We left Madge at Dinner Key, rented a car and went to Key West this weekend. It wasn’t necessarily the right thing to do as far as the cruising budget or schedule were concerned, but we had friends who would be there and we didn’t want to miss them. They all used to work with me at the World’s Busiest Airport (WBA), and we decided at my exit interview that we would meet in Key West in February. We thought for sure that Madge would be there by now, but that was before we encountered the ALL-TIME WORST WEATHER YEAR FOR CRUISING EVER. It’s official. That’s how 2016 will be remembered. Every veteran cruiser we meet tells us they’ve never seen a year this bad. Yeah, I really know how to pick ’em. But I digress…
On short notice, I managed to get a room for two nights at the Duval House, our favorite B&B in Key West. We ordered a car to drive down on Friday and return on Sunday. So much for planning. The weather forecast for Friday called for high winds, so since the shuttle boat in the mooring field doesn’t run if it’s too windy, we went ashore on Thursday and got a hotel room ($$). Worked out fine, as we had a great king-sized bed and a roomy shower with all the hot water we could ever want. Did some shopping and got some stuff for Madge. Took off early on Friday, picked up the car and headed for KW. Stopped on the way and outfitted Suzy for snorkeling, which will come in handy later. The traffic was terrible, but we finally reached Duval House by about six. Then the fun began.
We met our friends for dinner and hopped a couple of bars before the long day caught up with us. It was great to see the gang – like it hadn’t been almost a year since I’d seen them. Caught up on some of the happenings back at the WBA, but mostly just talked and laughed a lot. While my colleagues and I picked up where we left off, the spouses were just getting to know each other – and everybody got along great. Saturday morning we all met for a late breakfast, then toured the Ernest Hemingway house, after which we resumed hopping bars and enjoying the town. After a brief late afternoon respite, we met up again for happy hour, sunset and dinner. Sunday was get-away day, so Suzy and I said our brief goodbyes and made the long trek back to Miami. We spent another night in a hotel, and caught the shuttle boat back to Madge on Monday.
My only regret from our weekend in KW was how little time we had to sit and talk with our friends. The bars and restaurants in KW seem to have live, loud bands scheduled 24/7. I just wish we could’ve spent some time in a small jazz lounge with quiet background music where we could’ve had some more lengthy, in depth conversations. But for what it was, and where it was, it was a great time. We are sure to see our friends again in June, when Suzy and I are back in our old stomping grounds for a few days visiting children and doctors. We’ll catch up again then.
Now, sitting here on Madge, we can look at our itinerary and see that we have no more commitments. Our time is truly our own. We can go anywhere, anytime, and stay as long as we want. Decisions, decisions. We’ll be moving soon.
Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the weekend. Check Suzy’s FB page for those.