Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adventures in Key West!

Location: Key West, FL

Hello from beautiful Key West!

We have had an adventurous week in Key West since we last posted to the blog. So, here is an update on our adventures in Key West.

Attack of the Mockingbird
When I go to shore for my walks, there is a mockingbird that always attacks me. I have found that other dogs have had the same problem. Doug’s dogs Sassy and Boca just ignore the bird. I am learning to ignore it too, but it is hard. It is interesting because it only attacks me and doesn’t attack Captain Jim or Admiral Sandy. Admiral Sandy says the Mockingbird is just trying to protect its nest, but I don’t even care about its nest. I am just trying to find a place to go potty!

Cruise Ships in Key West
Most days there is one cruise ship in Key West, but on this day there were two Carnival cruise ships. You can see how big they are and how they dwarf the buildings near them. We have learned that the cruise ships have an agreement with the City of Key West that they must leave before sunset to prevent them blocking the view of the sunset from Mallory Square.

Snorkeling in Paradise
One of the local bartenders works for the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary and told us of a nice place to go snorkeling that is about 8 miles from Key West. It is near an old dilapidated tower that Hemingway used to use. He called the site Hemingway’s tower, but the brochures call it Cottrell Key.

So, we decided to go check out the snorkeling site. On our way to the site, there was very little wind and the ocean water was almost as smooth as glass. In this picture, you can hardly tell where the water ends and the sky begins.

The Marine Sanctuary has placed mooring balls at the snorkeling site so people will not anchor their boats and damage any of the coral. While on the mooring ball, we were in about 7-9 feet of beautiful clear water. Below our boat was a lot of beautiful hard coral, soft coral, sea fans and colorful fish that you could see from the deck of the boat! Captain Jim said it was like our boat was sitting on top of an aquarium. It was absolutely amazing and we were so glad that we took the bartender’s advice.

Here are photos that show how beautiful it was:

Can you find Capt. Jim snorkeling?

I always worry about Capt. Jim or Admiral Sandy when they are in the water, so I make sure I keep an eye on them when they are snorkeling. I always wear my life vest just in case I need to jump in and save them.

Watching Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy is hard, tiring work… so I had to take a nap.

While Admiral Sandy was snorkeling, Capt. Jim caught a photo of this big nurse shark.

The nurse shark was as long as Admiral Sandy and swam right under her! Nurse sharks are not dangerous because they are bottom feeders with a mouth like a catfish and they don’t have any teeth. While Admiral Sandy was watching the nurse shark, another large grey shark swam up from the other direction and was hanging out with the nurse shark. The grey shark was probably a reef shark and appeared to be at least 4 feet long.

Key West Square Grouper
Half way back to Key West from our snorkeling trip to Hemingway’s Tower, we saw something floating in the ocean. Admiral Sandy drove us past the object to get a closer look and Capt. Jim said he thought it was a purse, so we turned around to retrieve it. Capt. Jim had to lean over the side of the boat to pick up the object. And when he got it on board, he realized that it wasn’t a purse at all. It appeared to be drugs!

So, we marked our coordinates on the GPS and Capt. Jim called the Coast Guard to report what we had found. About 30 minutes later, the Key West Police Department called and said they would meet us at the marina so they could pick up the package.

When we got to the marina, the Key West police officer was waiting for us. When he saw the package, he agreed that he thought it was drugs; possibly cocaine or marijuana. After getting all the details for his report, he told Admiral Sandy that she could go to the police car with him to find out what was in the package. When he cut the package open, he tested the contents and confirmed that it was marijuana!

Note from Admiral Sandy: When I walked to the police car with the officer, many of the locals at the marina recognized the package as drugs. So, they thought that I had been busted! Hopefully, no one will come by the boat hoping to can get some drugs from us!

We learned that the locals have a name for the packages of drugs that are found washed ashore or floating in the water: “square grouper”. We have been told that many times, people will throw the drugs overboard if they are approached by law enforcement so they are not caught with the drugs. Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy were glad to have the “square grouper” off their boat and in the hands of the authorities! That was an experience we will never forget!

Schooner Wharf Bar Dog Friends
When I go to the Schooner Wharf Bar, I usually see my friends Oakley and Randy.

I met Oakley about 4 years ago and I have been seeing him every time we visit Key West. He is a Jack Russell that lives on a sail boat with his buddy Reese, a long-legged Jack Russell. Don't we make a cute couple?

I met Randy last year when he was a puppy. Randy is half pug and half pitbull and his mom calls him a pugit. The bartenders really like Randy. He had learned to sit at the bar walkthrough and they feed him goodies. You can tell he eats really good. I need to get to be good friends with the bartenders too!

Randy is crashed on the floor of the Schooner Wharf Bar after playing.

Beatin’ the Heat
Our boat doesn’t have air conditioning, so it gets pretty hot at times. So, Capt. Jim made me a sweat band to help me beat the heat.

Thankfully, we have fans on the boat, the bimini provides shade from the sun and there is usually a nice breeze to help keep me cool.

Just Another Sunset…
Our friends Ron and Sharon love a song “Just Another Sunset” that goes a little like this:

Yes I got your letter, where you talk about the weather and all of your misery,
About the daily grind and you’re feeling so confined, about your latest allergy,
About the job you hate and about your mental state,

You’re looking for some sympathy.
Sure I can comprehend, ‘cause here’s all the same… except that we have palm trees.

It’s just another sunset, just another starry night,
Just another boring day out on the ocean waiting for the fish to bite
Sure I have a beach but it’s just another pile of sand
Just another sunset, listen friend I understand.

Well, here’s just another beautiful sunset in Key West!

Second Wind
While in Key West, we have met a couple, Rick and Toni, from Jacksonville on a sail boat named Second Wind. They are here for a few weeks and are staying at the Conch Harbor Marina next to our marina. They have two dogs, Samantha and Horatio that travel on their boat with them. They don’t live very far from us in Jacksonville, so we hope to see them again when we get back home.

Rick and Toni:

Second Wind:

Happy Birthday, Admiral Sandy!
On Sunday, June 21st we celebrated Admiral Sandy’s birthday by taking some of our Key West friends to the Hemingway’s Tower snorkeling site. Rick and Toni also buddy-boated with us to enjoy the snorkeling too.

The birthday crew:
(left to right): Kat, Diane, Tim, Capt. Jim, Balk and me

Kat finds a starfish:

I got to snorkel some (sort of):

Kat is a chef and she brought some awesome fish tacos for our lunch. They were so good!

Capt. Rick rowed over in his dinghy to say “good bye” to everyone before Second Wind left to go back to Key West.

All the snorkeling made me tired, so I had to take a nap. I found a nice soft spot to rest my head on Balk’s knee.

On the way back from Key West, we were able to put the sails up! You can see our new “Conch Republic” flag that we are flying while we are in Key West.

When we got back to the marina, we went to the Schooner Wharf Bar to listen to Michael McCloud and Friends play.

The band: Christopher Flowers on keyboard, Michael McCloud on acoustic guitar, and Capt. Carl Peachy on the electric guitar.

Michael McCloud sang “Happy Birthday” to Bob, a regular at the Schooner Wharf Bar, who was celebrating his 80th birthday! Michael McCloud also sang “Happy Birthday” to Admiral Sandy. Here is a picture of the birthday boy and the birthday girl!

More birthday crew photos:

Scorpio the African Grey:
We met Jeanie and Scorpio at the Schooner Wharf Bar. Scorpio is an African Grey parrot that will do a “cat call” if he thinks a girl is pretty. And he will lift his foot to tell you he wants to sit on your hand.

Scorpio liked Admiral Sandy and wanted to sit on her shoulder.

Scorpio also liked Capt. Jim and took a turn sitting on his shoulder.

I was very interested in Scorpio and couldn’t help licking my chops wondering if he would taste like chicken.

Oyster Races at Pepe’s
Rick and Toni told us about Oyster Races at Pepe’s on Monday and Friday nights between 4 and 5pm where you can win money or prizes. Last week, Toni won $375! So, we thought we would give it a try!

Here’s how it works. You pick a card with a number from 1 to 5. When the oyster race starts, the oyster shucker shucks 5 oysters. He is timed as he shucks oysters 1 through 5. The oyster number that he shucks the fastest is the winner.

So, everyone with that number gets to pick a numbered key out of 100 keys. Only one of the keys will open a lock on the box with the prize money.

The emcee will sometimes offer people a chance to win oyster bucks or take whatever prize is behind “Door Number 3” or the “Other Door Number 3” in exchange for their key. A young girl that had chosen key #12 was given the chance to take $20 in oyster bucks and the prize behind Door Number 3 in exchange for her key. She decided to take the bucks and door prize (which was a t-shirt) and found that her key would have opened the lock to the prize money! So, she could have won $75! We may have to go back and try to win some money on Friday!

Well, that’s all for our latest adventures in Key West. All these adventures and blogging are very tiring, so I am going to rest so I can be ready for more fun and adventure!

Be sure to look for our next posting with my Key West tourist photos!!!

Coconut and Crew

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