Great news, we will move to a full hookup site! Friday morning was very busy – we had to move off of our current site by 10:00 and I had my first “Snorkeling 101” class at 10:00. We were up early to make the move. We got into our new site and I went to teach my class while Pat finished setting up. The wind was pretty strong and all of my students decided it was too rough, so the morning class didn’t happen. The winds had dropped a little for the 1:00 class, but only one student was willing to brave the choppy water.
Pat and I had been discussing some improvements for the trailer and doing the research. Whenever we ran the air conditioner or the furnace we had to close the trailer door, causing us to lose some natural light. We decided to fabricate Lexan acrylic panes to insert in front of the screens. The result was very pleasant to have the natural light and cool air at the same time. Secondly, it seemed like our bicycles were always falling over in high winds and I wanted to build a bike rack to support them. Our new neighbors had one made from PVC pipe and we built our own, modeled on their design.
My dive buddy, Tony and his wife, Pam wanted to make a SCUBA dive at Big Pine Key in the Looe Key Marine Sanctuary and invited us to join them. Diving on a reef was a big change from diving on the Vandenberg. The reef has several fingers we could swim along, the fish were unafraid of people, and plentiful. My big thrill was spotting a four-foot long nurse shark. The shallow water allowed us to stay underwater for close to an hour on each dive. As usual Tony and I were the first divers into the water and the last ones out. Tony has been a great guy to dive with, we work well together and compliment each other’s skills. Pat snorkeled above with the other snorkelers from the boat and saw many of the same fish.
Our last week in the full hookup site was filled with biking around town, an evening in Mallory Square and dinner at Kelly’s, playing pickup softball, and more snorkeling. I attended a lecture with my friend, Paul, at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. During the presentation they described how they excavated old sailing ships from the ocean bottom and determined which ship it was and how it met it’s fate. The process often takes 15 to 25 years to complete, and I found it fascinating.
Ernest Hemingway made his home in Key West in his early writing career and made his mark on the island in more ways than one. The home is now open to visitors and after four trips to Key West we finally visited it. Docents provide guided tours, explaining the home and Hemingway’s history. You can continue to wander through the house and grounds after the tour. An interesting fact is that a sailor once gave Hemingway a six-toed cat and that cat gave birth to more six-toed cats. Over sixty cats wander through the house and grounds, many of them with six toes.
With our two weeks in full hookups over, we had to move back to dry camp. The good news was our new site was right on the water. While the winds were strong, it was nice to enjoy my morning coffee with a beautiful view.
Sunday, Michigan State played the University of Michigan in the Big Ten Playoffs. Pat and I were able to have our own little sports bar at the Key West VFW. We had a table back in the corner with the TV tuned into the game. What a great way to enjoy a Michigan State victory!
Monday, March 17th, we were on our way. Next stop, Big Cypress Preserve, northwest of the Everglades National Park.