Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Weather is Here......

I just don't even know where to start on this blog as we've had so much fun the past week or so....OK let's start with the weather which has finally turned a magnificent corner. After a fairly regrettable winter of northers and cold, we've had pretty much nothing but sun and warmth the past week - now that's why we came south for the winter!!! Doug and I took advantage of one beautiful day to tour the botanical gardens over here on Stock Island - now that the sun is shining and we've packed away the fleece, we want to be outside and there is this sweet little preserve in the middle of our ghetto over here. There are trails lined with hundreds of varieties of local and indigenous trees and flowering plants, ponds full of wild birds and art sculptures and neat little resting spots hidden amongst the flora and wildlife. It's a very cool little peaceful oasis set back off the beaten track amongst all the craziness that is Key West!!!

Can anyone tell me what this bird is???

The start of the nice weather is also the beginning of a sad time here at the marina since we lost our first boat last week as Sonya and Paul on Event Horizons (our next boat neighbor at the dock) pulled out with Brett as crew for a trip up to Charleston.
Soon enough other boats are planning on heading out - we've been so lucky this winter to have had so many wonderful, fun and exciting people at our dock who I know we will be friends with for a long time. But as in this cruising life, all things are transitory and there are new places to explore for everyone and usually you go your separate ways at some point. However as we have also found, you often find a way of reconnecting in some other port at some other time and you pick right up were you left off - that's the great thing about cruising friends. See you on the water somewhere, sometime guys!!!

And just like that our great cruising buddies Bob and Stephanie breezed back into KW the other day with Bob's brother Ron and his wife Rena in tow. Well it was only fitting that we cram as much fun as we possibly could into the three days they were here so our whirlwind tour of all the local KW high and low spots commenced (I'm not going to run through the litany because frankly I'm not sure my liver could take the replay but there was music at most of our stops including Scott Kirby, Michael McCloud and Bil Krauss our favorites, throw in happy hour oysters and pitchers at the Raw Bar, sunset at Mallory Square, roadies from Guy Harveys, tattoos for the girls and an earring for Ron, popcorn trips to the Parrot and the Chart Room, bull riding at Cowboy Bills, late night cigar adventures at Schooner Wharf, the Georgia girl at Hogs Breath, an electric car ride around the island, cocktails on the after deck, and a drag show with Inga, Faith and Sassy and you'll probably get the picture - it wasn't pretty!!!!) So instead of boring you with the details (or making everyone incredibly jealous, for once I'm just going to let the pictures speak for themselves. Ya think they had fun?????
We Started the Festivities with Cocktails and Apps on September Song
Stopped at Guy Harvey's for Roadies on the Way to Mallory Square for Sunset
Rena Gives the Tip to the Dog Who is the Performers Helper
Some Performers Juggle Flaming Torches
On to the Chart Room for Drinks
Then to the Sunset Pier to See Scott Kirby and Country Dave
We Ran into Friends from Annapolis, Tom and Regan, at the Sunset Pier
Everyone Met at Irish Kevin's at Noon Thursday for the Bil Krauss Show
Bil Got "Shrek" from the Audience to Dance on Stage with Him
"Shrek" and Bob, aka "Spartacus", Bond at Irish Kevin's
Rena and Her New Best Friend from Scotland
After Lunch, Stephanie and Rena Got Tattoos to Match Tammy's
That Night We Met the Group at Aqua for the Drag Queen Show
Inga REALLY Liked Ron!!!!!!!
Sassy Chocolate Was Equally Interested
Inga has a New "Tiger Would" Routine
After the Drag Queen Show, We Went to Cowboy Bill's for Dinner and "Bikini Bull Riding"
Friday Afternoon We Met the Group at the Green Parrot
Ron Rented a Tourmobile so We Could Show Them the Island
First Stop, Of Course, Was the Southernmost Point
Then to Louie's Backyard for Drinks
After Completing the Loop Around the Island, We Went to the Raw Bar for Happy Hour
Where We Had Oysters...
and More Oysters...
and More Oysters!!!
We Turned in the Tourmobile then Went to Hogs Breathe for...You Guessed It, Drinks
Where We Met Very Exuberant and Friendly Lindsey, the Georgia Girl
Our Last Stop of the Night was Schooner Wharf for Wings and a Visit with the Cigar Guy
Tammy Decides to Enjoy a Vanilla Flavored Cigar

Yesterday was a day of rest - and paying attention to Bootsie who made sure we knew that we had been ignoring her terribly (that 3:00 am kitty rooster wake-up call to play was not appreciated!!) We launched into a Harry Potter movie marathon (yes we have all 6 and have only seen them several times!!) complete with homemade pizza, popcorn get the picture!! Back to the gym this morning - the elliptical groaned at me - it was Rena's fault really since we didn't need yet another dozen oysters or another pitcher of beer and that last batch of wings at Schooners (after the first 30) were a true killer (although with the cigars from the cigar man, they did go quite well and we managed to eat them all!!!)

Tomorrow it's back to boat chores and starting to get the resume back into shape for the start of our job search ..... that is until our cruising buddies Todd and Brenda on Life's2Short pull into town this week sometime!!! Yippppeee - here we go again!!!

By the way - Happy Birthday Stephanie - yeah, yeah, that's why we were partying so hard!!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Patrick's Day - Key West Style

The craziness continues down here in Cayo Hueso or the Island of Bones as Key West is known - the island has numerous aliases just like most of us who live down here (guess we're all hiding from something - in our case it must be reality!!) Our friend Brett from Muircu had his mom in town for a week - so of course it was only fitting we greet her with a party (we even were gracious enough to have it at her condo - welcome to KW mom!!!)
The Party at Brett's Mom's Condo
Jill Talks to Brett's Mom Gloria
Seriously though Brett had an amazing spread of sushi and tempura that rocked the house - the presentation was even better than the food....well, maybe not.
Brett Tastes the Sushi
The dock gang descended on Gloria's suite and had quite a night of it!!! Thanks guys!!!

Even Bootsie our boat kitty has made friends down here in KW - Binkus from our next door neighbors' boat Muircu is a wonderfully sneaky little black cat who constantly lies in wait for us to leave our door open so she can sneak aboard and party with Bootsie. Sometimes she hides under our kayaks or behind a hatch on Muircu waiting for her chance.
Binky Hiding Under the Kayaks
The other night I came back to the boat for something and swear I only had the door open for a second - but sure enough, Binkus found her way onto Gypsies for a little partying with the Bootser. No problem except that when her servants Brett and Jill came home they couldn't find Binky anywhere - since she's black she doesn't really stand out on the dock at night and she has this thing about not meowing (wish she could teach our boat rooster that at 6:00 am!!!) After scouring the docks with flashlights and calling her name until they were hoarse, Brett finally found Binky sitting prettily at our door waiting to be let out!!! Too funny!!

Well the weather finally seems to have taken a turn for the better down here - it's getting sunnier and warmer by the day!! Doug and I took advantage of it the other day to take a long walk along the ocean and then hit downtown.
A Pelican Stands Out in the Water off Smathers Beach
Not only did we forget it was spring break, but there were 3 cruise ships in town AND it was the St. Patrick's Day pub crawl. Now it was only Saturday - four days before the actual St Patrick's Day - but I can not tell you how crazy it was down there!!!

I'm not sure I've ever seen better costumes or that much green - roads were closed off to sport beer pong venues (now we're talking!!!)
Beer Pong in KW
and everywhere there were shades of green (I didn't know there were that many!!) The costume winner had to be the guy dressed up as a bishop or some such religious figure (sorry mom I never really paid much attention in Sunday school classes) with the staff entwined with a major serpent!!!
The Bishop Walks Through the Crowd
Note to self, try to avoid downtown KW on spring break - it's uglier even than usual!!! So far we've only heard of one major casualty - some yahoo fell while jumping from one pitched rooftop to another - he survived so can only be an honorable mention in the Darwin awards for this year!!

As you've read in our blogs before, the Green Parrot has just some amazing music and this past week was no exception - the group Entrain from Martha's Vineyard played for a couple nights. They are probably one of the best bands we've seen since being down here in KW and that's really saying something!! They are known for their drum playing as all of the band members play drums and there were four sets up on a really small stage including bongos!!! Entrain at the Green Parrot
But they are way more than just drums too - they have an amazing alto (or tenor?) sax player and great vocals!!! The Sax Player
The dock gang all descended on the Parrot for sound check and left wanting more!!!
The Gang at the Green Parrot
No Snivelling Sign at the Green Parrot
Not content for the evening to end (as usual), we headed over to Salsa Loca for Mexican
Dinner at Salsa Loca
before winding up at the Sunset Pier to see our friends Scott Kirby and Dave Edmisten. By then the cold weather had kicked in again so they only played for about a set but we figured we'd have an "early" night since the next day was the official St. Patrick's Day.

We awoke the next morning to torrential rain and a radar that showed a band of showers that would last until the next week - or so it seemed. Lucky for us, it started to let up by about 2:00 and we were off with Brett and Jill to Finnegan's Wake (a primo Irish bar in town) sporting our green!!! There we met up with Scott and several friends of his from New Hampshire (Marsha and Al) who had actually been at our bon voyage party back in August 2008 - small world!!!
Scott, Marsha, Al and Doug at Finnegan's Wake
Key West really knows how to do St. Patrick's Day let me tell you - it was such a far cry from the fairly pathetic attempt at Irish partying we experienced in Marathon last year where we combed every bar in town looking for Irish music to no avail. Down here streets were closed off for the beer and corned beef and cabbage tents!!!
Jill and Brett Share a Plate of Corned Beef and Cabbage
There were puppies dyed green,
face painters,
jugglers and every kind of street musician known to man all out joining the festivities. After listening to the Irish band at Finnegan's (who come down every year from Toronto), it was time to wander over to Duval Street (via Guy Harveys of course) to people watch and then head back to the Parrot for another evening of Entrain!! Marsha and Al joined us on our trek and got right into the spirit of the day!!!
Doug with Marsha and Al at the Green Parrot
At the Parrot really anything goes - there was an 80 year old woman enjoying her birthday among all the craziness - I just hope I'm vertical when I'm her age - man I want to party like her!!!
The 80th Birthday Party
There were also several babies hanging out on dad's shoulders
or snug in mom's backpack
- everyone was out on the town enjoying a wee bit of the Irish!!!
The Gang as We Departed the Green Parrot

Needing sustenance to keep the day going, after being joined at the Parrot by the rest of the dock gang, we headed to Bobalu's for pizza and more beer where we saw more great costumes and green dyed pooches!!
And then it was on to the Sunset Pier to see Scott again!!!
Scott and Dave at the Sunset Pier
It was a little warmer so they got in their whole set which was awesome!!
The Gang at the Sunset Pier
Paul Sports a Pair of Beer Goggles...
Jill and Tammy at the Sunset Pier
We were treated to a rendition of Danny Boy by a walk-on singer (she sang it for her mom)
and Jill even got to dance with a boy (usually she gets hit on by the local girls!!!!)
Jill Dancing with a Boy!
It's St Patrick's Day so I guess the night couldn't end there....on to Virgilio's with the gang to see Raven play where we were joined by more dock mates
Raven Playing at Virgilio's
Nancy and Bob from Sun Luver
and even some locals we've gotten to know!!! YIKES!!! What a day/night/ get the picture!!
The Gang at Virgilio's
Doug, Scott and Laura at Virgilio's

Thursday should have been a day of rest but let's face it, it's March Madness BABY!!! We watched lots of basketball all day - now I have to ask you who picked Murray State and Ohio???? Obviously not me but I'm not out of it yet!!! Last night a bunch of us got together on Bob and Nancy's boat Sun Luver for a Bahamas teach in - we wound up planning a trip to the Dry Tortugas for later this month as well - yeehaa!!! Today is more b-ball and boat chores - guess even we need to take a break sometime - nah!!! Bill Blue is back at the Parrot on Sunday for sound check so I guess you know where we'll be!!! Hopefully we'll get to take Gypsies out this weekend and then Bob and Stephanie from September Song are back in Key West next week - let the party continue!!!! Can't wait to see you guys!!!