Reunions in Key Largo

Tuesday afternoon we got the call that Dan and Ruth were on their way south, so we asked them to let us know when they checked into their hotel, which is across the canal from us. Then – surprise surprise – they knocked on the hull bearing birthday gifts. They’d tracked us down LOL.   We ended up going to Skippers for dinner and a catch up – but had an early night as they had been up since five.   Was great to see them again and can’t believe they have flown all the way from Wisconsin especially to see us.

Wednesday morning we met at nine and were all in jeans and jackets as it was cold and wet.   Oh well, never mind.   We drove just down the road for breakfast – admiring the huge shark on the wall in the car park.

Shark wall art

The name of the diner is Mrs Mac’s Kitchen which Richard thought was pretty funny as he has always said that I should open a Grenadian roadside Mrs Mac’s Curry Shack.   Had a lovely breakfast, I even got my own branded mug, and Richard and Ruth went mad and ate Alligator Sausages. Yes, seriously!   We had to sit outside because it was full but that didn’t dampen our spirits.

Mrs Mac at Mrs Macs Breakfast at Mrs Macs Must be my mug

We decided to drive down to Key West which is a 100 mile run south.   We had a comfort break along the way at the art village and admired the giant lobster statue – and fed some inquisitive squirrels.

Feeding squirrels Anyone for lobster Feeding squirrels 2

We enjoyed the ride across all the bridges but it was sad that the stunning views – according to the travel brochures – were not to be had on this grey day.   Then we ended up getting caught in a traffic jam for a while. Finally we arrived at Key West – we found the public car park, and went walking.   Richard found his own branded truck and Dan liked the sponge man…..

Mr Mac's Truck Sponge Dan

We enjoyed the views of the marina and the boardwalk and, couldn’t believe it when we bumped into Jim, ShaSha and Lois.   We had a quick chat – but they were heading off for cocktails and we’d only just arrived – so said farewell and carried on walking towards the famous Duval Street.

Marina views On the boardwalk Marina views 2

This is a really quirky place but we were on a mission – in search of rum.   Ruth found the distillery LOL and we had a quick look around before carrying on walking.

Looking for rum

There is some nice architecture and although we got wet, who cares, we were having fun.

Duval Street 1 Duval Street 2 Duval Street 3 Duval Street 4 Duval Street 5 Duval Street 6

We stopped in a couple of hostelries during the day – but the target was reached when we found the Rum Bar.   Dan is a bit of a rum connoisseur and he and Richard tried the tasting rum boat – the bartender was knowledgeable about the products although she didn’t appreciate the (very funny) wisecracks!  As you can see they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Rum testing boat Enjoying the rum tasting

We started our walk back towards the car park and we stopped for dinner on the boardwalk. Interesting menu – but we found the food a bit rich for our palate.

Dinner venue

Then it was time to drive home so Ruth got that job – and she did it brilliantly – and we were back around ten. Had been a very long day so we went our separate ways – but at least we’d managed to keep Dan awake beyond his usual 9.17 pm collapse time LOL.

Thursday morning it was still drizzly but a bit warmer – so we kept the jackets but ditched the jeans for shorts.   We went back to Mrs Macs Kitchen for breakfast and debated what to do…   After the long trek the day before we decided to stay local.   So we visited the Dive Shop / Napa / Walgreens and local restaurants – we wanted to check them out before we decided where to eat later.

Checking out the Fish House

We returned to Dan and Ruth’s hotel room and drank their beer – before heading off on the Princess II glass bottomed boat for a two hour trip.

Princess II boat

Despite the miserable day we all had fun – doesn’t get much better than being out on the water – even though it does seem a bit strange to pay for a boat trip when we live on one nine months of the year LOL.   We enjoyed the sights of going through the canal, across the sandbar, and into the channel followed by seagulls.

Heading out the canal Princess II selfie

Tourist boat waiting to come into the channel Followed by seagulls

We had a couple of beers and enjoyed the wind in our faces before we went down to the lower deck to look at the reef below.   We spotted the usual suspects – a lone turtle, a stingray, parrot fish, sergeant majors etc – and was glad to be in a warm environment rather than swimming with them…. Was a tad chilly!

Princess II trip Coral beneath the Princess

Inside the canal again

We thoroughly enjoyed this trip – saying hi to Morphie on the way back – and admired the skipper’s skill navigating the channel – particularly when we came across some idiots diving in the middle of the canal – really?   He shouted and screamed and they moved – but who goes diving in the equivalent of a shipping lane???!!!???  Madness – they were lucky not to get themselves killed.

Hi Morphie

Back on terra firma – having upset the pelican who was trying to sleep – we retired to Skippers to debate where to have dinner.

Pelican looking grumpy

The Bayside Grill won – so we had to get there early as they don’t take reservations – and made it about 5.30 so we could watch the sunset over the bay. Sadly, though, there wasn’t one as there was too much cloud cover. We all had fish and it was very good food.

Bayside Grill

Completely stuffed we left, returned to the hotel, and drank their lovely large hotel room dry LOL.   Then, our job was done, so we returned to Morphie. Actually it was only about eight when we turned in – had been a long day.

Friday morning and back to Mrs Macs.   It was chucking it down!   We managed to get seats inside luckily and had another great breakfast.

Back to Mrs Macs At Mrs Macs

When we left it was still raining so we headed off to see the John Pennekamp State Park.   We drove around and admired what views we could see but the rain just got heavier and heavier and heavier.   It was torrential…..and the sky was very black.

Wet state park Storm coming State park 2

We sought shelter in the aquarium and they had some great coral….but we thought the solo lion fish looked pretty sad as he knows everyone hates him. Not his fault he’s turned up in the wrong ocean – bless.   We then watched a short film – and were surprised to actually identify some strange critters than we had seen when diving but hadn’t been able to name up to now. That was an unexpected bonus.


Sad lion fish

Driving back to the hotel and the rain had stopped for a while and the sky had cleared a little.   So we picked up Dan and Ruth’s swimmers and went to Morphie for ours. Hmmmm, a tad optimistic, looks like the bobbing will have to wait. The skies darkened, we ran for cover, and we sheltered down below while the thunderstorm and torrential rain passed through.   So we played cards and drank beer – what else???  Was cut-throat, noisy and great fun – with Ruth winning the championship by a very large margin!

Rainy afternoon on board

Later on we headed out to The Fish House for dinner – was great food and nice ambience – and we arrived just in time at sixish to nab a table without a wait – people were queuing by the time we had eaten.  Back to the marina and we decided – as it was our last night together – to push the boat out and have final drinks in Skippers and listen to Scott, the songster from Wisconsin.

Last night Scott Last night 2

Had a very merry evening – including some song requests – and then we got our bill.   It was very expensive for Dark and Stormies and Sauvignon Blanc (in the smallest measure ever) and we were a bit surprised.   Lesson to self – order bottles of wine instead – much cheaper option.   It ended up quite a late night and we managed to keep Dan awake until eleven – another successful mission….

Saturday morning and it was Dan and Ruth’s last day.   They checked out of their hotel room and came on board for breakfast.   Then, all too soon, it was time to bid them a sad farewell….   Oh yes, and of course, the sun came out and the sky was blue.   What a shame!   We had an amazing time together which was full of fun and laughter. Thank you so much for coming down to visit – here’s to the next reunion, whenever / wherever it may be!

Richard then got busy doing small boat jobs. He soldered the contacts back on the holding tank indicator gauge so that is working again now;  then he changed the filter in the Seagull drinking water filtration system;  then he fixed securing hooks to the outboard petrol can so that it doesn’t spill underway in the dinghy; and, finally, fitted a stainless lifting handle to the engine compartment door.   I spend the time sorting our photos and drafting the blog.

Later on we glammed up and headed off in a taxi to Sundowners up the coast. We were meeting Tony and Melody – who we haven’t seen since 2012.   They used to have a catamaran – Utopia – that they ran luxury charters on in the BVIs so we often used to bump into them around the islands. They are down here in Key Largo for a long weekend celebrating her sister’s birthday. A great coincidence that we were in the same place at the same time – and we had a wonderful evening meeting Joy and Nick and catching up with all the news…..

Utopia reunion Joy & Nick

And they generously wouldn’t let us pay for anything either – thank you both soooo much. Was great to see you again and hopefully it won’t be so long next time!   It was a really fun evening.

This morning – Sunday – and we were woken early with a massive wind and rain event….with straining lines and creaking fenders on the pilings.   We estimate that we saw wind gusts around 50 knots – so was grateful that we were tied into a marina.   The wind is still gusting now but the worst seems to have passed.   There is a tornado warning in place too!!!   Sadly it appears that the west coast got hit with severe damage and loss of life – never underestimate the power of the weather for sure….   We are doing chores today as we get ready for another reunion tomorrow.

Carolyn and Ron are flying in from the UK today and will be joining us down here in the Keys for the Friends Reunited Tour 2016…   Very excited!

Bye for now