Sunday, March 23, 2008

Naples, FL to Key West, FL

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL! “Island Hopper” left Naples Sailing and Yacht Club at 7:45 AM to go to Naples Yacht Club for fuel. The fuel dock opened at 8:00 AM. We arrived just prior to 8:00 AM. By 8:30 AM “Island Hopper” headed south towards Key West, FL. Today’s journey is 110 miles and the ETA is 3:00 PM. The temperature started off as a damp and gray 65 degrees, but ended up with a warm blue sky, less humid, and in the mid 70’s. The seas and winds were calm, so this made a great day for traveling the gulf. Captain Ian and Best/First Mate Joan kept “Island Hopper” on the course, while Captain Kevin checked the engine room. Debbie & Tate made sure the crew was attentive to their duties. We arrived at A & B Marina at 2:00 PM. ( This will be our berth for three nights. Key West is situated 150 miles from Miami, FL and 90 miles from Havana, Cuba. This tropical island city has always maintained a strong sense of detachment, even after it was connected to the rest of the United States – by the railroad in 1921 and by the Overseas Highway in 1938. The U.S. government acquired Key West from Spain in 1821 along with the rest of Florida. The Spanish had named the island Cayo Hueso (Bone Key) after the Native American skeletons they found on its shores. In 1823 Uncle Sam sent Commodore David S. Porter to chase pirates away. For three decades, the primary industry in Key West was wrecking – rescuing people and salvaging cargo from ships that floundered on the nearby reefs. According to some reports, when pickings were lean, the wreckers hung out lights to lure ships around. Their business declined after 1849, when the federal government began building lighthouses. Although the rest of the keys are highly outdoor-oriented, Key West has more of a city feel. Few open spaces remain, as promoters continue to churn out restaurants, galleries, shops and museums to interpret the city’s intriguing past. We went to Mallory Square after sunset and had dinner at Grand Cafe.(

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