knocked out by the flu – but still cruisin’ to Key West

Sailing into Key West

Monday I was happy to post my first blog entry in six days, and I was also looking forward to sharing our Disney Cruise a few photos at a time. Then, by late evening, it was apparent that the “head cold” I’d picked up on board was really a nasty case of the flu. Bummer. By Tuesday morning I could hardly breathe, let alone turn on a computer!

My doctor confirmed the diagnosis, prescribed various medicines, then grounded me for the remainder of the week. That means I’m not allowed to work the United Methodist General Conference as a reporter (the best paid work I had lined up this month!), and I can’t lead my Men’s Room Bible study tonight. I am allowed to go to church this Sunday if I’m fever-free by Saturday.

The most photographed/stolen sign in the US

KEY WEST: But I can type this morning, so here’s a little Key West for you. As you can see from the photo, we arrived on a spectacular morning. I was tempted to stay on board and take pictures from the upper decks, but ended up taking the trolley into town instead. I’m glad I did.

After lunch – at the kind of joint Jimmy Buffett made his career singing about – I took off with my camera and enjoyed the unique flavor of the town.

This marker for US Hwy 1 is – apparently – the most photographed and most stolen road sign in the USA. The road runs 2,377 miles to Fort Kent, Maine. If you’re wondering why its counterpart in Maine doesn’t get heisted that much, just ask yourself how many college students go to Fort Kent for Spring Break.

Wide porches and lush vegetation

ARCHITECTURE: I love the architecture of Key West. Clapboard, Victorian, wide-porches, tropical vegetation, bold colors, spilling right onto the sidewalks. I walked a good four miles, happily clicking my camera and burning off the never-ending cruise-ship buffets.

I can see why Earnest Hemingway(one of my favorite authors) kept a home here, and why it was such a great venue for him to write. Key West is a caricature of itself; kind of Old-Florida in drag; beckoning for artists to paint, photographers to click and writers to tell stories.

I told friends I didn’t care about ports of call because I just planned to relax on the ship and read. But I’m glad I didn’t. Key West is a great little town that I plan to explore some more when I get the chance.

classic Key West home

The previous Disney ship had been unable to dock at Key West due to high winds and driving rain. “But it looks like this great weather will hold for us over the next few days,” our cruise director announced when we got back on board. Well, it turns out he was wrong. But that’s a story for tomorrow.

PICTURES: There are so many great photos from Key West Day. So I’ll drop in one more at the end of this post. But you’ll have to check in to my facebook page to see the full cruise album (probably by tomorrow afternoon). We are blessed to live in a beautiful world, and I want to share as much of it as possible.

If you just check in to my blog for the photos, then I hope you’ll pay attention to some of the words, too. My words today are offerings of praise to God for the blessing of life, and offerings of gratitude for such a loving family to share the experience.

Grace and peace – DEREK

At Key West last Thursday - Disney Magic, Coast Guard Vessel, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

photography The Life-Charged Life Travel

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. great photography as usual.the water’s coloring looks fabulous. Hope and pray you feel better as soon as possible. I love Hemingway, too. But he was tortured by his own models of masculinity and committed violent suicide. Such a contrast within a single individual! And so sad! Peace and Blessings!


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