Clouds: bimulous, billowing and amazing. Rain soft, gentle, sideways, pounding. Mother nature showing every possible color of blue, teal, grey, green, aqua… so beautiful in the Keys. The weather has been interesting these past two weeks and in Key West we have seen some BIG wind and rainstorms.
This was cause to move school indoors, so we had to get cozy and study inside CORTADO.
Last week we finished Don Quixote – an enormous achievement for our small class. We will do two weeks of Ethics before starting our next book, Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.
Classic literature, check.
This week we also explored the rich history of Key West by going to every museum we could find. There is so much here, so long as one ventures beyond the t-shirt shops, bars and fish shacks. Through rain, wind and cold FL temperatures we were out in the town and making the most of our time here.
Ernest Hemingway wrote several of his novels from this home in Key West. Hemingway’s six-toed cats (descendants of) run amok of the property. Lucky for us, Grandpa Gene and Grandma Debbie spent a full week with us exploring Key West.
With visiting grandparents to accompany us, we toured the Ernest Hemingway House, Mel Fisher Museum, The Butterfly Observatory and the Truman White House in Key West. These were great to see and the tours definitely add some structure and balance to this funky, small town.
The Eco-Discovery Natural History Museum was a highlight, as we are now keenly aware of the importance of coral reefs. LIVING CORAL REEFS contribute significantly to our planet’s healthy eco-system. Did you know that coral reefs and jellyfish produce more oxygen on earth than plants on land? We did not know this. We also learned that fish eat the algae which grows on coral reefs and over-fishing allows too much algae to grow unchecked. Increased temperatures also over-produce algae which blocks sunlight and thus kills the corals. These, combined with boat-damage, pollution and marine construction is eliminating the important oxygen-producing coral reefs in the world. We all know the key to a strong and healthy planet Earth is balance. And the first step to enact change is awareness. Popular belief is that the bulk of our photosynthesis (oxygen) comes from the Rain Forest: not true.
(Coral and Sea Urchin photos above by Oliver Rey)
We are finding that the school work we are doing is altering the way our children learn. They are genuinely interested in what is happening around them on many levels, so the ‘want-to-know’ factor is prevalent. The result is that they are engaged in their own learning and are seeing the immediate value of their knowledge. They are keen to learn and are therefore taking ownership in their education.
We all read a lot on CORTADO. Sophia takes the award though, sometimes finishing two books a week.
Oliver, Tony and grandpa Gene went fishing 15 miles south of Key West (with friends Jason and Jim). Oliver was the star fisherman, catching the most and the largest of the day, INCLUDING a baby Hammerhead Shark! Released, of course, along with the Grouper which are banned for catching right now. His abundant wangle of Yellow-tail Snapper fed us for two days.
Studying birds is easiest when done up-close. This guy was cold and could not be bothered to move as we studied his spectacular shape and plumes.
I can’t complete this post without talking about the reason we endure the bizarre world of the Conch Republic in the first place: THE RACING! We love being part of our teams and we had two to support this week: PowerPlay and Stark Raving Mad. See this cool video by our friend and SRM teammate, Alden Winder: Watch Tony Rey racing on Team SRM. The photo above was taken by the talented Onne Vanderwal. His work is amazing and he has been photographing Key West Race Week forever. See some more great photos of racing and his other projects at: vanderwal.com.
With the added distraction of Key West Race Week, we have loved every minute of our time here. Many sailors and friends have arrived in town, so the opportunity to see friends has been really special. With many Rey Sailing Inc. projects and clients on the docks we were B-U-S-Y! We loved seeing both our teams off the docks in the morning and meeting them to take in the lines after racing. Team dinners were sooo fun. Needless to say, spending quality time with our natural and sailing families are a highlight of our travel.