Thursday, December 6, 2018

Preparing to leave

After getting my hair cut by (big) Michael at The David Gregory Salon sharply at nine o'clock this morning I hurried home to change into my togs for bicycling. By local accounts it was a frosty day - only about 55℉ - so I put on my fleece shell and black woollen socks - only to remove them both an hour later when I reached Bradenton Beach at the southern end of Anna Maria Island.  By then the sun was uncomfortably warm on my back. The sky was crystal blue.

We're planning a jaunt - by catamaran across the Gulf of Mexico - to Key West. It amuses me that the urge - and the seeming necessity - to travel persists even when traveling. We need a break, har! har! har! As much as we have enjoyed the drive over the bridges and the chain of tiny islands (Key Largo, Islamorada, Duck Key, Marathon and Big Pine Key) to Key West in previous years, this year's opening adventure appeals in particular to my esurient nautical passion. There is as well something to be said for submitting to convenience of carriage. Paid transport - like bus tours - can prove to be a good thing in many ways (not the least of which is informative).

We preface our departure by visiting my sister and her husband in Bonita Springs south of Fort Myers (whence we launch on Monday morning). We intend to use Sunday afternoon for a late lunch and to check into our hotel so we're fully ready for departure at 7:00 am the next morning. The last time I was on a catamaran over the shallow coral reef of Key West I became hopelessly ill.  I was then reminded of the quip that the worst thing about being sea sick is you're afraid you won't die. I have long since quit smoking and drinking so I am presuming my sea legs will be better adapted for this upcoming trip.  It bears repeating that the name Key West may have derived from Cayo del Oso (the "Key of Bones") in reference to the many shipwrecks which plagued the unwitting mariners as they approached the exceptionally shallow waters caused by the coral reefs surrounding the island.  It is nothing to venture miles off-shore only to discover the depth of the water is twenty feet or less.

As with most places in Florida the "season" in Key West doesn't begin in earnest until early January. In any event we're at an age when the mania of Duval Street is no longer attractive.  We anticipate confining our leisure experiences to bicycling around the north end of the island and dining close to the Casa Marina Hotel where we'll hang out. For the most part our venues of choice are within walking distance.

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