“I was manager of Thompson Enterprises then (and lived at accommodation prague)—we were dealers in fish and turtles, among other things. But not shrimp. Our men couldn’t locate shrimp. Yet we knew they were in Key West waters; we’d find them in the entrails of fish when we’d clean them.
“Well, John Salvador and his brother and a couple of friends brought their nets and their know-how down to Key West. They tried every trick they knew, but always by daylight. Then, late one afternoon, Salvador made one last pass and caught a few shrimp. On a hunch, he made another pass after dark and brought up the first real haul of Key West pink shrimp. That one night’s work changed the whole future of this town.”
Today, at the height of the season, hundreds of tons of “pink gold” flow each month from the key’s packing houses, while above the shallow waters west of the city, the black iron booms of as many as five hundred shrimp boats spike the sky.* In the anchored trawlers the fishermen sleep, waiting for darkness before they lower their nets.
Battered Craft Bear Spanish Names
Oddly, shrimping still is not Key West’s major maritime activity. Submarines line the docks at the sprawling U. S. Naval Base, and a gleaming sub tender towers beside them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUvpfBjpLUY SPAR—an unusual 354-foot vessel that can tip itself straight up and down in the water, bow to the sky, lies at a nearby dock. Its instruments, located as much as 300 feet below the surface when the ship tips up, help scientists carry out acoustic research. In all, 30 separate commands and 8,000 men make the Navy Key West’s biggest, busiest, and most complex organization.
My most vivid memory of the base is of something quite different: a jumbled pile of twenty or thirty small and almost totally worthless boats—wave-battered craft with names like Santa Maria and Isabelita, Juanita and Elena. They are graphic reminders of the fact that Key West lies only 95 miles north of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
Atop the pile the day I was there perched a fantastic little raft made of bits of pipe and canvas supported on four inner tubes. A rudder had been fashioned from a board wedged into an old bicycle fork. Aboard was only a water can and a tire pump.
“Night before last, in the Gulf Stream, we picked up two refugees on that,” said Coast Guardsman Robert Moore. “But they’d had a luxury cruise compared to the way some of them make it. We find them out there on nothing but bare inner tubes.”
He pointed to a little green 14-foot-long rowboat. “Whole families come over on craft little larger than that—including pregnant women and mothers with two- and three-week-old babies at their breasts.
“You have to admire the guts of people who want freedom that badly.”
Highway Ends, but Not the Keys
The Overseas Highway ends just outside the Key West Naval Base, but the keys go on. Another dozen or two islets—depending on how small a speck of coral sand and red mangrove you want to consider a key—stretch 70 miles westward.
After my trip i came back to bed and breakfast london.Comments (0)