Please select your home edition
Edition
Predictwind - Iridium

Key West….definitely the jewel in Florida’s crown

by Bob Wonders on 17 Mar 2011
Sloppy Joe’s, Duval Street, Key West, arguably the most famous bar in the United States - Key West Bob Wonders
One of the good things about visiting the Miami International Boat Show is the opportunity to take a detour south and visit the Florida Keys and its capital, Key West.

In February I made my third visit to this truly magical part of the world, a world of crystal clear waters, stunning sunsets and more bridges…..well, more bridges than almost anywhere, I would think.

Although Key West, the southernmost point of the Continental United States, is only a four-hour drive, one must cross 42 bridges, including the ‘daddy’ of them all, the All American seven-mile (11.25 km) bridge.

‘The Keys’, as locals refer to the region, must seem like Heaven on Earth to anglers and scuba divers; every strip shopping centre or mall seemed to host tackle stores, scuba equipment outlets, charter boat operations and boat yards, while the entire coast on both sides is dotted with marinas of all shapes and sizes.

Keen anglers rate the region as ‘paradise’ for both light tackle and heavy tackle fishing.

Islamorada, one of the first major destinations on the Keys after leaving Miami, offers sport fishing for all comers form one of its many marinas.

The waters wide of the coast are home to a variety of fish, including highly prized billfish and dedicated anglers recognise the region as among the finest fishing grounds on South Atlantic waters.

Key West, which calls itself ‘the Conch Republic’, is rather historic in many ways, its use even dating back to the American Civil War; it also became prominent during the so-called ‘Cold War’, particularly when the late President John F Kennedy threw down the gauntlet to the USSR over the Cuban missile crisis.

A ‘conch’, by the way, is a crustacean resembling a snail; I’m told Spanish-speaking people pronounce the word as ‘Conch’, English-speaking peoples pronounce it ‘Conk.’

Take your pick.

Real estate in Key West is expensive, make that incredibly expensive.

A local told me that ‘decent’ houses start at about $4 million; condominiums from $1 million (and that’s for a fairly small one!).

To rent a small, one-bedroom apartment, figure on $1200 or more per month.


Away from fishing, scuba diving and just playing tourist, Key West can lay claim to some, well, let’s say mighty interesting attractions.

Foremost among them is the historic Sloppy Joe’s, a bar on Duval Street which also stages annually the Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest which regularly attracts in excess of 100 entrants.

This particular establishment is actually the third to carry the name Sloppy Joe’s; the genuine original was in Havana, Cuba, and in 1934 it opened just a few doors from the present site, a location now known as Captain Tony’s.

The present Sloppy Joe’s opened in 1937 and has been there ever since, dispensing all manner of cooling drinks to local and visitors.


Hemingway made no secret of his fondness for Key West and his house, where he write one of his blockbuster novels, ‘To Have and Have Not’, is a major tourist attraction; as is a quite palatial residence known as ‘The Little White House.’

This was the home of former US President Harry S Truman, who spent most of his free time out of Washington, DC, at ‘The Little White House’, which made him smarter than the average politician, in my book.



Another attraction to both locals and tourists is Mallory Square which, as the name implies, is the city’s square, but it has won fame for the view it offers for Key West’s fabulous sunsets.

Entertainers, buskers and various market stalls all give the square a carnival atmosphere and the sunsets are definitely worth seeing.



Hotels, motels and guest houses all seem to make maximum use of waterfront locations and it’s easy to locate a restaurant or bar where your feet are almost awash with the waters of the Caribbean, the Atlantic or the Mexican Gulf, depending on your actual location.

Many sections of the highway from Miami to Key West have water both sides, the Atlantic Ocean to your left, the Gulf of Mexico to your right.

It’s all just part of the broad appeal of the Keys.

To those readers who have never been there, my advice is do it, do it soon.

It’s unique, it’s a one-of-a-kind place that you will want to re-visit time and time again.

Don’t believe me?

Visit the very informative website, www.fla-keys.com

I’ll wager you’ll start looking at ways and means to get there.

Wildwind 2016 660x82Protector - 660 x 82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

New addition to North Sail for Volvo Ocean 65 racing machines
Their sails have powered eight out of nine Volvo Ocean Race winners since 1989-90, with Steinlager 2. Instead of assembling cloth panels into a particular sail shape, the Volvo Ocean Race sails are composites. This means that 3Di material 'tapes' are laid in a specific arrangement, offering stable structure to the sail where it is needed most.
Posted on 24 Apr
Crewsaver appointed as Official Safety Provider to 35th America’s Cup
Crewsaver has announced today that it has been selected to be the Official Safety Provider to the 35th America’s Cup Crewsaver has announced today, 21st April 2017, that it has been selected to be the Official Safety Provider to the 35th America’s Cup, which will take place in Bermuda from 26th May to 27th June 2017.
Posted on 22 Apr
Marine Resources expands Boatbuilding Team with two key appointments
Marine Resources have recently expanded their in-house boatbuilding team, with the addition of two new key members. Leading leisure marine industry and luxury yacht recruitment specialists Marine Resources have recently expanded their in-house boatbuilding team, with the addition of two new key members.
Posted on 16 Mar
Southern Spars takes to the air with new composite engineering project
One of the challenges for companies who have had their roots in the marine industry is diversification beyond that field One of the challenges for companies who have had their roots in the marine industry is diversification beyond that field. Moving into the composites engineering for non-marine projects is becoming a more common occurrence as clients realise the opportunities from utilising the expertise of composite boat and spar builders.
Posted on 8 Mar
New Xperformance - Optimising the cruiser/racer range from X-Yachts
X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many Intl titles Since the company was founded back in 1979, X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many famous International titles, and of course One Design Class yachts such as X-79 and X-99
Posted on 14 Feb
World Sailing unites Kiteboarding governing bodies
World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the IKA and the GKA to unite the kiteboarding community World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) to unite the kiteboarding community and provide clarity of kiteboarding's governance structure.
Posted on 13 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
The price of legacy
Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 Malcolm Page OAM, two-time Olympic Gold Medallist (470) with Nathan Wilmot in 2008 and Mat Belcher in 2012, became the Chief of Olympic Sailing for the USA on January 1 this year. In and of itself it is hardly the freshest news, and well and truly yesterday’s fish wrapper. It was also a wise choice on behalf of Team USA, for he has succeeded in both the physical and commercial arms of our sport.
Posted on 5 Feb
Zhik becomes Official Clothing Partner to the Extreme Sailing Series
Extreme Sailing Series™ has established an exciting new partnership with the high-performance clothing brand, Zhik. As it enters the 2017 season, the Extreme Sailing Series™ has established an exciting new partnership with the high-performance clothing brand, Zhik.
Posted on 2 Feb
World Sailing headquarters to relocate to London
World Sailing's headquarters will relocate from Southampton to central London, UK in late summer 2017. World Sailing's headquarters will relocate from Southampton to central London, UK in late summer 2017. The selection of London as the new home for the International Federation comes after an extensive evaluation process of possible locations undertaken since the election of a new President and Board of Directors in November 2016.
Posted on 1 Feb