January 28, 2007
Today we went for a short walk on Big Pine Key on the lookout for Key Deer, which are very tiny and endangered. But we did not see any. Turns out the best times to see them are around sunrise and sunset. So then we were hungry and went in search of No Name Pub on No Name Key.
And here we are!
This is the bar. As you can see there has been a long tradition of stapling dollar bills to the ceiling and walls. George already has a dollar bill here at the other end of the bar. So of course we had to join in and add a dollar bill from us. Julie had her colored pencils (which she carries with her everywhere) and that was very helpful to make ours stand out.
Ok, who can find our dollar?
Ha ha, just kidding. Actually it's not in this picture but I thought it would be funny if you started to look. This is the ceiling of the bar area.
Here is our dollar! We put in in a less crowded area, and not around any other brightly colored ones. George remembers when most of the bills were that brown color because of the cigarette smoke. If you ever go to No Name Pub, when you walk in the door you will find our dollar a little to the left, above near where the waitresses pick up the food.
We just had some naps and are reading/sitting. It is VERY WINDY and we'd all like it to stop. Sky is grey, not blue as it should be. If it continues like this we'll be heading to Mangrove Mama's for din din and drinks because there is no way we'll be able to cook on our grill.
January 27, 2007
Julie and Alison's First Day in Key West
Happy Hour at the Conch Bar!
First Conch Fritters
And off to Mallory Square for the sunset and the performers.
The Big Chair
Alison in a hammock
Julie and George in a swing chair
First stop on Duval is the Bear Bottom Beach Club (and it is spelled Bear not Bare)
Off to the Irish Pub
Obnoxious Pub Singer
And Sloppy Joes!!! Sloppy Joes... Slop Slopply Joes!
Alison at Fort Zach
Alison and George at Fort Zach
Julie at Fort Zach
Julie investigating in the rocks
Our campsite on Sugarloaf Key
We'll be here until Tuesday!
It was an awesome first day! We're all tired. We just finished a great dinner of steak, potatoes, zucchini, and bread with garlic oil. YUM!!!! Oh and beer and wine of course. Off to bed!
January 26, 2007
Welcome Julie and Alison!
Here is Julie and Alison during their first hour in Key West! And now it's off to the Conch Bar for Happy Hour!
January 25, 2007
Rain Rain Rain
It is rainy today... Actually not too bad because it will cool things off a bit. It's been so HOT! heh heh heh.
Spoke to Julie today! She and Alison are arriving tomorrow! They will be landing a little after 9am and will probably get to Key West around 12.30 or 1.00; that's my guess. FUN FUN FUN!
Tomorrow night we'll have some dinner and then the Duval Crawl! Woohoo! Here are some pictures from last years Crawl:
Woohoo! See you tomorrow!
January 23, 2007
George and Mike Fishing
George and Mike just got back from a successful fishing trip! Some grouper and yellow tail, and a few sharks!
Dinner at Becky and Mike's House
Last night we had another great dinner at Mike and Becky's. Here are some photos of their house.
And their bananas are delicious!
January 21, 2007
Called Mom and Dad last night; here I am on the phone with them.
Here is our buddy Stu. He's 72 and is the epitome of a full time combat camper. He has completely customized his vehicle. The top of his Jeep is covered with solar panels, and there is a satellite up there (round thing at the front). Inside, he has a bunk, a fold up bike, a drop down flat screen tv (drops down from the passenger side visor); he has taken out the front passenger seat and moved it to where the back seat would be (he removed the whole back seat bench), and he has a camping refrigerator too. He also has a little George Forman grill, and some fishing poles, and also a metal detector, among various other useful items. Anyway, today we did some body work on the van, getting all the rust spots off and then patched up. Stu did his whole Jeep this past year so his expertise was a big help. We had most of it done it about 5 hours, with just a few spots left to sand and paint.
Lunch at the Conch Bar: fish sandwich and conch chowder. Mmmm...conch.
And the Sunset at the pier:
January 20, 2007
The North Star is leaving. This is the owner of one of the racing boats; what a hard life.
Homecooked Breakfast! Yum! Mike caught some Mackerel yesterday, and we were lucky enough to bump into him at the pier. Boy, was it delicious!
Last day of races
Ahhh... a little piece of home!
Watching the Sunset
Boca Chica Top Gun School
The other day we were at Boca Chica, at the end of the Navy runway. As we learned last night after talking to two army pilots at happy hour, Boca Chica is where the Top Gun flight school is held. Cool!
Coming in for a landing
The fighter jets took off quite often, one right after the other, and then they would fly next to each other and break off to one side one at a time. They were moving much too fast to get a good picture of. Above you will see the little grey smudge towards the left; that is the fighter plane.
You may have seen programs on the Discovery channel about Mel Fisher and his discovery of the Atocha. We visited one of his shops to see some of his treasure. He also has a museum but it's $22 a person (yeah right!)
Treasure Chest- the wood disintegrated underwater and this is what happens to the coins inside.
And here they are after a cleaning; ready to be purchsed (the least expensive is about $100, and the most expensive is a thousands of dollars.)
Close up of coins
Flasks (for powder i think?)
long key and some other items
Spoon and coins
Silver ingot (notice it it 98% pure silver)
description of what a CINTA is
Another shot of the treasure chest, which was my favorite piece in the whole store. It is one of the few remaining chests; all the others have been cleaned up to be sold or sent to museums. I can't remember how many of these she said was on the ship, but I'll find out.
Coast Guard Dill
Man over board!!
Man in water 4 minutes!
By the time they reached him (he was way back there, all I could see was the orange buoy he was holding) he was in the water for 8 minutes.
January 19, 2007
January 18, 2007
Hi All! Just in case you all are wondering how tan I've become, it's this much:
Today we are on Boca Chica, about 15 minutes North of Key West. The beach is at the end of the navy base runway, so fighter jets and re-fueling planes have been taking off all day- out for training runs. Pretty cool, we'll have pics up later.
View from the bus
Boats Coming in from races Wednesday
We hear it's pretty cold up there, We read it on the news.
We'd like ot try and warm you up, so you're not singing the winter time blues.
The winter has really got you down, and the temps are down there too.
Maybe these photos will take the chill from your bones; these are OUR kind of blues.
(Yes, i know the poem could use some work but i just have no motivation to put any more thought towards it; not that it took much to come up with.)
Blue on my flip flop (Do you remember what flip flops are?)
January 17, 2007
To Fish or Not to Fish...
that is the question.
This is the Sunhippe. She is a shrimp boat. She was in Scarface.
The USS Mohawk was built in 1934 for the Coast Guard. The ship is 165 feet in length and served in WW II as part of the naval forces. Assigned North Atlantic operations, she launched a total of 14 attacks against Nazi U boats. The U.S.C.G.C. Mohawk is the only remaining Coast Gurad subchaser in existence. Highlights of her at-sea rescue operations include the rescue of 293 survivors from the USAT Chatham and the rescue of 24 men from the SS Barberry. As the last remaining ship of her kind, the Mohawk is the Memorial Ship of the "Battle of the Atlantic". The ship is undergoing a lot of restoration so some of the rooms we couldn't access. Here is the tour we took:
Welcome to the USS Mohawk! Permission to come aboard, Sir!
We start on the Starbord side to the bow:
Ground Tackle(Anchor System)
We'll head up top to the Open Bridge.
This is the Enclosed Bridge. You can see the ships helm, engine order telegraph and navigation table.
Telescope Viewer, not sure what that is called either.
Some info on the guns on board
Back down and we enter the galley...
Meals for 134 men and 14 officers were prepared here.
This is the stove and oven which was fired with fuel oil(George took the picture; blame him for it being out of focus!).
The Radio Room and communications center was manned by 2 men 24/7.
The equipment used
How they received info
Now we go down below:
The Crew's Mess Deck
These lamps are above the mess hall tables; they are turned on when the tables were used as the doctor's operating tables. During WW II the crew's mess deck was also used to handle overflow berthing (hammock hooks on the ceiling) and was considered their mulit-purpose room in that it was the only area to relax, read and listen to the radio.
We check out some various artifacts.
And try some on.
Cheif Petty Officer's Bunk
A peak further down below to the Crew's Berthing Compartment
Crew's Head sinks
Sick Bay (left side)
Sick Bay (right side)
We go up the Passage Way Aft and enter the Officer's Ward Room (we didn't get a picture but it was as large as the Crew's Mess and had red carpet). 14 Officers ate and lived in this area. There were 8 staterooms around the perimeter; here are pictures of two of them.
Officer's Bunk 1
Another Officer's Bunk
The Crew 1943
Photos of the Snowy Atlantic
End of the War Message
When we finished our tour we hung out on deck to watch the end of the cross country bike ride completed by wounded soldiers. Very cool.
George's New Toy
January 15, 2007
Video of Kite Flying
Ok! I've reloaded the video; hope it works!
*Update 17 Jan 2007* Video marked as public, should play now for all.
Are they pointing at us?
It's Mike and his buddy! Out for some fishing.
Yum Yum, we'll be sure to drop by for dinner tonight! mmm...fresh fish
Yesterday George saw a guy and a girl flying some kites and it looked like fun. So we went to buy one today, and BOY IT IS AWESOME!!! I really wasn't expecting much- BUT IT WAS ABSOLUTELY THRILLING!
So I'd like to announce my new career as an amatuer-soon-to-be-professional sport kite flier. I'm pretty sure that's what they call it but maybe I should do some research.
I'll try to post a video so you can see what great kite fliers we are.
Yesterday we spent the whole day at Ft. Zach. Here is our set up.
And here is our view:
The ENORMOUS Disney Cruise ship came in with their speakers blaring kids pop music (no joke) and then let off it's "It's a small world" horn which was followed by the sound of many screaming children.
And a cloudy sunset closed the day. We went to El Siboney for dinner, the best place for cuban food. We had BBQ chicken, black beans and yellow rice and fried plantains! MMMMMmmmmmm....plantains.
Seafood Festival on Saturday
Welcome to the 2nd Annual Keys Seafood Festival!
On the menu is Conch Chowder, Chonch Salad, Conch Fritters, Lobster, Fish, Golden Crab, Rock Crab and Shrimp. Oh Yeah, and BEER!
George, Becky and 3 month old Emma
This lady sure loved dancing. And this bum sure loved watching her. When she moved to the left, he moved to the left. When she twirled, he would twirl. I think he was dancing with her in his head. She didn't seem to mind.
And of course a fire juggler. I thought he was going to swallow it, but he didn't. He just tossed it around a bit and then got on his unicycle.
January 13, 2007
Sunset at Ft. Zach
Our first sunset in Key West. It's nice to be back. Here is Heath waving at the sunset cruise.
and with some flowers.
We found this drift wood bench under a tree. Nice spot to watch the sunset.
And there it is, hitting the water. Good night Sun!
January 12, 2007
Thursday, or no It's Friday.
Last night at Long Key: Tailgate TV. Gotta love The Wheel!
And we're off to Key West!
7 Mile Bridge
George and the Sponge Dude, down near Mallory Square
Heath's New Necklace- Thanks George!
The bus is back at Ft. Zach! Hooray!
I'm sure everyone is familiar with this view from last year's blog.
And yes it is race week! We made it just in time. Not too many boats here yet, but everything is getting set up and put together.
Tomorrow is the 2nd Annual Keys Seafood Festival on Key West (Thanks for the tip Mom!) So we'll be sure to stuff up on great food and take lots of pics!
January 10, 2007
Let's start off with some sunset photos:
George caught this blue crab with this pair of tongs. Ha ha ha. His fishing expedition was less succesful, only catching two small fish. They were very pretty, though, with blue stripes. And I caught one small fish that was white with brown stripes. Very cool.
Heath's Haircut: My last haircut was when Becky cut my hair in Key West last January. Yes, it IS about time I had my hair cut. George's mom did an awesome job and I am very happy to have much less hair to get all caught up and tangled in the warm Florida wind and water.
Happy Hour Campfire
Spider Crab: These guys hang out on trees and drop down into the water when they feel like it. Or onto your head...
January 09, 2007
Another day in paradise...
Here is a photo of the trees in front of our campsite.
Last night (Monday, January... ummm.. I've forgotten the date already) George and Scott cooked steaks on the grill.
George and George were successful at patching the boat.
George and Scott had a romatic stroll down the beach at sunset.
I was distracted by this hermit crab.
This morning George and I went on the Nature Walk. Here we are!
George spotted this osprey. So we got closer...
Do you think he sees us?
Here is George in a tree.
And he's off to go fishing: Captain Chamberlain's Casting Sequence
George Sr. fishing
Nothing biting on shore so George Jr. took the boat out. He is the speck on the horizon (above the word shore in this caption).
While George was fishing I was at the campsite...
sitting in this chair doing crosswords and reading...
and looking at this view. It was a wonderful day.
I took a walk down to Scott's site. Here is his bus.
Pelican on a zodiac
Tree and Sailboat
Zodiac and Birds
Same one, but closer.
January 07, 2007
Back in Florida, and here is the first thing I did:
We spent the afternoon on the water with a cooler of Heinies (cheers Amy!), jumping in to cool off when it got too hot.
Happy Hour begins: from left to right is Scott, George, George's dad George, and mom, Edy. Last night our neighbor came over to tell us that the International Space Station would be passing over our heads at exactly 6.27 and we would be able to see it for 5 minutes. And yes it did; it came into view directly over our site and was moving pretty fast! Not only did we see the space station but we also saw 2 or 3 satellites (one crossing the path of the space station)! Pretty cool! The stars were amazing! We stayed up listening to the waves on the beach and debating whether Casiopia was upside down or not.
This is the beach at low tide, which was a lot of fun to explore. I found lots of hermit crabs, some of which were bright blue with orange stripes on their legs, a party of snails that were opally color with green dots on their backs, a weird wormy thing squiggling around, an old rusted metal knife and an old VW fuse, which we all got a kick out of since George and Scott are VW nuts.
and high tide.
Watch out for these guys! This is a man o war, actually 2 of them. And please note the long blue stingy thing. I got stung on my foot, but it really wasn't that bad; went away after an hour or two and some whisky. And it really was my own fault for getting stung because I couldn't resist poking them, and popping one (which was already dead so no harm done)!
And can anyone tell us what this is? We found it on the beach on our walk this morning. George jumped on it to see if it would pop...
but it didn't.
Well, it is time for my second nap of the day. Here is where I fell asleep earlier doing a crossword.
No sunscreen, oopps! So I've moved to the top bunk of the bus,
and will now drowse off again to the soothing sound of the waves and with the nice warm breeze of the keys softly blowing... alright I'll knock it off.