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Would you believe that just north of the Conch Republic’s borders in Miami Beach, a new sport described as scull-vaults-palms has caught on?  No . . . you wouldn’t believe that?  Maybe the heat has addled my brain.  Actually, the foto was taken looking down onto Indian Creek.

I saw a half dozen schooners around Key West, but this one (was at least a mile off) and

this one I could not identify.  They could be anchored just off shoals.

Parrotfish are quite colorful, even if viewed from outside the water.  Anyone have experience with any of these “waterproof” cameras?  I’m toying with #3.  Associated with the non-finny parrot variety, Key West

has enjoyed this place not quite as long as this sign would indicate.  US Route 1 has been around much longer.   I used to drive this road from Massachusetts to Maine, avoiding it in summer, since up there, I associate the name with “tourist trap” congestion.   But when you’re not in a hurry and want to see how one geoculture differs from the next,

the 2000-plus-mile road is the one to follow to here all the way from Fort Kent.  The black-and-white sticker I’m holding here is for  Capt. Joey’s Good Morning Gloucester, whose namesake town lies within 10 miles of Route 1 . . .  close enough for me to consider just off the road.

I’ve long  associated Key West with Jimmy Buffett;  a new name I learned on this trip is David Wolkowsky, an important Buffett patron.    As for “parrotthead” . . . I think it should be “pelicanhead,” given their relative population numbers in the Conch Republic . . .

Until I get an underwater camera and travel all the way back down Route 1, this will have to suffice as a foto of a ballyhoo, a newfavorite word from this trip;  I like worldkid66‘s description of a school of ballyhoo in the last paragraph.    Another “newfavorite” is

chickee, of which this is NOT one.   I just like the word chickee:  a wooden platform over the water, like a duck blind for hunters, where you could pitch a tent .  . . say in the Everglades.

The colors in the waters of the Conch Republic are magical.

and the number of schooners, like this unidentified one . . . surprising.

Hibachi (left) and another unidentified  landing craft  . . .  awaiting cargo?

Some transient islands aka keys near

Fort Jefferson were mentioned by our tour guide:  one island used as a cemetery for soldiers who died at the Fort was no longer there after a storm.   What’s magical colors for us represented hell for 19th century soldiers sent there from northern states.

Closing shot for this meandering series . . .WHEC-35 Ingham . . .  was once painted in dazzle colors like its neighbor WPC-78 Mohawk.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Click here for more background on the Conch Republic.

A new link on my blogroll is worldkid’s blog.

Unrelated:  Read this in the context of budget cutting talks and weep.  Anyone get a foto of these vessels as they make their way to the Texas scrap yard?

Wifi (why? fie!) issues have delayed this series, but let me begin this “better-late-than-never” post with some rhetorical questions.

If tugster sees a tug and doesn’t have his camera, did he REALLY see it?  I hereby claim to have looked up from snorkeling at Fort Zachary Taylor to spot Ocean Atlas and Ocean Wind . . . groaned about not having my camera . . . and then returned underwater to watch parrotfish, ballyhoo, grouper . . .

I visited the Mel Fisher Museum, but can you believe I missed the Miss Atocha Bikini contest . . .  @!@?  What would Captain de Lugo think about this?  And might Miss Patty Nolan participate one of these years?  Click here for some Patty Nolan history.

And I did hear about schooner Hindu . . . but will have to get fotos . . .  later.  For now, I present  Western Union and Jolly Rover.

Here Western Union headed out for a sunset sail . . . following the tender and two dolphins that JUST dove.

What these stats don’t say is that she was built FOR the cable company in 1939 and ran between Key West and Cuba.

I believe this is Yankee on the far side of Sunset Key, with crew in the rigging, like spiders.

This B & B named for Captain Cosgrove shows how contradictory some historical personages can be:  Coast Guard captain, sponger, and wrecker!!  I read this as “government servant, business person, and  . . . pirate.”

Fort Jefferson, a 35-meter National Parks Service vessel,  is part of a contract to deliver support to the Iraqi Navy . . . .   Am I reading something wrong here?

I haven’t found much more out than that Retriever is attached to Naval Air Station/Key West.

Another foto for the currently elusive  bowsprite:  a landing craft with a camper trailer on board . . . for how long?  And I’m not so sure I’d feel confidence in a boat named “Maybe.”

And a final shot for now . . . is this a production boat or a one-off?  Round . . . a water pod with at least one floor panel transparent . . . I failed to check if there was a propulsion unit anywhere.  Foto was taken at the east end of the Conch Republic . . . in Key Largo.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who has actually just returned, albeit haggard, to the sixth boro.

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June 2023