Key West Trip Report
01 March 2008 | Morristown
This has been quite a week for us all, so let me tell you about it day by day:
Monday, February 25, 2008:
Philip leaves at lunch-time to go to a Conference in Pennsylvania, about 3 hours away.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008:
Philip is still away.
The kids and I go into the church office to get school and work done. At 3 pm I took the kids and their over-night bag to my friend, Sarah's house. They spent the afternoon and night there. I went straight from Sarah's house to the airport to pick up Capt. Bill, who was joining me on my trip to Key West. We went back home where I cooked us a simple meal, made sure he was settled down, planned our trip and left him to shower and get to bed. In the meantime, I went across the driveway to Adam and Simone's house and spent the night in their guest room. Well, I say I "spent the night", but really I had to wake up at 3:30am to be ready by 4:30am when the car service arrived to take us to the airport.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008:
As I said we left at an unearthly hour to be at the airport in time to check in for our 7am flight. The flight down to West Palm Beach went smoothly, totally uneventful. We then boarded a prop plane to finish the journey in Key West, what fun to fly in a small 19 seater plane like that.
We picked up a car at the airport and hot-footed it over to the Holiday Inn to pick up our yacht broker, Paul and then headed straight for the boat yard where the Liberty Schooner was in the boat lift. We had the boat hauled out for a thorough marine survey. By the time we got down there, the surveyor, Mike had pretty much completed the out-of-water hull survey. As it was high tide, we wanted to get the boat back in the water as soon as we could and get the boat back over to the Schooner Wharf where she is docked, in spite of the fact that there were forecasts of gale force wind gusts.
What a fun ride!! The Liberty was really put through her motions in that wind. We went the complete 6 miles in a mere 45 minutes, complete with white spray over the decks. Each of the members of my team had an opportunity to take the helm and I've got to say, it was a real challenge to keep Paul from veering off and heading to Havana.
The best treat of the day was meeting the crew of the Liberty. From Captain, Cheyenne to Kate, Sabrina, and Andrew, every one was a pleasure to be around, they handled the boat like pro's and made our little jaunt a highlight of the trip. That was the extent of the sea trial. Of course, Mike, Capt. Bill and Paul spent a lot of time looking at the engine and rigging and making sure to cover all the bases.
While we were enjoying the fun of the sailing Luke and Ruth were spending the day with my friend, Sarah and her son, Aaron (Julia had to go off to school).
Philip's conference ended and he was on his way to pick the kids up by late afternoon they were all back safely at our cottage in Morristown, snugged down for the night.
Meantime, we found out that the crews of both the Liberty Schooner and the Liberty Clipper would be meeting at a local hangout for dinner that night and so we just made up our minds, then and there, to meet them there and pay for their meals. We had a great time getting to know them all better, not only the current crews but we also had the opportunity to meet the previous captain of the schooner. They were all obviously impacted by the experience of working on the Liberty boats and by working under Greg and Donna, who treat them all like family. Wednesday night Capt. Bill and I met up with Pastor Ernie of Glad Tidings Community Church and felt in the first few minutes that we had known him for years. We were especially grateful that he had opened the doors of the church to us and allowed us to stay there in his missionary bungalow and dormitory room.
Thursday, February 28, 2008:
Philip went in to the church office to catch up on his work and have a few vital meetings and he dropped the kids of at another friend, Debbie's house. The kids were going to have a fun day of homeschool and playing with their great friends there. Capt. Bill and I made our way down to the boat, after picking Paul up from his hotel, to make it there in time to meet with the diesel mechanics at 9am. Of course, Mike had been there since much earlier continuing his survey of the upper deck and down below in the cabins. He also made sure to examine the bilge from the inside, including the holding tank and water pipes.
The diesel mechanics, Bill and RC arrived right on time and went through the engine with a fine tooth comb. Instead of taking the boat out again, we just ran the engine at the dock and Bill and RC came up with a list of things that needed to be repaired to put the engine back in good condition. They gave us the good news that the engine has been very well looked after and will serve us well for another 2 seasons.
We said our fond fair wells to Mike, who was going to finish off his survey and then head straight to the airport to fly back in to Boston. We took Paul back to his hotel room as he had some work to catch up on before dinner-time. Capt. Bill and I had the afternoon off to wonder around the town and enjoy some local tourist attractions. The first thing we did was find ourselves the famous frozen key lime pie on a stick and oh, my! Now I know why it is famous!
Totally delicious! We also went to Fort Taylor and the Eco-Marine Center, which housed a very comprehensive display of the ecology of the Keys. We also watched an outstanding movie telling the story of a little girl who grew up in the Keys and what it meant to her.
Then another major highlight of the trip down: Greg very kindly invited the three remaining members of my team to join the dinner cruise on the Clipper this evening. We boarded at 4:45pm and enjoyed a wonderful sunset cruise with very tasty food and fantastic crew and friends for company. See the YouTube link for a better idea of what a great experience it was.
We got a relatively early night and went back to Pastor Ernie's for showers and a relaxing evening in the bungalow and dormitory.
Friday, February 29, 2008:
Today, Philip is going in to work and the kids are going to enjoy a fun day at their homeschool co-op under the mindful eye of my friend, Debbie, who will be their Mom-of-the-day. She'll take them home with her and they'll play all afternoon and then Philip will pick them up after his last meeting of the day. Capt. Bill and I had a late morning, packed up all our belongings and took a walk to find some coffee. There is a quaint Cuban corner store on the next corner down from the church where we found some steaming coffee and nut muffins. We went back over to the church office at 9am to say good-bye to Pastor Ernie and his wife, Sister Kaye. One of the things I will most enjoy about going back to Key West is to spend time with this dear couple again. I am so blessed to have met them.
We went back down to the Schooner Wharf and took a last look around and took a last few photographs. Then headed back to the airport, handed back our car, and then boarded our little prop plane back to West Palm Beach again. We had a smooth transition onto the connecting flight on to Newark and caught a fast taxi all the way home to Morristown. We got home in such good time, we made it here before Philip and the kids.
We had a great meal together and caught up on the week where we each touched our destiny.