Friday, February 03, 2012

Captain Jack's 90th

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W 


Captain Jack is one of Book Key Harbor's most beloved residents.  He has been here on the keys, living on a boat, since the 1950s.  Today he is 90 and he's still doing it. Surprisingly, the women told me they don't mind.  I wish I could get away with that.


Jack also has plenty of stories to tell as you might imagine.  He knows volumes about Keys history.


I took Jack to lunch last week.  He told me how he got here.  Jack was sailing past the keys one day long long ago when a terrible storm came up.   Unable to make way to weather, he dropped hook on the reef.  Normally, that's not a good thing to do.  It damages the coral.  It also leaves you in on a shoal where the waves double or triple in size.  Anyhow, Jack kneeled on the floor hanging on to hand holds on either side and made it through the night.  When he went out in the morning after the storm has passed, his rudder was gone.  He couldn't go anywhere. [remind me to tell you my story about the day my rudder broken with my father on board] He had to get towed to the nearest place which happened to be Marathon.  He's been here on a boat ever since.  He earned a living running a dive boat out of Marathon.


This week, the cruisers in the harbor did well by Captain Jack.  At the Wednesday Pot Luck dinner, they had a big birthday cake for Jack.  Today we had Jack as the guest of honor at the weekly SSCA luncheon.  49 people were there.   The cruisers in the harbor gave him a special present -- a calendar for February marking 11 invites to Jack to go to lunch.   Anybody who manages to still live on a boat in paradise at the ripe old age of 90, (including all the infirmaries that come with it) earns our respect and admiration.


Jack also told me that there once was a very nice fresh water spring east of Boot Key Harbor.  There was also a fresh water lake there filled with flamingos and other exotic birds.  Then, they went and built a plaza for the Winn Dixie supermarket.  Stores in the plaza had septic fields that polluted the spring.  Then the polluted spring spoiled the lake too.  Eventually they filled in the lake to make a place for a Publix store and its parking lot.  Boy, I sure would have liked to have seen this place before so many people arrived.


Happy Birthday Captain Jack.


Jack at the Wednesday Pot Luck Dinner

Cutting the cake

Jack's boat and home

Jack at the SSCA Lunch

The crowd at the SSCA lunch.  We had 49 people.  We hold this lunch every Friday.
The restaurant has great lunches for only $5.







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