C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A bit of afternoon breeze!

After paying our dockage at the Westin Marina and a pit stop at the Conch Harbor fuel dock, we put Key West in our wake.  Flowing out the channel with the ebbing tide we comtemplated our next destination.  Our next commitment?  Meet our new wind generator in boot Key Harbor by week’s end.  Until then we are footloose in the Keys.

Other than our recent trip to the Dry Tortugas, Anne and I have never explored any of the reefs the separate the FL Keys from the Gulf Stream.  This line of barrier reefs, the third largest barrier reef in the world, lie between 4 and 6 NM south of the Keys.   Reef Relief a not for profit based in Key West maintains mooring buoys at the more popular sites along the barrier reef.  Armed with the Reef Relief Lower Keys map and inspired by the slick calm waters of Hawk Channel we set a heading for West Sambo Reef. 

Picking up a mooring at the reef proved uneventful and the conditions for snorkeling the reef were ideal.  The health of the reef and accompanying fish life left us saddened.  If what we found today is indicative of the other dives in this area, then we fear a depressing week ahead.

 Departing the area a freshening breeze gave us the opportunity to hoist C’est la Vie’s sails. Our spirits rose along with the canvas and we enjoyed a couple hours of eastward progress close hauled on a NE breeze.

With overnight winds forecast to be light and variable we elected to anchor far off of Lois Key in an effort to remain out of reach of no-see-ums or mosquitoes.   Reading Managing the Waterway, Anne discovered Lois Key’s odd history, “Locals call it Monkey Island.  This small key is home to Rhesus Monkeys, which can be aggressive, until 1999, the island was a commercial site to breed monkeys as lab animals for the USFDA.  About 1,600 monkeys roam the key.  There is not enough food or fresh water, so everyday someone comes in a boat bringing water and monkey chow.  The official name of Monkey Island is Key Lois.  The owner of the island wanted to name the island after his wife, Lois.  The state refused his request.  He ultimately got his way by having his company rename the island ‘Laboratory Observing Island Simians.’  The island became known by its acronym, Lois.

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