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Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!
Written By: OC Fotoguy
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Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!
Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!
Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!
Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!
Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!
Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow!

    Keys Wrap & Ah - Wow! Which describes here best, I’m not sure. Both apply to the le’id back feeling produced by the warmth in the winter in south Florida, which really causes me to turn the volume down on life and my only speed is slow while looking for the easy way that works.  No, nothing has to be perfect, just work.  I don’t have a mechanical bone in my body and when I do maintenance or fix something that’s certainly a Wow!  I just tried to change the way a couple things in the camper are wired for electricity. In theory it should’ve worked, but it didn’t and it took too long. I missed the first band here at the EverGlades City Seafood Festival, which I’ve attended for the last 17 consecutive years. So I quit, put the wires back the way they were and I’ll try again tomorrow. Plus, it’s a hot 85 degrees blue-skied day (Feb 8). I’ve done enough. Now I’m listening to a southern rock band on a world class sound system in the heat of the sun and writing this.  The music continues for three days and this year ended with Jimmy Van Zant doing Free Bird - Wow!
    Here’s my wrap for being in Key West for 5 weeks: Everything Worked! I parked my nest (slide -in camper on a pick up truck) overnight for free. HH with delicious food & ACBs at Alonzo’s in the old seaport waterfront near Schooner Wharf where it’s as good as it gets.  The Hog Fish Grill on Stock Island is very good too, especially, their smoked fish dip & $1.89 16oz. PBR drafts. The best music was at the Green Parrot; especially Sound Check at 5:30 on Friday & Sunday with always a unique band and, of course, John LaMere and Kevin Poole (solo acts) outdo all acoustic musicians whereever they play.  The skimmers (birds) at sunrise put on a grand show for my photos.
    My most memorable event/episode was my roller coaster/bronco kayak ride, when a cruise ship passed me. I had a wonderful relaxing paddling day to Zachary Taylor State Park at the southwestern end of the island. Instead of pulling my kayak out of the water near the east end of Duval Street, I decided to paddle back where I’ve had it locked to a fence at the end Simonton St. and started.  It was 80+ degrees with little wind, so why not? I stopped and beachcombed a couple places for a break and then approached Sunset Pier where a cruise ship was tied up. I knew I’d be paddling into a current which got stronger the closer I got to the Pier, so I paddled farther out into the water.  Then I saw the Harbor Pilot in his boat and he was coming right at me.  Gee, I thought, I hope he sees me. He had. He slowed his engine, and was yelling something, but his words were drowned out by the engine noise. He began pointing at the cruise ship. I looked and realized it was no longer tied up. I couldn’t hear what he was saying and put my hand to my ear, so he’d know it. He pointed to the concrete bulkhead, yelled go, stay, gestured to hold on, and pointed again at the cruise ship, which I could see was approaching. I paddled over there and grabbed a hold of a steel ladder that was attached to the wall and watched as the ship drew nearer. It was several hundred yards away. I thought I was fine and had no idea what was about to happen. All of a sudden the water level suddenly dropped several feet and I was suspended in the air above my kayak.  About the time I recovered, it happened again, scaring the bejesus out of me.  Why did it drop? I have no idea! I’m just glad I landed back in the kayak! I chalked that experience up to the category, Never Let That Happen Again! If I see a cruise ship approaching I will get out of the water as quickly as I can! The next day I still had that up and down tossing feeling in my head.  
    On my last day there I was doing presunrise photos on the docks in front of Schooner Wharf, when I heard a friendly voice and turned around to see this head protruding from the hatch of the living quarters of the tall ship, Spirit of Independence. The ensuing conversation was one I wanted several days earlier, but it didn’t happen then. He didn’t know who I was, but I figured he was who Jay, long-time Seacrets bartender, now, in Ft. Lauderdale, had emailed me about. The head was Capt. Rick’s. He said, “you must be very dedicated to be outside in the rain and cold,” and offered me a 1/2$ cruise.  It really wasn’t so bad for me, but for a Key West local it’s winter! When I told him who I was, he braved the weather, came out and greeted me. He said he got an email about me and said he’d like me to go with him for free! I took a rain check. He’s a uniquely friendly guy and gets my “Character of Key West” label.  
    My best meals were at the Kojin Noodle Bar on Southard near Duval. Their oriental menu has delicious yakisoba, gyoza and many more items, plus Don’t Miss eating at Finnegan’s Wake at Grinnel & Green Sts. The lamb stew is a scrumptious pot pie as big as a family sized apple pie, and the shrimp & scallops over rice in teriyaki sauce is to die for! The Rueben is pretty good, too and I’ll bet you can’t eat more than half of it. Lastly, the abundant multitude of elegant, exquisite, gorgeous women is certainly another Wow! John LaMere, who’s here for six months, will likely be married! I think I would be if I stayed. Plus everyone, even the parking police, is cordial, friendly, and why not - it’s 80 degrees almost every day in the winter! That’s a Wow and long relaxing ahhh!
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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