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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Retrieving my car...

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It's but 5:45 pm and the Key West Express is already pulling away from the docks. Scheduled departure time was to have been six pm. Lucky for me that I didn't order that last beer at the Half Shell Raw Bar... otherwise I would have been spilling that beer all over myself as I watched that vessel sail on past without me.

I'm quite impressed with the motor vessel. The interior kind of reminds me of a hotel casino but without the game tables and slot machines. It has two separate fully stocked bars with flat screen TVs showing various college football games. The bar stools are all occupied and there appears to be a football watching party going on.

Elsewhere onboard that boat is stadium seating for watching movies on a big screen. I elect to climb up to the open top deck for a panoramic view of Key West and the surrounding landmarks. I pause a moment to gaze out at Mallory Square as we sail on past and remember the various occasions when my ex-wife and I would join the tourist to watch the sunset.

Once out into the open waters that motor vessel seems to ignite the afterburners and the catamaran seems to be skimming across the water at 70 knots. Without wanting to bother with a google search, I gotta believe that there are two twin aircraft jet turbine engines propelling that boat... one in each pontoon.

I watch for the distant channel markers and navigation aids and find myself regretting not bringing my handheld GPS unit along with me for the ride.

Off on the horizon I see a sailboat heading east towards Key West. It has its mainsail down but is sailing with its jib fully extended. I then fondly remember Mike onboard Magic Carpet from long ago sailing in the same manner and commenting on the radio, "no strain, no pain" and then chuckling about it.

Before long we fly on past the sailboat and I'm feeling a bit miffed that there are but just a few whitecaps to be seen out on the water unlike when I had been sailing down from Marco Island just the other day... never mind whether or not they had studied the weather reports prior to their departure from wherever that might have been.

I kind of feel like a little kid constantly wandering throughout the boat. The air-conditioning down inside the cabins is set right above freezing temperatures and I can't get comfortable. I'm somewhat hungry yet I don't want to shell out ten bucks for a hotdog or microwaved pizza. It's now dark outside and what seem to be hurricane force winds up topsides have me wanting to seek some shelter.

I finally settle in down below inside the cabin and sprawl out on a seat cushion using one of my carry-ons as a make-shift pillow. The novelty of the boat has worn off and I'm now wishing that we'd finally just get there.

After close to a four hour sail, we finally disembark. The sail on up to Fort Myers Beach has taken longer than I thought it might but I'm glad to finally be hailing a cab at that late hour for the drive on up to the City Yacht Basin in Fort Myers to retrieve my car.

I've got some fond memories of the Fort Myers City Yacht Basin and of their professional staff and after unlocking and starting up my car, I linger awhile and stop off at the restroom facilities to relieve my bladder.

Afterwards, I look across the docks and note that Captain Jacobo along with his saggy skin and all still has his boat tied up in the same slip as a month ago. His cabin lights are on and he is in all likelihood smoking another cigarette.

I elect not to stop by lest he ask me to drive him to the liquor store at that late hour and because I had tired of him carrying on about his "sweetie-pie" and how he knew everything about sailing and whatnot.

I'm hungry and tired and am soon en route to Marco Island once again only this time in a car. A friend I had previously met while on Marco has graciously accepted my request to stay at her house over the weekend.

It has been an exhausting yet memorable day.

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