Key West - What a Place!

Monday, May 1, 2006
Florida, USA

024-34.260 N
081-48.240 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from Key West, FL!

We arrived in Key West four days ago and it's been non-stop since we got here. One of our goals was to fly home to check on the house and see family and friends, and were able to find great airfare prices and we'll be headed home tomorrow (Tuesday) for two weeks. I was amazed that we were able to find such good prices within 4 days of flying. We're taking Jet Blue out of Ft. Lauderdale directly to Boston and we were able to get it for $440 for the two of us! We're renting a car and will have to drive from Key West to Ft. Lauderdale, but we're going to stop along the way and shop for dive gear in Key Largo, so it's a win-win.

One of the big concerns was what to do with the boat. I was blown away when I started checking marina prices. I was finding $2.20 to $3.90/ft per day plus power and taxes. For a 40' boat that would be over $1500! Oh, I was able to find a 60' slip that I could buy for the low, low price of $490,000...This is prices gone mad. I was able to find a marina (Safe Harbor) that had much more reasonable prices ($640+tax), but it's in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by run down trailer parks, has no security and has direct road access. It's a nice marina, but it didn't give me the warm and fuzzy security feeling.

The other option was to leave the boat in the city run mooring field. Boats rode out an 80 MPH hurricane without dragging or mooring failures, so the boat should be secure. After checking with multiple people we weren't able to find any issues with security and the guy who runs the pump-out boat is going to keep an eye on the boat for us. We also have friends moored next to us who will be here for another week. This feels OK, not ideal, but OK.

The biggest problem is that we have to shut down the refrigeration as we can't be assured that the wind generator would be able to keep up with the power demands and the diesel generator has to be manually started. Sue has a lot of specialty items that would either be hard to replace or very expensive to replace, so we were looking for someplace to store our food. We got a lot of puzzled looks when were inquired about rental refrigeration. Luckily we met a really nice guy who's never at home and whose refrigerator sits empty. Later today we're going to transport the critical stuff from our refrigerator/freezer to his place where it will live for the next two weeks. Ah, the joys of cruising!

We've been really enjoying Key West. Our arrival corresponded with the Conch Republic festival. The festival commemorates when the FL keys were blockaded by the federal government in 1982. To get in and out of the keys you had to stop at a checkpoint where they searched you and your vehicle. This riled a few people and at one point the key declared that they had succeeded from the US and one minute later they surrendered to the union forces and demanded $1 billion in war reparations. I doubt that they got it, but years later it sure has turned into a great cause for a party. And party they do...definitely in Key West style.

The first event that we ran in to was the re-enactment of the battle of Key West harbor. I have no idea if such an event ever took place, but the re-enactment was sure fun to watch. There are lots of schooners which take people out for sails and they all headed out that evening loaded with tomatoes, peeled eggs and water cannons. When a US Coast Guard cutter arrived on the scene all hell broke loose with tomatoes, eggs and water flying everywhere. The air was full of planes and helicopters dropping toilet paper "bombs". After the cutter left the scene the fighting turned between boats and eventually to the crowd on the shore. Needless to say, it was quite a sight and a good time was had by all.

The main event the next day was the bed races down Duval St. Some groups created really elaborate entries and lets just say that the costumes worn by the pushers were equally unique...P-town, MA has nothing on Key West!

Today we're going to finish getting ready to leave. We're looking forward to heading home and seeing our friends and family. Hopefully we'll see a lot of you when we're back.

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 850

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Key West, FL 

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