Total Pageviews

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Blue Heaven, a Delightful Dining Venue in Key West...

Key West does indeed have a number of delightful restaurants as far as I can tell from afar for I'm on a cruising budget and can't claim to necessarily know this first hand.

Nevertheless my lady-friend from up on Marco Island did treat me to brunch early one morning at The Blue Heaven Restaurant... a quaint outdoor dining venue off the beaten path in Key West and best described as a charming setting for casual Island dining.

Well I certainly wasn't disappointed. The Bloody-Marys, as we waited for a table were the best and the food was even better. And watching the many resident chickens stroll about one's dining table was quite a hoot.

Occasionally a rooster could be seen giving chase to another if he happened to get too close to his hens. That's when all hell would break loose and chickens would suddenly start scampering all over the place while diners would casually take another bite of their breakfast omelet.

So if you happen to visit Key West, and cost is not too big of a concern, then you'll definitely want to seek this place out for a memorable dining experience.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Critical Care Nurses in Key West...

My Lady-friend from up on Marco Island claims that she isn't a "two-dimensional person" whatever that might be and hence adamantly refuses to have any pictures of herself posted up on the Internet.

Nevertheless her good friend and co-worker evidently doesn't share her objections... even after a long day at the office.

The truth is that I would have preferred that they had both cleaned up a tad after working all day in the Critical Care Unit. It wasn't like happy-hour would soon be coming to an abrupt end.

Shanna Key Irish Pub, Key West

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Vile and Disconcerting Incident in Key West...

There are a number of local watering holes here in Key West that I enjoy frequenting for lack of anything better to do.

These include The Green Parrot Bar off of Duval Street, Shana Pub near Garrison Bight, and Don's Place along Truman Avenue with each locale catering to locals as apart from catering to boisterous tourists.

More often than not my choice of venue is dictated by whether I'd like to get a bite to eat along with my cold Budwiesers or whether there might be a sporting event being shown on tv that might be of interest to me.

In any case, I tend to keep to myself while sipping on a few beers and watching whatever might be showing up on the flat screens before heading on back to my boat for the evening.

The atmosphere in these taverns is usually rather subdued and patrons are for the most part locals who can be seen idly chatting and kicking back after putting in a long day of labor.

And with this being Key West, there is indeed a sizable gay community here. Nevertheless it's not something that I give much thought to whenever I might sit down at a bar and place a drink order.

Like I previously mentioned, I tend to keep to myself while seated at a bar. In addition I've also yet to feel compelled to fend off any unwelcomed and unsolicited advances from anyone.

And insofar as "taking a walk on the wild side", it simply ain't gonna happen since it just ain't a part of my DNA chemical make-up.

There does seem to be a "live and let live" mindset down here in the Keys where folks simply don't judge one another.

Well heck, even the occasional transvestite that I might come across while at a bar is a non-event for me anymore... nor does it seem to be a big deal for anybody else in that bar for that matter.

If anything, I feel but a good measure of compassion for that person for I simply don't believe for a moment that anyone ever wakes up one morning and suddenly elects to swap out their genitals.

So gal, though you and I might not have much in common, and you might not give a rat's ass about that featured base-line drive to the hoop, feel free to tell the bartender that my next beer goes on your tab. I'll be sure to remember to say thank you.

In any event, it was rather distressing for me the other day when I happened to go on-line and access the local newspaper to see what festivities might be going on here in Key West only to discover to my incredulous dismay that a violent crime had been committed.

A news account of that event follows:

Victim was asked to leave bar

Jonathan Alvarado, whose easygoing nature prompted his boss to call him "Greenpeace," was drunk and annoying the patrons of a Grinnell Street bar just hours before his bludgeoned body was discovered beneath a nearby truck Friday morning, according to witnesses.

Don's Place employees asked the 32-year-old server at La Trattoria Oceanside to leave the bar about 4 a.m. after he began bothering other customers, according to witnesses, who asked not to be named because police asked them not to discuss the case.

Alvarado hung on people, interrupted their conversations and drank their drinks -- whether knowingly or not -- according to witnesses, who added that there had been no violence nor other serious disturbance prior to Alvarado leaving the bar in the 1000 block of Grinnell.

About three hours later, Roberto Lobo stepped outside his home and saw Alvarado's body lying beneath a delivery truck. Neighbors phoned 911.

Like many in town celebrating Fantasy Fest, Alvarado was costumed -- wearing black with fairy wings on his back, said longtime friend Terry Williams.

Williams had been with Alvarado at Don's Place Thursday night and into Friday morning. But he said there had been no trouble before he left about 3 a.m.

Williams said he can't grasp how such a gentle, peace-loving person could fall victim to such violence.

"I can't figure it out," he said. "I don't understand why anyone would do that. I can't sleep. I can't eat. It's been horrible."

Key West police have remained tight-lipped about the case, citing the open investigation. Detectives had no new information to release Monday, city spokeswoman Alyson Crean said.

Alvarado, who had been living in Key West for about eight years, was from Venezuela, Williams said. He had been staying with another friend at a house off White Street at the time of his death, he said.

There was a small memorial of flowers and candles Monday near the spot where Alvarado's body was found. A man on a bicycle who stopped, identifying himself only as a friend, asked neighbors if he could add to the memorial.

"He didn't deserve it," the man said, before peddling away.

A memorial is planned for 7 tonight at McConnell's Irish Pub & Grill, 900 Duval St., Williams said. An account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank, 3131 Northside Drive, under Alvarado's uncle's name, Nanjai Alvarado, to return Alvarado's remains to Venezuela for burial.


Police: DNA ties suspect to killing
Former Duval Street bouncer arrested early Wednesday in Wisconsin

Police say a blood-stained Fantasy Fest costume links a first-degree murder suspect arrested early Wednesday in Wisconsin to the October bludgeoning death of Jonathan Alvarado.

Key West police detectives obtained an arrest warrant for former Irish Kevin's bar bouncer Peter Erik Hedvall late Tuesday afternoon after DNA test results returned this week confirmed the victim's...

For the complete article, please pick up a copy of The Citizen for this day or purchase this day's electronic edition at

Home Delivery & Electronic Edition subscribers to The Citizen may access this article, once logged in to, at no charge. If you forget your password, please call us at 305-292-7777, ext. 4.

Painting of Don's Place by Stephen LaPierre, Fine Art Oil Painter.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pondering Jalapenos and Chocolates and What the New Year Might Bring...

It occurs to me that life is indeed more like a jar of jalapenos rather than a box of chocolates...

What you do today can most certainly burn your ass tomorrow and to that I might add that what you don't do today can burn your ass tomorrow as well.

And with that said, I suppose that I should search for my first aid kit that I've got squirreled away somewhere aboard my boat and lather on a good amount of Preparation-H.

Yep, my rear-end could use a little bit of relief after a year or so of unenviable decisions.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keeping It Real with the Housekeeping aboard the Boat...

There was a time when I would make it a point to keep my boat looking all spiffy... now I can't be bothered and hardly give a rat's ass whether it looks all tidied-up or not. That is of course if I ain'ts expecting any company.

I do nevertheless still a have a few standards and do wash my dirty pots and pans on occasion. I've yet to see any rodents or cucarachas scurrying around so I suppose it ain't all that bad... not yet anyways.

What can I say other than I'm just keeping it real...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Almost Depleted Pantry Box Aboard S/V Blondie-Dog...

Me thinks dat my lady-friend up on Marco Island has me all figureds out. I does believe dis to be true cause all she's gots ta do is mention dat she boughts sum cold beer and dat she be doing some home cooking to git my immediate attention.

So yep, I then be foolish enuf to drops whatevers I be doing and lick-ity split haul ass on up the Keys on up overs to her house for a few hot meals and cold beers.

Yes indeedy... she's seen my depleted stock pile of canned goods haphazardly strewn about inside my tote box that serves as my boat's pantry.

She knows quites well that I is tired of eating the same ol' thing out of a can for days on end and just as soon not evers eats another can of Dinty Moore Stew, Hormel Chile wit Beans, or any more Chicken of the Sea cause it shor don't taste like any chi'ken dat she's ever cooked up.

I is evens tired of eating Ramen Noodles wit Tobasco Sauce fer breakfast every morning. Incidentally sumbody once tolds me dat eating noodles wit Tobasco Sauce can help one git overs a bad hang-over in de morning.

But I seriously doubts dis to be true cause I ain't ever telled any difference if ya really wanna know da truth. I eat da noodles cause I ain't gots any bacon and eggs laying around inside my tote box.

One of these days I is going to gits me rear-end off of dis here boat and buys me a refrigerator at the local Goodwill Store and loads it up wit some fresh cheese, cold milk, mayonnaise, salami, potato salad, ripe tomatoes, fresh eggs, and anything else I mights think of.

Anyways I's gots ta go folks... I's got to fix me sum dinner fer tonight. Me thinks that I'll heat me up some Spam ham in der skillet along wit a few packets of apricot jelly that I swiped de other day at a nearby Denny's.

I'll be sure to splash a little soy sauce on it too and serve it up wit some stale crackers dat I's got somewheres smushed between da cans inside my pantry box.

And of course if ye might perhaps be from Texas, then yor shor to know that "La Quinta" when translated into English means "Next to Denny's"... har, har, har...

Collard Greens, tuna, sauteed onion, and other stuff... (it was edible... yet again, I was hungry.)

Pretty good eating all things considered...

Me seeing double after indulging in a few brewskies...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Memorable Moment While Free Diving...

I happened to be sipping on a cold one while idly watching a television news channel the other day when a news report of a shark attack suddenly flashed up upon the screen.

Featured in that news report was a surfer who went on to describe his harrowing encounter with a sizable shark and of his good fortune of having emerged unscathed from that experience.

Also featured in that news account was the fellow's surfboard and of the large bite sized piece of fiberglass that was now missing.

All of which had me thinking back to a time and place when I too once had somewhat of a memorable shark encounter of my own.

For you see, it was while previously cruising aboard S/V BratCat and while at anchor in Little Farmers Key in the Exumas, Bahamas that I was invited by a local fisherman to accompany him for a day of free-diving on the offshore reefs.

Our agreement simply consisted of me assisting with the anchor lines and of any other sundry boating chores as requested. Also explained to me was that the first five lobsters that I might happen to spear would be his but any after that were mine to keep.

So it was when Hallan showed up early the next morning alongside of BratCat's hull in his large power boat propelled by two massively-sized outboard motors.

The low roar of those two powerful motors could be heard a mile away as that boat slowly approached. And It goes without saying that Hallan didn't have to bother knocking on the hull of my boat to announce his arrival either.

I had my gear ready when he arrived and was soon climbing aboard his boat after exchanging a few pleasantries. No sooner had I stepped aboard his boat when Hallan suddenly opened up the throttle causing that boat to immediately accelerate on out to the offshore reefs.

I in turn just as suddenly, found myself desperately looking out for something to grasp on to lest I be flung off the stern of the boat. In hindsight, a little forewarning would have been appreciated but that's a power boater for you.

Within but a few minutes we reach our first reef and I'm soon being instructed to drop an anchor and let out plenty of scope. In the meantime Hallan puts the boat into reverse thus ensuring that the anchor has snugly dug itself well into the sandy bottom.

It's yet another bright, beautiful, sunny morning in the Exumas as we both don our masks and fins in the cockpit of that boat. Hallan doesn't bother using a snorkel. I in turn do. Moments later we are both going over the sides and splashing into the water along with our Hawaiian slings.

The water is crystal clear and the bottom can be readily seen from the surface. Lobster feelers can be easily seen extending out from the crevices of the coral heads. Before long Hallan is expeditiously spearing one lobster after another.

No sooner would I spot a pair of feelers when Hallan would spot them as well and make a bee-line after them. I soon figured out that I had little chance of spearing any lobster of my own while following him around so I made it a point to look elsewhere from wherever he might be.

So that's how our morning went. There was little if any loitering going on at any one particular spot. We'd arrive at a reef... clear it out... and head off on over to the next reef. It soon became apparent to me that Hallan knew those offshore reefs like the back of his hands.

Occasionally Hallan would spear a grouper or some other fish. I in turn would spear an occasional lobster but not as many as to exceed the five that I'd previously agreed to fork over before I could claim any for myself.

But while diving on a reef at a depth of twenty-five feet or so, I happened to spot a large grouper lingering just inside a rocky crevice.

That ugly yet potentially tasty fish could have been nursing a hangover for all I know as it remained motionless beneath that coral ledge. Nevertheless I also happened to be in need of yet another breath of air at that moment and felt compelled to surface before making any attempt at spearing that lethargic fish.

So after slowly and methodically surfacing, while constantly equalizing the pressure exerted upon my eardrums, I paused at the surface long enough to fill my lungs full of air.

Unfortunately for me however, Hallan also happened to discover my grouper while I was up at the surface and proceeded to nonchalantly spear my grouper. In hindsight I gotta believe that he had a set of gills hidden behind his ears to compliment his scuba-tank type lungs for he seemed to be able to stay submerged forever.

Hallan could have easily passed for an NFL lineman for that's how big his arms and legs were. In addition he also had a massive girth belying his ability to dive.

In any event that big lug of a fish was obviously wounded and profusely bleeding for I could now see the water suddenly clouding up from where that fish must have been attempting to hide.

It took Hallan another two well-aimed stainless steel shanks to finally retrieve that mortally wounded grouper from deep inside that rocky crevice.

But it was on his third and final attempt at spearing that grouper that I happened to catch sight of a shark circling ever so slowly in the vicinity of Hallan.

Hallan was obviously completely oblivious to the presence of that shark when he too starts to surface. He's got his arm fully extended while gripping one end of the shank with the lifeless yet bleeding grouper resting upon the flanged tip at the other end.

It was then in but an instant that I suddenly see that shark speeding directly towards Hallan after but two swift swishes of its tail.

But at the very moment, I also happened to catch sight of yet another shark. Only that this one appeared to be speeding towards me whereupon I instinctively spun around and pointed my shank in its direction causing that frenzied shark to sharply veer off much to my good fortune.

A moment later I break the surface of the water and wait for Hallan to appear. Upon seeing him I immediately shout out to him while flashing two fingers... "Hallan!, Two Sharks"!! upon which he promptly shouts back, "I don't know about two but I know about one because he took my grouper"!!

After that brief exchange I immediately swam to the boat in what had to be a record time. I also seem to remember launching myself out of the water and into the cockpit in but an instant.

I wish I could tell you just what type and how big those sharks were but I didn't feel inclined to stick around any longer than I already had. Besides, if the truth me known, all sharks are bigger than they really are when one happens to be in the water along with them.

Hallan also immediately followed me into the boat. He did nevertheless wait a good ten minutes or so before venturing back into the water to retrieve a shank that had gotten left behind.

Needless to say, I was still quite rattled after that experience as I'm pulling up the anchor. Hallan on the other hand appeared to be completely composed and measured.

It was then that I suddenly blurted out a question, "Hallan... Did that scare you"? Whereupon he immediately turned to me, and with his eyes bulging out, he exclaimed, "It Scared the SH*T Out of Me"!

After a brief nervous laugh he went on to explain that only twice in his previous fifteen years of free-diving did he ever have a shark come after a fish that he had speared.

It later became somewhat routine for me to see a shark whenever I'd go free-diving in search of lobster. It also somehow got to the point that if I didn't happen to see one while free diving that I'd somehow been shortchanged out of a momentary adrenaline rush.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Missing Out on a Gold Coin and not from the Nuestra Senora de la Antocha...

To the uninitiated random tourist, Key West is comprised of little more than souvenir shops and bars. And though Duval Street might certainly want to make it seem that way, there is indeed more to Key West than just your usual bar scene.

In fact there are a number of attractions scattered throughout Key West. Included among these are the Hemmingway Home and Museum, the Southernmost Point in Continental USA, Mallory Square, Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, the Truman White House and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville to name but just a few.

Uh... scratch that last one for it's but just another bar along Duval and an overpriced one at that.

Nevertheless the one attraction here in Key West that might hold a bit of interest for me is the renowned shipwreck museum founded by and named after Mel Fisher.

The museum is described as containing an extensive collection of artifacts from 17th century shipwrecks which include the Henrietta Marie, the Santa Margarita and the Nuestra Señora de la Atocha.

Well the son of famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher and his salvage company are back in the news once again after recently laying claim to a cache of gems found off of Key West by another treasure hunting party.

The cache is said to be worth a reported half-billion dollars which is equivalent to 500 million dollars for those of you who might perhaps be somewhat number-challenged.

News accounts goes on to further explain that a claim has been filed in federal court contending that the undisclosed amount of emeralds, amethysts and quartz crystals found scattered on the sandy seafloor in January 2010 came from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha which sank during a hurricane off of Key West back in 1622.

Also explained is that although none of the precious stones were listed on the manifests of the Atocha and of her sister ship the Santa Margarita, (the Spanish crown required only gold and silver to be listed) other Atocha inventories suggest that she was carrying a large number of Colombian gems.

But whether or not Mel Fisher's legal claim is ultimately successful is not something that I'll be losing any sleep over for I seriously doubt that I'll be gifted a token gem one way or the other once the dispute is finally settled.

Nevertheless there was an occasion back in the mid-nineties while residing in Puerto Rico that I might have been gifted a gold coin as a token of appreciation had circumstances been slightly different.

For you see I happened to be relaxing with the wife and kids at Marina Puerto del Rey one lazy weekend afternoon when I stepped inside the marina's restaurant/bar to place another order for two additional beverages.

And while waiting for my beverages to be delivered, a rather attractive blond female patron, whom I hadn't ever previously met, unexpectedly saddled up alongside of me only to then greet me in what seemed to be a somewhat forward and inviting manner.

Well after politely responding to her greeting and later perplexedly gathering up my drink order, I went back outside to be with the wife and kids.

Later that evening, a fellow bar acquaintance who had seen me come inside the bar earlier that day, asked whether I knew who the attractive blond was that I had briefly exchanged a few words with.

Upon responding that I didn't know who she was, he proceeded to inform me that she happened to be the heiress to a massive fortune and that she had only very recently arrived to the island aboard a luxurious yacht that could be seen tied off to the very end of the marina's main pier.

My fellow bar-fly acquaintance later went on to explain that she had been "hooking up" with a number of random fellows throughout the marina for a "poke & go" the past couple of days and that afterwards she would gift her new found lovers with a gold coin as a small token of her appreciation.

Well I didn't give my brief encounter with that blond another thought until a couple of months later when that particular heiress happened to make national news headlines.

It was reported that she had been apprehended and taken into custody by local authorities in one of the Lesser Antilles islands for the unprovoked murder of a local citizen.

She allegedly had shot and killed a local water-taxi captain after being delivered back to her boat that was anchored offshore late one evening. This was reportedly after a festive evening of heavy drinking and cocaine abuse at one of the local island establishments.

It was also reported by friends and acquaintances of hers alike that she would on occasion casually speculate what it would be like to take the life of another person.

Evidently it was a morbid thought that she had been contemplating for some time for a number of regular patrons who frequented the bar in Marina Puerto del Rey in Puerto Rico could distinctly recall the heiress casually speculating the same thought while seated at the bar.

There was no doubt in those bar patrons minds that the heiress had indeed casually murdered that local citizen and had done it just out of a sense of curiosity.

She later was reportedly confined to a tiny jail cell for precisely a year and a day subsisting on a starvation diet of little more than bread and water. It was said that she was completely emaciated and near death herself while incarcerated.

I don't recall the case ever going to trial but it was speculated among those who had met her that there must have been a massive payoff by her family for her subsequent release from jail.

In hindsight, I suppose it was a good thing that circumstances were such that I wasn't ever gifted a gold coin.

Marina Puerto del Rey, Bahia Demajagua, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hurricane Rina! You Ain't Invited for Fantasy Fest! Go Away!...


Well now... seems like somebody forgot to inform Hurricane Rina that she ain't invited for Fantasy Fest for it seems like she might be headed this way.

Yet again this is Key West and anything and everything goes and it's a live and let live mindset here in the Conch Republic and everybody is invited to do as they please.

Fantasy Fest weekend has yet to arrive yet revelers can already be seen strolling along Duval Street in the afternoons wearing little more than a fig leaf or some such.

As for me, I've never seen so many painted-up boobies flopping about in my life. The amusing part of it all is that not all boobies defy gravity either in spite of all the advances in modern cosmetic surgery.

While some double-D's are sure to outlast the Egyptian Pyramids, there are others in dire need of being re-inflated with an air pressure hose.

And let me tell ya, it ain't just your frolicking and "barely legal" young girls that are parading about virtually totally nude either.

Surprise! It's your stereotypical granny along with her blue hair and painted-up tits sagging all the way down to her waistline that's grabbing all the attention.

And don't assume granny was by herself on some weekend escapade away from grandad either because he happened to be right there along with her exposing his wrinkled bare ass.

Now that's what I call not giving a rat's ass. And while I'm thinking about it, Granny and Grandad did seem to have a striking resemblance to the couple posing in the painting entitled, "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.

Having said all that, you won't see me actively participating in the festivities. I'll be the dude seeking out a sports bar and sipping on a few cold ones while watching my Texas Rangers take on the Cardinals in the World Series.

Go Rangers!

Happy and Most Relieved to Have Survived Yet Another Day of Rapture...

October 21st was to have been yet another day of Rapture and needless to say I was most relieved that no such thing happened.

For you see my birthday also happened to fall on that date and I would have been quite upset had such a catastrophic event disrupted my evening of imbibing at my local watering hole.

And besides, I would have also most assuredly been condemned to eternal damnation and what-not, much to the delight of all the rabid religious zealots foaming at the mouth.

Nevertheless on the plus side had such an event occurred, it would have gotten my rear-end off of my boat.

So yeah, I'm tired of the so-called cruising lifestyle and of all its inconveniences and would rather live in a modest dwelling with running water, AC power, cable tv, and a refrigerator.

Throw is a shaded patio along with a hammock and a few loitering cats and I'll be a happy camper.

That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy sailing, it's just that sailing and cruising ain't one and the same.

Lastly before leaving.... Hey all you religious zealots... just so you know... if you get raptured, I'll be the one claiming all your stuff!

"Atheism is Enlightenment and We'll All Get Along With One Another Once We All Become Enlightened." (me).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Turbulent Weather and an Unexpected Flare Sighting...

Contrary to prevailing perceptions, the weather here in the Keys isn't always nice and sunny. And when I say nice and sunny I mean bright blue skies, warm temperatures, gentle breezes and calm blue waters with lots of sunshine.

I'm talking about the kind of weather that will make an unabashed beer drinker want to set his beer aside and indulge in a few colorful mixed drinks with little umbrellas sticking out of them while listening to Jimmy Buffet and not give a rat's ass who might be looking on.

But no, the weather here in the Keys can indeed get lousy as so happened earlier this past week when a tropical storm system developed and sat offshore for days on end.

That weather system went on to dump copious amounts of rain throughout the Keys and put a huge damper on everybody's party spirits. (Ouch... sorry for the pun... I couldn't help myself.)

And so it was the other evening while dinghying back to my boat, with winds continuously gusting some twenty or so knots, that I happened to observe a flare go off in the distance and briefly light up the night sky.

That flare couldn't have been more than a mile away but with the weather being what it was, I elected to instead do the prudent thing and proceed on out to my boat and report the flare sighting to the US Coast Guard.

Along with the gusting winds there had been a good amount of chop in the water as well and the last thing that I needed that evening was for my dinky two-stroke outboard motor to run out of gas and then for me have to start rowing.

It was also one of those moments when I questioned my judgement of not having bothered to have a life jacket along with me. (Memo to self... store a life jacket in the dinghy at all times.)

So after motoring on out to my boat and then securing my dinghy and climbing aboard, I reached for my handheld VHF radio and hailed the US Coast Guard. I then proceeded to give the officer on duty a full account of the flare that I had seen just minutes earlier.

Well to my surprised bewilderment, that flare hadn't yet been reported in spite of the fact that it had certainly gone off in the vicinity of Wisteria Key,(aka Christmas Tree Island),and among a number of other boats at anchor.

Nevertheless after ten or so minutes later, the US Coast Guard came on the radio with an all bulletin alert requesting that all boaters "keep a sharp lookout for a male swimmer with dark complexion and dark hair and wearing blue-jean cutoffs" and to assist if at all possible.

Shortly afterwards a US Coast Guard Search and Rescue helicopter could be seen off in the distance hovering and circling Key West Channel for a good ninety minutes while the same Coast Guard officer would periodically come on the radio and repeat his request that all boaters in the vicinity "keep a sharp lookout".

Somehow I found the subsequent Coast Guard radio requests to be somewhat distressing after that helicopter eventually stopped hovering with its search light on. It then flew almost directly overhead on its way back to its base on Boca Chica, a nearby key.

Incidentally I somehow gotta believe that if a US Coast Guard radio operator wants to effectively communicate numbers, whether they be an emergency phone number or GPS coordinates, then he or she needs to slow down their delivery and clearly enunciate each number.

It's virtually impossible to comprehend what's being said while they rattle off the information as if announcing a NASCAR car race.

Having said that, thank you US Coast Guard for what you do.

The following news accounts of the incident were copy/pasted from the Keysnews website.

Sailboater went missing off Wisteria

Authorities are searching for a man who reportedly dived off a sailboat near Wisteria Island Monday night.

Donald Roller, 45, last was seen swimming toward the island after he jumped off the Quest wearing jean shorts and no life jacket, his girlfriend told authorities.

Roller's girlfriend, who was in their dinghy beside the sailboat, was experiencing mechanical difficulties and was drifting. Roller reportedly dived into the water either to help her or to get in the dinghy, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lt. Dave Dipre said.

The girlfriend notified the Coast Guard at 7:30 p.m.

Authorities searched Wisteria Island Monday night and used helicopters and several boats to continue searching the area Tuesday, Dipre said, adding they also "went boat to boat" searching for Roller.

Roller's 25-foot sailboat was anchored 100 yards north of Wisteria Island, which is in Key West Harbor, an area known for strong currents, Dipre said.

"Even in strong currents, there were plenty of boats in the area that he could have swam to," Dipre said.

The agency has passed the case to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, which is treating the disappearance as a missing persons case, sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said.

The couple had bought the sailboat recently, Dipre said, and were arguing when he disappeared, according to the Coast Guard. It was unclear whether the argument was about the dinghy or something else.

Coast Guard Sector Key West asks anyone with information regarding Roller's whereabouts to call its operations center at 305-295-9700 or the sheriff's dispatch center at 305-289-2351.


Body found floating
May be missing sailboat resident

A body believed to be that of a missing live-aboard was found Wednesday by salvors who were rounding up boats and dinghies displaced after a waterspout ripped through Wisteria Island and the surrounding area late Tuesday.

The body, believed to be 42-year-old Donald Roller, was in about 5 feet of water on the Gulf side of the island, between it and Roller's sailboat, the Quest, said Capt. Arnaud Girard, who owns a private salvaging company. The body was about 60 feet from the Quest and 100 feet from where Roller's girlfriend told authorities she last saw him alive Monday night, Girard said.

"My mate, Jeff Sundwal, actually found the body and called me over," said Girard, who was in a separate boat.

After they pulled the body onto Girard's 23-foot salvage boat, the Magic Penny, the Coast Guard arrived and took the body ashore, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Kara Lavin.

The Monroe County medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death, and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the circumstances.

"It is currently a 'death investigation,' " sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said, adding there were no obvious signs of foul play on Roller's body. "We will have to see what the autopsy reveals."

Girard also said there was no obvious sign of trauma, only a cut on Roller's shoulder.

Roller's live-in girlfriend, Beverly Anderson, had reported him missing at 7:30 p.m. Monday, saying she saw him dive off their 25-foot sailboat as she drifted toward Wisteria Island in a dinghy with a dead engine, according to a sheriff's report.

Anderson told authorities she had left because she and Roller were arguing. Anderson initially couldn't get the dinghy engine started, so Roller got into the dinghy and started it for her, then got back on their boat, and she left, she told authorities. When the engine quit, Roller asked if she wanted him to swim over and help her, but she never saw him after he jumped into the water, she said.

Key West Harbor is known for its strong currents, but Girard said there was little movement Monday night between the high and low tides.

Authorities searched Wisteria Island Monday night and used helicopters and several boats to continue searching the area Tuesday, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission went boat to boat searching for Roller.

Anderson has been arrested five times since April 2007, including twice on battery charges, according to Sheriff's Office records.

She was convicted of a felony for stabbing a man in the back three times with a paint scraper while her then-boyfriend held him down on Wisteria Island in May 2009, according to a Sheriff's Office report. The man, who Anderson accused of stealing her dive gear, suffered only a superficial cut near his shoulder blade.

In July 2010, a different boyfriend told authorities Anderson cut his wrist with a filet knife as he defended himself from being stabbed by her during an argument on a boat near Wisteria Island, according to a sheriff's report. Though he didn't want to press charges because she was on probation for the previous stabbing, authorities charged her with misdemeanor battery, instead of felony aggravated battery, but the charges later were dropped.


WEATHER NEWS (click to read more)
A large waterspout blew across Wisteria Island at 10 p.m. Tuesday, sending dinghies flying and causing some minor damage to boats in the area, but no one was injured, according to Arnaud Girard, a salvage company owner who was called to do cleanup in the area.

While working, Girard found the body of a man who jumped off his sailboat and last was seen swimming toward Wisteria Island Monday night.

The Lower Keys was under a flood warning until 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the heaviest showers and thunderstorms were over the Middle and Upper keys, leaving the Lower Keys with only light rainfall.

Christmas Tree Island, May 1989.
S/V BratCat