Long Live the Conch Republic

I returned home wounded from the Conch Republic Bloody Battle fought on the high seas of Key West Harbor last week. “Your hair is about to turn to concrete if you don’t jump in the shower,” my husband said, looking at the dried bread dough hardening on my forehead. I was excitedly telling him EVERYTHING, instead of taking a shower. “You look pretty beat up.”

Well, I was pretty beat up. After an hour of being pounded with water hoses and pegged with stale Cuban bread with the Conch Republic Royal Air Force planes flying over, dropping toilet paper bombs on the boats in the harbor, I was exhausted, and a mess. And, it was amazing!

As part of my royal duty as the queen of the Conch Republic, which I took very, very seriously, my biggest obligation (and of course, one of the things I was most excited about) was to accompany the Schooner Hindu into the battle against the U.S. Coast Guard. The royal family Chaplain Terri Hill and the Feudal Baron Stephen Ferguson joined the crazy expedition.

With mostly Conch Republic visitors onboard, I am pretty sure there was at least one guy who thought I was like “actually” the “real” queen. “I will fight with my people,” I told them as I put away the trash bag I was going to use to cover my jeans and shirt. Apparently, a trash bag makes you a bigger target, unlike, you know, the crown on my head…

The cannons shot from shore as the battle began and my hair tightly wrapped around the crown in the wind. My sunglasses shot across the deck of the Hindu while being blasted by water hoses from the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr., as I waved to my buddies the Gerardots and the Paynes onboard the ship. Then, the Cuban bread missiles came flying in from their upper-deck, more convenient, position. So much bread.

Going into my first-ever battle, I didn’t realize the sopping wet dough balls stale Cuban bread turns into after it’s plummeted from boat to boat across soaking wet decks. It’s gross, and dries like concrete, but makes for more accurate aim with the water weight.

To the guy I accidently pegged with said dough ball, right in his, ahem, dough balls, I am soooo sorry (but that was the most epically aimed piece of war tool I’ve ever used and I saw how impressed you were with my immaculate aim as you pointed to me halfway bent over in pain but in awe of my awesome arm…).

Until next year, long live the Conch Republic, long live Key West, long live fundraisers for Wesley House Family Services, and long live these traditions that make this wonderful, unique place the most amazing place in the world to live.


Stephen Ferguson is a genius. He runs each year raising money for Wesley House Family Services as the Feudal Baron since he can’t run for king. The late Mel Fisher is always hailed as king since he started the fundraiser 20-something years ago. After looking up such a title, Ferguson’s royalty allows him to be in charge of the land if the king is not present – making Ferguson, basically, the acting king. Touché, Baron, now off with your head.


Heard onboard the ship: The most donated bread for the Conch Republic Bloody Battle is gluten-free. *Apparently, the people of the Conch Republic like the real deal when making their morning cheesy toast.

Royalty onboard Schooner Hindu includes the dough-ed up Royal Chaplain Terri Hill, Royal Feudal Baron Stephen Ferguson, Royal Cousin to Ferguson Suz Tread, and me, the Queen 😉

*There are no pictures during the battle, because it was CRAZY, and my phone was tightly wrapped in a Ziploc bag in my back pocket. Thank you to the amazing Schooner Hindu crew for the hospitality (and Ziplocs!)

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