Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas in Key West. . . and the weather is lousy!

Happy Holidays to all!

Our Christmas 'surprise' was that my dad and step mom's cruise ship arrived in Key West on Christmas Eve! (Can you tell which one is me and which on is my dad?) We rented one of those 4 person golf carts that are everywhere on the island and took them on a little tour of the island ending up at Pepe's for lunch. Pepe's has been there since 1909. . . and it looks it! It was great seeing them and getting a chance to visit at
Christmas time!

Yes, Christmas day in Key West was a bit of an adventure. The day started out just fine and we had decided to have a pleasant 'boat day' for Christmas (Newton's Birthday) and not go to shore. Storms were predicted for late afternoon/evening and boy were they right on this time!

We had pulled up dingy, messed with the anchor lines (2 down), and generally prepared for storm conditions. It was getting darker and darker in the west-north-west and we could hear the rumbling of far off thunder. At one point Sue said, "What's that noise"? I thought it was my wind generator but no. . . maybe the neighbor's. . . but no and then we saw the wall of rain coming our way. We were hearing the rain before feeling the rain. We had to hustle to get hatches and ports closed.

Then the rain REALLY came and so did the wind. It was raining sidways in buckets and blowing about 35 knots. The seas turned that ugly color and got mighty confused. Our anchors held just fine though and the boat stayed mainly dry except for one leak that came oozing from between the two shelves that form one of the double beds in the salon. All dry above that area. Must be some sort of leak around the toe rail.

As we huddled in the companion way watching the storm and listening to the nearly continuous thunder, our neighbor on a big Beneteau was out scrubbing his decks! Of course. Fresh water is at a premium and here's the chance to give the boat a good scrubbing and continuous rinsing. . . as long as you don't get a kabillion volts on your head! He finished up by giving himself a good scrubbing although not with the deck brush.

It calmed down after about an hour and seas were very calm when we went to bed. I got up at around 1:00 AM as I heard the wind begin up again with a little rain. Glad I did. When I looked forward there was a little trawler about 6 feet off our bow! I thought maybe they'd just swing away but, no, they were getting even closer. I felt bad but I had to let them have two blasts from the old air horn. I hollered a couple of times as well and they came out and saw the situation. In a few minutes they were underway and off my bow. We watched them re-anchor, thankfully, far from us. The rest of the night was pretty rolly but without further incident.

So merry damn Christmas!

In optical phenomena news. . . A few days ago we were preparing to launch the dingy to go into town when I looked up and saw the rainbow pictured here. I hollered at Sue, "Look, look, look"! To which she replied, "Where, where, where"? I couldn't believe she couldn't see it and then realized she had her polarizing sunglasses on. Light from a rainbow, like glare off of the sea, is polarized and so her glasses were making the rainbow invisible! I hollered, "Take your sunglasses off"! She said, "Wow".

The other neat thing about this rainbow is how low to the horizon it is. Usually you see rainbows in the evening when the sun can shine under the clouds and reflect off the rain. Rainbows are always viewed 42 degrees up from the tip of your own shadow (yes we each see our own personal rainbow!). So at noon (which it nearly was) shadows are short and 42 degrees up is not very high in the sky. This will certainly make it into the book!

We plan to keep writing and living in Key West through New Years and then work our way up to Marathon to stage for crossing over to the Bahamas. Onward!

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