My wife was busy in town and with an hour to myself I went one place I want to go with my camera every time I come into town. I look out to the water north of Key West, with no opportunity to stop and wish I could pull over and take a few pictures. So on this occasion I drove over to the welcome center, parked in the lot there and walked back to the seawall, via the crosswalk which is a work in progress and is no way safe! As a pedestrian I worry that what happened to me once, getting rear ended, will happen to one of the cars that courteously stopped for me...but all was well. I made it intact to the promised land.
If you look past the boat parking lot with the wrecks which my friend Rick in Santa Cruz calls "hovel craft" there is a stretch of gorgeous open water to the isolated mangrove islands in the flats to the north.
Some of the boats are occupied like the one below, which I only realized when I downloaded the picture and noticed the swimmer. Boats at anchor pay no rent and are therefore cheap housing ina city that desperately needs it.
However it offends the soul of a sailor in some respects to see boats treated as mere cheap apartments. One would like to see the floating hovels kept smartly with sails furled and bird droppings washed off but usually they rot gently at their anchors.
And fiberglass doesn't rot, it will be around forever. From time to time there is a push to remove abandoned boats but the expense is damnable. The tow companies will drag them ashore, load them onto trucks and haul them to the dump after the hulls are broken up but the equipment and labor required to do the work is massively expensive and the landfills charge good money to dispose of all those square feet of relatively heavy boat parts. The worst of it is that there is an endless supply of abandoned boats waiting to take the place of those removed. How much do you want your taxes increased to clear them all out? It's a problem to which no one has found the answer.
Aside from the mechanics and cost there are also the legalities. Officials have to try to discover the owners names and then contact them to warn them that their "property" faces what amounts to confiscation by the state. While you or I might agree the fiberglass hulls are nothing more than eye sores no one wants to encourage the notion that private property is up for grabs simply because the neighbors are mad about it cluttering up the view. Due process is also expensive and time consuming.
So there it is, a lifestyle, a way to live, freedom, and bloody nuisance all rolled into one. And bear in mind I like many others in this county, came here by boat and lived aboard. I did not however leave my boat to rot on it's anchor. I think the person I sold it to did that.
And then when you live on a boat you have to come ashore and therefore you need an accessible dinghy landing.
You can circumnavigate the island on a jet ski tour if you feel like it and for those that don't you can enjoy watching them, and listening to them, while you are on land:
I liked this picture below which appears to make them tied at the stern. In face the standing jet skier was the guide passing by the red jacketed client heading out for open water, Stock Island is in the distance.
Last minute instructions and off they go. I'm going to have to do it one time before I die. I've never ridden a jet ski but I owe it to myself to try one more new experience, I think. The peanut gallery of disapproval will be ignored.
Mangroves lining North Roosevelt Boulevard while on the horizon you can see the brown block of the "Stock Island Hilton" the local nickname for the county jail.
Let me close out this brief look at the anchored boats north of Key West with a view to the Gulf of Mexico in the distance. Lovely isn't it?