Swing Set

Nov 22, 201302:49 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

The Dust Settles

(page 2 of 2)

The canal runs central through the heart of Key West. The airport was on our port side, and some modest homes were on our starboard side. But then we came to what looked to be the end of the canal. Mangroves lined each side, and their branches covered the 12-foot width. There were a couple of homes along the way, but soon there was nothing but trees and marsh. When we started seeing "campers" (in this case, campers means "homeless") and the approach of a low water bridge, I knew this canal wasn't going to be a route for us to take to the bay side of Key West.

The bridge was only 18 inches off the water, much shorter than the air draft on our dinghy, so we turned around. It was an interesting trip, but we won't feel the need to do it again.

Back out to the marked channel, we took it north under the A1A bridge and out to Florida Bay. We had to go past Sunset Marina and around Sigsbee Key over to the mooring field at Garrison Bight. Then, we took the route under the bridge to Fleming Key and back to Key West Harbor and then to our harbor in Key West Bight. At least I knew we had an "inside route" from Stock Island over to Key West Bight if we wanted to visit downtown in the dinghy, avoiding the prevailing easterly winds.

The Key West Film Festival had taken place over the weekend. Our feeling low prevented us from attending one of the films being shown at the Tropic Cinema, but we did go to the Tropic on Wednesday night for a movie. The Tropic is a real gem. If you're in Key West and want an evening out that doesn't consist of Sloppy Joe's and strip clubs, take in a movie there, if for no other reason but the popcorn.

We did a few chores on the boat on Thursday, but toward late afternoon we took the dinghy back out for a cruise. A friend had mentioned a sternwheeler that had found its way to Key West recently, and we wondered if it was still in the area, so we went over to the City Marina at Garrison Bight to see if the Barbara Ann was still docked there.

We found the Barbara Ann just where she was docked last January, although with an addition of some new windows and another door or two. She still touts "Port of St. Louis" on her stern, but I'd venture to stay she'll never see that part of the country again. Barbara Ann has more steel cables holding her in her slip than the S.S. Admiral.

The City Marina at Garrison Bight is home to an eclectic mixture of floating homes and houseboats in various stages of repair. While we find it very interesting to look at, we wouldn't want to keep our boat in this marina. I'd bet that there isn't a square foot of shiny fiberglass in the whole place, and nearly every "vessel" has a bilge pump going 24/7. The Barbara Ann is not one of those. Yet.

We exited Garrison Bight and took the long way around back to Key West Harbor along the shoreline of Fleming Key. It was a wet ride as the wind had picked up some, but it was fun.   The dinghy is our favorite way to have fun, and while Swing Set seems more and more like "home", the dinghy is our essential method of transportation, and something we don't think we could do without.

We meandered our way through Key West Harbor. It too is an eclectic mixture of boats, but only the primary type of vessel is a sailing one. We saw our "Prairie Dog" friends from last December. Their boat was even loaded with more junk than it was back then. They weren't at home, not like we were going to stop for a chat anyway.

Another fella out on his sailboat, albeit without sails, and a dinghy tied up to the stern that was defying all efforts to sink, was trying to wave us over. It wasn't an "I need assistance" type wave, but an "I see somebody to have a beer with and I have no beer wave," normally one I find hard to resist, but we've found reason to avoid people who live this way on a sailboat, or otherwise on any decrepit vessel, for the same way we avoid socializing with people who live, say, on a park bench. They may be nice folks, but their seeming succession of bad choices that may have wound them up in their predicaments were choices that we also choose not to become part of. While I'm sympathetic, you're not dealing with Mother Theresa here.

It was getting close to sunset, so we cruised around Tank Island, now called Sunset Key because the owners of the multi-million dollar homes built on it didn't want to be living on such a commonly named place called Tank Island, and we drifted along the western shore of Key West and Mallory Square.

We waited on the sunset and watched all the folks lined up along Mallory Square, and along the upper decks of the cruise ship Majesty of the Seas, a Nassau registered ship that has seen better days. I post this photo for the followers of this blog who would rather see pictures than read my writing.

Our day was a good one. We found out that our new bike will be arriving from California next week and that our new generator is also on the way. We have a large deposit placed on the generator, and I was beginning to get a little worried about it coming.

This photo is not of the best sunset we've seen in our travels, it's just one more. But one more sunset hopefully means one more sunrise. String enough of them together, and you wind up with a life. If you're lucky, you can eek out a good one.

We burned our running lights on the dinghy and got back to A&B Marina after dark. The fellas in the beautiful Buddy Davis sportfishing boat near us appeared genuinely concerned that we'd been out so late, saying they were giving us another 30 minutes before calling the Coast Guard. My money says they were more concerned about Rosie than me. What do you think? Always have a pretty woman by your side and money in your pocket, and somebody will usually come looking for you.

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