Sunday, May 28, 2017

Minimal Boating

From the archives this story on the Minimal Regatta which is still going strong at Schooner Wharf Bar every Memorial Weekend. Amazing really.

Minimal Regatta 2011

The Coasties were on hand, always ready to help out any boaters in this absurd race who might have bitten off more than they could chew.However they also had their own dog in this hunt, a spectacularly powerful and determined paddler flying the Semper Paratus flag to victory in the first heat.His boat was properly built and properly equipped with an anchor on the bow, ready to be deployed! The Minimal Regatta is in it's 20th year as a Veterans fund raiser on Memorial Day weekend. the rules are pretty simple: build you own boat from the same identical inadequate supplies, plywood, two by fours, duct tape and some screws... This was boat racing taken seriously. There are huge crowds traditionally at this event, ostensibly to watch people show up in silly costumes with silly boats and proceed to sink them. In reality it's an excuse to hang out and talk and drink.Schooner Wharf Bar hosts the fun event http://www.schoonerwharf.com/11minimal.htm and supervises the entries. Results are reported in the paper, as all top flight sporting events should be. But the Minimal Regatta is a place to see and be seen.The crowds are thick and the heat is oppressive for some, in others it just brings out their peaches and cream complexion.For Cheyenne it was oppressive and she ducked between legs to find a shady spot away from the action.
Like so many charity fundraisers in Key West this one is a chance to find a really silly costume and pose for the camera. I had left my hard hat at home and was thus obliged to keep my distance.
Cheyenne did her bit for the camera attracting some healthy interest.

I found an available corner at the Shrimp Sound building overlooking the melee. The dock in front of Schooner Wharf was like hot sticky pudding, filled with sweaty bodies rubbing off each other and the air was like custard and just as hard to breathe.
There were actually plenty of free seats with decent views of the boating if you looked for them because the commentary of Evalena Worthington and the DJ Hoebee was broadcast far and wide across the waters...The pleasure of the racing and the sinkings will be paid for later by some incautious souls.And whenever I wonder why people discriminate against big dogs I see a pooch in a crate on the back of a scooter or in someone's arms...And don't let's forget the pirates keeping an eye on things.I just stood there in the sun pondering the slow start watching people rushing hither and yon on Lazy Way Lane looking for the best spot to watch or perhaps to meet a friend or perhaps, as I was thinking of, to go home.There was a lady passing through the crowd selling poppies for Memorial Day, a reminder of the purpose of the event.And the first boats got going to much acclaim.One sank, one didn't......and it was time to go home and get some rest before the all too imminent start of a holiday night shift for me.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Happy Dog

A lovely day in the Lower Keys.
Rusty, who doesn't swim was ready to go paddling with me.





Cheyenne liked Blimp Road, seen here in 2015 a year before she died.
Blimp Road, Cudjoe Key
And now it's Rusty's turn to sniff around. Every day is a gift.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Signs Of Life

This used to be a camera shop and now it sells smoking paraphernalia, to smoke what precisely I'm not sure. The people of Florida voted overwhelmingly to approve Medical Marijuana but the part-time state legislature hasn't moved on it yet. Bit too modern for the fuddy-duddies in Tallahassee I suspect. In case you need a pick-me-up they sell beer. Mind you everyone in Key West sells beer. All the time it seems, and these guys don't want to be left out. The camera shop never sold beer, as far as I know. 
 Selling beer is not always to everyone's benefit.
This one caught my eye: an art gallery moonlighting as a real estate office. Of all the weirdness I've seen in Key West this is a first.
There was once a street between Fleming and Southard known in Spanish as chicken alley and if this decorative sign is to be believed the chicken was drunk. Nowadays the street is known less colorfully as Bahama Street.
This sign I caught before dawn when the night sky was as black as a piece of velvet. The glass bottom boat is at the north end of Duval so there was no light pollution behind the sign.
This one is a sad one because this is a very small town. I did not know the victim well enough to talk to her but she worked at my dentist's office and when finished she apparently came here to walk Smathers Beach. One day an impaired river under the influence it is alleged drove onto the sidewalk and killed the 49 year old dental hygienist out for a stroll.
Things happen for no reason despite what we try to tell ourselves. Then a pigeon lands on a sign at Mallory Square and so one gets back into the swing of things and ponders the birds choice of perch.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bridle Path At Night

A lunch break on a night I felt well rested so I took the time to visit South Roosevelt Boulevard.
 It was windy and noisy and fresh and not quite cool. 
 For just about an hour I left the cacophony of 911 calls behind.
 I hadn't even brought my Lumix camera to work so all I had was my iPhone 6 in my pocket. 
 I walked on the path where once upon a time Key Westers exercised their horses.
 I brought one of my Vespas on my trailer to Jiri on Stock Island for a service.
 I dropped the Vespa off on my way to work and drove the car on my lunch break.
 There was no traffic at all so I stopped and took a picture, mid flight on the road:
And so to work. Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On The Water

Robert told me he needs to get motivation to get out on the water on his boat.
 In retirement he is a man of many projects, including Salty Dog:
 My wife got jealous after the last time Robert and I went out to lunch by boat.
 So she organized us into attempting a  ride to Geiger Key for lunch.
 It was a bit wild and wet outside for a twenty mile run to lunch, so sprayed and damp we quit.
 We took a turn around Cunjoe Bay instead enjoying the sun and the turquoise waters.
 It was lumpy out there and calm in here. Nice.
 Robert's 26-foot World Cat offers a very smooth ride:
 A great time with excellent views.

 Like they say its good to have a friend with a boat.
 We still needed lunch so rather less glamorously we drove to Square Grouper.
 I had chicken and waffles under the supervision of a mournful captive lion fish.
 It was a good day and  better yet because the boat wasn't mine to deal with...
We stopped taking the boat out when we discovered our new home on Cudjoe has a nice swimming canal with very little boat traffic and Cudjoe Bay offers no sight seeing and no pleasant swimming holes. When we lived on Newfound Harbor we went out a lot as our canal was too busy to swim in and a short boat ride netted us tons of good swimming holes with nice views.
So now we just jump straight into the canal for an afternoon swim. The perfect no maintenance pool.