TGIF or Thank Goodness its Florida!

Returning to Florida feels a bit like coming home.  I know it is not the same as going back to Alberta to see family and friends, but this is one step closer and I’m not going to lie, I am more than ready to go home for a visit.  Richard promised me an American stamp in my passport for my birthday and I got one!  Cuba was good, but the transient life, living in someone else’s home, eating out for two meals a day is not the best for our family.  Richard would have stayed in Havana for another month, but the rest of us were ready for a change.
Here’s a look at our first week back into, what I call, civilization.
Arrive into the United States after hours of slow motoring, combination of coolant leak in the engine and no wind and side push from the Gulf Stream.  Docked at the Key West Bight Marina and eating lunch no less than 30 minutes later in the U S of A at Turtle Kraals, a kind of iconic Key West restaurant and bar right at the marina.  Yum!
After a great nights sleep in the quiet, still marina, pancakes for breakfast and some exploring of main street Key West, we managed to find some simple groceries (thank you, Walgreens!) and have lunch back on Viatori.  Quiet time on the boat, as Matthew wasn’t feeling very good, some playing and then we ventured out again and fed some parrot fish that like to hang out in the marina.  Happy Hour at Turtle Kraals, which was just in time as it started pouring outside.  Early evening and the boys were happily playing LEGO and about to watch a show.
Happy Birthday to Me!  All my boys greeted me with hugs and the singing of happy birthday when I got up this morning!  Very sweet, although I was told that I am one hundred and two and look and act like a monkey! Met a very nice couple on the boat parked next to us, but had a rather up and down day.  After lunch and doing laundry, we had a very hot walk to Mallory Square, kind of the Olde Town of Key West.  I/We wanted to take the boys to the Toy Museum, but it turns out it has been closed for a year, very disappointing.  Went to the aquarium instead and fed the sting rays.  A very eery experience if you are brave enough to do it, which none of the little boys were.  The gal in charge gives you a little shrimp which you pinch in between your thumb and forefinger, then you submerge your arm into the water and wait for a sting ray to swim over your hand.  You feel this soft, rubbery thing hovering over your hand, then this weird pressure as they suck the shrimp out of your fingers.  The first time I tried I kind of freaked out when a ray came over and dropped the shrimp, managed to retrieve the shrimp and tried again.  It is creepy and exhilarating at the same time.  After the aquarium, we stopped for some very expensive ice cream, then walked home, very hot again!
Had a reset on the boat which we all needed, then decided to go out for Happy Hour/Supper, but the restaurant I chose was closed for a private function, so long, hot walk back and decided to order pizza instead.  It was great pizza, I have to admit and then we watched some Goofy with the boys, then The Office till Richard nodded off.  Happy Birthday Momma!
Okay, if you ever come to Key West, Florida, go and check out the Shipwreck Treasures Museum.  It was very cool.  Key West became the most prosperous city in all of North America due to its booming business of salvage and auctions of ships and their cargo wrecked on the coral reefs just off the coast here, one ship a week during the 1850’s.  Fascinating history, excellent presentation, you can climb the lookout tower where they once watched for ships and there are lots of original artifacts to look at and read about.  All of us enjoyed it and decided it was very well done and well worth the money, though it wasn’t cheap.
Some of the old dive equipment the salvagers used to rescue booty.

Some of the old dive equipment the salvagers used to rescue booty.

Wreck Ashore!  Wreck Ashore!  Someone would stand watch in the tower, scanning the horizon for ships coming too close to shore and getting caught in the rocks.

Wreck Ashore! Wreck Ashore! Someone would stand watch in the tower, scanning the horizon for ships coming too close to shore and getting caught in the rocks.

Our view from the top of the Shipwreck Tower.  A cruise ship was pulled into dock.

Our view from the top of the Shipwreck Tower. A cruise ship was pulled into dock.

Well, I have to say, Key West is just so hot, it feels like my brain is boiling.  We can only take small doses of being outside and then we all need to retreat into a/c.

Can’t really put into words how excited we were to eat lunch at McDonalds again, Richard’s eyes actually rolled up into his head at the first bite of his big Mac.  We took a cab to the other side of Key West, had lunch, then shopped at a  Publix (think Sobey’s) grocery store.  The last time we shopped at a real grocery store was in Key Largo in February!  Can’t say how excited we were to shop at a real grocery store and find everything we needed for a reasonable price!  Earlier in the day, I had taken stock of what we had left in all the floorboards and I gotta say, we did pretty good.  Some of it we might never eat and then it will be donated to a food bank somewhere, but we pretty much ate ourselves out of the boat.

We managed to find a swimming pool that was open to guests of the marina and the restaurant so we ate lunch there, ordered a few drinks and stayed for the afternoon.  The kids enjoyed our time there and it was nice to cool off in the water, even though the water feels pretty warm.  I think it must be difficult to keep a pool’s temperature cool when the air temperature is hovering between 38 and 40 degrees Celsius.
So after a week, Key West proved to be too rich for our blood so we decided to move on, further down the Keys, heading east to a place called Marathon.  We know there is at least one other kid boat parked there so we are excited to reconnect with them and hopefully spend a little less money for a while.
A shot of Olde Towne Key West

A shot of Olde Towne Key West

5 thoughts on “TGIF or Thank Goodness its Florida!

  1. Happy Birthday Leah! I have been really enjoying your posts, and showing the kids all the pics. What an adventure – not easy but rewarding in probably so many ways! Having groceries provided here 24/7 and as cheap as you care to go is going to seem pretty boring for you when you get back I think, for a little while anyway. This time next year you will most likely look back quite wistfully at your Viatori Birthday!

    • There were “grocery” stores in the Bahamas – Bahamians have to eat too – but at best they would be stocked once a week by the mail boat. Sometimes the boat would come, sometimes it would be late and sometimes it wouldn’t come at all. Everything was over priced compared to the US and the selection was extremely limited. For example, when we were in Black Point the entire town was out of milk for the 2 weeks we were there. The rule cruising is, if you find something you like buy as much as you can because you never know when you will see it again. Georgetown did have a proper grocery store but everything was nearly double the price.

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