, reading the NY Times, and shooing away the chickens as the washing machines did their job.
Really, there were chickens and roosters wandering about, too! So, we now know the TRUE answer to that old canard, why did the chicken cross the street? To do her laundry, of course. Next week we plan to try the Margaret Truman Launderette!
December 16, 2011
Sunset at Mallory Square, Key West
Well, we made it! After three years of talking about “wintering in the Keys,” we finally reached Key West. This is what sunset looked like last night at Mallory Square. That’s where everyone (and we mean everyone) goes each night to watch the sun go down. There are street performers and street merchants and lots of things going on. We can go there every evening, if we want to, as it is a very short walk from the boat. And, the sunsets from our boat are not bad either, especially when accompanied by the Coast Guard playing taps and firing a cannon!
Evening at Hawks Cay
From Key Largo, the two-day cruise took us down almost the entire chain of Keys. We again chose the “outside” route, i.e., Hawk Channel, which runs between the Keys and a large barrier reef in the Atlantic Ocean. We stopped for the night just north of Marathon on Vaca Key, a favorite place for cruisers. Instead we picked Hawks Cay on Duck Key. It’s a marina and resort development totally surrounded by a moat-like set of canals. An interesting challenge to enter and depart, but a beautiful, calm setting once “in the moat”.
View from the Bridge
The waters of the Keys, including Hawk Channel, are amazingly beautiful, even better than the pictures & movies you may have seen- 1000 different shades of blue ranging from “sky” through turquoise to almost navy- and it’s all incredibly clear. In both Key Largo and Hawks Cay, we could see the coral under the boat quite clearly… perhaps too clearly as it looked much closer than it was!!
The prevailing northern winds of winter accompanied us the entire trip so the water was a little rocky at times, but the extra speed provided by the tail winds was fun!! The only problem we encountered were crab pots!! Lines of them that we could run between but also randomly scattered, thick nests of them that gave us great practice in vigilant, close quarters maneuvering!!
Pretty water; ugly crab pot!
Sojourner’s berth is at the city marina in Key West Bight so we are right in the middle of everything- and just far enough to the side of the historic seaport district that we miss the nightly music wars of the many bars and restaurants lining the dock area (oh darn!)- We are truly within walking distance of everything “Key West” and though we have the car, we’ll probably not use it much-
We’ve decided to make this truly a “winter in the Keys”, so in about a month, after the holidays and a string of visitors, we’ll head back to Key Largo rather than continue around and up the west coast of Florida. We’ll post again from here for sure and will share our Key Largo adventures when we make the return visit there in late January-early February. [More pix of the Cruise Down the Keys
December 1, 2011
Quintessential South Beach
We remained in Key Largo only about 24 hours after our initial arrival before engaging a one-way rental car to Orlando so we could retrieve our own that had been waiting patiently since a couple of days before our departure from St. Augustine. Having a vehicle makes cruising so much easier: no worries about provisioning, expanded opportunities to sightsee beyond the distance limits of the dinghy, and the means to take side trips along the way.
We did the last almost immediately as our good friends Shirley and Wayne invited us to “stop by” South Beach on our way back to Key Largo in the car. They were there for a book fair and had the use of their daughter’s time share apartment, right on Ocean Boulevard!! We accepted without hesitation as South Beach is one of those intriguing places we would not likely venture into on our own! And what a fun time it was!!
The ocean from Ocean Blvd.
After some delay due to missed turns in the crowded, narrow streets at the beach, we arrived just in time for wine, cheese, gentle conversation and arial sightseeing on the rooftop deck (hot tub included) of the condo. Thus fortified, our South Beach adventure began in earnest when the four of us ventured out just as the sun was setting. Everything we’ve ever heard about South Beach presented itself as Wayne and Shirley guided us down Ocean Blvd. and around to the various famous, infamous, and reputedly “hot spots” of the neighborhood. All kinds of people in all kinds of outfits, doing all kinds of things, in all kind of languages!! Our guides had taken an Art Deco street tour the day before, and we reaped the benefits of everything they had learned! In addition to all the “see and be seen” wildness that is South Beach, the area is also a virtual treasure trove of Art Deco architecture, neon and vintage cars- everywhere one looked! It was fantastic!!
- Wanna a ride!!
By necessity, the visit came to an end the next morning and we headed back to the calm of Key Largo, but we took with us fun memories of our South Beach adventure and many pictures as well. We hope you enjoy them too!