Jan 23, 201308:07 AM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
Holed Up In Key West
The end of last week was a whirlwind of activity. We spent Friday with Doug and Jeanne Harmon, first meeting early to go to El Siboney's Cuban Restaurant, where we had one of the best meals here in Key West. Very reasonable prices, and very good food. It's off the beaten path and worth the hunt to find it. Get the skirt steak.
On Saturday, Doug and Leslie Woods called. They were in town for a couple of days with friends Joe and Christy Grygiel, all of them from back in Missouri and members of the Duck Club Yacht Club on the Mississippi River, where we used to be members. The four of them met at the boat, and even though, the sky was a little overcast, the wind was very light, so we offered to take them out for a cruise. They came prepared.
Here we are out in Hawk Channel. Joe was compelled to take a dip in the blue waters, but everyone else didn't want to brave the cold once getting back out. We took a ride over to Safe Harbor, near Oceanside Marina, where we stayed for New Year's Eve. Rosie and I didn't like the looks of the place and doubt that we would ever stay there. Derelict vessels are depressing to see, in my opinion.
The overcast sky gave way to the sun for it to set. We motored over to the north side of Wisteria Island and set a hook to watch and were not disappointed. It was dark by the time we got back to A & B Marina, and we were able to get Swing Set back in her berth without incident.
Here's the three guys at A & B Lobster house, where Rosie and I were treated with dinner in thanks for taking us all out. Not necessary, but a very welcomed gesture. The dinner was great. You may have seen this shirt on me before. There is no end to bars and restaurants in Key West. I think our limit to stay here is dependent on how much we avoid going out to eat and drink. But we press on.
On Sunday, we got a late start, but Rosie and I headed to Dante's to watch playoff NFL football and to also people watch at the pool. The sky was overcast again, which put a damper on things poolside, but we had a good time and planned to return on a better weather day.
After Dante's, Rosie and I walked over to the Bull and Whistle, and after we got a beer, were asked to leave because Holly was not allowed in the joint. That was OK by me, because the guy they had providing music had "Mary Had a LIttle Lamb" and "Mickey Mouse" as part of his playlist, but with all the other stuff allowed in this bar, not allowing a dog in there seems ridiculous.
I finally learned that to get into a bar with a pet, they need to be deemed a "service dog." Holly promptly got a promotion. When we arrived at Caroline's, just down the street, the manager asked if Holly was a service dog. Yep. "I suffer from separation anxiety," I said. Holly got a pass and joined us at the curbside counter.
Our friends from St. Louis called and joined us at Carolines. Then at Captain Tony's. And then at a couple other places, before we deposited Holly back at the boat and we all went to dinner at Alonzo's, just beneath A & B Lobster House and a few steps from the boat. We had a nightcap on the boat and sent our four friends away into the night. They were heading back north in the morning.
What did I get accomplished in the last few days that was in any way productive? I stitched up some of the bimini top on our boat with my new stitching awl. It does a wonderful job, and I only stabbed myself in the finger one time. These handheld stitching awls have been around for years; my dad had one in the basement when I was a kid. I sort of knew what it was for but never saw him use it. He was a needle and thread guy, mostly. I learned how to use mine from YouTube.
I washed the hull of the boat, and boy it needed it. I had to drop the dinghy and work from it because there are no fingers here at this marina. I was told to wait until some of the boats left, and then I could work from the dock, but I was in the mood to get the job done. Never know when the mood would strike again.
We took a dinghy ride over to Garrison Bight to walk to the NAPA Auto Parts store, where I bought some oil filters. We decided that we didn't like the area over there at all, and we will never stay on a mooring ball in Garrison Bight, nor ever leave our dinghy at the dinghy dock over there at night. No thanks. If, in the future, friends come to Key West and we can't get a slip in Key West Bight to meet them, we probably won't get to see them. We have more to learn about the ins and outs of having our own boat here.
On Monday night, we steamed the lobster that Doug Harmon had caught. Jeanne's advice to cut along the top of the tail and pull out the meat before steaming was a very good idea, otherwise I think the meat cooked inside the tail would be dense and tough. This way it was light and "fluffy." Made it seem larger too. Steamed for eight minutes, and it was superb. We used the convection oven to cook a chuck roast to steak-like perfection to serve alongside our lobster. Some German-style potatoes and a salad rounded out a very good dinner. I cannot wait to go lobstering again. We may have to wait a few days, as the wind will be up until the weekend.
Yesterday, we spent working through the bureaucracy of getting a customs decal for the boat. It's required for returning to the US when we leave the country. The harder item was applying for a permit to enter the Bahamas with Holly. What a joy it was to call and talk to a government employee at the Bahamas Agricultural Department! It may be better in the Bahamas, but it's not faster, or easier. The woman told me that the turnaround time for getting the permit would be "two days." Nothing only takes two days in the Bahamas. We are hoping to have the permit in six weeks, if we're lucky. We also need a certificate from our "other" veterinarian in Marathon, as that's where Holly will get her rabies vaccination. They have plenty of experience in issuing those certificates, so we don't anticipate a problem.
Once I found the permit application online, I filled it out and we headed to the US Post Office to get a money order and to mail it to the Bahamas. We have two rolls of "forever" stamps. They are only "forever" if you aren't mailing overseas, so it's a good thing we didn't drop the application in a mailbox somewhere. It would have been "forever" lost in some corner of the Key West Post Office.
On our walk to the Post Office, we noticed the Tropic Cinema on Eaton Street. So, after a quick dinner, we walked back to the 5:45 showing of "Lincoln," a film we wanted to see. It had been over 12 years since we had been to a movie theatre, and we really enjoyed it. This little theatre is a non-profit establishment and has three tiny screens. The place is run mainly by volunteers and is as neat and clean a theatre as you're going to find. Our little screening room was full of patrons, and no one talked or made a sound during the show. (Except for normal, movie watching sounds, of course.) Admission probably rates right up there with the chain theaters, but the snack bar prices were very reasonable, and they offered beer and wine, too. We'll go back if they are playing another movie we want to see before we leave the area.
We have had experience with dog owners who refuse to leash their dogs, thinking they are so well behaved that it isn't necessary. Now, we don't like it that Holly thinks she is 10 feet tall and barks viciously at other dogs, but that's just how it is and it's not illegal. When a large German Shepard or Pit Bull takes offense at Holly's vocal ability and starts towards her, I snatch Holly up in my arms for her protection. The owners always say, "Oh, my dog won't bite." I always say, "You never know," to which they look offended. Too bad. One bite and Holly could be history. We always admonish her for barking at people and dogs, but wish others would keep their pets on a leash, well behaved or not. I usually pick her up when I see other pets approaching, as a precaution, but I'm not always that fast. Only half fast, at times.
This morning, we went to Pepe's for breakfast. It's the oldest eating establishment in Key West. We had a good meal, visited West Marine for the fourth time and then walked to Fausto's for some grocery items. It's a blustery, cloudy, windy day here. We won't go out in the boat, and it may be a good day to start a new book or do some research into our impending travel to the Bahamas.
This blog is supposed to be about our boating travels and living "on the hook," but being stuck at a dock is part of the deal sometimes. I guess we'll just have to plod along and make the most of things while we're here.