While we were in Tampa, we got word that, for the first time, the RV park on Sigsbee Island was turning people away. However, one of our friends checked it out and found that if you arrived at Sigsbee Island, they would find a site for you somewhere. It was a two-day trip and we decided to overnight at the Indian casino north of Homestead. We signed up for our player cards and each got $30 credit for the slot machines. Pat lost her $30 stake at the casino, but I was able to walk away with $40 in winnings. We spent part of that on the buffet for dinner that night.
Upon arrival at Sigsbee Island we were put into a temporary site along a road near the housing area. We stayed there one night and the next day were moved into the Emergency Overflow at the Trumbo Point. We spent three nights there until we were assigned a “dry camp” (no electric, water, or sewer) site at Sigsbee Island. Many people commented that they had never seen the campground this full. The office staff and the camp hosts were working hard to get everyone settled as soon as possible and were doing a great job to accommodate every camper.
At Sigsbee there are only 94 full hookup spaces available, so everyone starts in dry camp and goes on to a rotation roster to move into a full hookup site for two weeks, when they rotate back into dry camp. We were very fortunate to be assigned a site on the perimeter of the campground, where the sites are deeper and no one is behind us. We quickly found our friends from last year and made some new ones.
Sigsbee is a very friendly campground. Our first night in the Overflow area, one of our friends from last year saw we were here and invited us to join them in town for happy hour. On the night of the Super Bowl, we walked through the campground and were invited to join several groups (some friends and some people we had never met) to watch the game.
Later in the week we discovered that the couple camped next to us were from Michigan and as we talked about where we were from back home, we discovered that they are good friends with my sister – what a small world!
We jumped right back into our routine from last year. I contacted the US Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum and got on the schedule of volunteer greeters and scheduled with the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) office to conduct the Snorkeling 101 class I taught last year. We also signed up for a potluck dinner and a sunset kayaking event. There are Spanish classes, yoga, an exercise room with machines and free weights, pick up softball games, pickle ball, the list of things to do goes on. One thing about camping in Key West, if you don’t have anything to do, it’s your own fault.
It’s a regular activity to watch the sunset off the shore in the full hookup area, called the Rockpile and Hollywood. People gather with friends and have snacks and drinks while the sun sets in the west.
We still own a house – it’s just on wheels! As with any home, there are always things to do on it. I added some fans to the top of the refrigerator to help exhaust the hot air to improve its efficiency and Pat recovered her lawn chair.
We attend church at the local United Methodist Church while staying here. It is a friendly congregation with a good pastor. It is an easy bicycle ride from the campground. Of course almost everything is an easy bike ride as Key West is only 7.4 square miles, roughly two miles wide and four miles long.
John, a friend we met last year is an avid geocacher and got me inspired to do it too. His goal is to find every geocache in Key West and he is well on his way to achieving that goal. Nearby Geiger Key has a number of geocaches that can only be reached by canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. We drove out there with our kayaks a couple of times to find caches and some of them took some real balancing acts to reach them from a kayak bouncing on the waves!
The weather has been cooler than in the past, getting in the low 60s at night (and a few nights into the 50s). I know this sounds like whining to the folks back home in Michigan, but I’m glad I bought a 3mm wetsuit top to wear while snorkeling.
After three weeks in Key West I was able to make my first SCUBA dive. It has taken longer to get one in because the winds have been so high, few of the small boats in the campground have gone out. My dive buddy from last year, Tony, set up a dive with a friend to look for lobsters. This seems to be the most popular underwater sport around here. We dove a site called the “Flats.” The name is appropriate because even at high tide the water depth was only two to four feet deep. With the visibility poor and no lobsters to find, we went farther out on the reef to a site called “Sullivan Shoals.” Here the water depth was eight to fifteen feet deep, better visibility, and better fishing. Tony and John were able to catch nine lobsters between them, but four were too small and had to be thrown back. Note: they are very strict out here, if the Fish and Wildlife Wardens find undersize lobster on board, they can seize your boat!
When we returned we discovered that two of our friends from our first trip here, AJ and Alina were staying at Trumbo Point. We were already headed into the Turtle Krawl for dinner with Jim and Philly so we made a party out of it. Just another day in paradise!