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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Continuing Weekend Wrap Up
March 14, 2007, 7:16 am

Gosh, I need some help with titles of posts! Uggh, not enough time and too tired to be too creative I suppose shall be my excuse today!

So why the tiredness? Still recovering from the weekend perhaps? Friday night we attended an impromptu conch blowing celebration here at Boca Chica. A lady from C Dock won the Key West Conch Blowing Contest. So we all had to see how we would have measured up. As I remember she blew her conch for about 30 seconds and the next closest in the marina was definitely Hal. All those years and years of diving have given the man a huge lung capacity and he came very, very close to her record. In his defense, his conch is much larger than hers and size does make a difference in how much air is required for a nice sound.

A dozen different conchs sounding off every sunset, now that is a nice sound in this marina! Echoing back and forth from dock to dock to anchored boats and back around as the sun sinks into the sea. Lovely.



Saturday we attended a pig roast on Fleming Key. The military wives must have gotten together and decided to bring weird retro food, the kind of tasteless side dishes with crushed chips sprinkled over the top that I haven't had in years, with the exception of these highly addictive, set you back in your chair rolls-ups of cream cheese, raw garlic, and jalapenos on tortillas. So innocent looking, I snagged one on the way in and then had to pass one out to Hal and Marianna as they'd be riding in the truck with me the rest of the night. But I caught both of them grabbing seconds later on in the evening! Maybe we should have some as appetizers tonight...

We headed off the Key about sunset as the guys were preparing a huge and very dangerous looking bonfire and we had a date with our favorite local artist to attend. For which, I'll have you know, we found a meter in front of the movie theater with over 4 hours left on it! Wow! I have got to remember that trick - check out the parking by theaters for people who so hated the movie they stormed off leaving some other lucky person to profit by their twenty-five cents buys ten minutes quarter!

Sunday we dashed up to Marathon for the Seafood Fest and found free parking again!!! Mmmmm...started with Key West Pink Shrimp, moved on to Conch Fritters, tried the Smoked Fish and a taste of the Conch Chowder. We skipped the famous Lobster Dinner as it was mostly bread, beans, salad with only half a lobster for $15. Thanks but no thanks. We'll get our own and cook them as we like best.



Discovered a great Bluegrass Band The Doerfel Family. They travel about the country, homeschooling their kids and playing bluegrass.

A local no grape, all tropical fruit Winery was set up for tastings of very sweet wine. Hal and I prefer pancakes or waffles with something that sweet. I kept having flashbacks to Village Inn and those 4 different syrup containers they had on the table. Truth be told, the Passion Fruit was pretty complex and would be quite nice over ice some August evening. Now, would I want a case of it??? As a Sangria fan myself, I've been racking my brain for a cool name or label to win that contest.



Unfortunately, reading through my recent post titles is not very reassuring.

The New, 5 Minutes to Install (Yeah, Right!) AirCard
Chilly yesterday, should be warmer today
March 7, 2007, 6:46 am, Boca Chica, FL

Can I just say I adore my new flashy blue friend?

The Result of the Rain
Very chilly! Last night's temp - 48 degrees according to Wunderground!
February 19, 2007, 6:14 pm

As a result of the major rainfall we experienced last week our Internet has been down for days! We've experienced a few blips of it being on only for it to fall right back into its "no connectivity" phrase. This happens after heavy rainfalls but not usually this extremely long!

So, there are a few things to catch up on...

1. This past weekend was our first choice for the voyage to our new home port of Boca Chica, just outside of Key West, as Monday was Washington's Birthday and Hal had the day off. On Friday we made the decision NOT to sail. Up to that point it had looked like a perfect weather window with the winds from the North. However, a Cold Front hove into view and we decided to remain in port as the winds were expected to be in the 30 - 40 knot range. Good Choice!!! Sunday the waters surrounding Key West had a Gale Warning posted. That would not have been a pleasant sail with a Gale on the nose and 50 degree weather and rain squalls to contend with too! We must be out of this marina on March 1 so expect news of a move soon!

2. You may recall Marianna and I did not attend Wyland's dedication of Wall #95 to Steve Irwin as we were rained in, for lack of a better term. We have passed the Wall since then and Wyland has not finished or signed it!!! Guy Harvey has his signature on the top above the manta rays but nowhere does Wyland's name appear. Also several sketched fish are still awaiting paint...therefore we conclude that the Wall is not finished yet! Expect a post full of pictures soon.



3. Dawn had a Field Day! We missed it - but you don't have too. Check it out, fabulous as usual and I'm so sorry we could not send our Tropical Warmth your way, Dawn, silly Internet - Aaargh!



4. Yesterday Nissa posted the Loveliness of Lent. Ash Wednesday is this week! Can you believe it? Time is certainly flying this year. For inspiration definitely check out Nissa's new blog, These Forty Days.

As she says: For the forty days of Lent, we'll be posting suggestions towards devotions, plain living, plain food, crafts and activities to do with your children, and beautiful thoughts about this season of fasting.

Marianna and I are debating, pancakes tomorrow or our traditional Seafood Caribbean Jambalaya?
15 Inches of Rain
Fairly wet, thundery too!
February 13, 2007, 8:36 am

Confession time, Marianna and I did not make it up to Wyland's Dedication of Wall #95. Instead we stayed home and wrung out towels and emptied buckets of water as we live on a boat and boats do have a tendency to leak. So long as it is from the topsides we don't really mind though - LOL! I knew we were getting a lot of rain but I never guessed quite how much, 15 inches is incredible!

By the way, the berths are dry as we made certain the hatches were closed!

My Time
January 30, 2007, 10:26 pm, In the lovely sunny cockpit.

I'm taking some time for me today!

I have a date with an old, dear friend, haven't seen Victoria in years. We'll have so much to catch up on, I'll bring the Jasmine tea with a sliver of lime, a few strawberries and a new discovery - tiny key lime cookies. When I spotted these delectable morsels they immediately made me think of the wonderful friend who made this afternoon possible and her famous Lemon Snowballs!

Dawn, I can't tell you when I've had such a nice time! You are the sweetest thing to send me a copy of summertime Victoria. You made my day!
Thank you!!!

Bayside Seafood Festival
Sunny, light breeze
January 18, 2007, 12:28 pm, Bayside Park, Key West

On Saturday Marianna and I scrounged a few bikes from under the barracks that the last SF class had left behind and we ventured out into Key West for the first time on bicycles. First stop was the Bayside Seafood Festival for Peel and Eat Key West Pink Shrimp. So very yummy! Lots of street performers hanging out, doing their thing. Our favorite was this young unicycler even though I knew he was going to crash into our tent or set it afire. (Of course, he didn't.)

Fueled up, we rode over the the Acura Key West Race Headquarters (link is to 2006 photos, 2007 doesn't seem to be up yet) to check out the boats. They were set up right beside the old Turtle Cannery so we toured that sad piece of history. They did have a small live green turtle in a tub for viewing.

In the same area were the dingy docks. I think it is so funny to look at the various tenders piled so closely together, everything from brand new shiny purchases to the most dilapidated barely afloat antique. Interesting.



After riding about town and taking note of the coffee houses and WiFi spots we were ready for another local delicacy - Golden Crabs. Mmmm! There seems to be much more meat than on a Blue Crab, though there is a tougher skin under the shell of the Goldens that a knife would be nice to use on - versus a plastic fork and a wooden hammer!

Irish Pub Fun
January 17, 2007, 10:06 am, Finnigan's Wake, Key West

Some of the best times this past weekend were spent in the garden at Finnigan's Wake playing Chess and Yahtzee. All three of us highly recommend this place. Hal due to the huge draft beer selection - 26 varieties! Jennifer for the amazing Jerk Chicken Wings and Marianna for the cool game tables on old rum barrels in the garden.

She had a cheering team and a line up of people eager to play chess! So if you're ever in Key West and you visit this Irish pub and a dark haired lassie is stomping the competition in the back garden, stop and say hi, ya hear?

Solution for a dreary, dreary day
January 10, 2007, 6:43 am

It has been so dreary here this week. Tuesday and Wednesday both were cloudy and windy, no rain just low slung, fast moving clouds. One day of this sort of weather is fine. We can pretend we're in England on the wind swept moors, but two days of it and we're comatose on the settee, moaning for the sun!

As an aside, would you believe my dh bought full spectrum lights for me when we lived in a certain "Misery" state? I suppose that is what is needed when one grows up under those blue, blue Colorado skies. His other solution was to move me south and ever further south!

My solution last night was to root through the Christmas tub that was still in the cockpit and pull out an unused strand of lights. They are icicle, a mix of mostly white with a few colors scattered randomly around. Twisted up over the companionway the cockpit became bright and cheery. We ate our grilled chicken breasts with mushrooms and melty blue cheese while playing Yahtzee last night and retired to bed in a much brighter mood!

Favorite Christmas Tree Ornaments
January 6, 2007, 1:25 am, Happy Epiphany!

A very brief tour of our tree, brief as it is only a foot and a half tall!

Our newest ornament this year came clear across the country from a lovely lady on the opposite coast! Robynn (Lavenderfields - love the name!) thank you so much! Isn't it delicate? Such tiny stitches with three of the cutest flowers on the front. As Marianna observed one for each family member! Marianna is very much into fairness right now, if one of us cuts dessert; the others get to choose first...



The second ornament is one of my favorites, a Diver! It looks just like Hal when he drags his drysuit and helmet out for special occasions - like Halloween! I slip my shimmery scaly tail on and load up on ropes of pearls and we are set for a crazy evening! Dancing with a diver who wears 17 1/2 pound boots on each foot is really good practice actually for dancing on a sailboat! You definitely don't tango...



The third ornament represents a precious commodity in the tropics, ice! This is just about as close to real ice as we want to get, unless it's in a boat drink of course!

There! A very brief tour of a very short but beloved tree before I take it down, which involves unplugging it and shoving it in a tub with our lights until next year! There are benefits to tiny fake trees...

Happy Holidays!
January 1, 2007, 8:53 am

We are entitling this post Happy Holidays rather than Happy New Year for a very specific reason. Those of you who received Christmas Cards from us this year may have noticed a break with tradition - no pictures!!!



This was an incredibly sad choice made by me at the last minute. I had my pile of cards in the car, the camera card in my purse and stamps ready to go! A quick stop at CVS for photos and we'd be set.



Unfortunately, the machines at CVS couldn't find any data on the card. The photo people at CVS couldn't find any data on the card either and they told me to bring in a card with photos on it (very helpful suggestion!). So being very depressed by this time, (do you know how many pictures were on that card?) I sealed and sent the cards sans pictures this year.



I then came home and inserted the card which worked fine and still had every single picture available. Aarrgh!



Anyway. Marianna and I had the best time staging our own little photo shoot. The wind was whipping, the light was actually subdued for down here as we'd had cloudy weather and intermittant showers for a few days. The beach was empty since the schools were still in session.



We hope your holiday season was filled with warmth and happiness!



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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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