Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Love Technology

Financial Institutions.  We all need them in one form or another.  Unless of course you bury your money in mason jars in the back yard or in your mattress or in the freezer so you can always have cold, hard cash.  With the onset of the internet we can now do almost all of our transactions and viewing right in the comfort of our home in front of the computer.  I love technology but…..

Last week I was trying to link two accounts from two financial institutions together.  According to the sites this should be an easy process.  For the newly created account at the new foundation I needed to input a user id.  Hmmm.  I guess I just click on create one.  Enter my new account number and….and…I can’t give it me.  What kind of an error message is that.  So I tried to link from the other institution.  Nope.  So I sent off an email to my advisor.  A few days later he said to call the technology help desk.  Well that means bringing the laptop to the porch to use the free wifi since you cannot talk on the phone and use the internet at the same time if you use the hotspot.  AAAHHH!!  In the meantime we got a mail delivery.  Documents to sign for the new account.  And look, my user id and temp. password.  Great.  So I went into the site….nope.  What?????  Ok, the other site.  Nope.  So off we go with the laptop and phone in hand.  Go into the site and waalaa.  I am in.  I just sat there shaking my head.  Bill just smirked and kept on reading his paper.  Gotta love technology.

Well, that done, we went to the Key West Yacht Club for lunch.  I mentioned before that we didn’t get much damage here.  This is one poor boat at the yacht club.

She was there for a few weeks until she got towed off.

Patti and Bill

Friday, October 5, 2012

Still in Key West

OK, so it has been awhile since I have written anything in this blog.  We need to use the hotspot on our phone here so we tried not to use it so much.  Well, we could bring the laptop up to the tackle shop deck and use it there for the free wifi.  The problem with that is I can get side tracked easily.  And it is also a haul to carry this in the large padded bag.  So now since we have few bills since we have move aboard, the biggest is nothing to do with cars (payments, insurance, taxes).   We are throwing caution to the wind and using the hotspot more.  We get 2GS with our plan then it is $20.00 for the next 2 and so on.
This will be a quick catch up on our goings on here in Key West.

We do still do some walking to local places to eat.  When there is absolutely no wind it plays havoc in my lungs but Bill still goes out.  He wanted to go a bit further so he bought a bike.

We have a list of upgrades we need to do for the boat.  We got the portable a/c unit.
We got new canvas including a bimini which we did not have before.  They were very reasonably priced and professional. They were also very convenient, right out of the marina.  Since I changed the color he wanted in our kitchen in the house in Coventry I let him choose the color of the canvas. 

Then of course there were the “fixin” projects like the joker valve for the head.
The summer here at the southernmost point in the US is not for the faint of heart, or at least those with no a/c.  Some establishments do get by with a multitude of giant fans.  Tropical Storm Isaac wasn’t that bad for us here.  There were some boats that didn’t were not tied down correctly so the wind generator got tangled in another boat.  The forecast daily usually calls for a chance of thunderstorms.  Sometimes we get one.  In my opinion in does not rain here in Key West.  It either barely sprinkles or it pours, no inbetween.  Last week Bill spotted this water spout. 

I love the way he caught this one between the foresails on the two boats.

And a few days later we got to see this over the marina.

Patti and Bill

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Errand Day in Paradise

Yesterday was hot, but not as bad as it has been.  Bill disconnected the air conditioner and we just plugged in the two fans.  We then decided we would do a few errands today, all within walking distance.  First, since Irene had really done a job on our dodger and we needed one even before that as you could not see through the plastic window we walked across the road to the canvas shop.  Again the greeting was cheerful with a sniff and a wag.

I did not catch his name, but we will be back.  The owner is coming today to look at our old one and get us an estimate.

From there we walked up to Burger King.  Yes, some good old fashioned junk food.  But very familiar.  Then to get wine and lottery tickets.  Back on Enigma we opened our mail delivery.  Title for dingy was there and the insurance paperwork to finish and sign.  

We later decided to walk over to Dock 3.  There are three docks here.  We are on one, which is about 70% sailboats.  The docks here are very wide. Wide enough to drive on.

Dock three is closest to the ocean.  There are condos there also.  They have a nice, peaceful view.

The largest boats are on this dock.  This one is for sale.  It is a 1987 87foot Hatteras Motor Yacht with a European Cockpit, whatever that means.  Come ooonnn powerball!!

Dock two is a mixture, mostly power on that one.  It is only one with palm trees on the end though.

As I had mentioned before it is extremely hot here.  Most of the boats have a/c running most of the time.  To keep off some of the direct sun light many of the boats put a cover or two over the bow and/or stern.  Not a bad idea.  Some are professionally made.

And some, not so much.

And kitty just watches everything from here perch on the recycle bins.

Patti and Bill :-)

Monday, July 9, 2012

West Marine and Hogfish Bar and Grill

Since Duval Street is a bus ride away there are days that we just stay in Enigma.  At this time of year the weather is the same everyday.  About 90 degrees with high humidity and a chance of thunderstorms.  The percentage of these change day to day.  Yesterday was 50% so it was most likely going to rain.  After cleaning up the boat some we decided to take a walk to the Hogfish Bar and Grill.  About half way there is a West Marine and Bill needed to pick up some epoxy.  If you have a boat you know that epoxy is a must have right after duct tape.  It started to sprinkle so instead of walking on I decided to join Bill.  This West Marine had a nice welcoming committee of one.  Charlie Brown.

He was really a little ball of fire and even knew some tricks.  When the person he owned pointed a finger at time and made a bang sound Charlie Brown rolled over and played dead.  Sooo cute.

After our purchase the rain (actually sprinkles) subsided and we were off to Hogfish.  The Bar and Grill is in the Safe Harbor Marina where many of the fishing boats were.  Most of the patrons were fisherman drinking and playing pool and telling tales of the one that got away.  We sat on the other side to watch.  We were in a Tiki Bar.  Once you are in South Florida and lower these are everywhere.  They don't all call themselves "Tiki Bars" but they have the same exposed frames and thatched roofs.

Bear, a regular, came in.  He walks around the bar making sure there is no food left on the floors.  He also asks the patron and workers alike if they are all set and need help finishing their meal.

We were just about to walk back when the rumble of thunder started.  Bill went out to look and said we could leave in about an hour.  Ok bartender, pour us another round of beer.   The thunder seemed to be in the building it self with a low rumble and loud crack.  I have notice that here it does not rain.  Nope, it sprinkle then pours.  Back home in Connecticut it could rain all day.  A nice steady rain.  Not here, it sprinkles and pours. As Bill says "You are in the tropics now".

And it poured, and poured and poured.  After about an hour we walked back to Enigma.  The streets were very flooded.  No drains or catch basins here.  On the boat we played a few games of dominoes which we haven't done in ages.  It is supposed to do the same tomorrow.

Patti and Bill  :-)

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Little about Key West

Enigma is docked at Oceanside Marina.  It is actually in Stock Island which is part of Key West.  Stock Island was supposedly named for the herds of livestock kept there.  Another theory is it was named after an early settler.

Key West is only about 90 miles from Cuba.  It is the Southernmost tip of the continental U.S.  The name Key West was named so because:

1.)  It is the most Western Key (obviously)


2.)  The Spanish name Cayo Hueso (pronounced Kajo Weso) which literally means Bone Island or Bone Cay.  This is because of the bones left behind of some American Indian tribes that used the grounds for a battlefield.  Since the Island is mostly coral shells they could not bury the dead, so they just left them there.

Key West is also the only continental city to have said to have never had a frost, ice or snow.  The lowest recorded temperature is 41 degrees in 1886 and the highest is 100 in 1880.

Salt was one of the major industries here and the number one salt producer for the U.S. until the 1950's when the Army Corp. on Engineers filled them in after a hurricane. Doing this actually about doubled the land mass.

Of the few beaches on Key West the most popular public beach is Smathers Beach.  It is a 1/2 mile long white sandy beach.  It has public restrooms and water sports such as parasailing and jet skies.  Did I mention it has white sand?  Due to the barrier reef the Key does not have waves, therefore no natural sandy beaches.  All of the sand here is shipped in.
There is also a beach called Dog Beach.  Apparently this is a favorite amongst the canines due to the rocks.  No restrooms for mom and dad though.  There are also two dog parks.  One for the little dogs and one for the larger dogs.  As we passed by in the trolley there was a miniature doberman in with a lab.  The looked to be friends so I am not sure if the large vs. small is really enforced.

The Bahamian immigrants were called Conchs (pronounced conk).    Presently the residents that were born here are called Conchs.  The residents that were not born here are called Freshwater Conchs. Many of the boats and homes here fly the Conch Republic flag that can be purchased at a place on Duval Street.

Hope everyone has a great day.

Patti and Bill :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy July 4th

So the plan was to catch the early bus to Duval St.  Which we did.  I needed some breakfast even though it was already 10:30.  So we had breakfast Key West style.

Yup, that's ice cream.  A little fuzzy.  I think I needed to clean my lens.  And my camera has been acting up.   Well, we had milkshakes instead of sundaes.  Just as good.  Then we walked over to Mallory Square and went though a few shops. Key West had many businesses in the past.  One was sponges from the sea.  Here I am with the original Sponge Bob,  LOL!

We decided to take the Old Town Trolley tour.  You can hop on and off at the 12 stops at any time.  The tickets are good for two days.  And there are no horse and buggy tours here.  Sigh. But you could hear the driver/guide with no problem.  We got off of the trolley at stop 11 and walked to the Earnest Hemingway Home.  I liked his taste.  Very simple.  This portrait was in his dining room.

Of course he himself had many books.

There were some other bookshelves but since they did not lock the books were moved out.  Other occupants moved in.

Mr. Hemingway loved his six-toed cats.  They can be seen though out the home and grounds to this day.  Kitty prints in the sidewalk around the grounds.

Outside bungalow for them.  There were a few of these.

The grounds we gorgeous with lots of plants.  And yup, more cats.

And a pool.

We then walked around the corner to......yes, an Irish Pub.  It was really too hot to eat so we ordered small.  Then went to The Bull.  It is fun to people watch from the inside.  I would have loved to have taken some pics of them, but I just didn't have the heart.  You must come here and live the experience.

Those red eyes on the bull flash. 

Next we went across the street to The Flying Monkey.  They have about 12 of those twirling Oasis Frozen Drink Machines against the wall.  I had a Dirty Monkey.  Tasted like a chocolate shake.  Bill started with beer then had a Flying Monkey.  He said it was like berries.  I loved this bumper sticker on the wall.  Bill said that one of his past colleagues used to say this.

A storm was moving in so we called a taxi to bring us back.  We were hoping it would blow over before the fireworks.  Well, by 9:00 there was still a lot of thunder and lightening so off to bed.  Then we were woken up by a loud bang.  They were lighting the fireworks anyway.  Even though the storm.  We just stayed in bed.

Hope everyone had a nice Holiday!

Patti and Bill  :-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I'm Back.....and in Key West

The last two weeks in St. Augustine were uneventful.  Ventured out to eat, but mostly stayed on Enigma and read or played online games. We did get Enigma and her tender registered in Florida.  Since Connecticut doesn't title its boats we thought we would have a problem with the dingy.  Enigma is documented so no problem there.  The clerks were very helpful and we were titled and registered in no time.  We stopped at the Green Cove Springs Park on the way back.  This is where the spring is.

It flows into the pool.

Then out.

The park is nice to walk through.
On the 16th we met with Capt. Cliff.  We intend to go outside and with my night blindness a third person is better to have.  He has been to Key West before so he knows the good marinas and anchorages to stop in along the way.  We left on Tuesday, the 18th.  The first leg was on the outside.  Seas were high and wind on our nose, so the next day was inside.  Then it was inside the rest of the way.  Sorry, no pics along the way.  The inside is mostly boring.  We did stop at the Riviera Marina in New Palm Beach.  As always we asked for a face dock since we would be leaving early.  This was the boat next to us.

Her SISTA!!  Heehee.

The part of the ICW between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale was horrible.  29 bridges.  Only 1 fixed and 2 opened on demand.  All of the others were on the hour and 1/2 or quarter after and quarter of.  A power can make each on with no problem.  We made a few but mostly had to wait.  It was very disheartening to be almost there and be close enough and see the bridge close.  One bridge tender saw us and did wait and one knew we were coming and called and waited.  Nice guys.  Bad T-storms in Fort Lauderdale so we stayed the day.  Bill and Capt. Cliff went for more provisions and I did the laundry.
Next day by Miami to the Keys.

We arrived in Key West on June 30th.  Capt. backed into the slip which was no little task since she walks real hard to port in reverse.  We will be here for one month.  The docks are fixed but there is not much of a tide change so on and off is no problem. First on the list was getting something to eat and a nice cold drink.  Since we knew nothing of the area we just asked the taxi driver to bring us to someplace with air conditioning.  That was Turtle Kraals. We stopped at Home Depot on the way back.  Our fans would not  be enough so we bought an a/c unit.

The next morning we bid farewell to Capt. Cliff.

And then to Duval Street, which is where everything is happening. Of course our first lunch was at Margaritaville for a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Soooo good.  Then we wandered to the Hog's Breath Saloon.  The cab ride was $25.00 each way.  Ouch!
The next day we walked up and took the bus.  $2.00 each.  Much better!!  Walked around and went to Captain Tony's for drinks.  You will recognice the name in Jimmy Buffets song "The Last Mango in Paris".  Here are some pics inside the infamous bar.

I didn't add mine to the collection.  I know I have one on the boat....somewhere.

Patti and Bill :-)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Drakes Raid

First, for the folks at Isle of Hope.  Bill and I were walking through the plaza yesterday and look who came running up to us to say hello.

Yup, they have made it this far.  They are doing great, have been here for about a week but said they will be moving on soon.  They said the people here are not as friendly because they don't like them hanging out in the plaza.  It was good to see them though.  Pam, I showed them a picture of Olivia.  They said "awwwww...another dog?"

They do a lot of reenactments here.  Yesterday it was Sir Francis Drake's Raid on St. Augustine.  The raid happened on June 6, 1586.  23 ships with 2.000 Englishmen under Sir Francis Drake's command approached St. Augustine's harbor.  The next day there was a battle at the fort.  On the 8th they captured the fort and they drove the Spanish  rear guard from the city.  Drake then ordered the City sacked and burned, including the fort. 

The first reenactment was during the day in the park at the Fountain of Youth.  We opted not to go to that.  In the evening the soldiers marched down St. George Street.  Women running to warn us they were coming yelling "The Drake is Coming!!". 

This little pirate was going to defend his family by sitting on his dad's shoulders.

And here they come.  You could not break their concentration.

This woman actually looked scared.  I don't know if she knew what was going on.

There is so much history in this city.  Everyone should come to visit and spend at least a week here.  We are still exploring.

Patti and Bill  :-)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Making Enigma a Florida Boat

First I would like to show you a new feathered friend in our area.  He was fishing over by the Santa Maria Restaurant and had his back turned or face in the water.  Maybe he will come to our marina at some point.  It is a Rose colored Spoon Bill.

Since Bill and I are now Floridian with our mail going to Green Cove Springs, our Drivers Licenses and our voting registration now it is time to have Enigma be a Floridian too.This will be a process.  Since she is a documented vessel we got our renewal in the mail.  There is a place to change your mailing address and send it back, OK, but if you want to change anything else, like the hailing port, you need to send in the application and fee as if you were redocumenting.  This seemed strange to me since the address is three lines and the hailing port will be three words.  So I called to confirm this.  The answer I got about the hailing port was "You need to change your address under the managing owner but as for the hailing port, it is up to you.  The Coast Guard doesn't care".  So for now her hailing port is still in Connecticut. 

Next was the insurance.  I emailed our agent to find out if we need a whole new policy to keep her in Florida waters all year.  If no, how far south can she be and how much more will it cost.  He sent back a note that our current insurance does not cover Florida to stay in after 6/15.  He found us another policy the next day that covers us here.  Cool.  Now the price????  About $30.00 per year less.  WOW.  Sign us up.

Now the registration.  At first we thought we would need to apply for a title, since in Connecticut we don't get one for a vessel, but they do in Florida.  Looking into this more it seems that as long as the boat is Federally Documented, which Enigma is, you don't need one.  The fee is much less here than in CT for a 35 ft. boat, but more for our dinghy.  Oh well.  On our next trip to the DMV we will register her here.

It didn't rain last evening but the sky was puffy clouds and pretty.

 Hope everyone has a great day..

Patti and Bill  :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lightner Museum

For those that read the blog yesterday we are looking for a possible new name for Robo Dog.  So far we only got one comment.  I know you guys are creative.  We got a good one from Pam and Dave.  They suggested Rober, a play on Rover.  I took a few more pics for you.

Isn't he cute?  There was a new place that had it's Grand Opening 3 days ago so Bill and I tried it for lunch.  YUM!!

I didn't count how many different kind of toppings they have but I am guessing around 25.  Bill just had salt and I had Canadian, which is gravy and cheese.  Soooo good.

We decided to do another touristy thing.  We went to the Lightner Museum.  It is in the old Flagler Hotel.  We were told that Mr. Flagler built this hotel for a place his rich friends could come and vacation.  He was a very good business man.  Mr. Lightner was one of his friends.  When he passed there was an estate sale.  Back in the early 1900.s, when there was an estate sale you bought everything, not just an item or two. Both men and their wives were considered very eclectic, so the items in the museum are very different.  Many Brides choose this place for their wedding pictures.The grounds are beautiful and kept that way.

To let everyone know this was his hotel Mr. Flagler had a statue of himself in the front.

Just inside there is a courtyard with a bridge over a small pond that was filled with Koi.

  Back in CT we had a pond with Koi.  Bill got some food and started a small feeding frenzy.

Inside there was three floors.  There were very interesting things throughout, along with the hotel itself. Most were behind glass and set aways back so bear with some of the pictures. This is a dollhouse.

My favorite collection, purses.

Being that this was a hotel at one time, a barbershop.

There were many items in the music room.  This one was small and you had to crank it to play music.

There was a science section.  It had many rocks and artifacts.  And this.

Yes, that is a real mummy from Egypt.  The date here says 500 BC.

The furniture was very ornate.

Mr. Flagler wanted to be sure his guests would come back, so he had a Russian style sauna.

And a multi-jet shower.

The ballroom was HUGE.  I could imagine people dressed in that time and dancing.

Some chairs looked so comfortable.

And some not so much.

There were quite a few statues.  This was Cleopatra.  Looks like she had a wardrobe malfunction.  Haha.

Looking below is where the pool was.  It was kept at a nice 70 degrees.  It is now a restaurant.

The next floor was full of crystal.  I felt like a bull in a china shop.  No pics as I kept both hands firmly behind my back.  You will just need to come to St. Augustine and go through the museum yourself.

On the way back we did walk by the Casa Monica Hotel.  Now many hotels have a van or car to pick you up or drop you off.  This is the one for this hotel.

Have a great day everyone.  As I am writing this it is starting to rain.  But this to shall pass.  It always does.

Patti and Bill  :-)