Friday, February 07, 2014

Super Fun Night in Key West


Sunshine Key Rv Resort and Marina, Ohio Key, Florida (high 82, low 76)


The past few mornings, we’ve decided to do our morning coffee/computer time outside.  I don’t know why we didn’t do that all along, because it’s beautiful out in the mornings.  It never got below 76 degrees last night, but with the strong sea breeze, it actually feels a bit chilly.

Al didn’t sleep outside last night.  He wanted to, but by the time we got back from Key West, neither of us felt like dragging the kayak out from under cover to make his “bed.”

Yesterday was another full day in the Keys.    We headed out for another lunch at Sparkey’s Landing. 

They only had enough fresh  yellow tail for one meal, so Al had grouper and I got the yellow tail. They have lots of other fish, but it was frozen, and we prefer fresh.  Something about freezing a fish, brings out the fishy smell, unless it’s frozen in those vacuum pack bags.

Anyway, here is Al’s grouper.

Sparkey's Landing grouper

My yellow tail snapper.

Yellow Tail snapper at  Sparkey's Landing

Both were delicious. 

We had a beautiful waterfront view.

Al at Sparkey's Landing

A few minutes later, a huge yacht started backing it’s way into the channel, to parallel park at the fuel dock right behind our table.


It was amazing to watch how he handled that huge yacht.

Notice the double fuel hoses?   That’s diesel fuel and at last count he had almost 500 gallons.  Fuel at docks is a lot more expensive than at Flying J, so he had a pretty hefty fuel bill when he was finished.

double fueling

We puttered around the rest of the day and then ended up in Key West about 5pm.   Oh good, just in time for happy hour at Mallory Square.  :)

Every night, Key West comes alive for the nightly sunset celebration.

We were lucky?? enough to find a parking space right on Mallory Square in a small parking lot we discovered a few years ago.  It’s not cheap at $4 per hour, but it’s convenient and easy to get in and out. 

We stepped out of the parking lot right onto Mallory Square.

Mallory Square, Key West

Even before we saw the cruise ship, we figured one must be in town, because the streets were more crowded than usual.

We’ve been here often enough now that we know just where to go, so we headed over to the Sunset bar.  It faces right into the harbor, but also right into the sun.

Mallory Square, Key West

The sun was a bit brutal until it sunk below a few most welcome clouds.

The closer to sunset, the busier the place got.

Mallory Square, Key West

Yes, it’s crowded there, but everyone is happy and having a good time.  The happy nature of all these people is probably partly due to the alcohol being served, but also most of these people from from colder climates and are very happy to be in Key West in February.


Not only does the land come alive before sunset, but so do the waters.

Mallory Square, Key West



Mallory Square, Key West

The cruise ship was honking his horns on occasion. I’m assuming to alert the passengers to get back onboard.

There was a pilot boat milling around the  cruise ship. Any large ship has to be piloted in and out of harbors by specially trained pilots, who are more familiar with the port.  These pilot boats bring the pilot out to sea.  The boat docks against the ship and the pilot climbs aboard the ship.    It can be a dangerous job because they have to do this in all kinds of seas and often at night.  They are very well paid.

There were also two very well armed Coast Guard boats patrolling the area by the cruise ship.

Notice the big guns?

Mallory Square, Key West 

Coast Guard boat


The sun was setting, and the colors started changing. 

Mallory Square, Key West

Mallory Square, Key West

Mallory Square, Key West

We had the best seat in the house at sunset, because we were right at rail for an unobstructed view of the sunset.  Everybody was snapping pictures like crazy.  Including me.  :)


Mallory Square, Key West

Once the sun went down, the party started.  These guys were playing music.

Mallory Square, Key West

We headed over to the main part of Mallory Square where we knew the street performers would be.

The cruise ship hadn’t left yet.


Mallory Square, Key West

We remembered this guy on the big unicycle, from last year.  He was just as fun to watch as we had remembered.

Mallory Square, Key West

More musicians.

Mallory Square, Key West

Of course, all the performers, are requesting tips for their performances.   We gave each of them a few dollars. They all did fun and interesting things and we really enjoy watching them.


There are also quite a few vendors selling various wares. 

This guy had some beautiful paintings.

Mallory Square, Key West 

We got to talking to him and he told us that he and his family came here on a shrimp boat from Cuba back in the 80’s.  He was part of the Mariel boat lift.  He said he got off the boat, just behind where the cruise ship was then, and he has lived in Key West ever since.   We talked about the wet foot, dry foot method of determining who could stay.  These people came to this country illegally, but if they could get a foot on dry land, they could stay. If they were caught swimming  or wading to shore, they were deported.  You can believe they all scrambled to shore!

He was lucky, because many people came here in rafts, and many died.  125,000 people made it to the US during that period. 

Back in the 1960’s, had what was called Peter Pan, or Pedro Pan.

Operation Peter Pan (Operación Peter Pan or Operación Pedro Pan) is a codename of the CIA project, in course of which over 14,000 Cuban children were sent from Cuba to Miami by their parents after rumors were spread that the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro would soon begin taking children against the wishes of their parents to military schools and to Soviet labor camps. The operation took place between 1960 and 1962, and was designed to transport the children of parents who opposed the revolutionary government.[1] With the help of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami and Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh, some children were placed with relatives, friends, foster care or group homes in 35 states.[2]


I actually had a friend who was part of this Peter Pan project.  Her parents sent her and her brother to the US to live with relatives here.   Apparently, it was not a good experience for her and she wouldn’t really talk about it.  I have know idea what happened to her, but she was bitter about it.  She and her brother eventually were reunited with their parents, and she has a good life in Tampa.

Anyway……  we wandered around some more and came across this guy.  He told us that he was 56 years old and very, very strong.

He got a guy from the audience to do 15 push ups, then he proceeded to show us how he did them.  He stood on his head and did them that way, and he also did 15.  He was amazing.


For his next trick, he enlisted two people from the audience.  One bent over a bicycle and the other held a small ho

op on her back.  After much cajoling for tips, he finally ran and dove through the hoop.


I caught him in mid air.


The cruise ship finally departed, and it was time for us to go as well.

Mallory Square, Key West

We had a wonderful evening in Key West and we’ll go back soon.  We ended up spending about $40 for parking, two drinks and performer tips, but it was a really fun few hours.


oh brother….another long winded blog.  sorry.


  1. What a beautiful area and great photos too.

    Filling up with 500 gallons of diesel? Wow! Guess I'll forget about buying a big yacht!

  2. Sooooooooo glad you are bot h having sooooooooo much fun !!!!

  3. We have yet to do Mallory Square at sunset. Sure looks like a fun way to spend an evening. You are giving me lots of ideas for our time there. We enjoy Sparkey's for their fish tacos and wings.

  4. Oh What fun!!! I love watching cruise ships move out to sea!!!
    Glad you all had a good day!!!

  5. I guess 500 gallons of diesel would certainly break my bank if I had to do it all at once. Of course that would take me all across the country and most of the way back.

    And I could stop and rob banks all across the country to pay for the fuel, too. ;c)

    We've enjoyed the Key West sunsets, and hope to enjoy more soon.

  6. Looks like a great time. We have a friend here in the complex who immigrated from Cuba in 1963. They were allowed to leave with only the clothes on their backs.
    Mallory Sq is great.


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