All posts by Esmeralde

Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma

This trip to Florida was essentially un-planned, so we had no reservations other than one we made in Key West a year ago.  We had made the reservation because we could cancel it without penalty, so why not?  Now, although Key West isn’t actually our favorite destination on the planet, it’s not so bad in February so to-Key-West-we-will-go.

The Keys were hit hard by Hurricane Irma last fall and we were curious about how they had fared.  While we knew Key West was spared the worst of Irma, the middle Keys were reportedly hammered.  Evidence was apparent even in Key Largo, where we passed empty lots that had become depositories for boats and trailers and other debris that had been damaged or destroyed.  img_6824Along Overseas Highway we passed lot after lot that had been razed and bulldozed.  In some cases, debris was piled high on the lots, or even dumped along the roadside, yet to be trucked away.

As we proceeded west down Route 1, damage increased and work crews were evident everywhere, on public works projects, commercial developments and private homes.  A lot had already been done, but clearly it will take some time for full recovery.

img_6841-1Sombrero Beach, a neighborhood on Marathon, was badly damaged.  The lovely little beach was in use, but there were huge sandpiles everywhere and brand new housing was obvious.

img_6813-1The worst area we saw was around Big Pine Key, just west of Seven Mile Bridge.  Whole blocks of homes appeared to have been bulldozed, and others were obviously struggling to recover.  img_6855Gutted and destroyed mobile homes and boats were lying along the side of the main highway, apparently dumped there by the storm or pushed off the road and left by work crews.  Roofs up and down the key were weather-proofed by sturdy bright blue tarps, still waiting repair.

img_6763Our campground, Boyds on Stock Island, looked great, but they had obviously lost a large number of the lovely tall palms which had provided shade.  The staff talked about the enormous amount of work to remove tons of debris.  Some Key West resorts appeared to be recently renovated, but most were open.  Timg_6775he main harbor on the north side of the island was in good shape, although one or two piers had sustained significant damage and were being re-built.  There was a large amount of debris still piled on the breakwater, including large chunks broken-up boats, coolers, and furniture.  img_6863Sunset Pier was open for business, but most of the pier was damaged and closed off.   Duval Street was business-as-usual, with no sign of the hurricane at all.

While in Key West, we enjoyed a number of our favorite restaurants and watering holes, especially Roostica, near our campground on Stock Island.  We walked around Duval Street, neighborhoods, and Schooner Wharf, enjoying the scenes, but limited ourselves because the dogs can only take so much of the heat.

img_6792We also did some scouting for our trip next year, which we plan to make by boat!  We made a reservation for a slip at The Galleon Marina, right under the breakwater, where we will be in the heart of Key West but slightly removed from the nighttime craziness.  There were two American Tugs there when we visited.  A big adventure to look forward to!

 

Putting Her Back Together

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Floating for the first time on the East Coast.

The boat finally arrived at New England Boatworks on Thursday, June 8 at about 12:30 in the afternoon.  Thanks to the quick response by our driver, Alan, and the NEB travel lift crew, she was floating by 1:20.  After so many delays getting her here, including a 10-day stint at a truck stop in Maryland waiting for permits, this quick splash was a welcome relief.  She was very dirty from all the road filth, but aside from that and a few superficial scrapes from tree branches and other flying debris, she was in great shape. Continue reading Putting Her Back Together

Newfound Gap: The Great Smoky Mountains

One of our favorite rides on our trip south is the trip over Newfound Gap across the Smoky Mountains. It is different each time we do it.  This trip the ride was punctuated by the damage left by the November fire. It was above freezing when we left Riveredge Campground in Pigeon Forge, but the temperature dropped quickly as we climbed towards the peaks and it started to snow.

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Continue reading Newfound Gap: The Great Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains On Fire

This past November, right after Thanksgiving,  I was watching the morning news and a quick alert flashed across the screen about fires in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. It caught my attention because we love the Smokies, we love Gatlinburg, and we even have a certain affection for the craziness of Pigeon Forge (ever heard of Dollyville?)
A day later, the wildfires in the National Park had exploded into a full-blown emergency and flames were licking at the mountain village Gatlinburg itself. The town was evacuated.  Vacation housing and resorts in the area were at risk or, in several cases, consumed by fire. Continue reading The Smoky Mountains On Fire

We Have a (Partial) Deck

Today we received a picture of the deck and superstructure just out of the mold.  Only one pic, not much detail, but it’s something.  We’re not even certain when it came out of the mold, although we assume it was yesterday-ish.  We hope for better images and construction reporting as the project trundles along.

Meanwhile, we are still hammering out a lot of smaller details.  The Newport Boat Show is coming up this weekend and the East Coast Yacht Sales demo boat will be on display at the show.  I suspect we will be spending a lot of time there.

The Infection That Wasn’t

The story of my “infection”.

Saturday morning three weeks ago I woke up and said to Dorsey, “I think I have broken my toe.”

As per standard “Real Man” operating procedure I ignored it that day. The next day, Sunday, it was red, warm and it hurt a lot so I went to the emergency room. They took X-rays and said, “it isn’t broken, it’s infected.” I was sent home, told to keep the foot elevated and prescribed oral antibiotics. Continue reading The Infection That Wasn’t