continued from Carnival Breeze Embarkation Day – June 2013 — Key West, Florida…such a beautiful town! None of us had ever been to the “Conch Republic” before, nor had we been to any of the other ports on this cruise. The day we arrived was a hazy and sometimes rainy day, so our explorations were kept to a minimum. We took one to the trolley tours around the town, which worked out well, as the plastic windows were convenient to keep the POURING rain off of us. It was at times entertaining to see how much rain we were getting, as a storm system had come up from Cuba.
During the tour we learned about the history of the Conch Republic, and how the area “seceded” from the United States in April 1982 because of a roadblock that the US Border Patrol had setup on Highway US 1 to check cars coming from the keys for immigrants and narcotics. This roadblock caused an unwanted impact to residents of the area, as well as the important tourism business. The Key West city council tried to get an injunction against the roadblock and failed. Since they were being treated as a foreign nation, the Conch Republic was “formed”. The Mayor of Key West was proclaimed Prime Minister. He symbolically declared war against the US by breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man wearing a naval uniform. After one minute, he “surrendered” to the man in uniform and applied for one billion dollars in foreign aid.
Of course, no trip to Key West would be complete without a stop at the “Southernmost Point” of the continental US. Technically, there are several points in the Continental US that are further south than this marker, but they are privately owned and not open to the public. There was previously a sign at this location, but since it was stolen many times, it was replaced by this gigantic marker. This marker is actually a painted concrete sewer junction that was too heavy to be easily moved, so it was painted to look like a buoy. Because the rain was so heavy this day, we cut our trip short and went back to the ship to relax and dry off.