14 October 2017:
Key West, Florida:
The Sun Also Sets

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Here in the Conch Republic, not everything is normal.

Let me rephrase that. In Key West, normal is not normal.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this is a place where you could walk down the street dressed in a scarf and a sneeze. . .

and receive compliments on the scarf.

But in a sense, Key West has more or less gotten back to its version of normal, just a month after an unwelcome visit by Hurricane Irma which came ashore 20 miles north of Key West, over the Big Pine, Summerland and Cudjoe Keys.

Key West was partially submerged, and suffered some damage but the locals have been working non-stop to restore the place to greet visitors much more appreciated: tourists. Silver Muse is among the first cruise ships to return to the town.

It was a hot and almost impossibly humid day…and this is autumn.

Here’s our ship, making her maiden call:

And I was glad to see that the street art survived, including this giant homage to a famous photo taken at the end of World War II:

This evening we set sail for two days at sea, headed for Puerto Limon, and beyond that a transit of the Panama Canal.

Key West was a regular home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and President Harry S Truman and other notables.

They have a New Year’s Celebration that is out of this world, but that is just one of many fantastic fantasy festivals here at the very bottom of Florida.

In Key West, you can stand at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets and take a picture of a monument that marks the southernmost point of the United States.

Well, it’s close.

Here’s the fine print: the monument is in the general vicinity of the southernmost point of the continental United States.

Whitehead Spit, just west of the monument, is the true southernmost point, but that piece of land is U.S. Navy property, not ordinarily accessible to tourists.

The actual southernmost point of the United States is not on the continent.

It is at Ka Lae, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

But wait, if we broaden our definition to include U.S. possessions, the southernmost part of the United States is tiny Rose Atoll, in American Samoa, an unincorporated territory.

Actually, there’s an even more obscure spot: the Amundsen–Scott Station at the Geographic South Pole.

You can’t get any further south than that. But since Antarctica is by treaty an international zone, it is not a part of the United States.

Not that they quibble about true facts much around here.

This is, after all, a place where every night hundreds of tourists and many locals gather at Mallory Square to watch the same thing that happened roughly 24 hours ago: the setting of the sun.

Same sun as you’ll seen everywhere else on the planet. Except here, it’s different.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

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