Thursday, March 4, 2010

Water Sports....and Music

In between rain drops and gusting winds, we've managed to sneak in some pretty terrific days down here in Key West - but then again most every day is pretty cool down here!! I know lots of people have been complaining about the weather this winter (me included!) since after all it is the coldest winter on record in Florida, but on the bright side it hasn't snowed ... yet!!!

Doug and I took advantage of a nice sunny morning the other day to head into town - first stop was Smathers beach to at least put our toes in the sand!!!
Tammy Gets Sand Between Her Toes on Smathers Beach
It wasn't warm enough for real beach sitting although there were some hardy tourists out there in bathing suits (just think we used to be one of those freaks who don bathing suits in 60 degree weather - guess it's all what you get used to!!) Like us who wanted to take advantage of the warmer weather, the beach was packed with wildlife including some beautiful white herons
A White Heron Rests on a Rock Off Smathers Beach
and some really funky looking jelly fish,
Jellyfish Floating in the Water
many of which had washed up onto the sidewalk from the storms of the days before - at first we didn't think they were real but after seeing so many of different sizes, we finally saw some in the water and they had some nasty looking tentacles hanging down!!
Jellyfish with Tentacles
We walked all along the beaches and then parched and tuckered headed into Guy Harvey's and assorted other watering holes for a different form of wildlife watching!! It really is the best here in KW!!!

We've had some pretty cool wildlife hanging out on our docks as well - white and green herons (notice the fish in the green heron's mouth - we obviously interrupted his lunch!!)
White Heron
Green Heron
and even, I swear, a blue heron!! I didn't think the blue herons were this far south as they definitely call the Chesapeake Bay home but others on the dock saw it too and swore I wasn't crazy (at least not on account of this one event!)

Last Saturday was the local arts festival which we went to more as an excuse to head into town than anything else - seriously where are we going to hang artwork?? we live on a boat (much to our friend John Spain's chagrin - John and Francesca own Maine Art Gallery and the Gallery on Chase Hill in Kennebunkport and contributed heavily to our art collection when we had a land-based home)!! Before the skies opened up we checked out the Little White House which is where Harry Truman spent many of his vacations and used the facility as a functioning White House between 1946 and 1952. The house is considered the birth place of the US Dept. of Defense and the US Air Force because of the Key West Accords of 1948; President Eisenhower recovered from his heart attack here; President Kennedy and British PM Harold Macmillan had a summit here during the Bay of Pigs incident and then Kennedy returned after the Cuban Missile crisis; Secretary of State Colin Powell and other foreign leaders had an international summit here in 2001; and Presidents Taft, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton have all used the Little White House during their presidencies - and who said KW was just a bunch of loonies and assorted folks running away from the law or ex-spouses???

The Little White House
We just beat the downpour by ducking into the Sports Page for a few cocktails and apps - there we found our long lost bartender from Hogs Breath that we used to drink shots with 10-15 years ago - we remembered him and he us so it was a mini-reunion!!!

That evening we were in for a treat - the Massacoustics were playing at Hogs Breath - we had told everyone on our dock about them so the whole gang descended on HB and Andy and Matt Thompson didn't disappoint!
The Gang Gather at Hogs Breath
Man they rocked that stage - even our music guru friends Shawna and Brett were blown away. When the guys ever launched into Pinball Wizard, my mouth was hanging on the bar (and no not because I needed more beer) - I'm not sure even the Who could have played it as well. The fact they are pretty easy on the eyes is just a lucky bonus!!! If you've never checked out their music, you really should - they are awesome - we all can't wait for them to come back to KW at the end of March!!! (www.themassacoustics. com)
The Massacoustics Play at Hogs Breath

The next day dawned bright and sunny although I must admit 9:00 am rolled around a little too early but we were off again with Brett, Jill's sister Gail (Jill and Gail's husband Hoot were going to cheer us on from Mallory Square) and Shawna and Jon to sail in the monthly Schooner Wharf Wreckers Race out to Sand Key Light on Captain Ron's (seriously you can't make this stuff up) beautiful 56 foot sailboat!!!
The Crew Gathers Before the Race
Kicking off the morning with bloodies and screwdrivers I'm sure helped us get in the racing mood as we headed away from the dock in Boca Chica to the start of the race in the Key West harbor. Unfortunately the wind was directly behind us the whole race and kept swirling around so needless to say we did not win bragging rights that day - Capt Ron's boat is somewhat of a pig with following winds. But we sure had fun as Gail and I worked the spinnaker trim lines and Doug and Brett worked the boom trying to get it to fly wing on wing - all to the commands of race commodore (slave driver) Shawna who actually has big boat racing experience from a prior life!!
Shawna Calls to the Team to Trim the Spinnaker
She's the one Capt Ron really wants on the boat for races, and we're just the strong backs, weak minds that do what we're told....only kidding as tons of fun was had by all (the fact that beers followed the bloodies even during the race had nothing to do with our fifth place finish in our class!!!) Other than the temperamental wind, the day was gorgeous - sunny, relatively warm, beautiful turquoise water, pretty boats all flying their colors and lots of laughs - another good day on the water!!

How do you top a day like that - go fishing!!! which is exactly what we did the following day. Jill, Brett, Gail, Hoot, Doug and I all went out fishing with Jesse - the mahi slayers were ready!!!
The Fishing Crew are Ready - Hoot, Gail and Jill
Unfortunately the water was so churned up by recent storms that it was really murky so none of those mahi and tuna could even see our delectable lures trolling along behind the boat (at least that is the story we all decided upon as we didn't get even as much as a nibble while we were out beyond the reef!!!) So not wanting us to be disappointed Jesse brought us to a couple reefs to try and jig for some snapper or grouper but the current was so strong that wasn't going to work. Not to be thwarted, we went back to trolling but inside the reef in shallower water where it wasn't quite so murky! Bingo!!! Doug was soon hauling in a bonito (unfortunately not a good eating fish but great for bait!)
Doug Catches a Bonito as Captain Jesse Looks On

and then I had one on the line who was a real fighter - turned out to be a good size kingfish - yum!!!! We were not going hungry that night!! The fish guts and blood that covered my pants, shoes and jacket I took as a badge of honor - although the boat looked a little worse for the wear!!
Tammy and Gail Show-off the Big Kingfish Tammy Landed
Gail lost what looked like a really big one but then both she and Doug simultaneously pulled in a couple spanish mackerel!!
Gail and Doug Show-off Their Matching Spanish Mackerel
Now it was up to Hoot who pulled in some kind of fish as did Doug again but neither was edible so we let them go. We had a great day out pretending to be fish slayers and then headed in where Doug proceeded to filet all our fish - WOW he's gotten pretty darn good at that even if the pelicans were pretty aggressively trying to intervene - one little bugger almost made off with one of the bags of fish!! Man, I remember the first time Doug cleaned a fish over in the Bahamas - he's come a long way baby!!! That night dinner was on Gypsies and we had lots of fresh fish, wine, chocolate fondue for dessert and laughs!!!
Dinner on Gypsies - Hoot, Gail, Jill, Brett and Tammy

Last night was our weekly sunset party on Coconuts and while it was a little cold and windy to be upstairs on their deck, we were not to be thwarted so the party just raged on inside!! We got to meet a couple new dockmates who have come in the last week and Shawna's parents
who are down visiting. After the most of the guests left, Terry and Loie informed us that two of the party guests we had been chatting with were cartoonists and pretty famous ones at that - one writes Mother Goose and Grim and the other Shoe. You just never know who you are going to meet down here in this crazy town!!!

Today and tomorrow are reserved for boat chores as we can't wait to welcome our nephew Luke and his girlfriend Laura who arrive on Saturday from Virginia - they have never been to KW so we have quite the list of places to go, people to see and music to hear!! I'm sure there will be some good pictures following that weekend!! Also our friends on September Song and Sea Pearl are supposed to pull into KW tomorrow so stay tuned for some rowdy goings on!!!

1 comment:

  1. That jelly fish is a portuguese man of war. Don't touch it!! Very painful I am told.

    Gerry - Defever 41