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Commodore's Corner - March 2010

Commodora Donna McMahon - Florida Keys 2009

Well, the 5th Annual "Last" Keys Trip was a huge success again this year. Thanks to Perry Morris for being our "group leader"! A big shout out to you Perry to thank you for taking on that monumental task! And, from what I understand, he is already working on our 6th Annual "Last" Keys Trip!

The "first man" and I arrived in Fiesta Key on Friday around noon to see that the SPSC Tent City was well on its way to a complete takeover of the overflow area at Fiesta Key. Friday was consumed with setting up camp, grocery shopping and getting everything organized prior to the Martini sunset ritual. Thanks again to our Master Mixologist Perry for awesome martinis every evening and to those who brought a bottle of Gin to share. Saturday brought good winds for the longboards and shortboards alike. I think that everyone was able to get on the water and enjoy some sailing at least one day when the wind was "right".

Sunday I was treated to my first outing for some Mangrove Snapper fishing - thanks Digger! What a blast. Chris quickly learned why they are called "snapper". He was taking a fish off Tina's hook for her so she could rebait and get her hook back in the water because she was on a roll! All of a sudden - SNAP - Chris said - "get the pliers!". Those little snappers like your fingertips so be careful when you unhook 'em!

Monday Chris and I joined Joe Q for an offshore fishing expedition. The water offshore is so deep blue it is almost purple. The Islamorada Hump is approximately 16 miles offshore from Bud & Mary's Marina in Islamorada. After catching some bait at Alligator Light we headed out to the hump to see what might be biting. Joe caught two nice Amberjack, Chris got an Almaco Jack and an AJ and I reeled in a big 50 lb (according to the Captain) AJ and a Rainbow Runner. The SPSC Commune had a nice fish fry which consisted of fresh Mangrove Snapper and Amberjack. Thanks to Digger for the Mangrove Snapper Trip and the fish fry and to Joe Q for the offshore fishing trip.

Tuesday was the day to head down to Key West. I believe it was the Green Parrot where everyone ended up meeting. February 8th happened to be Lizzie and Brian's birthday!!! I'm sure they had an awesome time in Key West. Matter of fact, Brian said it was one of his more memorable birthdays. Probably thanks to John S!!!! On our way back from Key West we stopped at the "No Name Pub" - thanks Wright for the suggestion! The pizza was absolutely amazing!

I think that Wednesday was a sailing day. Things get a bit fuzzy for me at this point in the trip. I think I stayed in the Taj and drank rum a little too long Tuesday evening. Thanks for the Anejó Wright!!!! It was Yummy - especially on my head the next day. Was this the night that we had the Lo Country Boil? Thanks again Dave & Lizzie - it was awesome!

Thursday was "movie" night. Ya just had to be there. In Fiesta Key "silhouette" takes on a whole new meaning.

Friday was get everything packed up to head back to the bitter cold in Tallahassee. Folks decided to go to Little Italy for dinner that night with just a few of us left behind to "fend for ourselves". Management at Fiesta Key decided to open the hall at the pavilion for the campers due to the weather forecast for the evening. Chris, Tina, Kevin and I decided the pavilion would be a good place to cook dinner given the forecast for rain. No sooner than Tina left the cover of the pavilion to grab an additional container of propane for her stove than the bottom, top, sides & ceiling fell out! There came such a gust that there were coconuts and palm fronds flying all over the place. The SPSC Tent City looked flattened for a minute or so and then the rain poured down. Poor Tina ran back to the pavilion soaking wet but she had that bottle of propane for her camp stove! Tina, Kevin, Chris & I decided to eat in the "Grand Hall" that was opened for the campers. Can't thank the management at Fiesta Key enough for that hospitality, it was dry and warm! Brian, Joe Q and Wanda also joined us. Later in the evening the Feature Film "Blues Brothers" was shown in the Great Hall and all SPSC members who were there on Friday night enjoyed the show along with other campers looking for a dry spot to hang out. Thanks Brian for getting everything set up for the showing. I learned later on that Marilee and Andy happened to be in their tent when that horrendous gust came through the camp. She said it was a good thing because had they not been there the bed and everything in the tent would have been soaked. She said a mist of rain was coming from the roof of the tent!

Sadly, come Saturday we packed the truck with all of our toys and headed back to Tallahassee. When we arrived home I was ready to turn right around and head back to Fiesta Key!

The 2010 Wind Ceremony is set for March 20! Make sure you reserve the date to come join us at Shell Point Beach! We will be having a Chili Cookoff for those interested in participating. However, bringing Chili does not mean that you HAVE to participate in the contest - no pot of Chili will be turned away! If you do not wish to cook Chili, please bring something to put on the food table. Registration on the beach will start around 3:00 with "suppah" around 6. Swami and the Festoons will arrive around 8 or so to entertain us with some oldie but goodies along with some new tunes Swami has added to the music lineup. If you have any questions regarding the Wind Ceremony or would like to offer your help, send me an email at dmac3998@embarmail.com. FESTOONS!!!

"La Commodora"


2010 Wind Ceremony

The 2010 Wind Ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 20. We will have a Chili Cook-off this year so break out your best recipe and bring a batch (at least a gallon please) if you would like to participate in the contest. If you do not wish to participate, please bring something to go with the Chili, your own special dish or a dessert. The Club will provide chopped onions, cheese, Fritos, crackers and softdrinks.

Pack your coolers, bring your chairs and come toss your wishes to the Wind Gods so we may be blessed with another year of windy days at Shell Point Beach!!

Registration starts at 3:00pm
Chili Judging at 5:00pm
Dinner at 6:00pm
Swami & the Festoons around 8:00pm

If you have any questions, call Donna McMahon at 877-3998 or email dmac3998@embarqmail.com.

Thank You All For Making My First Keys Trip Possible

This humble piece of prose is an ode to the generous and cool people of the SPSC. Thank you all for making my First Keys Trip possible!!

Having been a nomadic female for a couple of years now, I happen to have very few material possessions. The only things that belonged to me on the trip were my flat tire bike and my underwear (that was optional at the Keys anyway, as I later learned).

To get to Mile Marker 70 I caught a ride with Bob A. It was about 10pm when we reached the Campsite. I was on my way to freshen up in the ladies room, when Dave D. stopped me with a question: “Where is your tent, sweetie?” To which I responded: “I’m not sure I have one.” For some reason, my answer stroke Dave D. as incredibly funny, he kept laughing at me for days. The truth was that Merrilee was graciously going to let me borrow her tent, but she was still on her way from Tally. At the same time I had something in the car that remotely looked like a tent that I had borrowed from my roommates. It did turn out to be a tent, but at the time when Dave D. asked me his profound question, I truly wasn’t sure I had one.

The next morning after a cup of coffee by Lizzie and Dave D. that I drank from William T’s mug, Bob A. and Linda helped me rig “my” sailing gear. The gear, of course, also belonged to William T, who couldn’t join, but wanted me to go and “have fun out there” anyway.

Later that day I discovered that my bike had a flat tire. Fortunately, darling Tina had brought down her treasure chest that contained everything one might ever need to be able to fix a bike. She gave me a tube and the tools and Bob A. helped me replace it. However, in the process I stripped the bolt. So again I was bikeless. When I went for a 15-mile bike ride with Kathy V. I borrowed Bob A’s bike (Perry fixed my bike the next day, but I don’t want to jump ahead of myself here). In the evening, when it got chilly and the magnificent martini ritual was about to begin, I put on Tina’s leg-warmers and headed to sunset point…

Dinner was steak and chicken from the Master Chef Brian, accompanied by cocktails and music from Perry’s refined collection. It was a fun and memorable evening.

Next day was light air and I was actually able to go sail. After almost three hours on the water I started feeling tired and headed towards the shore when the wind suddenly picked up. Jerry was keeping an eye on me and noticed that I was having trouble. He stayed close and helped with some sailing tips, but I kept falling into the water and had to uphaul over and over again. I started drifting into the open, when the Savior of Maidens, Andy R. appeared on his Red Kayak and delivered me from the fate of the Titanic’s passengers…

On Monday the wind died out completely and I was invited to join the crowd on the Three Hour Cruise on Wright’s Pontoon Boat (Yey Wright!). It was a beautiful ride through the Mangroves and towards the World Renown Limacoladas (Yey Andy!).

When we got back, my bike was magically fixed. I’ve always said that Perry is the Man!

Unfortunately, some evil spirits were against my going to Key West the next day. So by the end of the evening the tire was flat again. So, following the original plan, I took a ride back to Tally with Linda. The ride home always feels shorter, especially when accompanied by sailing stories (Yey Linda!).

Alas, I’m no longer a Keys Virgin!!!

PS: As some of you may know, I lost my job recently. I’ve been looking actively and have a couple of opportunities lined up in the Northeast. To pursue these I took a trip up to New York City this past weekend. That’s where I’m right now. Hopefully something will work out. I’ll be in touch and will keep you guys posted!!

Olga Sorokina

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