Friday, January 13, 2012

More Key West Fun!

I am approaching the end of my Key West stay.  It has been a great time and we are already planning next December down here.

Molly & Joey have been to Santiago's Bodega several times for the Tapas meals (small meals).  It serves great meals and great sangria.  Recently we found Overboard for happy hour. Joey and I went there as Molly was resting.  It had a great happy hour menu but since it is located on the second floor, overlooking the street, not as many people find it.  Sweet potato fries with honey on the side was one of our favorites.  Honey just jacks up the flavor!

This is a home-cooked meal of fresh fish and grilled veggies.  These fish were swimming just a few hours ago!  Can't get any fresher!  Note that this vacation seems to center around - FOOD!

When we went to Ft. Zachery Taylor State Park, we watched a pirate battle.  If you click on the picture, you can see more detail.  Two years ago we were here during the Pirate Week and they had Chef Robert from the Food Network filming a meal here.  We got to eat with them after the filming.  Check out my previous Key West blog from a couple of years ago if you missed it.

Our friend from DC had to get her picture with a pirate.

This Kapok tree is huge.  It is located across from mile marker 0 on Highway A1A in the middle of Key West on Whitehead street.  A great photo site.

This was our favorite sailboat.  America 2.0 was designed after the first winner of the America's Cup.  A   105 foot schooner.  So far I have taken the afternoon sail and the Sunset sail.  I got tickets on the local radio auction for $45 for two, regularly sold for $75 each!

Molly and Joey enjoying the walk down Key West Bight.

After happy hour, you have to remember which bike is hour and where you parked it.  We do not use our car very much at all here.  Bicycling is the easiest and fastest way to get around Key West.  I can get anywhere in 15-20 minutes on this small island.

This is my bike ready for a day of fishing off White's Pier.  I can get there in 10 minutes and have a ball with the reef fish.  Every once in a while I find a large fish but still the fun is fishing for whatever bites.  I always meet lots of friendly tourists here.  I talked to several groups of Chinese people from the cruise ship in for the day. 

I helped this man and his son rig up to catch a few small fish beside me.  I like to loan my pole for a few minutes to those watching.....ooops, I guess that is illegal!  I promise I won't do that again, when people are watching.....

Is this a puffer fish?

Most of the time, I am using squid.  Shrimp works very well but the average lifespan for a piece of shrimp in the water is about 10 seconds.  Squid stays on the hook for a longer period.  Plus if you use shrimp or squid and don't catch anything, you can eat your bait..........

This is the Gulfstream IV party boat on the way back into Key West.  Two cruise ships are docked near Mallory Square.  It costs $65 to fish for 6 hours but we got Groupons for $40!   Yes, we like to save our money so we can stay longer here!!

Here is a pile of fish that our boat caught last trip out.

This is the captain and crew hold up the largest fish.  Cobia and mackerel.  We had 20 nice fish to take home to eat.

The pelicans were waiting for our arrival.  They knew exactly when to show up!

Here was our catch for the day!  The crew cleans and charges 50 cents each fish.  It is fast and so much easier to have them do it. We have a fish dinner, then fish tacos, and then fish chowder.  Yummy.....

This is a typical start of the day.  We get up and read the local paper and the NY Times with coffee on the back deck.

Then we ride around the island and then it is off to the beach.

Are you catching the theme.....?   We relax!   We enjoy!    We eat!    We bike!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Days in Key West

I have been way too busy to blog about the  fun and times in Key West.  I arrived just after Thanksgiving and have really enjoyed the 80 degree weather.  As soon as I arrived I got my bike set up.  I mounted a white milk crate with two PVC pipes to the back of the bike.  Now I could carry things and put my two fishing poles upright into the PVC pipes.  Dorky looking but it carried all my beach gear, a hammock, a backpack, tackle box and anything else I needed for my trips around and through KW.

As soon as I arrived I headed down to Mallory Square  for a bike ride and to watch the cruise ship come in.  There are 1-3 ships that dock for the afternoon every day, so downtown Duval Street area gets jammed with tourists.  Actually people watching is a big past-time down here. It is fun to hear all the different languages and watch the people hit the shopping areas downtown.

Mallory Square is where Sunset Celebration takes place every night.  There are many street performers and booths for shopping right along the dock.  Our favorites include the CatMan of Key West (Goggle him!!), the tightrope walker, the escape artist, and the Southermost Bagpiper.  Then it is off to happy hour!

1/2 price drinks (buy one, get one free; two for one; or 50 % off for  youall Northerners!) :-)  Then it is 1/2 price off on the whole appetizer page at many of the restaurants along  the eastern end of Front Street.  Oysters for 50 cents, great soups for $2-3, shrimp for $5-6, believe me that you can get enough "happy hour" food for a meal.  Some happy hours are from 4-7 pm, some are 5-6:30 pm, always check.

After we walk the Historic Seaport walkway we enjoy our night ride back up Duval to our house.  You have to have a white front light and a red back light on your bike at night.  A horn or bell also helps.

We usually ride all around the island in the morning.  The island is 2 miles wide and 4 miles long.  Some days we even get up for a sunrise ride.

After breakfast and our ride we do like to go to Ft. Zachery Taylor State Park beach for the afternoon.  It is $2.50 @ to get in.  The beach is right at the tip of where the Gulf and Atlantic meets.  Nice beach and a great place to snorkel dive.

I like to go out to the end of this stone jetty and fish.  I get small reef fish but did land a nice 36" mackerel.

We took a day sailboat cruise one day.  It was a great ride and view of KW from the water.

The black sailboat is the America 2.0.  It is 105 foot schooner that has only been in the water for 3 months.

There were free drinks, and a fruit bowl and a veggie bowl. The two white coolers hold the free wine, beer, champagne, or soft drinks.

My daughter, Molly, and Joey enjoying the sail.

This was the sail out towards the reef and sun.

Smoked fish and crackers before we head to our favorite place to eat.   El Siboney!

Two people can split a plate of Cuban food at this place.

Soft roasted, juicy pork with lightly grilled onions, yellow rice and black beans, and fried plantain.  I once ate supper here and ordered the same meal for lunch the next day, it was so good.

Now that I got this started, I'll post another story in a couple days!  Who wants to come down to Key West?  I know I am already making plans for next December here!