Mile Marker 1...Here we come!
We left the shores of Marathon at 8 am on the dot. Traveled back under the 7 mile bridge and continued through crystal clear blue green waters to our anchorage for the day and night at
Johnston Key, instead of going straight to Key West. Shaun fished, I painted, did some housework and took a swim. We had grilled shrimp, had a bottle of wine, counted the stars and fell into bed at 9. It was a gorgeous anchorage and as per usual (and what we truly love) is we were all alone underneath the midnight sky.
We left at around 9 for Key West. We could literally see it through the islands from where we were anchored, but had to go the long way around through the channel to get there which takes about 3 or 4 hours. We plan to be on the ball in the City Marina here so that we can see to our dinghy repair and we are expecting very high winds over the next few days. Better to be safely tucked up on the inside. We tied up with difficulty as the mooring ball loop was at sea level. Shaun had to come down from the helm (and leave the boat unmanned) to help me launch my light little dinghy over the side. I had to climb down into it, boat still running and walked my way along Happy Wife holding onto the side of the hull to the ball at the bow to put our ropes through by hand. It was a bit hair raising but we got it done, fortunately without mishap.
We immediately made our way to shore to meet the guy who would fix the dinghy holes while we went to the Conch Republic for a late lunch. With 3 sides open, 2 to the marina, it's the best place to sit and watch the world go by. We found an ATM to draw cash to pay for the repairs and made our way to West Marine for parts for Shaun to change out the water pump which will work more effectively than the one have. The dinghy repair was soon complete and we came back to Happy Wife for the evening. Key West has some of the most spectacular sunsets but we figured we'd leave Mallory Square for tomorrow night (the best place for viewing that holds a celebration of the suns leaving every day) After all, we have some stellar ones ourselves when out all alone!
After a relaxed and slow morning onboard, we took our bikes to shore to make our way around the island. We will be stuck here for a few days because we are expecting high winds for quite some time.
We strolled around taking pictures, stopped at West Marine for another small part and had lunch at Schooner Wharf Bar. Cycled up to Winn Dixie for some groceries and back on board before the winds got up even more.
We have to look at the calendar now to know what day it is. It's such a nice feeling. We can't get any channels on our TV for the last 2 weeks so we don't even know what is happening on the news. It is a pleasant break from it all and it makes you realize what really is important in your life.
We cycled to Bahama Village for breakfast and their famous bloody Mary's. They have a bar with all the fixings and you get to pile them on for a spectacular drink. It makes quite a meal too!
There are cute little boutique shops along the street and we stopped in for a little shopping therapy. We took side alleys and detours to look at all the cute, beautiful and historical houses and still appreciate them every time we visit.
On the way we stopped at the southernmost point beach but it was too windy to stay. We decided to come back to Happy Wife until the evening. We relaxed on our recliners up on the helm, had a coffee and Uber'd over to Viv Wine and Cheese Bar for a tasting with a winemaker from France... food and wine, divine!
Mid morning we cycled to Duval Street and the beach. It was far too windy and tons of seaweed had washed up which was rather smelly. We decided to come back on board for lunch and to do some computer work. We went back to watch the sunset at Mallory square and have dinner in the old Pan Am building. We listened to Rob Benton just across from us. His guitar playing and voice are just incredible. He was on Americas got talent and now lives in Key West. Our first real midnight up I think since leaving lol
The wind is still howling and we will be stuck here for another week when the winds will lift enough for us to leave. We walked up Duval to go and have lunch at Blue Heaven. It's such a classic garden restaurant with fabulous food, crafted cocktails and THE best Key Lime pie in town and are known for it. Next we watched chihuahua's racing at Ricks on Duval. It was so cute...only in Key West!
Sunday already and it's still blustery outside. We made our way back to Schooner Wharf Bar for the 28th annual Minimal Regatta. It was an absolute hoot that left our sides sore from laughing. Entrants are given one sheet of plywood, two 2x4 planks and 1 roll of 2 inch duct tape. Decorating and costumes are a must and first prize and the fastest sinking prize are the same. We stayed from 11 to 4 and had such a good time.
We made dinner on board and had a fairly early night.
Monday morning and I had to have a run. It has been at least 2 weeks since my last one I'm sure. While I ran, Shaun went to Win Dixie for some groceries and on to Napa. With such a large boating community here its nice to know that you can get anything you need.
We had lunch and went into town for the evening. We decided to have a drink at The Green Parrot and later at Tony's, two of the oldest bars here. Spent time at Mallory square for the sunset and snacked there on delicious fresh guac. We ended up at the Grand Vin wine bar with a cheese plate for our dinner.
The days are seriously blending now and we can feel the slow pace of the island. Pepe's has been in business since 1909 and we have wanted to eat there every time we have visited Key West. This quaint little spot was once favored by President Truman and the building is still original. We had a lovely lunch and walked up Duval for some shopping. We bought a conch shell horn for our boat to blow at sunsets as they have done for years here to celebrate the suns leaving each day.
We cycled down to the beach at Loggerhead and spent a couple of hours dipping and tanning on our reclining beds that we hired for the day. At lunchtime, we walked over to Bo's shack for lunch. Yet another local favorite that we have been waiting to dine at for years. It was really nice to eat in this little shack restaurant. You order at the window and they shout out your number when your meals are ready. We chatted to people, had a cocktail or two and walked up at around 4 to see the rum distillery on our way back to Happy wife. We had supper up on the helm and the wind was still howling.
Today we enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Moondog, right next door to Ernest Hemingway's house. We cycled through the neighborhoods back to Happy Wife and later in the afternoon took an Uber to meet Sue Cooper at Lazy Dog. She wrote the book Millionaire in Flip Flops. This was so important to us as this little book was the catalyst to the lifestyle Shaun and I live today. We spent about half an hour with her and she signed our book as well gave a second updated edition too. It was so lovely to chat and tell her how we had come full circle from reading it, to arriving in Key West with our boat.
Our 10th and final day in Key West. We tried to cycle up to Publix to get our groceries before leaving, but my back wheel was flat and broken so we ended up taking an Uber. After dropping off our shopping, we went into town for our last lunch at The Conch Republic. Still our absolute fav and perfectly breezy on a crazy hot day like today was. We walked over to The Tiki House for a cocktail just so that we could buy the mugs for our future mojito's onboard. We enjoyed a light supper after getting everything ready to leave in the morning which included getting our bikes back on board.
Our original plan was to stay for 3 days and go on to the Marquesas and Dry Tortuga's National Park, but the weather dictated otherwise. Such is boating life and you truly learn to just "go with the flow" We understand how this term came about. But, we love it all and being stuck in Key West is not a bad place to be stuck in, that's for sure!
We will slowly start to make our way back up the coast to Tampa now, taking about a week to make the trip.
What happens in Key West...stays in Key West! lol