Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sink And Swim

It's started raining, thunderclouds are piling up and we've been treated to some hellacious lightning storms, all the sturm und drang of summer in South Florida.Which is to say that the City of Key west has officially entered the doldrums of tourist season. It's too early for US families to be taking summer off with the kids and Europeans are still hard at work in their socialistic paradises, waiting for their summer months off work, so the Tourism Development Council is hard at work drumming up reasosns for people to show up and spend, spend, spend. It is what I call "silly season" with each week producing another daft show of public inebriation. Memorial Weekend was the turn of the Minimal Regatta at Schooner Wharf Bar:It is a boat race and it does have rules, though they may be hard to discern in the midst of the general hilarity. Sinking is as good as winning if it is done in spectacular fashion:The blue boat in the picture above is my mechanic Dave from Monroe County Tire and Auto of Big Pine Key actually winning his heat in Bass Akwards, after his competitor sank half way round. I had no idea it was him when I took the picture and it was only later when I met him with his work partner Donnie (who also looks after my cars! What if they had both drowned?) I discovered what they were up to on their holiday weekends off:There was no sign of Donnie's wife so I don't know if this was a sanctioned activity, but I will have to go round to the shop to see how they did in the end. Dave as he points out, is a big guy to be in a home built kayak and it was a feat to keep it upright. Not everyone succeeds:This one looked good, didn't it? It turns out it was crap at staying upright:The local lumber company, Manley DeBoer sells regatta packages before the race, two sheets of plywood, fasteners, and duct tape, a length of two-by-four and no caulking materials. The end results tend to look like kayaks, or boxes or some other thing sometimes:The two by fours tend to end up looking like paddles or oars:And the crews often enjoy dressing the part:A local radio DJ, Bill Hobee, emcee'd the event from high above Schooner Wharf with color commentary from Evalina Worthington, owner of the bar who sounded just like Ariana Huffington funnily enough, and as he watched the "butterflies" launch their fragile craft he kept chuntering on about how he's like to be a flower...And then he dredged up a long line of puerile inferences when a boat named "Morning Wood" made it to the start line. And doesn't that sort of humor make me think I want to join his legion of fans on his morning show.The Minimal Regatta draws a ton of people, some like Nancy, visiting her old haunts from her new home in Ocala, decided it was okay to sit in the shade next to Lazy Way Lane away from the action and chow down on some fish:A good spot to watch the teams get ready to launch, or tear down their craft after a failed heat:I got into the middle of the crowd on the boardwalk and pointed my camera at the action as best I could: And that last one is somewhat topical as the Vandenberg is scheduled to be sunk tomorrow, which, if it is, I have a place reserved on a spectator boat which should be interesting. The spectators lined all four sides of the course on land and on the water:And there's another Memorial Day Weekend in the bag.