What do cruisers do when they’re “stranded” in paradise for weather? Depending on where we are, we always try to find out what’s going on locally. In Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor in the Florida Keys, the daily VHF cruiser’s net keeps us up to date with local happenings. So when we heard the Blue Angels were going to be at the Southernmost Air Show in at the Naval Air Station in Key West (actually Boca Chica) AND the bus cost $1.50, we decided to brave the crowds and enjoy. Here’s a photo essay of our day, starting with the bus — much different than any of the chicken buses we rode in other year’s cruising! Chicken buses, if you’re not familiar, are old yellow school buses painted with graffiti/artwork/graphics always in brilliant showy colors, usually in Central and South America. On to the photo essay:
If you’re in the Keys and want to go somewhere, be sure to check out the bus schedule online – that’s the most up to date as it seems it changes frequently. It’s not the easiest to navigate, but you can always call 305-809-3910 and maybe they’ll provide the information you need. Their “easy to navigate” online real time system requires you know the line you want and the stop number — now how would we know that? How dumb, lots of riders are visitors here!Rumor has it that due to budget cuts, this could be the last time the Blue Angels perform here … or maybe anywhere. The announcer said it was the 2nd show of a full 2013 season, but time will tell!We’ve never seen the Blue Angels perform in an actual air show, just at practice in Pensacola FL and also at USNA graduation. Even seeing the planes just lined up waiting gives me goosebumps!Finally, the time arrives. The pilots and ground crew drive onto the field in their vans and line up next to the planes. As they’re introduced they climb aboard and start their pre-flight sequence. Meanwhile the ground crews have been all over and around, checking everything. Flying this intense, it’s important that no little thing be overlooked.
The Boeing F/A-18 Hornet’s fire up in a deafening roar. At the Pensacola practice site, the sign over the entrance reads “The Noise You Hear is the Sound of Freedom” … thinking about it gives me more goose bumps!
Immediately after take-off, the F-18’s waste no time getting right into the drama of the show flying four in formation and going over the top.
How can they possibly fly this close together?
They have fancy names for all these formations, but I was so amazed that I didn’t pay enough attention to the announcer.
These static photos don’t do it justice. Keep in mind, these planes may be closing as fast as 1000 miles per hour. And they are SO close together. Plus the noise literally invades your entire being!
And one final photo. If you ever get a chance, be sure to go watch the Blue Angels perform! In addition to the Blue Angels, there were many other acrobatic flyers and even the Budweiser Clydesdales at the air show! Enjoy!
Anyone with comments on the Blue Angels, or other stuff cruisers might enjoy in various locales, please share! Cheers! Jan