Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Key West, Florida

Gibson Bight Key West Mooring Field
We've been so, so busy these past 3 weeks while tied to a mooring ball in Key West, Florida. Eat, sleep, knit, fix my hammock, sleep some more. This is one of the views from the hammock on the bow - if you look closely at the skyline you can see a cruise ship which is how a lot of the folks we see in the old part of town get here. There is at least one, and up to 4 cruise ships here each day.

But life hasn't always been so leisurely since our arrival. Oh no, not at all. We had a gaggle of official activities, chores, shopping, and urgent repairs that occupied our first couple of weeks.

After having both the boat and our bodies out of the country, we had to comply with the Homeland Security requirements and announce our entrance into the country. We had already applied for our "decal" by supplying all of our boat's and our personal information several months ago. Now we just had to telephone them and announce
Toes in the coral sand, Key West, FL
our arrival. Easy. Wait...we just got here from Central America and our cell phone won't work in the USA. So no phone. No problem! Buy a throwaway phone.

Walk, walk, walk, to the Publix grocery store to buy a phone. It was a lot farther than we thought, but being the good citizens that we are, we were on a mission to get a phone so we could do our official duties. After wandering around the store like 2 kids in a candy shop ogling all the amazing foods available with the drop of a few dollars, we bought our $15 no-tricks cell phone. Great! Oh wait. To get your new phone working you have to CALL an 800 number and enter the secret code.

But we don't have a phone to make the call! Easy - find a pay phone. Whoops. You should have seen the blank stare I got from a young gal when I asked where a "pay phone" could be found. Oh yes, the infamous deer-in-the-headlights look. Nope. No such thing as pay phones here anymore. If she hadn't
Fort Zachary Taylor, Key West, FL
been busy I would have entertained her with stories about putting a few coins in a slot and being able to talk to somebody without the burden of a 145-year service contract that takes possession of your first-born if you change service providers. But I digress.

We walked a little farther and borrowed a desk phone at the Verizon store while we arranged for wifi internet service. Yippeee! Then we hoofed it back to the boat to make the call (because that's where the telephone number was of course).

Our clearance into the USA next required a personal visit to the Customs/Immigration office at the airport in Key West. We were expecting this as this boat has never checked into the country before. Also, by this time we were much smarter and had found the bus system. Because we're seniors (I want you to know that I'm barely a senior) we can buy weekly passes for $3.75!
Jonesy rides the bus

Now, we consider the public bus to be our personal tour bus. It has big windows, A/C, and goes really slow through all parts of town. It takes a long time to get anywhere, but all we have is time. Our meeting with the officials at the airport went so smoothly! We are US citizens, not criminals, and the boat is US registered and we knew not to bring in any fruits & vegetables and we never went to Cuba. Yes, we were asked, and it was nice to be able to tell the truth about that!

Next up - we had to register our dinghy with the department of motor vehicles. So, we have a dinghy that we bought, used, in Guatemala that has never been registered or titled by a government. We knew that it would be tough, but armed with a Bill of Sale from the seller and a photo of the remnants of the VIN number on the transom, and Jonesy's internet sleuthing to figure out the manufacturer code, we got our title! It only took 2 trips to the DMV - by bus - with two 2-hour
Proud owners of Florida Plates
waits before our turn once we were there but the staff was friendly and made it happen. With the 1/2 hour dinghy rides to the docks each way, the wait for the bus, the bus rides, the waits at the DMV, the waits for a return bus this took TWO WHOLE DAYS!

Then we spent a day hiking around town to find the plastic plates, a different store for the stick-on letters and numbers. Back at the boat we installed grommets in our Sunbrella dinghy "chaps" (covers) and tied line through the holes. Voila! We got plates! Now we won't have to hide from the Coast Guard as we buzz around in our now-legal dinghy!

Jonesy also has had some rather unpleasant repairs - to both heads (the potty kind). It took him a lot of climbing into dark, smelly places and working with sewer hoses. After many hours and trips to the marine stores we now have two fully functioning heads and holding tanks. Holding tanks are mandatory here and we get pumped out by the sewage boat every week. Eeeeew.
Laundry and groceries at the dock

Our two sons flew into Miami for the Sebring 12-hour auto race. They invited Jonesy to come up and join them at the races so off he went on the Greyhound bus leaving me alone on the boat for a couple of days. I knit. They had a wild and wonderful time. After their race weekend, they all drove down the keys and our boys spent a few hours with us - took us out to dinner and we talked, and talked. Guess what? We were all so happy to see each other and blab that nobody took a picture of the four of us together. Well, we have our memories.

I can knit on canon balls, I can knit most anywhere.
To sum it up...there was a lot of work to complete after first arriving in the USA, but now we are done so we are having a great time in Key West! There's HOT WATER in the washing machines at the dinghy dock for cruisers, we don't need insect repellent, and the weather has been delightfully cool (in the 70's and 80's with low humidity - that's "cool" to us). I've finished many pairs of socks which I'll share next blog.

Life is good.

I love hearing of all your adventures. I had now idea that you had to go through so much to come back HOME. Have a wonderful time in the warm weather. Its cold and windy here in New England.Darrlaa
What marina are you guys in or do you have a mooring? My daughter lived in KW off and on for 10 years. I love it there and would move there if I could. My cousin is the manager of The Grand Keys Resort aka the Double Tree. They have awesome chocolate chip cookies in the lobby if you are in the area.
I love getting glimpses of your sunshine!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?