Shannon and I have both held on to distant memories of the clear blue-green waters in the keys. I’d been once before in 1995, and Shannon had been a couple of times on fishing trips in the early 2000’s. Neither of us remembered going into the town of Key West, and we’d since learned of some worthwhile activities we were interested in checking out.
* Side note – in 1995, when I was in my 20’s I caught a 40Lb Bull Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) in Key West, on a fishing charter. The skipper of the boat said “nobody help her! We are going to get her a citation!” Having no idea what that meant at the time, I gathered that it was a prize. As it turned out, I “caught” the largest fish by a female that day. Got my name in the paper and they sent me a certificate in the mail. In 1995 we had to rely on actual cameras with film, and I’d decided against bringing one with the high risk of losing it to the sea. Which meant I couldn’t take a photo. Instead, I decided to pay $800 or so to have it mounted. I didn’t have any nice furniture yet, but I could not pass up the chance to preserve my *trophy*. Never having found any place to display it in my home, it spent a lot of time in the basement. Until one day I decided to make a craft project out of it. I’ll share the photo of how it now lives, as “art” in someone else’s home, at the end.
In March 2022, the promise of snorkeling adventures and fishing for some of the most beautiful and diverse reef fish in the US, escaping the un-predictible spring weather in Alabama for highly probably temps in the 80’s with sunshine, seemed like a great idea to us.
After leaving Boca Chica (previous post in case you missed it), with The Shinin’ Brite in tow, we arrived at the city marina around 9am. Since we couldn’t sail from Boca Chica, we no longer had the 22′ clearance for our 20′ mast, and we had to take the mast down entirely to be able to get to the Galleon Marina where we had a slip reserved for the next 2 nights. The Shinin’ Brite was now going to be a small motor boat in Key West. We motored the 3 miles or so from The City Marina around to the Galleon, where we slid into slip #49. ALL around us were enormous yachts, live-aboard mono-hulls and catamarans, and some bay cruiser fishing vessels.
After meeting with the dock master and signing the forms and paying our fees, we set out on foot to find some lunch.
After walking up and down the waterfront, we headed back for showers and a change of clothes and set out on foot to find Captain Tony’s Bar. If you’re a Jimmy Buffet fan, It’s the bar in his song “Last Mango in Paris”
went down to Captain Tony’s to get out of the heat
When I heard a voice call out to me, “Son, come have a seat”
I had to search my memory as I looked into those eyes
Our lives change like the weather but a legend never dies
Of the 2 of us, Shannon is the bigger Buffet fan – but I am also a fan! There was a guy playing live music, and a fun atmosphere to stop and enjoy some shade and refreshment.
Continuing on our theme of Jimmy Buffet songs – there’s another song, called Women goin crazy on Caroline Street about Caroline Street in Key West……
There’s a woman goin’ crazy on Caroline Street
Stoppin’ every man that she does meet
Sayin’ if you’ll be gentle, if you’ll be sweet
I’ll show you my place on Caroline Street
My smart watch said we walked 8 miles this day!! In flip flops.
I wasn’t aware of the resident gamecock population that roams freely in Key West. Here’s a NY Times article from 2002 about the mixed feelings from the locals that seems consistent with present day. A shop keeper told us that they resulted from the cockfighting that was made illegal in Florida in 1986. There are roosters everywhere, folks. In the street, in the yards, in restaurants, on the lawn of the courthouse, and scuttering behind dumpsters. As The NY Times article mentions above, they have become somewhat of a mascot in Key West, with lots of tourist swag devoted to them, and a good bit of art work in businesses and for sale. I couldn’t resist taking the pictures. They’re a quirky part of the city.
We concluded our first day in Key West at La Grignote with a slice of Key Lime Pie and an excellent cup of coffee for dinner. If there is better Key Lime Pie on planet earth, I’d be surprised.
Back at the Galleon Marina, we took a walk out to the pool and private beach. Ultimately, we preferred the scene in our boat slip, with the blue tooth speaker and solar lantern.
We were set up pretty well and had an excellent night’s sleep.
And last but not least, Here is how the trophy fish from the 1995 Charter fishing trip (that won me the title of the day) turned out. It now lives in someone’s home as “art”
Key West Part II Coming up next!