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"Being in a ship is being in jail, with the chance of being drowned." -- Samuel Johnson

Florida

434--Key West: A Pub Stroll (or the Duval Crawl)
@ CherieSpotting     Apr 16 2009 - 02:05 PST
Cherie and Karem by the shrimp boats on Stock Island. We filled up our bellies at Hogfish before we set out on our Key West bar stroll.

Cherie and Karem by the shrimp boats on Stock Island. We filled up our bellies at Hogfish before we set out on our Key West bar stroll.

cherie writes: Visiting twelve bars in twelve tours takes dedication (and a strong liver.) But Karem and I were determined to see all the best bars in Key West in one day. Of course, we missed a few, as there are more than a dozen great spots on this 2x4 island…but here’s a list of the bars I chose for our Key West Pub Crawl: Hogfish, Schooner Wharf, Alonzo’s, Captain Tony’s, Sloppy Joe’s, Kelly’s, La Concha Hotel, the Bull, the Whistle, the Garden of Eden, Cowboy Bills, and Virgilio’s.

During our day of debauchery, we listened to live music, got behind more than one bar, met a few funky locals, watched the sunset, saw a comedy show, and Karem finished the night off by riding a mechanical bull. We averaged one drink an hour, drank lots of water, and didn’t have a hangover the next day.
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433--Key West: Burlesque High Noon Pirate Booty Sail
@ CherieSpotting     Apr 08 2009 - 02:33 PST
Karem and Cherie meet Cheeky Derriere and Lola Lafleur of Key West Burlesque on the High Noon Sail aboard the Schooner Jolly II Rover in Key West.

Karem and Cherie meet Cheeky Derriere and Lola Lafleur of Key West Burlesque on the High Noon Sail aboard the Schooner Jolly II Rover in Key West.

cherie writes: The High Noon Pirate Booty Sail was a celebration of a quest accomplished. Two years ago, Theo Glorie, owner of the Coffee Plantation started with a red paperclip and traded up to an afternoon sail aboard the Jolly II Rover for forty friends. Then Theo traded his afternoon sail for his dream motorcycle. Theo’s wife Diane and his closest friends were aboard the 80-ft tallship to celebrate his achievement with plastic swords and fake eye-patches.

Starlets Tatah Dujour, Lola Lafleur and Cheeky Derriere from Key West Burlesque and the Bone Island Buccaneers came aboard for High Noon entertainment singing and swinging around Key West’s famous schooner the Jolly II Rover.

The scantily clad ladies poured rum punch in their revolvers and “shot” every guest (with phenomenal accuracy). No one wanted this sail to end!
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432--Key West: Conch Honk 2009
@ CherieSpotting     Mar 17 2009 - 12:12 PST
Cherie blowing a conch shell (sans mollusk) at the 2009 Conch Honk in Key West. *Photo by Regina Lee.

Cherie blowing a conch shell (sans mollusk) at the 2009 Conch Honk in Key West. *Photo by Regina Lee.

cherie writes: The sign said: “No Experience Necessary” for the 2009 Annual Key West Conch Honk. I’m fairly loud and I have decent lungs, so I thought I might be a natural at blowing a conch. I had never blown a giant sea mollusk before and I began to worry when I saw that each of the other contestants had their own personal conch. “Do I need my own shell for this contest?” I asked one of the organizers. “No, we have courtesy conchs for people like you,” he responded. (Conchless people like me?)

Sue (a contestant from Ohio with her own conch) gave me some pointers. “Blow it like a trumpet,” she said, which might have helped if I had ever played anything other than a radio as a child. When the sound came out of the shell that I blew, I wanted to say “excuse me.” Far from a melody, it sounded like a fart.

I was glad that I wasn’t the only first timer when I heard a male contestant say on stage: “Today was the first time I blew a conch.” The emcee responded: “What was his name?” (Local islanders call themselves conchs.)

While I didn’t win the contest, I came home with a red ribbon and a new appreciation for art of conch blowing.
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431--Key West: St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll
@ CherieSpotting     Mar 16 2009 - 02:06 PST
Cherie and Theo at the 31st Annual St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll, organized by Rick Dostal.

Cherie and Theo at the 31st Annual St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll, organized by Rick Dostal.

cherie writes: The 31st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Bar Stroll happened in Key West on March 14th. Leave it to Conchs (the name locals call themselves) to stretch out an Irish holiday for three days.

The St. Patrick’s Day Bar Stroll was organized by founder Rick Dostal. Every year 800 people in green, put on a t-shirt and enjoy a beer at nine Key West bars. This year the t-shirts were designed by Kevin Quon and they came in one size—extra large. So the ladies got creative and cut up their shirts into sexy tanks and dresses. I made my t-shirt a skirt.

During the stroll down Duval Street, some pole danced at Zu while others (like me) rode the mechanical bull at Cowboy Bills.
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430--Key West: Spooky Kayak Tour
@ CherieSpotting     Feb 27 2009 - 12:10 PST
Cherie and Greg on the Paddle, Pirates and Poltergeists Tour, a spooky kayak tour through the mangroves of Key West.

Cherie and Greg on the Paddle, Pirates and Poltergeists Tour, a spooky kayak tour through the mangroves of Key West.

cherie writes: Greg and I went on the “Paddle, Pirates and Poltergeists Tour”, a spooky nighttime kayak tour through the mangroves of Key West. Guided by Pirate-Poet Ray and Captain Heather, our first stop was the Atlantic Ocean to watch the sunset.

Along the way, Ray regaled us with the history of Key West, pointing out birds and marine animals along the way as we paddled through the lush mangrove forests. We learned about the history of wrecking and about how Key West was once the richest city in America (and now it’s one of the most expensive.)

It was interesting to learn that Key West used to be called “Cayo Hueso” which is Spanish for “Bone Island.” Key West used to be an Indian graveyard littered with the bones of slaughtered Calusa Indians. Ray wondered: “Isn’t it a bad idea to build on top of an Indian graveyard?” Point taken.

After sunset, we floated through a mangrove tunnel, and Ray told us spooky pirate stories while we kept our eyes out for sharks, barracuda and salt water crocs. Luckily, the only scary thing about the kayak tour was Ray’s haunting stories.
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429--Key West: Camping in the Florida Keys
@ CherieSpotting     Feb 26 2009 - 06:37 PST
Cherie with her bike and RV at Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys.

Cherie with her bike and RV at Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys.

cherie writes: This is a collection of photos I’ve taken over the past two weeks in the Florida Keys. Sure there are incredible sunsets, but the Keys also has charming architecture, white sand beaches, puffy clouds, waterfront campsites, funky dogs, feral chickens, wild art, romantic tallships and courageous street performers on Mallory Square.

Key West is more than just a strip of bars on Duval Street. If you explore the nooks and crannies of the island, you’ll find the gems like Mo’s (at 1116 White St.), a local Haitian restaurant where the food is so heavenly it can’t be described in words. A group of friends had dinner at Mo’s and we were so enchanted with the food, we got up and danced around the restaurant. Dancing is always allowed in Key West!
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428--Key West:The Wrecker's Race
@ CherieSpotting     Feb 23 2009 - 11:06 PST
Jason, Cherie, Bob and Kristine aboard "Grateful Red" for the 22 Feb. 2009 Key West Wrecker's Race.

Jason, Cherie, Bob and Kristine aboard "Grateful Red" for the 22 Feb. 2009 Key West Wrecker's Race.

cherie writes: Greg and I went to the Captain’s Meeting for the Schooner Wharf Bar’s Wrecker’s Cup Race, held in Key West. Wanting to crew on a boat, Greg and I introduced ourselves to Ken, Kristine and Bob, who said they’d be happy to have us aboard their C & C named “Grateful Red.”

“But we have to warn you,” Kristine said. “We like to wear wigs as we cross the finish line!”

“We found the perfect boat,” I exclaimed. Here are the photos of the crew aboard Grateful Red for the Wrecker’s Cup Race on Feb. 22, 2009. Grateful Red took second place in the race, and first place in fun.
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