Photos by Josie Koler
“We biked before the rain started. We’re having a great time. We don’t care!”
Newlyweds Chris and Erin Tarassoff aren’t ticked about the trickle from the sky. The couple, hailing from Hillsborough, New Jersey, is opting out of outdoor activities to take in Key West’s indoor options. They just left the Butterfly Nature Conservatory where sales manager Amanda Scott admits she gets aflutter herself when the clouds move in.
“We’re a way for them to get out of the rain and enjoy a beautiful day. The butterflies are active when it’s sunny, but the glass-covered dome is climate controlled.”
“We are the number one, indoor attraction,” Amanda’s colleague, Tara Luckey chimes in.
Around the corner, is perhaps the other lure: the Hemingway House. Ryan and Randi Marquis of St. Louis exited the property with their friends, umbrellas in hand.
“We were going to come here yesterday, but it was too nice. We aren’t going to be able to go to the beach like we planned, so… more shopping!”
Taking tickets is Dennis Chappell, who thinks more tourists may trickle in when the weather’s not so sunny, but it’s “all a blur after awhile.”
At the Rum Barrel Bar below the loft of the Speak Easy Inn, Bahama Bob only has one seat left open in front of him. The place is jam-packed in the middle of a Thursday afternoon.
“There’s nothing else to do— but drink!”
Those sentiments were repeated by a group of four European college students making their way down Duval. Filip Karavesovic takes an iBud out of his ear and says, “I hope it’s going to stop. I’m from Serbia!”
His buddy, Andres Skiatos notes, “This is a good day for drinking. We were going to go fishing, but we can’t.”
On the soaked sand at the Reach Resort the ‘skis are still ready to roll for the Island Jet Ski Tour. Barefoot Billy Mosblech has scaled back his staff from four full-timers to three. He says, September is slightly slow, so unless the storm brings lightning, they don’t want to go sit at home. Plus, adventurers figure they’re going to get wet, why not go ahead, and get in the water!
“We’re out today! The water is flat and calm. It’s a little bit rainy, but we’re ready to go if they are. There isn’t a wisp of wind. All this is a little bit of rain. Obviously, we’re down from what we’d be if the sun was out, but it has barely slowed us down.”
Marketing director for Sebago Jamie Olwell has to keep the sun shining for her crew in the world of watersports counting on clear skies any way she can. This week, that means Cuban coconut bars for breakfast and pizza for lunch.
“I can put up with a little rain, but this kind of weather can make it tough to make a living in the industry. We have 20 to 30 people who work on the water. This week, they’ve been grounded.”
Or instead of on the water, at their favorite watering hole. Marius Venter is one of Fury’s managers.
“I like it when everyone’s making money. The rain is needed, but a lot of trips got cancelled. We do three snorkel trips a day, a sunset cruise, Commotion on the Ocean, and parasailing as well every hour on the hour. I guess we’ll go out drinking. Everybody is just hanging out, so we’ll probably go to the Gecko!”
Kate Miani, at the Gardens Hotel says she’s on her toes for any kind tourist she’s about to host. There’s a list she gives to guests. “Things to do if it Rains!”
“The guests never like rainy weather. We send them to the Tropic Cinema and the museums. The Customs House. The Hemingway House. We have a whole list of things for them to do! We call the rain liquid sunshine. There’s so much to do here besides go to the beach.”
The catch is, keeping them content once the clouds move in, and keeping the reservations coming in. They’ve slowed, according to Cayo Hueso Cottages owner Joyce Benavides.
“Right now I have a wedding party in, so they’re staying, but a lot of people are not coming to town and at the airport earlier, a lot of people were leaving. It’s busy up there. People aren’t calling to book like they usually do to come to Goombay. I think everyone’s waiting to see what’s going to happen.”
And hope it doesn’t rain, on our Fantasy Fest parade.
Assistant managers at the Butterfly Nature Conservatory Amanda Scott and Tara Lucky. “We like it when it rains!”
Arriving via the Key West Express with their husbands, Judy Luckett and Faye Stewart, took another ride on the Conch Tour Train in their ponchos. “We wanted to go to the beautiful beaches, but we’re shopping.”
The plans were to go fishing. But, instead, these European guys will frolick inside Duval’s Bars. Left to right are Filip Karavesovic, Andres Skiatos, and Miroslav Milovanovic.
Mother & Son
Every year Judy Lowe, a retiree from Atlanta, and her son, Gary True an electrician from Asheville, North Carolina meet up for a va-kay. “We were able to snorkel at Fort Zachary yesterday. Today, we threw on the ponchos and rode bikes all the way around the island and went to beer school at the Southernmost.”