Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No-See Ums

Sunday, I helped Chuck work on his boat, m/v Jeannie II. He installed an A/C unit and inverter in the cabin. This, and a couple other projects required a second pair of hands on the other side of a bulkhead. I was glad to help. It was the usual hot and sunny day, the Florida Keys are known for. This area is also known for something else, No-See Ums. These are the smallest blood-sucking insects on earth. At least you can see a mosquito and occasionally ward off their attack. No-See Ums are tiny, and like their name, they are so small, they are not visible... but the bumps they leave behind are! All afternoon, I thought the itching, was from a few bites. It turns out that my discomfort was from multiple bites. I counted my bumps this morning and came up with a grand total of 163. You are wondering why I didn't wear bug spray. Actually, I did. Obviously it didn't work on this little hungry bug.

On my way home today, I decided to travel a different route. I passed this sign and just had to share it.

I was on my way to work, and found this little fellow scurrying along the sidewalk at the condo. This is also the only place I have ever come across iguana road kill. In fact, I almost ran over one the other night driving to a friend's house. "Missed him by that much."

You won't see much carpet in Key West. Tile is the way to go. It is easier to sweep the ever so prevalent sand, than vacuum it from carpet.
How is that for a doorbell?

This work table was discovered at SafeHarbor Marina. Scrap metal parts put together to make something useful. I like it!!! It will never blow over, or be moved. Hope it's where they want it.

I'm taking off this next weekend for another fishing trip aboard Yankee Capts. I can't think of another place I'd want to live... I may never leave!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July are two days looked forward to in the Keys of Florida. This is what is called Lobster Mini-Season. These two days are for individuals to get lobster legally before the commercial fisherman set their traps on August 1. I got to go out with Chuck this year, my first of many to come.

The plan was to leave the dock behind Chuck's house at seven o'clock sharp, and five other people were to go with us. One after another called and cancelled for one reason or another. By seven o'clock, it was just Chuck and I. With the boat loaded with all the equipment, snacks and drinks... off we went. 
Chuck lives right on the Atlantic, so we didn't have to go far to find the coral heads that the lobster call home. I snorkel out with the marker, scout the area to find the big coral heads. I mark the area and Chuck comes over with his light, net and tickle stick to see what he can find hiding under the coral. The tickle stick is just that, a stick to tap the lobster and make him move in the direction you want him to go. You are required to measure the lobster before you bring him up, it is illegal to remove one from the water if he is not legal size.

The water was about 10-12 feet deep, and most of the people out lobstering in that area, did not have dive tanks, they were just using a snorkel. We had the advantage of an air tank, so Chuck could stay down and get the smarter lobster that took a little more work to get out. 

Speaking of scuba diving, I have never learned. Living in the deserts of West Texas, and then the murky waters of Galveston Bay, I never felt the need to spend my hard earned money on something that I would have to travel a long distance to enjoy. But now, living here in Key West, I do want to learn. In fact, I want to do everything the waters here have to offer. Two of which are scuba dive and spear fish. I was introduced to scuba diving yesterday. I donned the gear, stepped into the water and got used to breathing. This is something that may take me a little while to get comfortable with. I was not wearing enough weight for me to get to the bottom, but I got a feel for the whole scuba diving thing, and I can tell I will love it. I decided to just snorkel and follow Chuck around, so he didn't have to babysit me. 

Later in the day, I tried using the hookah system; tank stays in the boat with a 50 foot hose. I started out with about 10 pounds on the weight belt, having to add more weight a couple times. I know y'all have seen the movies where someone is being pulled under the water to their death, with that panicked look on their face. For a few seconds, that was the feeling that flooded my mind as I strapped on the weight belt while bobbing in the water. Slowly, I was pulled down, down, down to the bottom... but Mom, don't worry, I was holding on to a rope with Chuck on the other end to pull me up if I had a problem. After I was close to the bottom, my attention went from "I don't feel like I'm getting enough air", to "how cool is this, I can swim around and get closer to everything"... so I let go of the safety rope, and imagined a big 'she did it' smile on Chuck's face. I wasn't down for long, just enough time to know that this being able to stay underwater for a long time is really cool, and I want to learn to do it.

We got back to the house and I learned how to get the lobster ready to cook. It is very quick and simple. We had 'Surf and Turf' for lunch.

I thank the Lord everyday for getting me here, to the place I now call home. It was a bumpy road, but totally worth it! More adventures are right around the corner, just waiting for me to jump in and enjoy!

Monday, July 22, 2013


When I saw the clear waters of the Florida Keys, I was excited about snorkeling here. I jumped online and ordered snorkel gear. Then, I realized I had no way to get out to the reef, or any area that would be enjoyable to see. So, my nifty little bag holding my fins and mask lived in the back of my closet... until this past weekend.

Every year, mini lobster season is held the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July. This gives the local population a chance to catch lobster before the commercial boats set their traps. Chuck wanted to scout out some areas and find the best spot before next Wednesday. Sunday afternoon, Chuck and I went out with Chuck's cousin, Stan and his family. I have only been snorkeling a couple times, and never with my own gear. I was a little nervous, not wanting to fail, or do something stupid. Chuck checked my mask to make sure it fit properly, and it did. Next were the fins, and I was told it was a good fit. Now, it's time to go over the side, and without hesitation, I'm in. It took me a few seconds to get comfortable, but it all came back to me. Chuck took my hand and off we went. Oh, did I mention he brought his spear guns? Yes, we were looking for dinner, but found only small fish. And yes, I want to learn to spear fish too. But I digress ... we saw no lobster.

This grapnel anchor is good for coral, or where the flukes can grip something. They are not good for sand or mud. A breakaway system is necessary, if you want your anchor back. The end of the anchor chain is attached at the crown, brought down the shank, and attached to the eye of the shank with a cable tie. The grapnel anchor is not good for sand or mud, and coming from the Galveston area, where all we have is mud bottoms, I had not seen a system like this before.

I had a great time, and I finally got to use my fins. There were lots of little fish darting under the coral as I swam by, and I saw several barracuda. Here are a few photos of my afternoon of snorkeling.

This looks like a postcard!


Thursday, July 11, 2013


It's official! I put off getting a Florida Driver's License. For some reason, I didn't want to give up my Texas connection. There are many perks to being a "Local" in Key West. Many businesses give a discount to the Key West residents, of which I am now a proud member.

The last time I had to renew my driver's license in Houston, I was there for three hours. A visit to the DMV was dreaded as much as the annual doctor visit. However, today, I walked in the DMV in Key West, and no one was in the waiting area. It felt so strange. But, just like everything else I do, I didn't have all of the required documents on my first visit. When I returned about 30 minutes later, there were five customers ahead of me... I was #A150. Within 20 minutes I was at the window, pulling out all my papers to prove my existence and residence, a few questions were asked, a photo was taken, and a signature was given. I'm used to hearing, "You will receive your license in the mail in about four weeks." Instead, I was told to sit in a chair and they will have it printed in a few minutes. WOW, I walked out with it in my hand. Texas should buy them some of those printers!

The DMV has an ocean view, and leaving there, I had a pleasant ride down this coconut palm tree path. There were a total of five iguanas that crossed my path, a couple of them at least 30 inches long. Wearing a big smile, my thoughts were, "I really do live in Paradise."

I found this row boat drifting along the sea wall. I real fixer-upper, and I don't think she will be missed, but I left her for someone else to love.

A couple days later, I saw that the little boat found a home.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Like most of you out there, I too am on Facebook. It is a good way for everyone in our family to stay in the loop, since we are scattered so far now. When I am out and about, I like to take pics of what I see, or what I'm doing. Most people take an "arm shot", so they are in the pic, and you don't have to bother a passerby to do the honors. I have tried this, but I don't like the result; my nose and chin always look huge!

Many years ago, I bought a pair of white flip flops to wear on s/v Escapades. I was proud of those shoes, they were comfortable, stayed on my feet, and they had BLING! On one of our long weekend trips aboard Escapades, I snapped a pic of my new shoes. I thought it was a cool pic, and I decided I would include myself in photos by positioning my feet in the frame. I preferred my feet in my pics, rather than my face. Over the years, my feet have shown up in many pics that I post on Facebook.

A couple weeks ago, a Facebook friend posted a pic of his feet propped up in his boat, as he was sailing. The caption read, "This is my Lezlie Henson pose." I was very surprised when I saw it, because I really didn't think anyone took notice of my usual "pose".

A few days ago, another Facebook friend uploaded a photo of the view from his hammock, which included his feet. Someone commented, that was now called a "Lezlie Photo". My feet are probably more readily recognized than my face, with my signature toe ring and pink toe nails. This just proves that people are watching, even when you think they are not.

s/v Traveler during Texas200 2012

Working on TARDIS

My brother and I on the beach of Caye Caulker, Belize 2012.

At Parrot Nest near San Ignacio, Belize 2012.

Crossing the Gulf on s/v Kairos - 2013.

Looking out into the Atlantic from Key West, Florida - 2013.

Lounging by the pool at the condo in Key West. Florida - 2013.

Relaxing in my bunk aboard s/v The Flatulence - 2012.

In the cockpit aboard s/v The Flatulence - 2012.


Q: What do you call a charter boat captain without a girlfriend?
A: Homeless