Key West is Delightful as Always

This is the third time we’ve visited Key West with Sanitas, and we really looked forward rewarding ourselves with a bit of a vacation after all the hard work and preparation required to actually start cruising. This time, instead of staying in the anchorage off Fleming Key, we decided to try picking up a mooring ball at Garrison Bight.

For the princely sum of $20 per day, you get a safe ball to tie up to in a fairly protected harbor, access to the town dinghy dock, use of a rather spartan shower and restroom building, and access to laundry. It’s not the most convenient location in the world – about a 25 minute dinghy ride in little Bug, and about 20 minutes of walking to Old Town, but we’ve decided that the calm waters are worth it. Capt. Mike and I both slept much better here!

It was really fun to be here during the holidays – the nautical themed Christmas lights along the waterfront are amazing! The nights are long this time of year, but not at all depressing with beautifully decorated homes in the historic district, and more visitors than we’ve ever seen, all in a great mood and filled with holiday spirit.

Our vacation included a bit of culture: visiting Hemingway’s house and Truman’s Little White House. And, since we’re cruisers and on a budget, it included an on-going search for the best happy hour food and drink specials in Key West. (If you’re curious, I vote for the half-price peel and eat shrimp and smoked fish dip at Two Friends Patio Restaurant)

Honestly, the best part of this trip to Key West was reconnecting with our friends Chris and Stan of SE of Disorder who we cruised with all last season. They have settled permanently in Key West, so they’ve sure got things figured out! Chris and I ran together, training for the Key West half marathon and competing in a “Glow in the Dark” 5k.

Stan showed Capt. Mike where to find lobster right outside the mooring field. OMG, delicious!

And Chris let us use her Sail Rite sewing machine to finally finish our salon cushion project and to make a curtain to hide the chaos of the quarter berth

Oh yeah. We did also take this opportunity to repair that darn alternator regulator that tried to kill us on our first day in Key West. We ordered a new part and paid extra for overnight delivery. And then we learned the hard way that although a package might actually make it to Key West overnight, the Post Office will generally take a couple more days to acknowledge it arrived, before generously allowing us to retrieve it. Talk about living on island time! It took the better part of a day, but Capt. Mike was successful in installing the new regulator without any more close calls of fire alarms. Hopefully that’s the last of the big projects before hitting the sea and really starting cruising!

Best of all, having friends here meant we were sure to have a great time on New Year’s Eve! Key West has three different midnight “drops” to suit any style. A pirate wench drops from the top of a mast at Schooner’s Wharf, a conch shell drops at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, and a drag queen named Sushi drops from the sky in a glittery red high heeled shoe at Bourbon Street. Duval Street is closed to traffic, live music plays everywhere, and Old Town Key West turns into one big street party. We started the evening with snacks and champagne on Art and Sherry’s boat, and ended it at the Green Parrot which has the best live music in Key West. For a fun surprise, Todd and Celia of SV Eileen took a bus down from Marathon where they’d been waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas and joined in the New Years revelry.

All in all, a very fun night. BUT…. I think the walk back to the dinghy dock somehow tripled in distance after midnight. It felt like we were walking to Miami. But we all made it home safely, with even out noisemakers in tow 😃

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