Hemingway and Key West

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Ross and I went on a daytrip down to Key West. We saw Ernest Hemingway’s beautiful mansion – his writing studio with a view, pictures of his four wives, his cat family with the extra toes, the cat cemetery, the urinal from Sloppy Joe’s bar that Ernest and his friends dug out one drunken night and placed in his garden, much to his wife’s dismay. We also saw pictures from Oak Park High school in Chicago where Ross went – some years after Papa. We had a great guide who told us about Hemingway’s life in Key West. The story about the ending of his life made a great impression on me. He suffered from being manic-depressive – bipolar we call it today. It ran in his family with several suicides in its wake. Hemingway sought treatment, but the only thing offered at the time was electro shock. The lobotomy destroyed his memory. Without the ability to remember anything he couldn’t write. Hemingway, born 1899, took his own life in 1961. Yes indeed, without our memory we are lost.

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Full moon in Doctor’s Arm, Big Pine Key

Departure and arrival

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Ross and I finished our stay in Key Largo by checking in on the African Queen. She is docked by the Holiday Inn after her adventures with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in Africa. Last time we saw her she was in pretty bad shape. I am happy to announce that good people are now restoring the one and only African Queen. Then we got Paradox out of the water with some difficulty because of wind and current. Departures and arrivals tend to be extra challenging on my bad mechanics because I have to figure out new systems. My first bummer happened when I was locking the gate after we got the jeep and the trailer with Paradox ready to roll down to the lower Keys. I forgot to put myself on the outside of the gate so I almost locked myself in before I discovered my mistake. Ross and I left in a big laugh over that one. We have now arrived safely in Big Pine Key. We are staying in a small, but beautiful rented cottage with a slip on the canal going out to Bogie Channel. Here are pelicans, egrets, iguanas and the tiny deer that are unique to this area. Here are fewer bugs because we are out of the mangroves so my skin is getting back to normal. They do have mosquito nets here, which is a good thing. But I come from Scandinavia where we have solid doors that are either open or closed. I am not used to these screen doors that are kind of in the middle of open and closed. So far I have bumped into our screen door twice with big laughs as a result. I see Kay Hep’s character Rosie in the African Queen as a kindred spirit. Except – my captain doesn’t drink! We have been hunkering down for a few days until Mother Nature lays down the wind so we can get Paradox launched and motor from the Old Wooden Bridge marina over to our slip.

Dreamboats

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Every boat represents a dream. Our neighbor who is staying in one of the rentals at the 112 Mile marker Marina has bought a little flat-bottomed motorboat so he can go out and catch his own dinner. The boat next to us, a beautiful 25-foot Lancer, is owned by a man from Miami who has upgraded it with all sorts of stuff. Now he is putting it up for sale. He wants “a heavier boat” so he can sail out to the Bahamas and beyond. One of his buddies from the sailing class has recently retired. He has carried the dream of sailing the world with him all along and now it is time! I know for sure that Ross had a dream of sailing around the Caribbean. He even came part of the way, got the right boat – s/v Soul Catcher – but the wrong mate. The dream ended with a storm below deck several years back. For my own part, I like the boat as a kind of floating house. The last couple of days have been warm, but pretty windy here so Ross and I have spent some time below deck (no storm below deck though). I also look forward to some coastal sailing. However, I don’t really enjoy all the work that comes with a sailboat – whereas Ross likes it, as long as it is warm outside. Soon we will be moving down to Big Pine Key where we have rented a small cottage with a slip. We just got the repaired motor back for Paradox. Last night we had dinner with our good friend Paul who is a boat dreamer at large. He has founded the Key Lime Sailing Club where Ross and I spent 10 lovely days last year. Your cottage comes with sailboat, kayaks and all. I can absolutely recommend this beautiful place:

http://keylimesailingclub.com/

So…what does your inner dreamboat look like?

Deep blue sea

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Stone crab, yellowtail snapper, lobster, shrimp, salmon, mahi mahi, scallop, conch, tuna, grouper, hogfish, barracuda, dolphin, marlin, sailfish, whale, manatee… The beauty of the coral reefs, the mysteries of the mangroves, the alternate rising and falling of the sea, usually twice in each lunar day at a particular place, due to the attraction of the moon and sun. Every time I get on or off the boat I have to watch and estimate my step. The tide is always there to remind me that we are hooked up to the greater powers of the universe, even on a 22-foot sailboat at a small marina in Key Largo, Florida. Spending time in the Keys is constantly being exposed to the richness of the 2/3 of our planet “Earth” that is water. It gives me a deep feeling of gratitude to the waterways around us (and within us where also 2/3 is water). Thin stripes of land where two oceans meet have such powerful energy. I have experienced this by Skagen and Grenen, the northern tip of Denmark, where the North Sea and the Skagerak literally clash together. Here in the Keys the Atlantic Ocean is to the left and the Gulf of Mexico is to the right when you go south – or vice versa when you go north. There is always water just around the corner. I do believe it helps keeping people young. The amount of older people here that are really outgoing and active seems to be quite high. For instance Ross and I met two sisters, both in their 80’es. They enjoyed going out to new restaurants, they loved watching the manatees at sunset, and one of the sisters truly resented that her son who wouldn’t let her keep a boat so she could go out fishing on her own! My Danish high school friend Gudrun tells me she is going to Vancouver to celebrate her uncle who is turning 90. He takes a bath in the Pacific every morning year round, and on his 90-year-old birthday she is going to dive down in the Pacific with him – in January mind you, brrrrr!

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