Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One of the favorite things we do on the boat, almost every day is enjoy 'happy hour'.  I am not sure who coined that phrase or exactly what it means.  For us, this time doesn't make us any happier, as we are generally in good moods anyway.  And, lord knows our sessions normally last much longer than one hour, however for the sake of clarity and to keep with social colloquialisms, we will refer to our afternoon respites as HH. 

Here in the Florida Keys, there seems to be this fascination with the daily sunsets.  Admittedly they are beautiful.  The cloudless sky and aqua blue waters coupled with the setting sun does make for spectacular vistas.  The local custom around here though is to set your watch (who am I kidding... no one wears a watch around here...) so that when the sun is coming down on the horizon, you drop whatever you are doing and race out to watch the last vestiges of the vesper light.  As though they are paying tribute to the sun god Ra, locals blow their conch horns the instant the sun touches the horizon.  Some say that if you watch carefully you can see a green flash as the sun and earth meet in the final stages of daylight.

I haven't quite gotten onboard with this local custom.  When I hear the daily conch horns blowing, it generally means that I am about halfway through the evening's bottle of wine.  That whole thing about the green flash I think is just folklore.  I think half the population down here is suffering recurring bad trips from acid they did back in the 60's, but who really knows.  I have never seen this elusive flash, but I have made myself available to it.

So every afternoon when the shadows grow long, we meander up to the flybridge where our daily ritual begins.  We set up our little nest, complete with the RDA of wine, cheese and olives (I checked with my doctor.  He said daily glasses of wine are actually heart healthy!) and wait for the horn blowers to start their rackets. The cacophony begins as the bottom arc of the sun touches the surface of the water.  Within seconds, the groundswell of conch blowers grows to a fevered pitch. The noise is almost deafening.   For almost a full minute they celebrate the end of the day....or in my case the midpoint of HH. 

So in the spirit of local customs, I am trying to convince Kim to join me in starting a new tradition here in Boot Key Harbor.  We have found ourselves getting up much earlier in the morning than we did back in Ohio.  (I think it is mostly a function of going to bed at nine p.m. as almost everyone does around here.)  My thought was that we should also celebrate the beginning of the day with a ceremonial blowing of the air horn.... no conch shells for me, thank you.  Precisely at first light, I want for everyone to go outside and make some noise.  If someone doesn't have an air horn they can use the ship's horn (or the horn on their car if they slept there overnight).  It doesn't matter what is used as long as its noisy.

Kim was doubtful that this 'new tradition' would gain much traction.  As a matter of fact, she informed me that if she heard our air horn making any noise at all, she would start her own tradition.  She said it would be called 'unhappy hour' and like our afternoon ritual, it would be daily and last often longer than one hour.

I thought you might enjoy a short film of the views from our mooring here in Marathon.  Just click on the link to see a short clip of the surrounding area.


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