Monday, April 10, 2017

Key West

Well, we have finally made it down to the most southerly point of the United States after an eventful journey. We were nearly at our destination when we heard a very large bang and smelled smoke coming from the starboard engine. Crikey, I thought, what has gone wrong now? Gary quickly turned off the engine to discover the warning light on saying the engine was over heating. I had driven for quite a while and not noticed the light and neither had Gary when he took over. We put the blower on to get rid of the smell and turned on the other engine for the remainder of our journey into Key West. We thought docking might be a problem having only one engine but Gary managed to dock us safely without any problems and with the assistance of a fellow boater on shore. Gary went into the engine compartment underneath our bed and discovered a very large hole blown in a water pipe. We are now awaiting the arrival of the spare part so that we can leave Key West on Wednesday.
I forgot to mention in my last blog that we passed two grain silos with figures painted on their sides. They were quite artistically done and impressive.

Having been to Key West 3 times before it is difficult not to repeat myself. It is a city bustling with crowds, noisy at times and is comprised of many, many bars filled with young people enjoying themselves. Being "old" we now avoid the noisy, raucous bars and settle for more sedate surroundings. It is however, one of my favourite cities due to the ambiance and feeling of frenetic excitement about the place.
We are moored in one of the city's busiest and very expensive marinas and will be here for approx one week depending upon the winds. We do not like to motor in winds over 10-12 miles per hour in open seas or bays as we really get rocked around and I am prone to sea sickness. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the next 10 days is not good as the winds are supposed to be 13 mph and higher. The marina at night is a pretty place to visit as many boats have coloured lights on their decks and rigging.
We do not have any pretty lights on our boat.
We have visited many places of interest during our stay. One of which was Jimmy Buffet's Restaurant.  Jimmy Buffet is known for the following songs "It's Five O Clock Somewhere", "Margueritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise". He was not present at the restaurant. We had a nice meal there and our first slice of Key Lime Pie.
We took the Hop On Hop Off Trolley and visited East Martello Fort which turned out to be quite disappointing and not really worth the visit. They had a Teddy Bear, "Robert" on show in a glass enclosed enclosure. He belonged to a young boy many years ago and when the boy was in trouble with his parents he would always blame Robert saying "Robert did it". Even into his adult years, Robert got the blame for many things his owner did. Well, I took his photograph and then read the notice that said if you want to take photos you have to ask "Robert" for permission or bad luck will fall on you. I am now waiting for that bad luck to happen.
On the trolley tour we passed the local cemetery and noticed that most of the grave stones were above ground like they are in New Orleans. These, however are above ground due to possible flooding from hurricanes and to the ground being too hard to bury the deceased too deeply.

I am a lover of flowers and quite a few are in bloom down here due to the lovely warm weather. This flower caught my eye but I do not know what it is.

Key West is inundated with lovely turn of the century old homes each with their own particular style. They were really nice to see in tree lined streets and roadways.
Key West is not only known for Ernest Hemingway's 6 toed cats but also chickens. There are chickens all over the place and they are protected by law. Hurt a chicken and you may be given a $500 fine (and that is not poultry!!!)..

Along one of the streets outside the local cinema was a life size model of Marilyn Monroe. Why it was there, I do not know.The statue is taken from the the film "The Seven Year Itch". This scene of her skirt being blown up by a subway vent so infuriated her husband, Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio that he divorced her shortly afterwards.

 No visit to Key West is possible without visiting Mallory Square to see the sun set. We went to see this spectacle along with several hundred other visitors each vying for the best place to take a photo. I managed to get a fairly good spot. There was a lady behind me with a dog in her arms and she asked me to move so that the dog could see the sunset. I politely refused her request. I took several photos but unfortunately the sun set into some clouds. We also were hoping to see the "Green Flash". A phenomenon that happens when the sun sets into the horizon into water. We hope one day to see this spectacle.

 Mallory Square is known for its street performers and some of them are very good. They are mostly jugglers, unicycle riders and acrobats with a good comedic patter. They can certainly draw in the crowds and hope for donations when the act is finished. The one we watched was very good. He climbed on top of 6 balanced chairs and then juggled some torches that had been lit on fire much to the applause of the audience.
Finally, we visited the Key West Aquarium and saw many different types of fish and turtles. I made a wonderful discovery... I found "Nemo"!!!
The aquarium gave talks on different topics, one of which was lion fish, an invasive species from the Indo-Pacific. The fish is characterised by a conspicuous warning colouration with red, white, creamy or black bands. They are now on the wanted list because they are voracious predators and they are venomous. Their spines contain a toxin which, if you come into contact with it causes extreme pain that can last for several days, sweating, respiratory disease and even paralysis. The female can lay eggs every four days and lays up to 2 million eggs in one year. The eggs are contained in a mucous sac that tastes terrible so have no predators. They are popular aquarium fish as they are so pretty.
Finally, there is a beautiful bronze statue in Key West depicting "The Wreckers". These were men who had been pirates, buccaneers or privateers who turned to a legal way of earning money from ship wrecks. They would wait for a ship to flounder and then race out to the ship to "rescue" its cargo. The first person to get there claimed the best part of the loot for himself and then shared the saved loot with his fellow wreckers and the passengers who owned the goods.

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