Saturday, April 26, 2008

Arrrgh! Let the "bloody battle" commence!

Yesterday Bev and I were invited aboard "Aurora" to participate in "The Bloody Battle," an event which commemorates the famous battle between the naval and air forces of the Conch Republic and the imperial forces of the United States. In the original battle, the Conch forces surrendered after engaging the enemy for 13 minutes, then immediately applied for $1 Billion in foreign aid. (Doesn't the US always pay its defeated enemies?)
In yesterday's reenactment, the bulk of the Key West schooner fleet combined with several private vessels and 6 airplanes to attack a single Coast Guard cutter, the Farallon. Farallon and her crew received a heavy beating from repeated broadsides from the naval vessels (shooting damp bread balls and water cannon) and took 2 direct hits from aircraft (which dropped streaming rolls of toilet paper.) After only a single pass through our lines Farallon retired from the field. The victorious forces of the great Conch Republic retired to the Schooner Wharf bar to celebrate.
Here are a few pictures of the battle.
N.B. - The crew of the charter vessel "Party Cat" violated the "rules of engagement" by using "unauthorized ammunition." They threw tomatoes, eggs and other items which were dangerous to all concerned. We have received other reports of this vessel violating the marine rules of the road and generally being operated in an unsafe manner. We strongly suggest that if you are ever in Key West and want a day charter, pick any vessel other than "Party Cat."
Also, I've included a picture of the school of yellowtail that swarmed around the boat on our reef trip last week. I've also included some pics of friends we've met here in Key West.
We will be leaving Key West in the next few days so we need to say goodbye to:
Dave and Ray,
Mike and Patty,
Jeff and Helen,
"Portside Tom,"
Melinda from Garden of Eden,
Erica, John and Chris from Kelly's,
Sue and Kevin,
the crew at the Coffee Plantation,
Rose and Mike,
Louis and K (our newest friends, sorry can't remember the spelling),
Terri, Bob and Kevin from the Key West Bight Marina,
and others too numerous to mention.
Photo legend:
1) Capt Jeff of "Aurora" (left) and Capt Scott of "Detroit Copper."
2) Bev and I with "Commander" Howard Livingston of the Conch Republic navy. (Better known as the lead singer in the Mile Marker 24 Band.)
3) Mile Marker 24 performing at Schooner Wharf during the Conch Republic days celebration. Note the old outboard engine that has been converted to a margarita machine.
4) Our favorite bartenders Erica, John and Chris from "Kelly's Caribbean Grill."
5) Schooner "Appledore" preparing for battle.
6) Schooner "Hindu" (oldest and fastest in the fleet) preparing for the great battle.
7) Schooner "Jolly II Rover" in the battle.
8) US Coast Guard Cutter "Farallon" in the heat of battle. Note the 3 "TP bombs." 2 of the 3 TP bombs hit Farallon causing her to retire from the battle giving the victory to the naval and air forces of the Conch Republic.
9) A school of yellowtail swarming around "Aurora" during our trip to the reef.

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