Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Music Continues

But first I must tell you that we have finally become a two scooter family!!!! We just got the paperwork (so yes it's all legal now - for awhile there we were afraid the scooter had fallen off a truck somewhere and we'd never be able to register it....if you knew the players involved you'd question it too!) which enabled us to pick up Doug's new 150cc screaming yellow scooter!! So we are actually mobile now on more than our bikes and occasionally borrowing Brett and Jill's van (thanks guys!!) - watch out Key West!! It was a great lesson in how things get done down here on Bone Island - you hear about things from a friend of a friend, nothing happens fast or on your timetable, and everything is just a little bit out of the ordinary, funky or downright weird but eventually stuff works itself out. We may not be in the Caribbean but we are still definitely on island time mon - so just chill out, have a cold one and things will take care of themselves!!!
Our Two Scooters

We've been busy looking for jobs and think we may have some good news to share with everyone soon but for now enough said so we don't jinx it - you'll know when we do. Just wanted you all to know that not all we do is play and have fun!! Although we are certainly doing that too!! The other day we went with Brett and Jill out on Captain Ron's gorgeous CT 54 foot sailboat - would have been more fun with a little wind (of course it picked up right when we were coming into the dock!!) but we had a great day on the water anyways!!
Captain Ron Raises the Sails
Brett and Ron in the Cockpit
Doug Enjoys Being a Passenger With No Responsibilities
The sun was stoking, the beers were cold (it's great when you can actually have a beer out on the water - we never drink when we are out on Gypsies since we have to dock - but when someone else is doing the work, the beers seem to go down a little smoother than normal!!) and the water was a sparkling turquoise!! Oh to be down in the Keys!!! Capt Ron took us for a leisurely sail into Key West Harbor, past Fort Zachary Taylor and down past Mallory Square and the Sunset Pier where Scott and Dave play most evenings - what a different perspective it is from out on the water!!!
Sunset Pier from the Water
We dodged some topless paddle boarders (yes right in KW Harbor - hope she had sunscreen on!!!)
and the local tourist sailboats
as well as a number of race boats leaving after the end of race week - seemed like everyone was out on the water!!
One of the Race Boats Headed Home
It was sure the perfect day for it!! On our way back to Boca Chica Key where Capt Ron keeps his boat at the Naval Air Station marina, the sky started to darken but we beat the storm and were closely watched by a gorgeous bald eagle who was guarding the entrance to the channel. Thanks Capt Ron for a great day out on the water!!!
The Bad Eagle Watches Us Pass By

Last weekend was the Key West Harbor King Mackerel Fishing Tournament so we had about 100 go fast fishing boats in here all weekend with their bait nets and accompanying gear. Despite our misgivings, they were pretty well behaved and didn't even wake us up when they thundered out of their slips at 0 dark hundred with their 3 or 4 300+ hp motors revving in search of those king mackerel beasts! We watched the final weigh-in which was fun - boy do these guys and gals take this stuff seriously!!!

Sunday was you guessed it football day so we joined our dockmates Shawna, John and Jim down at the Shanna Key Bar (a great little Irish dive - yes we've scoped out a new hangout) for the second half of the Colts/Jets game. I really can't stand either team but I found myself routing for Indy because as a Bostonian I hate all NY sports teams even more than I despise Peyton Manning (and that's really saying something but I won't go there...) Besides I kept telling myself that I was only cheering for them so the Saints could beat them up and humiliate them in the Super Bowl. The game we all really cared about was the Saints/Vikings - John being from LA and the rest of us recently on the bandwagon with our teams out of the running. Brett and Jill joined us so it was a full on party and best of all the Saints pulled it out - go Saints!!!! While I felt bad for Brett, he really ought to have known better than to throw that ball - I mean really!!!! So anyways - the party is on down here in Southern FL for Super Bowl weekend - we haven't planned it out yet (after all it is 2 weeks away) but I'm sure it will be rocking!!

A grand bar scheme was hatched about a week ago when we were out at the Sunset Pier and Hogs Breath to have a party on Gypsies (yes I know, another one) by Brooke and myself - Brooke wasn't able to come to the last one we had so we figured we needed to remedy that!! Originally we had scheduled it for Sunday not thinking about football - this came about around midnight after key lime shooters after all - but it got rescheduled to Monday evening. The weather had been beautiful so we planned it for upstairs on the flybridge - unfortunately mother nature decided this was not to be as she served up a cold and rainy Monday. Oh well - the party moved inside and turned out to be one of those just awesome evenings (so good in fact that I completely forgot to get any pictures - not even a one!!!) We had lots of dockmates over including our new friends Greg and Karan who had a just arrived on their Sea Ray (yes we hang out with go fasts too - we just usually don't publicize that!) after spending a month up in Stuart with all our DeFever friends - Bob and Stephanie on September Song told them about our marina and voila, here we all are!!! It seemed somehow fitting that we had a party on their first night - welcome to the dock guys! Also at the party was the KW music contingent in Scott, his wife Michelle, Brooke and their friend Laura. No sooner had the party gotten started than Bob and Nancy (dockmates on a beautiful catamaran Sun Luvr) strolled by with none other than Freebo, the long time bass player for Bonnie Raitt. They came on board, joined the party and we wound up being treated to an impromptu concert in our pilothouse when Freebo asked if he could play us a few tunes!!!! WOW - how cool was that!! For anyone who isn't familiar with Freebo, check out his music on his website - he is an amazing musician and really interesting guy - his music is just awesome!!! Not sure how these kinds of things happen to us all the time - just lucky I guess - but it made for one kickbutt party!

The last couple days have been pretty windy and cold as a front moves through but today is looking up a bit - hopefully it will warm up because we are all headed first to a party at Nancy and Bob's house (yes they have a real house here as well as the boat) and then we are off to a concert at Fort Zachary Taylor. But not just any concert - it is the kickoff of Los Van Van's 70 city US tour. Grammy winning Los Van Van is Cuba's hottest band - they are a 14 piece jazz and dance band who have garnered worldwide acclaim. Add in the fact that they are playing on Cuban national hero Jose Marti's birthday and it should just rock out the house (or the fort so to speak)!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Race Week in Key West

This week was race week in Key West which if you can believe it actually turns the town even crazier - not being racers or even sailors ourselves didn't stop us for a minute (did you actually think it would??) One of the days earlier this week (we really don't keep track of the days), we headed into town with the Muircu crew Brett and Jill to check out the festivities. We started at Irish Kevins to see our friend Bil Krauss who gave Brett endless amounts of grief over his hat and festive shirt.....guess there weren't enough tourists in town for him to bust on (although we were all taking bets on how long the girl from the cruise ship beside us was going to remain vertical - not too long was our collective conclusion and it was only about 1:00 in the afternoon!!!)
Bil Krauss at Irish Kevin's
The Gang at Irish Kevin's
From there we grabbed a quick $1 beer from Guy Harveys on our way to BO's Fish Wagon for seriously good fish sandwiches - yes it looks like a haven for homeless people but it actually has great food!!
BO's Fish Wagon
The Gang Eating Sandwiches at BO's
We strolled the race week tents and booths which were just getting up and running, passed a signpost telling us exactly how far away from Portland, ME we were (as if the 80 degree temps in January weren't enough of a reminder!!)
Portland, ME 1768 miles
and walked the docks (after a short detour into Schooner Wharf to hear Michael McCloud - of course) We wound up seeing Tom Weaver on his boat which was docked at the AB Marina in a seriously prime location. In addition to being an amazing sailor, Tom designs and builds Eastport boats so was there showing off his latest design - a 32 footer. Of course we joined him on board for several coldies because after all, people are more interested in buying a boat if they see people having fun on it - so reluctantly we obliged and had to share a few cocktails with Tom (he only had to run out once for more beer!!!) What a seriously beautiful boat and from what we hear a fish magnet to boot (Tom took the new owner out fishing last week and caught among other things 16 tuna when no one else in the marina caught anything!!!!)
The Gang on Tom's Eastport 32

The next day we decided to pseudo participate in race week by taking Gypsies out for a spin - the weather was finally picture perfect - light winds, calm seas and warm!!! So with the crew of Muircu we eased Gypsies out of her slip for the first time in a month (yippee was she happy - although the Bootser was not - she eventually curled up on the settee to sleep her way through the day!)
Bootsie Sleeps Through Our Excursion on Gypsies
and headed out beyond the reef for several hours of trolling with visions of fresh mahi and tuna dancing in our heads. Alas such was not to be - not even a nibble - Tom later told us we had to go out a bit further to find the fish - good to know for next time!!!
Doug and Brett Discuss Boating After They Failed at Fishing
Jill Enjoys the Pleasures of Powerboating
Not wanting to head in we brought Gypsies inside the reef and anchored where we could see the races - we wound up near one of the race turns and then right at the finish line for the last race of the day for Tom and Regan's division! There truly are few more spectacular sights than a group of sailboats out on the sparkling turquoise water flying their colors!!!!
Let the Races Begin
Flying Colors
More Flying Colors
Not wanting the festivities to end after successfully steering Gypsies back to her slip (no mean feat with the shallow channel and currents!), we headed topsides for an improvised cocktail party!
Post Cruise Cocktails, a Long Time Tradition on Gypsies
No sooner had we sat down with our first coldie of the day when word spread around the dock that there was a sunset party on the top of Coconuts (our friends Louis and Terry try to have Wednesday sunset parties when the weather cooperates because the top of their deck is so high you are above the mango trees and the views of the sunset are unbelievable!!!)
Some of Our Dock Mates at the Sunset Party - Sonya, John and Shawna
Sunset from the Deck of Coconuts
The first time we meet the Coconuts crew we found out not only were they from Maine but they were good friends with some folks we knew up in Islesboro who also have a house down here in KW, Marni and Roger Heinen. We hatched a plan to surprise them with the fact we knew each other so they were invited to the sunset party and we all had a good laugh when they saw us - it continues to amaze me sometimes what a truly small world we live in!!!
The Sunset Cocktail Party on Coconuts - Roger and Marni are in the Middle

Because it's been so cool and windy down here the past several weeks we haven't had much chance to go see Scott and Dave play so our dock gang remedied that on Thursday night. Just after a spectacular sunset,
Sunset from the Deck of Gypsies
the gang all headed down to the sunset pier where we wound up meeting up with Tom and Regan and Brooke, one of the original "wicked sisters" Scott wrote a song about (but not before we passed this classic car which somehow seemed to fit right in with the vibe of KW - half class/half pimpmobile!)
A Purple Classic Car
Scott and Dave were great as always
Scott and Dave
and even got Tom and Regan out there to dance (seriously Tom was the poster child for white men can't dance but we gave him lots of credit for having fun out there!!!)
Tom and Regan Dancing
Part of the Gang at the Sunset Pier
The Rest of the Gang
A Bunch of the Race Week Group at the Sunset Pier
No night can really end in KW at 10 so off we went with Scott, Dave, Brooke, Tom, Regan and our dock gang to Hogs Breath for some key lime pie shooters (or a taste of heaven in a little plastic glass as one of our dockmates Sonya was heard to utter) - with some rocking music by DeBlois Milledge the gang all rocked it until it was time to head back to the SIG (short for our Stock Island Ghetto)!!

Yesterday after more fun and games (or in our case errands and boat chores) the boat crowd took over the pool and hung for the afternoon in water which resembled a spa treatment - it was so relaxing that we were hard pressed to come to a decision on how to spend the evening. That's easy - party on Gypsies!!!!
Cocktail Party on Gypsies
We had a great night up on the flybridge while all around us the fishing boats came in for the weekend kingfish tournament based out of our marina - we're talking serious fishing boats (many with three or four 300+ hp engines!!!) Then it was on to Hogfish, a local Stock Island open air eatery down on the water for some seriously good fish tacos and salads (and of course a couple pitchers of Blue Moon!) Man it's a good thing this place has a health club - now if we'd only use it more often!!!
Dinner at Hogfish Bar & Grill

Today we are headed out with Brett and Jill to sail on their friend Ron's big sailboat - yippee another day out on the water!!! As Brett has mentioned, we're all boat whores - we'll go out on anything (sail, power, trawler, kayak, you name it!) The key is to be out on the water and down here in KW it's all about the water!! (and of course the music!!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's All About the Music

One of the things that we love so much about Key West is that music is everywhere - and a lot of it is really, really good!!! Blues to bluegrass, rock to "trop rock" (think Buffett and his many wannabes and copycats), jazz to country and pretty much everything in between can be heard streaming out from local open air bars, park bandstands, concert halls and even impromptu sidewalk performances. There is almost always someone playing around town to satisfy every kind of musical taste. The other night we had the unbelievable experience of seeing Peter Mayer perform at the Studios of Key West which is a local center for the arts in the old armory building. Along with 200 other fans, we were treated to an evening of just awesome music - for those of you who don't know who Peter Mayer is, he is the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer band - but don't let that fool you!!!! The evening was not a knock off of Buffett tunes - Peter is an amazing musician in his own right and when on his own, he sports a more folksy type of music which reflects his early influences of being born in India.

We've seen Peter play before among other places up in New Hampshire when he did a Hurricane Katrina relief concert with our friend Scott Kirby - once again this had a relief aspect to it in that he donated the proceeds of his cd sales to the Haitian relief effort. Our friends Brett and Jill had never seen Peter or really heard of his music outside of Buffett so they were in for a real treat. After a wonderful Cuban dinner at a local hole in the wall cafe (which abound down here and are usually pretty authentic...meaning great food!!),
The Cuban Restaurant
we spent the next 2 1/2 hours listening to Peter's amazing music - he has just come out with a new cd with his brother Jim (also a guitarist in the Coral Reefer band) where he picked his top 15 or so Beatles tunes, dusted them off and gave them a new lease on life (I know this is heresy but I'm not a huge Beatles fan (I was always the rebel who loved the Stones) but even I was blown away by his renditions of their songs!!!)
Peter Mayer at the Studios of Key West
Our friend Scott, fresh off his gig at the Sunset Pier, showed up to play several songs he co-wrote with Peter and the place went wild!!
Peter Sang One Song...
Then Scott Sang a Song

If the night had ended there, it would have been a great evening but as is usual when we're out with Scott, the evening never ends that early (11:00 pm is an early evening down here!!) So off we went for nighttime cocktails at Louie's Backyard (Scott wrote a great song about Louie's called "My Cathedral" since it is this wonderful deck sitting right out over the water close to the southernmost point where you feel so close to the stars you could reach up and grab them!!) Scott and his wife Michelle showed up with some of their friends and you guessed it, Peter!! So we got to hang out with ... well, a real rock star...except that he is one of the nicest and most unassuming guys you could ever hope to meet. Super nice, super talented and gorgeous to boot - sometimes life just isn't fair!! Reinforcements showed up about 12:30 in the form of Tom Weaver and his wife Regan who are down here for race week (we're talking more than serious sailors - can you say America's Cup!) Tom's been down in KW for a week but Regan just pulled in that night after towing their race boat down from the Chesapeake so she was raring to go! We made it to about 1:30 am before reluctantly calling it a night (which after all we thought was pretty darn good especially since we had been out until 1 the night before at the tranny show!!!)

Saturday should have been a day of rest and recovery but there was too much happening around town - so we hopped on our bikes (yes we still don't have Doug's scooter yet...not going there) and headed into the KW Seafood Festival!! We ran into our dockmates John and Shawna and proceeded to have a ball
We Met Up With John and Shawna
- we wandered the local beer and seafood tents sampling the wares (we headed back to the beer tent several times because after all it was a hot day and we wanted to support the local economy (we're the local stimulus package)
We Wandered the Festival with John and Shawna
all the while listening to the cool sounds of a local band (which included Bubba Lowballs - well that's just our nickname for him after we saw much more of him than we ever wanted to on stage at the Wharf one afternoon! - why is it always me huh Bob and Stef???)
We Watched a Local Band Play
What a riot it was to watch the local dogs who were out in force drinking beer from their owners mugs (you regularly see dogs bellied up to the bars around here especially at Schooner Wharf) - ya gotta love KW!!!
This Little Long-hair Chihuahua Was Seen Drinking Beer Earlier
For some reason my picture taking ability seems to have shut down at this point as I realize I have no pictures after this point (I think it was just that I had to put my camera away in my backpack to ride down to the wharf and just forgot about it...yeah, yeah...that's it!) From there we hit happy hour at the Raw Bar down on the wharf - this is a huge find as they have 50 cent oysters and $6 pitchers of Shock Top!!! While imbibing at an outside table we were able to see the Saints game through the window and liked what we saw - John is a Ragin Cajun from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette so it's all about the Saints. I don't think they will ever be called the aints anymore after destroying the Cardinals!!! Go Saints - since the Pats are out, they're my team now - I'm on the bandwagon!!!

That evening we got to connect with DeFever boating friends of ours from Marathon, Robin and Jim Roberts of Adventures. Despite Robin's being slightly under the weather we had a great time catching up with those guys over some tasty Mexican at Salsa Loca to the music of Clint Bullard and the Indy game (we like Robin even though she is a hardcore Giants fan and admits to liking Peyton Manning - ugh - the things you put up with in the name of friendship!!) They were headed back to Marathon and were wonderful enough to toss our fold-up bikes in the trunk and drive us back to the marina - yippee!!! After making plans for many more KW excursions (the tranny show, seeing Scott perform, dinner at our yacht club, etc), we waved goodbye knowing we'd see each other again soon!! When we got back to Gypsies we were hanging out on the docks with the Muircu crowd when John and Shawna rolled in - they actually had to bike home - ugh!!

Sunday was finally a day of rest and relaxation - after all there was football to watch!! Bootsie was in heaven - mom and dad were going to play with her all day!
Bootsie Just Loves Football Day
Despite having to watch the Chargers and the Jets - two of our least favorite teams in the world - we had a great day chilling out, munching good apps and maybe even a coldie or two! Who knows what today will bring although it is the start of race week and we've been invited down to Tom and Regan's boat any evening - maybe we'll take them up on it or just cruise into KW to partake of the race week festivities - decisions, decisions!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010


When we moved down here to Key West for the winter (and maybe longer), I wondered how I'd continue to get material for the blog - I mean how often can I write about days/nights out at our favorite bars or seeing our favorite musicians?? After awhile I figured that would get stale - not of course to us because we're living the fun life, but to all the readers of our blog who have come to expect us to write about all the different places/experiences we've traveled to or seen. So I promised myself that I'd only write when there was something fun to say and cool or humorous pictures to show. Maybe I'll write less often than before, but that's OK because when I write it will be because we want to share a new experience or place! Well last night's experience just about screamed for a blog entry!!!

What started out as a fantastic drinks/dinner experience on our friends Brett and Jill's sailboat Muircu with their hometown friends Jan and Bridgette, evolved into a true Key West one of a kind (maybe) experience. But first I need to do dinner justice - Brett truly outdid himself making lobster salads that looked so beautiful no one wanted to destroy the masterpieces by eating them - but not for long as we dug right in!!! Thanks for a fabulous dinner guys!
Cocktails in the Cockpit on Muircu
Brett the Master Chef

While we had planned on first hitting the Sunset Pier to hear Scott play, the cool weather and our timing caused us to rethink our plans and hang out for some additional cocktails on Muircu. Then we all piled into their van for the trip into town where we hit the "tranny show" at Aqua - now for all you that don't know what a "tranny show" is, it is a singing and dancing show by a group of heavily made up and costumed transvestites at a gay bar. Yup, I can imagine your thoughts....keep reading!! Our first experience was on the sidewalk outside of the club where Jill and Bridgett almost weren't allowed in because they didn't meet the height test - they didn't come up to the Swedish bombshell Inga's rather enormous chest protrusions (this is a family blog after all). Now I've heard of having to be a certain height to ride the go-karts or the roller coaster but that usually involved a yardstick as a measuring guide...welcome to KW!!!! As it turns out, Inga (who you'll see more of in a minute) is an ex-NFL player - gotta wonder what her/his teammates think of her now. Some NFL'ers go on to be sports commentators or coaches - but I bet not many have chosen Inga's post NFL profession - too bad, she was a riot!!!

Next we were met by our very upbeat shall I say waiter Chris who seemed to be having more fun dancing and frolicking around to the music than any of the patrons - how come gay bars always have the best dance music??? We grabbed a banquet along the side by the bar although once the show started, not many of us stayed seated - it's a very interactive event shall we say.
The Beginning of the Show
Our MC for the evening was Reba McEntire who was so screamingly funny I seriously had to wonder if I was getting out of the show without wetting my pants - she especially focused on a tranny show virgin who shyly admitted to being straight - she proceeded to tell him that he shouldn't be embarrassed by that, that he had been born that way and they'd all accept him for who he was.....he was to get lots of attention throughout the night (not only because he blushed a deep shade of purple every time the dancers would lap dance for him but because instead of tipping them ones he was handing out fists full of them!!! newbie!!!)
Reba McEntire

Well Reba was followed by a progression of costumed lip synching singer/dancers one funnier than the next. Inga was at one time the pirate wench swigging a bottle of rum,
The Pirate Wench
then the cowboy gal with a bottle of beer and a rubber chicken (don't ask and I won't tell)
The Cowgirl with the Rubber Chicken
and finally the crooner in baby doll pajamas singing about a big bone and passing around a joint for all to take a hit off of (none of us inhaled if you were wondering but only in KW could they get away with this!!!)
Inga and Her Bone
Reba was alternately Celine Dion, Lady Gaga and Faith Hill while Maya (truly the one who could pass off (almost) as a girl) came out on stage as JLo and finally Tina Turner!!!
Faith Hill Approaches Jan
Our Introduction to Maya
Maya Dancing
Maya as Tina Turner
Maya seemed to really dig Doug as she kept coming back for a shake and shimmy right in front of us!!!
Maya Seemed to Like Doug
I have to admit that we were all a little envious of Maya's butt - but where everything else went that he was anatomically sporting was a mystery to us all in such tight, skimpy costumes!!! One of the dancers told us in no uncertain terms how they "hid" things but you'll just have to attend a show to find out because the explanation was a little too graphic (albeit unbelievably funny) to discuss on this family blog!!! By the time Tina came out for her final number, the boys (and Bridgett who really seemed to get into it) were out of dollar bills and Jill had decided she wants to become a transvestite and is actively looking into finding a school for such things!!! It was time to leave!!!
The Gang Getting into the Show
Jill Enjoying Tina Turner's Act
The Boys Give Tina Their Dollars

Jan our fabulous designated driver took us safely back to the marina and reality - although as we've always known, reality can be a very warped thing down here in KW. Mid-way through the show Doug and I were thinking how much fun we'll have bringing Bob and Stephanie here when they come to visit us!!!! After last night, we now realize that no trip to KW is complete without at least one visit to the "tranny shows!!!!" Visit at your own risk......

Tonight we are hitting a Peter Mayer concert - Peter is Jimmy Buffett's lead guitarist and a really great guy on top of that! We met Peter when he played up in New Hampshire with our friend Scott Kirby a couple years ago. This is what we love about KW - there's always some great music to hear whether it's at a gay bar or in a concert hall or just out on the pier!!!