No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 02, 2020


July 2, 2020



I intended to title this blog for the Fury Watersports snorkel trip that we took this week, our first trip to the reef by boat this summer, but I could just have easily used the same term to express the outrage over the continued explosion of the Covid-19 pandemic. The current situation has us setting new high case numbers on an almost daily basis both locally and statewide with the national situation spiraling out of control as well. 


It is truly a frightening situation that has accelerated to truly horrific numbers as we obviously reopened the economy way too soon and the first wave has continued after a brief time when we had started to flatten the curve. Now it has accelerated to truly restart a drastic upward trend of new cases as every day seems to bring more and more scary news. Just today, we added a total of 24,947 new cases nationwide to grow to a total of 2,696,000. Over 10,000 of those new cases are from our home state of Florida. The death toll reached 125,998 in the United States.


Locally the number has grown rapidly as well, with a total now of 296 cases, 96 cases in Key West and one additional death today for a total of 5 for Monroe County. The steep incline continues as tourists have returned full force and bars, restaurants and other establishments have been open with varying levels of adherence to the state and local guidelines. At least until this week when the state mandated that all bars are now banned from serving any alcohol for on-site consumption which basically shuttered every bar in town that doesn’t getting more than 50% of their sales from food.

It has created a strange situation where wait staff and other employees have been put in the position of becoming enforcers of the mask wearing rules and social distancing to a crowd of tourists that are not always willing to comply creating some ugly moments. City police and code enforcement officials have recently joined the fray and have begun patrolling Duval Street to assist and help contain a crowd that can be unruly.


We have been keeping busy trying to stay away from gatherings and to enjoy and take advantage of the beautiful summer weather and the island life by enjoying the ocean. We have been spending a lot of time snorkeling at the Higg’s Beach Pier. I have been going fairly regularly and each time we go, we see something different and exciting. There is always a ton of beautiful and interesting sea life.


This most recent visit, I had one of the coolest experiences that I have ever had there. When I first entered the water, I was immediately confronted with a decent size nurse shark that swam right at me, turning away literally only a foot or so away from my face, it then began circling me in a very curious manner that I had never had happen with a nurse shark, which generally are fairly placid, often lying on the seafloor.  It was really cool and I tried to get decent photos, but the shark was actually too close to get a decent shot.


After snorkeling the wall on my normal route, when I returned to the area where I had seen the initial shark, suddenly there were 4 nurse sharks of varying sizes swimming around. It was pretty obvious that someone had been feeding them or other fish in the area that attracted them, as they are rarely seen at the surface so close to the dock itself. It was pretty cool and gave a thrill to the folks on the pier who looked on with some amazement as I swam among the sharks.


This experience made me even more desirous to get out to the actual reef. I contacted my friend Anna who works for the Fury inquiring what was the best and safest of their many trips and she suggested the double dip snorkel trip, which is on the relatively smaller Reef Express boat and makes two extended reef stops for snorkeling. I called and booked on the day when they had the fewest bookings and Kathy and I joined a small but safe group for a trip to Sand Key.


It was so nice to be back in the ocean and snorkeling at the reef. The visibility was excellent and we saw all sorts of cool tropical fish, coral and other sea creatures. The highlights were a visit from a small Caribbean Reef Shark and a beautiful spotted eagle Ray that swam with us for a few minutes and was truly beautiful. The entire experience was awesome from the wonderful job and safe conduct of the crew and passengers to the beautiful weather and awesome snorkeling. Of course the reef is still not anything what it once was and that always depresses me a little, it was still a magical experience during a time when they are certainly needed and appreciated. 


Wednesday, July 01, 2020


June 30, 2020




The past week to ten days has seen the situation with the pandemic spiral pretty much out of control across the nation, with sadly states that seemingly rushed to open such as our state of Florida and Texas leading the resurgence of the outbreak in spite of our political leaders trying hard to persuade the populace otherwise. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is leading the parade of ineptitude basically having to eat his assurances that everything was going to be fine less than a month after the rush to reopen. At least he is saying something, President Trump seems to have vanished from the public eye after the debacle that was the first campaign rally that he held in Tulsa. He has not spoken to the ever-exploding number of new cases of coronavirus at all.


And the cases have been skyrocketing. Nationwide there are now 2,603,743 confirmed cases with 124,861 deaths. Here in Monroe County we are up to 259 confirmed cases, 85 in Key West and holding at 4 deaths. Basically it took us three months to reach 100 cases, then three weeks to reach 200 and we are currently on pace to hit 300 a week later. That is a rapid increase and just about the opposite of flattening the curve.


John and Debbie 

This has led to rollbacks in some restrictions as the state has now prohibited all bars from serving any alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption, basically shuttering all bars that do not get 50% plus of their revenue from food service. Some bars were not enforcing the restrictions of mask wearing and social distancing and some bars across the state became epicenters for outbreaks causing the backlash. It has been a madhouse here locally as tourists have returned in droves and many seem to be unwilling to follow the local laws about mask wearing.


The city had to tighten up the mask requirements, add civil and potential criminal penalties and send out police and code enforcement to enforce the requirements. They have also moved to cancel the annual July 4th fireworks and order all local and county beaches closed for the holiday weekend in anticipation of large crowds of unruly tourists flaunting the laws. It is truly a surreal and uneasy time.



In spite of all of this life has gone on and Kathy and I have made small steps to returning to a small social fold. Realizing that all of our interactions involve risk, we have made the calculated risks to reengage and get back out into society with small, highly controlled forays into public settings. We are big proponents of social distancing and wearing masks, frequently washing hands and utilizing disinfectants regularly. But this past couple of weeks have seen our first serious ventures back out into the real world.

Nadene and Meredith

The first instance was for the sixth birthday party of our beloved friend Meredith. Her parents rented a private room at Benihana and we were able to spread out in the room which has the best ventilation of any indoor restaurant in the Keys with huge fans above each table that of course also serve as the cooking surface for the night’s meals. It was a joyous and fun occasion and Meredith gave each attendee a gift of a private portrait that she had made of each of us. We love them and are going to have ours framed.


It was so nice to be out among friends, socializing and celebrating one of our favorite people. This week also saw a visit to the Keys of one of my long-time friend of close to forty years, Debbie from Indianapolis. Debbie and her boyfriend John and another couple came down so that she could get her open water dives in for her scuba diving certification and I was able to join them a couple of times during their visit. First I headed up the Keys to meet them at KiKi’s bar and grill for a quick drink on Friday evening and then Kathy and I joined their group at the HogFish after they spent the day diving here in Key West.


It is always nice to have friends come to Key West and hopefully now that she has become an official scuba diver, they will be returning here on a regular basis. The idea of scuba diving made me want to get back on the water so we spent a few days this week snorkeling at our favorite nearshore location at Higg’s Beach. The water quality and visibility has been really awesome this summer and we have taken advantage of it to spend literally hours snorkeling off the Pier at Higg’s.


It is one of our favorite activities and we have been going during this pandemic more than we ever have before and it has been really magical with the quantity and diversity of life that is literally only a few hundred feet off the shore in fairly shallow and easy to navigate water that is filled with a wide variety of fish and sea creatures that I never seem to tire of seeing.