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 Welcome to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, your own paradise in the middle of the beautiful Exumas.Regatta Pointe MarinaKey Lime Sailing Club in Key Largo, 305-451-3438, www.keylimesailingclub.comPunta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersFULL MARINE SERVICE ON SITE TRANSIENT DOCKAGE WELCOMEThe Pilot House Marina is located on secluded Lake Largo just minutes from downtown Key Largo. This choice location borders on John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, an underwater park famous among snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
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Archive For: Keys12 – Key West

  • Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island) Anchorages

    The discussion below is copied from the Cruisers’ Forum, and relates to the several anchorage opportunities adjoining an island which lies withing dinghy distance of Key West Bight. The charts name this isle, Wisteria Island, but all the locals refer to it as Christmas Tree Island.

    We are currently behind Wisteria Island. The whole area is surrounded with boats. North of the Island east and west. The cityKWB marina maintains dinghy dock for 26 a week or 80 a month. Just pick a spot with enough swing, lotta boats.
    forsailbyowner

    Anchoring on the south side of wisteria (christmas tree) island will give you some shelter from the north but it’s rolly from wakes (especially in the early morn. when the charter boats go out). Holding is fair but use caution. It’s a short dink ride across the channel to the harbor where the dink dock is (payment enforcement haphazard… meaning you never know so just pay). note: going back across the channel in a northerly blow can be extremely rough and wet.
    Also remember that K.W. has been pirate country for centuries… and still is. Use common sense and you will have a great time.
    Cheers,
    MM

    Just off of Christmas tree is the place to be. It’s convenient to the municipal docks & out of the way. There are areas where there is 8-10 inches of sand over limestone, and you will think you are dug in well but will drag like a mother in the first squall, so make certain you’re dug in.
    Also, an open hatch is considered an invitation. A closed hatch with a big lock will generally be left alone.
    Starfish

    Just take care that your anchor does not get stuck in the many custom made moorings around the island. I picked up an engine block once trying to haul anchor. Many derelict boats with questionable ground tackle all over.
    Be careful of the shoal in the middle that looks like a great empty anchor spot.
    However once you navigate all the above it is a great spot very close to KW and a much better location than the city mooring field. Never had issues with “piracy” in the many years I have gone there. Might be dumb luck though but I do lock up when I leave the boat.
    Patrick

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island) Eastern Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Wisteria Island (Christmas Tree Island) Northwesterly Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Wisteria/Christmas Tree Island

  • A History of Good Experiences At Key West Bight City Marina

    Captain McSwain’s happy message below concerning Key West Bight City Marina, refers to an earlier report here on the Cruisers’ Net (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=85798), that described a reservation problem another captain had at this facility. We are pleased that Captain McSwain had a very dissimilar, and much more positive, experience at Key West Bight City Marina.

    KW Bight is a City marina and the staff must enforce the rules that are created by the City. We stay in KW for several months each year and always have found the Marina staff some of the best we encounter in our 1000 mile annual cruise.
    John McSwain

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Key West Bight City Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Key West Bight City Marina

  • Unfortunate Experience at Key West Bight City Marina

    Hmmm, sounds like Captain Winkler should not have been charged, but, hey, that’s just my opinion.

    Cruising News:
    I wish to make you aware of the unfortunate experience I had in March at Key West Bright Marina. I reserved a slip for my Acadia 25 boat for two nights beginning on a Tuesday and planned to be there for both nights. My friend and I left Burnt Store Marina Monday AM heading for Marco Is. then onto KW Bright on Tuesday. When we got into the gulf Monday we found that the 4 to 6 foot waves were more then we could handle safely for the trip and the NOAA forecast was the same through Wednesday. As soon as we changed plans in late morning I called both Marco Is. and KW Bright Monday to advise that the conditions did not allow safe passage and we needed to cancel our reservation. When I made that called, both of the dock-masters at Marco Is. and KW Bright thanked me for calling and agreed that the conditions there were not safe for a 25 ft boat and assured me that I would be credited for my deposit. KW Brights advance reservation agreement states that they require 48 hours cancellation, my call was 36+ hours ahead. 48 hours would have been Sunday while we were still at Burnt Store Marina.
    Two weeks later, I noticed that my credit card still was showing the $88.69 reservation charge from KW Bright. I called them today to find out why the credit has not been issued. “YOUR CANCELLATION IS NOT WITHIN THE 48 HOUR TIME WINDOW THEREFORE WE CAN’T OFFER CREDIT TO YOUR CREDIT CARD”. The fact that the weather conditions were not safe does not matter “we’re not responsible”. They did try to offer a future credit should I wish to come in the next twelve months but being a snowbird and with other PGI cruise activities thats not a likely option.
    I wish to caution that ALL boaters should be aware of KW Brights unreasonable policy regardless of boater safety. We didn’t just change our plans at the last
    minute on a whim for another destination, if I had I would support the policy.
    THINK TWICE ABOUT KEY WEST BRIGHT. I’m really saddened by this experience as we were looking forward to our visit at KW. In all my cruising of the Great Lakes
    and here in SW FL this is the first bad experience I ever had when boater safety was the primary issue.
    Ralph Winkler

    Odd that you were charged a deposit at all at either marina. We’ve done a lot of cruising and we have never had put one down or even give a credit card #.
    Guess we won’t be going to KWB marina, we’ll stick with A & B. Expensive but had no problems.
    Elizabeth Strong

    I’m sorry to hear that I stayed there for 3 days last year.
    Too much money for what you get. We are sailing to the Abaco’s Bahamas this year much nicer trip Key West is not worth the hassle.
    Captain Wolf

    Can’t say I’d agree. The marina is a business and a reservation prevents someone else planning to come. You committed to go and then changed your mind. Sounds like you didn’t check the forecast until you were out in the Gulf. The airlines don’t give refunds or room expenses when things are delayed due to weather.
    If you’ve got a beef with the marina, I’d focus on the fact that you talked to them and they said they would refund you yet they did not. That would be the issue in my craw.
    Hugh

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Key West Bight City Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Key West Bight City Marina

  • Key West/Fleming Key Mooring Field

    We have had earlier, laudatory postings here on the Net concerning the Key West city mooring field off Fleming Key (serviced through the Key West City Marina on Garrison Bight), but, speaking in my role as editor, I can tell you from personal experience that Captain Colket has a point in his remarks below. I guess it all depends on wind direction and speed, but I have been in this field when it was very comfortable, and at other times, we did a passable imitation of a Mexican jumping bean.

    I must take exception regarding the Key West mooring field. I spent one December there. The nearest protection to the north is the Florida Panhandle. There was a persistent two foot chop the entire month, sometimes more. The dinghy ride to the dock was fun if you like getting soaked. By the way, they didn’t tell us the moorings do not have pendants attached. We arrived after the office closed, and had to put crew overboard to attach a line to the mooring. There have been many reports of boats dragging the moorings there. Nancy came close to going home, and I was one day away from giving the boat away by the time we found another location.
    Garrison Bight Marina is a good alternative to the expensive marinas downtown. Best way to visit Key West is by car.
    Happy cruising,
    Peter Colket

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Garrison Bight – Fleming Key Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Garrison Bight – Fleming Key Mooring Field

  • Good Info on Key West Shuttle

    The inexpensive Key West Shuttle is one of the best ways for cruisers to get around ashore in this fascinating community. Thanks to Captain Bill for providing this great means to access info about this service.

    Browse this site for all sorts of info on the Key West shuttle:
    http://www.keywestcity.com/department/?fDD=14-0
    Note that seniors can ride one way for $.50. The shuttle does stop at the Key West Airport and many places in Marathon and Big Pine Key. You will need exact fare. The website has a number you can call for real time information (305-809-3910).
    Bill Donovan

  • Flagler’s 100th Anniversary Gala Costume Ball Set in Key West, 1/21/12

    Well, it’s not the cheapest night’s entertainment I’ve ever come across, but it sure sounds like a LOT of historic FUN. Those fortunate cruisers who are visiting Key West this January, should seriously consider marking this event on their calendars!

    Step back in time and enjoy an opulent night of period costumes, dinner, dancing and fireworks, celebrating the glories of the Flagler era. From 6-10 p.m. at the historic Casa Marina – A Waldorf Astoria Resort, located at 1500 Reynolds Street. Seats limited; 180 guests maximum. Tickets are to be available for purchase at the Flaglerkeys100 site. Cost per person: $100, includes one hour of open bar cocktails, dinner, beverages, fireworks as well as a silent auction to benefit Friends of Old Seven, a nonprofit organization formed as a community effort to save, enhance and maintain the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon, a significant piece of railroad history. More details to follow, check:
    http://www.flaglerkeys100.com/flaglers-100th-anniversary-gala-costume-ball

  • Good Times at Galleon Marina (Key West Bight)

    Galleon Marina will be the first marina that will come abeam to your starboard side as you enter Key West Bight. This facility has an excellent reputation, and it certainly lies right in the heart of Key West!

    Spent another month here (6/2011) as we try and do every year. John and his entire staff are welcoming and terrific at helping captains dock. Each slip holds ONE boat – no worries about hitting your slipmate! My husband waxes the hull each year during our stay. Close to all the action and super staff have made this our choice for over 10 years.
    K. Reilly

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Galleon Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Galleon Marina

  • Key West: Captain Jane Eats Cuban at El Siboney

    Yummmm, but I bet there were no vampires within 100 miles of Captain Jane’s vessel after this meal!

    The corner of Catherine and Margaret Streets is a healthy walk, a touch under a mile, from the Key West Bight marinas — just the right amount to allow you to imagine you earned a really good meal at El Siboney, a homey Cuban restaurant that is the best Cuban food I’ve ever eaten. The walk back will also help, especially if you finished your meal.
    We both ordered the garlic grilled half chicken with yellow rice, black beans and plantains. The folks at the next table looked over and said: Did you order the dinner special for four? Indeed, now that they mentioned it, that is what our two plates looked like and indeed, the leftovers provided a very nice second meal the next day. The chicken was crispy, appeared to be grilled under a weight or press of some sort giving it that special mix of crunch and smooth. We were two very happy campers. Black beans and rice were what they should be — flavorful, fresh and real. The plantains, crispy, caramelized and good enough to be dessert.
    We hear they’ve opened a branch in Marathon in the shopping center across from the Publix. We are hoping one of you Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Subscribers will step up to the lunch plate and check it and let us know how it is. As for the Key West original? Fantastic and the prices are very modest for anywhere, not just for Key West. A huge lunch costs less than $10 per person. A reason to brave that last bit of Hawk Channel and sail to what some say is the edge of the known world.
    PS: This was another Heidi Garbo of Garbo’s Grill recommendation — thank you Heidi!
    Captain Jane
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Captain Jane Walked a Mile (and back) for This Sushi (Key West)


    There is something pleasingly ironic that worthy sushi is hard to find in Florida and in particular the Keys, so when Heidi Garbo, my favorite foodie informant in Key West and proprietor of Garbo’s Grill, told me there is superlative sushi here, she got my attention.

    It’s a good thing I trust Heidi, because there is no way I would have spent good cold cash on sushi in a restaurant named Ambrosia that is on the site of a hotel named Santa Maria, and has a modernist sleek interior architecture that is the antithesis of Conch. In fact, I nearly turned around when I saw the front door, and nearly left when I passed the glass-looking-like-waterfall room dividers and followed the blond-haired waitress with an East European accent to our table.

    We ordered sushi despite the menu offering several items I remember well from Japan and don’t often see on menus in the states. Salmon skin roll, a vegefuto roll (a scaled back futomaki), and the Ambrosia sushi for one. It was more than enough. The miso soup that quickly arrived at our tables was special. Beautiful broth, not too salty, sweet flavor of miso really there — not just salty water with a fat globule. Shitake mushroom slices… excellent quality tofu… I’m already a happy girl. Auspicious beginning to what turned out to be some of the finest sushi either of us has had.

    The Ambrosia Sushi assortment on the menu at first glance looks pricey for $40, but if you look at how many pieces of sushi it includes, it’s actually almost a bargain. It’s plenty for two people to share if you can get past feeling like a cheep skate and doing the share. The salmon skin roll had perfectly crisped and crunchy salmon skin — fresh and perfect. This is a roll that is only good when it’s great, so I view it as a sushi test. The vegefuto was an excellent contrast to the salmon skin, slightly sweet pickled vegetable and small enough to make it more manageable than a futomaki, one of my personal favorite sushi rolls. We were so impressed we came back for lunch and focused on a few special rolls.

    So much for judging a restaurant by its name, hotel ambiance and architecture. Extra bonus is that just down the street is the southern most point of the United States. You can stand on the sidewalk and if there’s a fresh breeze (that’s sailor speak for big uncomfortable wind) blowing, watch the waves splash over the retaining wall.

    It’s a little over a mile’s walk to Ambrosia from the Key West Bight Marinas or you can take the Green bus on Caroline Street there and the Blue bus back. If you like sushi and Japanese food, this is a great excuse to see this part of Key West. Ambrosia is located at 1401 Simonton Street; they offer lunch from 11:30 to 2, Monday through Friday, including bento box and other lunch specials. They serve Dinner seven days a week from 6 to 10. From the action we saw on Saturday night, we recommend reservations on weekends. Wish I could tell you about the miso cod or the various home made dumplings — it’s just that we had a hankering for the rolls when we went back. If someone reading this review samples some of the other items on the menu, please post and share your experience.
    Captain Jane
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Marathon About to Become a “Port of Entry”

    Here’s a short article from our Florida Keys Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. This news will be of interest to anyone cruising to the Florida Keys from the Bahamas or other waters outside the USA!

    March 9, 2011
    Marathon, FL Keys – One Step Closer to Becoming International Port of Entry
    by Charmaine Smith Ladd
    Ryan McCarthy reported in today’s edition of the Keynoter that Governor Rick Scott has endorsed the city of Marathon’s efforts to become a Port of Entry for international travelers. It is documented in a letter sent by Governor Scott to U.S. Customs and Boarder Patrol on March 3rd. This is great news!
    Locally, this has been a well-known pet project of Marathon City Councilman Dick Ramsay. With the possiblity of Cuba opening up to U.S. travelers, touting Marathon as a Port of Entry surely makes sense. Currently, international travelers arriving in Marathon (via air or sea) travel to Key West to check-in with U.S. Customs.
    It would be highly ideal to have both the City of Marathon’s Airport as well as Boot Key Harbor serving as Ports of Entry. This would make compliance with checking in to U.S. Customs in a timely manner a much simpler process for those travelling by boat.
    Charmaine Smith Ladd, s/v September Sea
    SSECN Correspondent
    “Bringing you the low down from down low!”

  • Captain Jane Finds a GREAT Breakfast – Lunch Spot, With Memorable Cuban Coffee (Key West)

    Damn…” Got to get back to Key West SOON, and check out some of Captain Jane’s many finds!

    “Drink more Cuban coffee. Do stupid things faster!” is the slogan of this specialty food shack.
    I have no idea what the slogan means, but I can tell you that the Cuban Coffee Queen makes wicked good black beans and rice with unctuous garlicky pork Mojo ($6) in a serving enough for two small women or one hungry man whose wife isn’t looking. My first mate says the Cuban tuna sandwich ($6) was good — a burger made from fresh not canned tuna. We both vouch for the Pina ($6) fruit smoothie drink of pineapple, banana, liquid from a young coconut and probably something else. You can also get a young coconut and a straw and drink the coconut liquid straight — that’s $6 despite a typo or old price on the paper menu stating $3.
    Our favorite dock hand at the Conch House Marina recommended this signature Key West shack dining establishment, telling us it is known for its breakfasts and Cuban coffee and for offering one of the best lunches under $10 in town. We observed lots of folks looking very happy as they drank their coffee but have not personally tried it.
    Free wifi, cute benches with Key West’s signature roosters painted on them and a good lunch for $6? Our vote? Excellent low-budget choice. We’ll be back for more black beans and rice and those smoothies. An especially nice touch is a window on the other side of the shack that says “Locals Only.” During the peak-lunch hour, service can be slow, but it does give you plenty of time to people and rooster watch.
    No walls, no ceilings, no tables, entertaining signage, and great cheap food. It doesn’t get more Key West than this.
    The Cuban Coffee Queen is between Caroline Street and the big sponge and conch store on the harbor walk.
    Captain Jane
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Captain Jane Eats at Garbo’s Grill – Key West

    If you are in Key West, or plan to visit this vibrant community during the 2011 winter season, run, don’t walk, to Captain Jane’s find, Garbo’s Grill!!!!!!

    Garbo’s Grill Talks!
    Recipe for good food: fresh, top quality ingredients, imagination and love. That may be the reason that regulars flock to Garbo’s Grill food stand in Key West on Greene Street, with over 80 of them receiving daily emails of today’s specials.
    Just across from the pepper store, there she is, Heidi Garbo herself, a legend in the minds of anyone who has eaten one of her justly famous mahi (with a slice of mango!) burritos.
    We chowed down the hefty fresh Mahi burrito and, because we like you, tried that day’s special of conch seviche. The burrito, which is a burrito despite internet posts that it is a taco, is substantial and made from freshly grilled Mahi, mango, cilantro, cabbage and a mayonnaise-based Caribbean sauce — you can add fresh jalapeno too if you’d like a little extra kick. Delicious and a good deal at $8. The seviche at $9 was a hefty portion of conch and chopped vegetables served in a clear plastic drinking cup; very spicy (Heidi says it depends on the particular jalapeno, so the heat varies), bracing hit of lime juice and I forgot what else that she says tenderizes the conch. Maybe it was papaya juice. No matter, bottom line, the glass that had been half full of ceviche, was quickly empty.
    Other menu items that day were black and blue burgers, angus hot dog and chicken quesadilla. Heidi knows real food, as in foodie-level food, so even if the label is ordinary, I think you can count on it being worth eating.
    Garbo’s food talks and it says: a restaurant doesn’t need walls, it doesn’t even need chairs. Wander by hungry for breakfast or lunch. We can’t guarantee the hours and I don’t remember the exact address — do road stands have addresses? In Key West, probably. Oops, just looked it up: 603 Greene Street. The hours? I’m not sure, but it’s often. Check the photo of the posted hours and you’ll know as much as I do.
    Extra bonus — if you want to know where else to eat in town, ask Heidi or check out her restaurant reviews. We’ll be posting two reviews of Heidi’s top pick restaurants — they were both superb. Thank you, Heidi!
    Captain Jane
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Garrison Bight – Fleming Key Mooring Field (Key West)

    The Garrison Bight – Fleming Key Mooring Field may just be the best buy in Key West. Of course, I have yet to find anything that could accurately be described as “inexpensive” in this vibrant community!

    Very reasonable for Key West. Long dinghy ride to the dinghy docks, but the bathrooms and laundry facilities are fairly new and clean. You do not want to be here with any signifigant northerly winds, in particular, you will need to ride it out on your vessel and do not attempt to dingy ashore without full foul weather gear as it builds up a chop in a hurry.
    S/V Arkeoo

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For the Garrison Bight – Fleming Key Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Garrison Bight – Fleming Key Mooring Field

  • More Good Dining Near Key West

    Sounds like cruisers will need to get their hands on a rental car, or courtesy car, to take advantage of the dining attraction described below, but it also sounds as if it might be well worth the effort!

    If you can drive to MM 22.5 you’ll find the “Square Grouper” – one of the BEST restaurants I’ve ever eaten in, and clean – it’s so clean I swear you can eat off the floor. When I complemented the owner on the cleanliness, she said I ought to see the kitchen, “it’s even cleaner!” GREAT!!!!
    August Trometer

  • Another Great Key West Dining Attraction

    Sounds GOOD, but you will need auto transportation to take advantage of this dining find!

    If you can drive to MM 22.5 you’ll find the “Square Grouper” – one of the BEST restaurants I’ve ever eaten in, and clean – it’s so clean I swear you can eat off the floor. When I complemented the owner on the cleanliness, she said I ought to see the kitchen, “it’s even cleaner!” GREAT!!!!
    August Trometer

  • Captain Jane Finds More Healthy Eating in Key West — But with Beer on Tap!

    Well, I’m glad to hear that some of my earlier comments inspired Captain Jane to discover more healthy eating in Key West, BUT with alcohol also on the premises!

    Claiborne “complained” in his introduction to my recent review of the organic health food restaurant “help yourself” that it doesn’t offer Mount Gay Rum…
    Well, Claiborne, since you mentioned it…. It just so happens that the human crew of Lady Jane just ate at a Key West health food restaurant where you don’t have to bring your own. The sign in the window says it all: Beer, Vegan, Vegetarian, BBQ Unwing Dings.
    How Key West loves internal contradiction! Tawdry bars, fried fish, restaurants with no complete walls and some with none at all… boozing until the wee hours and then somewhere else, not so much in full view are the health food folks, classical music concerts in the Episcopal church and yoga on the beach… We present to you, on the health food side, complete with internal contradiction, The Cafe.
    Its specialty? Organic food and organic microbrews and wine. Here you can sin — organically. The perfect place for a mixed marriage — where one partner needs beer and one needs to eat organic and vegan.
    Vegan items are clearly marked with asterisks; for those who need animal protein, there is fresh tuna and mussels, and if I’m remembering correctly the specials when I was there included local shrimp. Gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, feta cheddar are among the cheeses that can be added to sandwiches.
    If you are vegetarian, or even hardcore vegan, this is a find. The Cafe makes its own seitan (an Asian-style high-protein wheat gluten that is often used as a “mock” meat) and it’s chewy and the best I’ve tasted — it bears no relationship to the packaged kind I’ve bought in supermarkets. The veggie burger is made with legumes, carrots, broccoli, mushroom, scallions and sunflower seeds — this is no skinny pre-packaged Boca Burger. Crisp outside and yummy on garlic Ciabatta bread. Falafel is excellent and the salad elements fresh. The stir fry is huge, especially if you add a protein, the brown rice perfectly done and the peanut sauce we tried was excellent, not too sweet and not overpowering — it had just the right hint of peanut to make it unctuous, not deadly. There are vegetable stir fry dishes, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and a category called “Food Food” that includes BBQ tofu, kung pao tofu, polenta cakes, seared yellowfin tuna, udon bowl, mussels, quiche, lasagna and a pasta of the day.
    Everything we tried was first rate, cooked with care and good fresh ingredients. We’ve been here three times and still like it.
    The Cafe is located at 509 Southard Street, just off Duval. It is open Monday through Saturday, 11 to 10 PM. http://theCafeKW.com
    Captain Jane
    S/V Lady Jane

  • Captain Jane Finds Healthy Eating in Key West

    Well, my comment on Captain Jane’s story below is, “if they also serve Mount Gay Rum on the rocks, I guess a little healthy eating in Key West won’t kill us!
    Actually, “help yourself” sounds wonderful. Just be sure to bring your own Mount Gay!

    Yup, healthy, green, organic, living sprouts, oranges straight from a local tree, and organic truffles — not the mushrooms, the sweet chocolate morsels and not a french fry or piece of fried mahi in sight.
    Yes, right here within walkable Key West. It’s easy to think that Key West is all bars, loud music and pricey cheap souvenirs. It’s amazing what three blocks inland can do to change your perspective. You’ll still find Key West funky style — where tacky is raised to an art form — but a gentler kind.
    “help yourself” is one such gentler place in Key West. Located at the corner of Margaret and Fleming Streets, it’s a mere three or four blocks from the Key West Bight marinas, and the architecture is — well, it looks like it might have once been a gas station…
    Seven mornings a week it’s a breakfast place serving homemade granola, fruit, house-cultured coconut yogurt, a breakfast egg wrap, french toast, sprouted whole grain bagels…
    At noon, it’s a lunch place that serves salads, wraps, curry, barbecue, and soup. If you are not vegetarian, you can add wild salmon, organic chicken, or seafood to the hot offerings. I can vouch for the wild salmon wrap (maple-soy glazed salmon, sprouts, cucumber, carrot, sesame seeds, mixed greens, avocado wasabi spread) — the half wrap at $6.50 is plenty for lunch and very reasonable for Key West.
    Peek and ye shall find!
    All day — but easiest pulled off not at a busy meal time — “help yourself” is a stealth provisioning stop. Ask the cashier for the bulk and other foods price list and order away! Some items are visible, arrayed on a shelf in the window, but there is much, much more, including organic brown rice, nutritional yeast, spices, legumes and quinoa. On the little shelf at the window, you may see organic udon in boxes, organic agave syrup, organic apple cider vinegar. In the freezer wedged behind the entrance door, is coconut milk ice cream; in the refrigerator cabinet along with brewed iced teas, are cylinders of white goat cheese. Peek and ye shall find! If they have honey in stock — buy it, even if you think you don’t need it. The label says it’s orange blossom honey, packed by Miguel Bode for Bee Heaven Farm in Homestead, Florida. The 2011 vintage is one of the most fragrant honeys we’ve ever tasted.
    And on Mondays, from noon to 4, it’s a green market. A bustling green market. Get there early; bring your provisioning tote bags so you don’t feel like some sort of inferior being saying to the gal tallying up your purchase: “Yes, I need a plastic bag.”
    Our green market haul was impressive — baby bok choy, complete with dirt! A glorious head of what I call butter lettuce, but truth is I have no idea what it is, other than tender, wonderful and a visual work of art! Oh joy, oh rapture! Beets with beautiful greens. Real celery, tall and fat!
    This is also a good place to eat outside, read a newspaper or make a friend.
    And, lots of big recycling bins alongside the store.
    Definitely a Key West hidden gem.
    “help yourself” is at 82 Fleming Street, Key West. http://helpyourselfcafe.com Free delivery, too, and they even take credit cards Phone: 305-296-7766.
    Captain Jane
    S/V Lady Jane

  • How to Get Half Price Drinks in Key West

    No guarantees, but it certainly might be worth a try!

    Cruising News:
    We love coming to the Keys each winter. Good friends, weather, great boating,… However, it gets old when you constantly read stories in the local papers about the need to increase or invent new TOURIST TAXES to pay for the locals’ government needs (never, of course, any suggestion about imposing an income tax). We’ve also noticed that many cafes and restaurants add a tip to your bill without prior notification (check your bill!). A group of friends recently did the Duval Shuffle. When they returned to one of the bars, the server asked, “Are you locals?” My smart friend quickly answered “Yes” and like magic they got a big reduction on their bar bill.
    The Keys are a tourist mecca, but it gets annoying when you’re constantly reminded that through the eyes of “locals” you are viewed as a cash cow.
    Wade Ehlen

  • Conch Harbor Marina (Key West Bight)

    Conch Harbor is one of four outstanding marina facilities overlooking the shores of Key West Bight. The others are Galleon Marina, A&B Marina, and Key West Bight City Marina. All are within easy walking distance of Key West’s many dining, shopping and diversionary attractions.

    We went with Conch harbour in the end as the other downtown marinas were charging $4.50 a foot with a five day minimum. We booked into conch for the 3 days that we needed (no five day min) and they
    were a buck a foot cheaper.
    Jonah

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Conch Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Conch Harbor Marina and Key West Bight

  • Recommendations for Christmas in Key West

    The Degroots have some excellent suggestions for enjoying Key West during the holidays, both on and off the water.

    The “walk to town” marinas are in the Key West Bight. We stayed at the Galleon Resort and Marina for a month. Plenty of room except for New Years eve. Galleon is the only marina with floating docks in the bight. Only place with a small beach next to the outdoor bar. Galleon is also a timeshare so if you have friends coming down they can stay there as well. I think the Hyatt is next to that and they have great holiday buffets. The folks at A&B Marina (fixed docks, most without finger piers) next door aren’t particularly fond of the racing sailboats or race week so you can most likely get a slip there. Again, New Year’s is tricky. This bight itself is a “happening place.” But you really do need to chill out a while before you amble over to Schooners. The dog sits on a bar stool and drinks beer from a mug, but the bands are great – if you get my drift. If you’re there over New Year’s. They lower a wench from the yard arm to count down the seconds before midnight. There are three or so other marinas in the bight. Just keep in mind you need to make reservations well in advance. The marinas up closer to the mouth of the bight are a bit more on the rolly side (you’re sideways to the opening. Lots of traffic including tour boats. Go for a monthly rate. Even if you only stay a couple weeks, it’s still less expensive. Have fun, we did.
    Bob & Kemba DeGroot Aboard M/V Spirit Dancer

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For Galleon Marina

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Marina Directory Listing For A and B Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Key West Bight

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