Monday, January 29, 2018

Time to Start Looking North

Viridian has reached the end of the journey south on America's Great Loop.  The Florida Keys were the only place where this year's long-arm-of-winter had a hard time reaching.  The crew of Viridian is within one week of departing our comfortable slip at Stock Island Marina and making our way north by way of the Gulf of Mexico, back to Ft. Myers and across the Okeechobee to the AICW.  The six week stay here not only kept us in warm weather and allowed us to explore a unique part of the US,  we also met some of the nicest folks you could ever encounter.  Once the thrill of being in a new place fades it's the friends you make along the way that mean the most.  Another benefit of staying put for a while is being able to get some things done to Viridian that needed attention.  Things like: replacing the lower shift cable, replacing a bank of batteries, polishing the Strata-Glass on the fly bridge, start on rebuilding the fresh water plumbing/pipe system, defrosting both freezers, deck maintenance, boat safety inspection and a good cleaning inside and out.  By the time the next weather window opens for our departure, we will at least have our boat in shape but leaving our new friends will be a bittersweet event.

That's the news and here are some views:

A visit from a Manatee

Turtle Tub

Front yard decoration Florida Style  

Momma hen with hatchlings

Lunch with Friends

Stepping out of a Picture

An evening in Key West
A chicken helping bus the table

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Good Morning in Key West

I know what your saying, Isn't every morning a good morning in Key West?  Well, every morning we wake up is a good morning but when we wake up and the first thing we see is a perfect rainbow then we are reminded of God's Promise that there is always hope.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Marina Life as a Looper

Each day a new Looper boat arrives somewhere in Key West.  As members of AGLCA we are able to locate one another and plan a gathering either on someone's boat or at one of the marinas facilities.  The past several days the crew of Viridian has been performing some preventive maintenance on the boat, taking long walks along the shore of the Island, going to see a movie and hanging out with other boaters.  Also, we have been here long enough to start to get to know some of the locals and get a glimpse of what life is like for them living here in Key West.

We have about 13 days left here before we start our voyage north to Canada.  Some of the people we meet here will possibly be going the same time we do.  We will certainly meet other Loopers and local boaters along the way.  One thing is certain, the places we stay are sublime, but the people we share it with make it unforgettable.

That's the news now here are some views:

 Went to the Tropic Cinema to see the movie, "The Darkest Hour".

Custom Restrooms

 Back to The Hogfish with newly arrived Loopers and boaters

Satisfied Hogfish Customers

 We arrived a little early for the Looper gathering at The Galleon Marina in Key West

 Everyone brought what they wanted to grill and a potluck side dish

 Sharing War Stories

As you can see, it's cooler than normal for Key West, but nothing like what our friends and family are experiencing north of us

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Key West Seafood Festival

Today, Sunday, was the last day of the Key West seafood festival so we decided to buzz over this afternoon and see what all the commotion was about.  With the temperature peaking at 62 degrees and a north wind of 17 mph, we arrived at the festival shivering and looking for something warm to eat.  There was no line at the conch chowder booth so we headed over only to find out that they had run out of bowls.  Conch fritters were flying off the shelf next door so we got a small basket of that to tide us over.  They were hot and tasty with the cocktail sauce and cut the edge off our hunger as the pig we ate yesterday had faded.   Milling around we found a small line at the gumbo shed but a lady came to us and said that they would probably run out by the time we got to the table.  Fortunately, we managed to get the bottom of the pot scrapings poured over a bed of rice.  Not the best gumbo but at least it was hot and practically free.  Don't get me wrong, there were several succulent seafood plates served at various booths but we were forging on the cheap.  Many unique craft items were on display and for sale but we were there to just look. Besides, we don't have any room on Viridian to put another item.  Satisfied we had sampled the festival of Key West, we got back on our rented scooter for the last time and buzzed back to the marina.  Tomorrow the scooter will be gone and exchanged for a couple of bicycles.  That's a little news and here are a few views.

 What would a festival be without one of these birds sitting on someone's shoulder?
This bird is 30 years old!!!

 Strips of salvaged hurricane plywood nailed to crab traps served as stand-up tables

 Tables and chairs under a covering for those who don't want to stand

What do you do when you can't find your long britches?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Whole Pig and Random Pics

De Luna's Bar and Grill is located at Stock Island Marina, just a quick walk around the corner from where Viridian is tied.  We have noticed that in order to survive as an eatery on Key West you have to get creative and think of unique things that set you apart.  The competition for customers here is very intense but that creates excellent menus and the owners have to be at the top of their game at all times.  

De Luna is a Cuban family owned business.  Two generations work here as cooks, waitresses and bottle washers.  Today they had a handwritten poster nailed to a post advertising whole, 120 lb, fire-roasted pig plate special for $8.00.   Who could resists that?  Especially since most people have had their fill of seafood.  The only thing that was working against this strategy was that the wind was blowing away from the marina and out into a mangrove forest where only the alligators and iguanas could smell it.  Nevertheless, word traveled fast up wind and we staked out our place in line and soon had our platter of succulent Cuban roasted pig with Cuban spiced black beans & rice and yuca root. (Yuca root is also referred to as Cassava, Medioc or Mandioca and Tapioca throughout the tropical regions of the world it is grown in.  In the United States, the name “tapioca” most often refers to the starch and other derivatives made from the root.)  We were not able to finish our lunches due to the HUGE portions, but what we did manage to eat kept us till next day.

That's the "pig" news of the day and here are some random views around the marina.

 Checking the hind quarters

 Checking the front quarters


Why didn't we just half a plate?

 Guineas taking a dirt bath

 These things can swim like a fish!

 6 ft Tarpon fish cruising under the docks

 See the owl silhouette by the post?  Apparently this is a bird magnet rather that a bird repellent.

 These young men crew a crab boat with 500 pots deployed in the Atlantic Ocean off shoar east of Key West.  They run them every 3 days.  On the off days they take on fuel and earn money with their boat in other ways. 

 Santa Claus is coming!

Coconut Row is probably the oldest dock here on Stock Island.  Lots of liveaboards here.

 Coconut Row

 Mooring balls on Coconut Row

 Just a pinch between cheek and gum

 Meg and "Salt" the looper dog