Life on a mooring here in Boot Key Harbor is pretty good, and made even better when guests visit. Brother Steve and his best-half Connie were here from Feb 6 - 11, and we did a road trip to Key West, then an overnight boat trip up to Islamorada and back. We had a great time.
Riggs and I then enjoyed the local area, with some good long walks and many trips to the nearby park, until good friend Ken Goldsholl arrived on Feb 21 for a 2 night visit.
Ken lives near Santa Barbara, Cal. and so is used to nice winter weather, which is good because he didn't get much nice weather here. He flew into Miami and drove down on a warm afternoon, but a light rain started before he arrived. We had a great dinner together at the local Tranquility Bay resort, and headed out to Spray before the really hard rains began. I'm pretty sure this was Ken's first time sleeping on a boat, and it poured overnight, but Spray kept us dry. We had coffee and bagels aboard and then the 3 of us (including Riggs of course) took Ken's rental car down to Key West, even though it was windy and rainy.
Let me take a short break here to describe what I saw to the left as we headed down Route 1, leaving Vaca Key and starting across the famous 7-mile bridge. Good-friends-from-Castine Karen & Jeff Siegel (see earlier posts) had arrived the previous day aboard their trawler A-Capella. As there was no mooring available they anchored out in the Gulf to the west of Vaca Key, to wait for a vacancy. The strong winds had shifted to southerly and so when I looked to the left and saw A-Capella anchored out there, bouncing in the heavy surf, I said to Ken: "That cannot be fun, I hope they get a mooring soon". Karen later confirmed that it indeed was no fun.
Back to main narrative: We arrived in Key West and it was still raining so we left Riggs in the (brand new) rent-a-car and walked to Duval Street, on a search for the most rude tee-shirt for sale (they have some dillies), visiting the 'Southernmost Point", and scarfing down some pizza. We then picked up Riggs and continued our walking tour in the rain. By mid-afternoon we were pretty soaked and decided to drive back to Marathon and run a few errands. Ken enjoys fine wine and shopped for a belated Christmas present for Sheila and I of a few bottles of good grape. Yeah!
We dropped Riggs back on Spray and then drove to a local restaurant 'Lazy Days' for supper. Ken was due to fly out the next day and I was worried that he would miss seeing the Keys in their sunny glory, but we awoke Wednesday to calm winds and blue sky, so a short cruise aboard Spray around Boot Key, basking on the flying bridge, was called for, and much enjoyed. One interesting thing was that we saw hundreds of these critters, which I had only seen a few of previously.
Ken departed mid-day (after grabbing a shower) for his return to California, and the Siegels moved onto a mooring, and life in Marathon went on. Its fun watching Jeff & Karen & their 2 pooches get into Marathon Mode, with visits to Sombrero Beach, walks along Rte 1, and feasting at yesterday's pot-luck at the Marathon City Marina. When you see Karen or Jeff, ask about their big win at the pot-luck raffle.
The next guest to be hosted aboard Spray will be best of all. Sheila will be flying down from Maine on Saturday. She will fly on Allegiant Air direct from Bangor to Orlando. Riggs and I will rent a car and drive up to Orlando (a mere 370 miles) to meet Sheila, and then we'll drive back here (again, a mere 370 miles).
Sheila had looked into bringing Katie-Bopp down for this visit, but it would be an ordeal for her. Fortunately, Rosemary & David Wyman have volunteered to take in Katie while Sheila is down here. Many thanks to the Wymans, although Riggs may be disappointed.
Sheila will be aboard for 2 weeks, which will include at least one trip to Key West, to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary (we were married in Key West), plus some fun here in Marathon, and probably some cruising, as Spray begins its long & slow trip back to Maine. Riggs and I are super-excited about her visit, which will be reported here. Stay tuned.