February in Key West: (most) things return to (almost) normal.

In our January Key West post we listed the many ways things were just different this year compared to our previous winters in The Keys, mostly as fall out from Hurricane Irma.  As the season wore on, however, more and more of the Sigsbee Campground regulars arrived, and with them the social environment that so defines this place returned as well.

PKM trapped this Iguana after it had the audacity to walk through our camp site.  The thing tried to run up the side of our neighbors’ RV but could not get a grip.

A couple of days into February we shifted back to dry camp, but were fortunate enough to be assigned a waterfront location giving us not only an unobstructed ocean view, but since the original waterfront row was closed off to camping, we also had a large swath of greenery between us and the water.  Making this spot even better where our neighbors, a line of five of us that spent many an evening in our mutual back yards enjoying more than a few cocktails, excellent food, and great conversation.

Our second dry camping site, which eventually had five of us in a dangerous party line: Mike & Jenny, Sue & Bob, Steve & Deb, Terry, Rebecca & David

With infamous party starters Eddie and Tina’s return to Key West, the large scale celebrations began in earnest with a big Hawaiian themed party that must have had a hundred people present.  It seemed like every few days someone was hosting a big event, such as Leonard’s always well attended fish fry, or an impromptu concert with the local talented musicians at the unofficial sunset point.

One of several large parties this season.

Though weather seemed less conducive to swimming this winter,  there were enough nice days to warrant a large “float” in the calm and crystal clear waters just off the dry camp landing.  This is another one of those things absent in January that made the month feel “off.”

Finally had good weather for a float.

Taco Tuesday at Lucy’s returned to the preeminent mid week outing for a large contingent of Sigsbee RVers, though there was much debate as to whether the quality had gone down hill.  As such we did not attend them as regularly as last year, and I found a nice Tuesday evening alternative in Denny’s Secret Sirloin Steak Special, available only at their bar, it included a perfectly acceptable 8 oz steak with two sides for $6.95.  Hard to beat that if you’re on a budget.

Not just good, but obviously good for you as well, right?

Having raved about a pier side brunch Rose and I enjoyed years earlier, Steve & Deb were easily convinced to give it a go despite the pricey $44 a head.  That includes unlimited Mimosa’s and an extravagant buffet replete with prime rib, sushi, stone crabs, oysters and dozens of other options.  It is one of the best brunches I have ever had.   Suffice to say everyone left happy and full. 

In addition to a couple of favorites from previous years (Lucy’s, Kennedy’s, Bistro 245, Hogfish) we explored a handful of new restaurants this season.  We had a great evening out with a happy group at Geiger Key Marina (which turns out to have the same owners, and thus menu, as the Hogfish Grill on Stock Island.)  We enjoyed an excellent smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel platter at Goldman’s Deli, and a drinks included sunset cruise for Deb’s birthday. 

Our big group at Geiger Key Marina

Our friends from Whidbey Island, Bruce and Nancy, were making a lengthy RV migration across the country and ended up in the middle keys for a few days.  We were able to meet half way, at No Name Key near Big Pine Key, where they proclaimed the Cheeseburger Pizza there the best they have ever had.

Nancy & Bruce at No Name Pub

Rose made another trip up to Virginia to see Linda and the rest of the family, while I held down the fort in Key West.  I used the time to finally address the poorly arranged situation in the rear of our rig: a couch that never sees use taking up valuable real estate.  I ripped that sucker out and built a work bench for Rose’s crafting using found wood left over from Hurricane Irma boat wreckage.  Total cost: zero dollars, though I will have to buy a large plywood section to finish the floor.

The fishing continued unabated, with our best outing on Leonards big Twin Vee boat.  The highlight was Steve’s shark that was big enough to keep and get a handful of nice filet’s off, which prepared properly are absolutely delicious. 

Shark, before.

We continued our aggressive market schedule, though narrowing our choices to just the Wednesday Sugarloaf and Friday American Legion events, along with the annual Gardenfest at the Botanical Gardens on Stock Island and the Naval Station Family Day gathering.  All told we had ten market days in February.  Not quite a record for us, but pretty solid for a short month.

Shark, after. Served on tostones with avocado.

Rose continued expanding our market offerings; having buffed up her shell hoarde at Sanibel in December, she went all in on Mermaid Crowns.  We are also finally ahead of the holiday curve and with Easter approaching she started taking basic bunny ears and jazzing them up a bit.  It wasn’t just the kids buying these things.  Finally, she put her new Cricut machine to good work producing cheese plate/trivets and glassware with Key West or Sigsbee themed logos.

We also enjoyed various markets as buyers or just lookers without having to vend ourselves.  Key West’s annual open air Art Fair and the once a month market at The Restaurant Store were particularly interesting.

We still had nearly a month to go in the Keys, and the combination of constant social activities and aggressive market schedule began to take its toll.  For March, we would need to slow things down a bit.  More on that later.

Here is Nazir.  Nazir can fly.  His father is pleading with him to come back down.

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