Friday, January 30, 2009

Key West Crazies Hit Key West

Originally Posted January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! from all the Gypsies from Pompano Beach, Florida, where we are tied up in a little marina just past Hillsboro Inlet on the ICW. Sorry for the gap in the blog but we were doing some serious holiday partying down in Key West which then merged into Doug's birthday and New Years Eve (which are one and the same), but we're back and almost recovered from our adventures.

Tammy here by the way...

We made it down to Pompano Beach from Lake Worth via the ICW about a week ago (but who's counting since days really don't mean anything to us living on the boat) - the trip was relatively uneventful except having to maneuver through about 15 bridges, most of which we had to have opened before we could go through. What a pain!!! Had the weather been better we definitely would have traveled outside but Mother Nature as usual had other ideas (9 foot seas!). We got a hoot going through the George Bush Boulevard Bridge, which happens to be one of the smallest bridges on the ICW with just 9 feet of vertical clearance - coincidence? I think not!!!

Colleen met us at the dock so the gypsies were reunited once again.

The next morning we headed out to Key West to visit our friend Scott Kirby (who played at our bon voyage party and who we last saw when we crashed his gig in Kent Narrows, Maryland). We had a great drive down through the Keys and were sitting sipping a coldie with Scott and his wife Michelle by noon on Christmas Eve! We stayed across the street from Scott's house on Catherine Street in a wonderful little home owned by his friend Brook (thanks so much Brook!) - it even had a pool so we were in heaven, especially since it was hot enough to enjoy a pool! We headed down to one of our favorite bars Schooner Wharf to hear Michael McCloud sing and to eat some Wharf wings (my all-time favorite wings anywhere!!)

A couple of buckets of Kalik later, it was time to mosey over to Hog's Breath (our other favorite KW bar) to hear Scott and Dave play. If you've never heard Scott's music (it plays a lot on Radio Margaritaville), you should check out his website - he's a really talented guy and a great friend!

After they got done playing, they were ready to hit the party scene so we were all invited to an Xmas Eve bash at one of the bartender's of Louie's Backyard (our other favorite KW bar - think I'm seeing a trend here). From there it became somewhat of a blur... and stories diverge but no one was hurt. Next morning though Doug and I had enough energy to celebrate Christmas morning by walking down to Pepe's for breakfast and mimosas - what a great start to the day!! We did some Duval Street crawling (ie, pub crawling) and found our way back to the house in the afternoon. Colleen the night before had been volunteered (we won't say by whom) to make gumbo for Christmas dinner, which we were planning to spend with Scott and Michelle, so she spent the afternoon playing chef. The gumbo rocked as did the rest of Christmas - we headed to the Kirby's around 5:00 and were met at the door by their dog Badger.

Badger is a great dog who just makes me laugh - it always looks like he is smiling - kind of like a dolphin only furrier. That morning he had tried to climb into my lap over by the pool - I tried to tell him that dude, you're not a cat!! He didn't get it. Right after we got there Christmas evening Badger grabbed Colleen's santa hat from her hand and proceeded to run around the house chewing on it. No one could understand why Colleen didn't want it back on her head - can you say dog slobber!! He kept us entertained much of the rest of the night.

Aside from Badger, there was a wonderful group assembled for Christmas dinner - friends of Scott and Michelle's from all walks of life it seemed - a tennis pro, musicians, a hotelier, and even another cruiser who was without his family for the holidays.

The champagne, warmth and fun flowed freely throughout the evening and dinner was eaten out on the porch under a gentle KW breeze.

Not only did we enjoy Colleen's gumbo, but we had a whole cajun theme happening complete with Turducken and sweet potato pie - Michelle outdid herself! Not wanting the evening to end, we cranked up a great James Taylor dvd (OK - maybe a little too loud - sorry Michelle), heard a couple new tunes Scott wants to record and headed back to Brook's house for a couple more cocktails. All in all, it was a memorable Christmas spent with great friends!!

The next morning, although a little hazy, Doug and I set off again for breakfast at Pepe's - it really is the best! Once we left, it started to rain so we ducked into Schooner Wharf - seems they have 2 happy hours a day, one from 7 am to noon and then again from 5-7 pm (do you get why we love this bar??) At first I felt a little funny drinking beer at 9:00 in the morning, but I got over that real quick - funny thing was, the bar was packed and some of the people were in the same place that we had seen them the day before! You really just have to love KW!!! Another day well spent Duval crawling led to an afternoon nap, something I don't often due but when in KW it is often necessary before round 2 starts. Round 2 for us started at 5:00 pm when we met Scott and some of his friends at Louie's for drinks. We had some cocktails, watched a great sunset and generally just luxuriated in the warmth of the friendships and the island. Michelle met up with us and dinner (which was very necessary at that point) followed at a fun little Mexican place on Duval. We ate too much, we drank too much, we laughed tons (never too much) - our trip to KW had been a resounding success.

The next morning we had to say goodbye to KW and to Scott and Michelle, but not before making plans to meet up with them soon in the Bahamas. Thank you Scott and Michelle for a wonderful trip!! It was a quiet ride back to the boat, broken up by one last fish sandwich at the Islamorada Fish Company (our favorite bar on the way down to KW!)

We were entertained by a steel drum player while we soaked up our last time in the Keys and enjoyed the Best fish sandwiches ever (and a couple coldies).

Back on the boat, it was time to start working to get ready for the Bahamas crossing...but not before we hit the Briny Pub to watch the Patriots beat Buffalo - unfortunately the freaking Jets didn't show up and Miami won, knocking us out of the playoffs. We were in a bar in southern Florida so you can imagine that no one was feeling bad for us!! Bummer and then depression set in - but it was short lived. There is too much to do! Colleen and I spent several days provisioning and Doug became an engine room rat. While we still had Colleen's parents car, we also made runs to West Marine (they now know us by name - not a good thing), Boaters World, Home Depot, etc.... you get the picture.

Yesterday was Doug's birthday - he is 39 with a whole bunch of years of experience!! Unfortunately we spent the first half of it bringing the cats to the vet to get a rabies shot. We just found out that the Bahamas require pets to have a rabies shot more than 30 days before entering the country - so that changes our timing a little. We will be in FL at least for another 30 days before we can cross but I'm sure we'll be able to have some fun!!! The cats not only hate the car, but they did not have a good time at the vets - it was nearly as traumatic for me (although I don't think they would agree)! They were very glad to get back to their "home" - the boat has become home for them too! We spent the afternoon feeding them treats and telling them how brave they were!!

Last night for Doug's bday and for New Years Eve, we decided to have a great dinner on the boat complete with champagne, big steaks and key lime pie for desert instead of braving the crazies out here in southern Florida. Knowing we wouldn't make it to midnight, we had our official Happy New Years before dinner with a ceremonial dropping of a tennis ball. OK - we don't do things on the boat in traditional fashion but we've started our own new traditions and if every New Year is as great as this one, then we'll be happy. Today starts the "second year" of our cruising adventure and our only hope is that it will be as full of fun and discovery as our first!!!! We hope this new year brings much happiness and success to all of our family and friends - we are with you in spirit!

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