KEY WEST EXPRESS......Fort Myers to Key West(The Conch Republic)

Key West Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
Key West Express

Woo hoo!!  The KW Express will be departing this morning and heading on down to the Conch Republic. The weather this morning is a little cool, I wish I had brought my jacket. We started boarding at 0700 and the boat left at 0830. The boat can hold up to 400 passengers but only a little over a hundred are on this morning.  After we left the port and got into the gulf they kicked it up to 41mph.  The boat has turbo diesel engines with jet propulsion. The boat has three decks with seating inside and out. A galley, bar, and plenty of bathrooms.  The three and half hour trip started off great with no problems. The closer we got to the keys about the last hour the water was a little rough.  We were all feeling a little sick.

As we arrived in the keys we noticed that there were a lot of people standing on the docks and helicopters flying all around.

Full throttle at 41mph
  They were having Speedboat Races. The boats can travel up to 150mph. and were they loud...cool!!  We had a police escort to the docks.  We disembarked and starting looking for something to eat for lunch.

We ended up on the corner of Caroline St. and Duval St. at Fogarty's. It's a nice outdoor bar and grill.  We ordered an order of Conch Fritters to share and we all ate the Shrimp Po Boy sandwiches with fries. Everything was great!!  We then headed down the street to famous Sloppy Joe's Bar and took a few pics. The have a live band at night and can get crowded.  We then walked to Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum. My Dad wanted to see this because of the Atocha and its gold!!  You can actually hold a gold bar!!  The next stop was the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States.

Welcome to Key West
At this point you are only 90 miles from Cuba. You are closer to Cuba than Miami. It was crowded with everyone wanting to take a picture here. There was a few homeless guys hanging around offering to take your picture if you give them a few dollars.  We walked by Ernest Heningway's Home and took a few pictures. Wanted to go inside but did not have the time. We all wanted to see the Lighthouse. It was $10 to get in. We headed up the steps to get a great views of Key West. We took a quick look at the Keeper's residents and it was time to go.  We had to be back at the dock by 1700.  We took a cab back to Bo's and ordered some more Conch Fritter's. These had more conch and more spice in them.
Me at Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street
I thought they were good.  We headed on down to the dock and started boarding. You had to check in and get a letter on you ticket. They loaded the boat by your letter.  This time we took our seats on the first floor. The chairs we comfortable and they had the big screen TV's on. We watched Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean and some american football. The boat was full coming back.

Because of Tropical Storm Paloma the Captain let us know that the first few hours of our trip back would be rough because of the pressure gradiant. There was a few good drops and everyone gave out a little scream or yell.  Mike and I slept and my parents watched TV.

It was a quick trip and we were a little rushed but we all wanted to this for a long time.

Here is a little history of Key West:

Conch Republc: In 1982 the city of Key West briefly declared its "independence" as the Conch Republic in a protest over a United States Border Patrol blockade.

Gold Bar from the Atocha
This blockade was set up on U.S. 1, where the northern end of the Overseas Highway meets the mainland at Florida City. The blockade was in response to the Mariel Boatlift. A 17-mile (27 km) traffic jam ensued while the Border Patrol stopped every car leaving the Keys, supposedly searching for illegal aliens attempting to enter the mainland United States. This paralyzed the Florida Keys, which rely heavily on the tourism industry. Flags, T-shirts and other merchandise representing the Conch Republic are still popular souvenirs for visitors to Key West, and the Conch Republic Independence Celebration--including parades and parties--is celebrated every April 23.

Key West claims to be the only city in the lower 48 states never to have had a frost. Because of the proximity of the Gulf Stream in the Straits of Florida, about 12 miles (19 km) south and southeast, and the tempering effects of the Gulf of Mexico to the west and north, Key West has a notably mild, tropical climate, (Koppen climate classification Aw, similar to the Caribbean islands), in which the average temperatures during winter are about 14 degrees lower than in summer.

Gold from the Atocha
Cold fronts are strongly modified by the warm water as they move in from northerly quadrants in winter. The average low and high temperatures in January are 67°F and 75°F. There is no known record of frost, ice, sleet, or snow in Key West. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Key West was 41°F (5°C) on January 12, 1886, and on January 13, 1981. Prevailing easterly tradewinds and sea breezes suppress the usual summertime heating. The average low and high temperatures in July are 81°F and 90°F. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Key West was 97°F (36.1°C) on July 19, 1880, and on August 26, 1956.

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms while living above the showroom of a Key West Ford dealership at 314 Simonton Street  while awaiting delivery of a Ford roadster purchased by the uncle of his wife Pauline in 1928.

Mom and Dad at the Southern most point in the Continental USA

Hardware store owner Charles Thompson introduced him to deep-sea fishing. Among the group who went fishing was Joe Russell (also known as Sloppy Joe). Russell was reportedly the model for Freddy in To Have and Have Not. Portions of the original manuscript were found at Sloppy Joe's Bar after his death. The group had nicknames for each other, and Hemingway wound up with "Papa".

Pauline's rich uncle Gus Pfeiffer bought the 907 Whitehead Street house in 1931 as a wedding present. Legend says the Hemingways installed a swimming pool for $20,000 in the late 1930s (equivalent in 2006 to $250,000). It was such a high price that Hemingway is said to have put a penny in the concrete, saying, "Here, take the last penny I've got!" The penny is still there.

During his stay he wrote or worked on Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.

Key West Lighthouse
He used Depression-era Key West as the locale for To Have and Have Not ��" his only novel set in the United States.

Pauline and Hemingway divorced in 1939, and Hemingway only occasionally visited while returning from Havana until his suicide in 1961.

The six- or seven-toed polydactyl cats descended from Hemingway's original pet 'Snowball' still live on the grounds and are cared for at the Hemingway House, despite complaints by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are not kept free from visitor contact, and the Key West City Commission exempted the house from a law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household.

 

Tennessee Williams first became a regular visitor to Key West in 1941 and is said to have written the first draft of A Streetcar Named Desire while staying in 1947 at the La Concha Hotel.

Mike at the Key West Lighthouse
He bought a permanent house in 1949 and listed Key West as his primary residence until his death in 1983. In contrast to Hemingway's grand house in Old Town, the Williams home at 1431 Duncan Street in the "unfashionable" New Town neighborhood is a very modest bungalow. The house is privately owned and not open to the public. The Academy Award��"winning film version of his play The Rose Tattoo was shot on the island in 1956. The Tennessee Williams Theatre is located on the campus of Florida Keys Community College on Stock Island.

Williams had a series of rented homes all over the U.S., but the only home he owned was in Key West.

Even though Hemingway and Williams were in Key West at the same time, they reportedly met only once -- at Hemingway's Cuba home Finca Vigía.

I love it!!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Key West Express
Key West Express
Full throttle at 41mph
Full throttle at 41mph
Welcome to Key West
Welcome to Key West
Me at Sloppy Joes Bar on Duval St…
Me at Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval S…
Gold Bar from the Atocha
Gold Bar from the Atocha
Gold from the Atocha
Gold from the Atocha
Mom and Dad at the Southern most p…
Mom and Dad at the Southern most …
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Mike at the Key West Lighthouse
Mike at the Key West Lighthouse
I love it!!
I love it!!
Bar
Bar
Galley
Galley
Seating
Seating
Top Deck
Top Deck
Coast Guard
Coast Guard
Full throttle leaving Fort Myers
Full throttle leaving Fort Myers
Welcome to Key West
Welcome to Key West
Police escort into port
Police escort into port
Leaving the ship
Leaving the ship
Key Wests main street
Key West's main street
We ate lunch here
We ate lunch here
Famous Sloppy Joes Bar
Famous Sloppy Joe's Bar
Capt. Tonys Saloon
Capt. Tony's Saloon
Capt. Tonys Saloon
Capt. Tony's Saloon
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Gold Bar from the Atocha
Gold Bar from the Atocha
Replica of the ship
Replica of the ship
Gold
Gold
Dad hanging on to that gold bar
Dad hanging on to that gold bar
Coconuts
Coconuts
Conch Tour Train
Conch Tour Train
Conch Tour Train
Conch Tour Train
Hard Rock Cafe Key West
Hard Rock Cafe' Key West
Hard Rock Cafe Key West
Hard Rock Cafe' Key West
Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville Caf…
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Ca…
US Hwy 1, runs from Key West to Ma…
US Hwy 1, runs from Key West to M…
Wild chickens
Wild chickens
Jacarranda Tree
Jacarranda Tree
Jacarranda Tree
Jacarranda Tree
Jacarranda Tree
Jacarranda Tree
Southern most point in the Contine…
Southern most point in the Contin…
Southern most point in the Contine…
Southern most point in the Contin…
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse, a view from t…
Key West Lighthouse, a view from …
Key West Lighthouse, a view from t…
Key West Lighthouse, a view from …
Key West Lighthouse, a view from t…
Key West Lighthouse, a view from …
Key West Lighthouse, a view from t…
Key West Lighthouse, a view from …
Key West Lighthouse, a view from t…
Key West Lighthouse, a view from …
Key West Lighthouse, a view from t…
Key West Lighthouse, a view from …
Dad
Dad
Mom
Mom
Mike
Mike
Key West Lighthouse
Key West Lighthouse
Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters
Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters
Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters
Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters
Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters
Lighthouse Keepers Quarters
Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Ernest Hemingway Home
Bos...great conch fritters
Bo's...great conch fritters
Bos
Bo's
Mike
Mike
Mom and my crazy dad
Mom and my crazy dad
Bos
Bo's
Me
Me
Henry Flager Memorial...he brought…
Henry Flager Memorial...he brough…
Henry Flager Memorial...he brought…
Henry Flager Memorial...he brough…
Key West Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Fogarty's Bar, Grill, and Bakery
They had plenty of outside seating with palms and umbrellas above your head. The service was good. We ordered some Conch Fritters and all had the Shri… read entire review
Key West Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Bo's
Bo's is located a couple of blocks down the street from Fogarty's on Caroline street. This place looks like an old shack but the conch fritters were d… read entire review
Key West
photo by: X_Drive