more Key West cruise ship channel rape referendum news, and a super eco-tourist idea for Wisteria Island

cruise ship leaves Outer Mole

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In today’s (2 July 2013) “on this day” section of the Key West Citizen –

1985 The queen conch (pronounced “Konk”), or Strombus gigas, the symbol of the Florida Keys, was declared an endangered species.

queen conchwild queen conch

queen conch polishedtourist trap version

Going back to last Friday and coming forward, I borrowed the comments in the Citizen’s Voice section on the channel-rape study. There were no citizen comments in favor. I also included a dear-to-my-heart comment about Wisteria Island. My inserted thoughts in italics. I added all pics.

“I really enjoyed the article on the channel study the other day and I noticed there was a ‘gang of three’ — one was a bar pilot, the other was a banker. You can’t tell me they don’t have self-serving interests. Bar pilots would be out of a job without the larger cruise ships.”

Bar pilots not only want bigger cruise ships, they want more of the “smaller” cuise ships now calling on Key West, which can’t crab (tack) into the channel on days when the wind is blowing from the wrong direction. If 1.4 mile long x 150 feet wide x 40 feet deep of native sea bed is gouged from the west side of the channel, then the bigger cruise ships and the “smaller” cruise ships will have no trouble getting into the channel. 

“One day I read in the paper that there’s a lack of barracuda; another day, there’s a lack of bonefish. This all stems from a lack of water quality. And now we have two groups of self-serving individuals who want to further degrade our water quality. The feasibility study of widening and/or deepening the shipping channel does not need to be done.”

“The anti-dredging people better start campaigning, because the bigwig greedy kids are gonna sell the study right down our throats. It’s time to finally say no to greed and move on down other avenues that can bring us prosperity. We must put our energy toward the ecotourists of the world. Let’s fill our town with them.”

See Wisteria Island eco-tourist comment later on.

“Second-home owners are much more valuable to Key West than cruise ship passengers. They spend billions to buy their homes here and billions more fixing them up using local contractors and laborers. They pay enormous property taxes and hardly use our services, patronize local restaurants and stores, buy tickets to cultural events and support local charity.”

That comment replies to Robin Lockwood’s recent letter to the editor, in which Lockwood made up most of the channel-rape opposition was second-homeowners who do not live full-time in Key West. In fact, most of the second-homeowners, aka snowbirds, flew north and are not here. The anti-channel-rape clamoring mostly is coming from people who live in Key West year-round, as was demonstrated when the channel-rape issue was aired at Hometown! PAC’s call to candidates in early June after the snowbirds had flown north. The opposition to channel rape at that event was heavy according to Hometown!’s chairman Todd German, who did not use rape when he told me the opposition was heavy. 

“If I had the money, I would buy Wisteria Island and turn it into a nudist colony with nude beaches all the way around it.”

Amen, hallelujah. Nudists, with their wampum, would flock to Key West from all over North America, and from elsewhere. Word of it would travel instantaneously over the Internet. There would be no advertising cost. Key West hotels, motels, lodges, guest houses, restaurants and bars, watersports businesses, galleries, museums, etc., etc. would be replenished by what probably are the most eco eco-tourists of all. Below, Haulover “free beach” just above Miami.

Haulover Beach 2

“When I moved here in 1989, you could ride your bike on Duval Street in the early morning and smell breakfast cooking everywhere. Dogs slept on the street, there were no cruise ships and when we were broke, we went spear fishing for dinner. No one ever went hungry. Now we have fumes from cruise ships, no fish, and everyone blames BP for loss of income.”

“Dr. Lockwood, how do you know who attended the anti-dredging meeting? I was there and I didn’t see you. And most of the people who were there were longtime full-time residents.”

“Fury Watersports owner Scott Saunders, I don’t care if you’re 100th-generation Conch, you rape and pillage the reef every day. If you cared about the Keys, you’d be against the study.”

“In the last paragraph of Mike Morawski’s letter to the editor, he implies that you need to do this feasibility study to see that acres of the sea bottom won’t be torn up. Well, if you’re not going to tear up the sea bottom, why do the study?”

1.4 mile long x 150 feet wide x 40 feet deep of native sea bed, which they will dump where? Maybe in the ocean?

“I really live here, Dr. Lockwood. How come a retired orthopedic surgeon needs larger cruise ships? Is it because of all the watersports-related ventures? OK, I’m really going to listen to the Walsh family — more millionaires, who own a cruise ship dock — and a guy who takes hundreds of sunscreen-covered tourists out daily to ruin our reef.”

“The study on widening the channel could be done next week if the few people who will benefit from it would pay for it themselves. Why are taxpayers being asked to pay even a dollar to provide a study which will benefit only a very, very
few people in the city?”

“The big watersports companies have big plans: Drain the reef of all life with thousands of bodies crawling all over it and when it’s dead, completely, set up water sports fun park on the ocean and just have jet skies, climbing wall, para sail, kayaking, blah, blah, blah. Who needs the reef?”


Down below is a letter to the editor today from Mark Songer, past-president of Last Stand, which is supposed to be trying to protect the environment, but, led by Songer, Last Stand caved to the channel rapists who didn’t want the channel-widening study referendum wording to mention dredging or bigger cruise ships.

Referendum wording:

“Shall the City of Key West request that the Army Corps of Engineers conduct a comprehensive feasibility study, at no monetary cost to the City, to determine the environmental, economic and social impacts of widening the Key West Main Ship Channel for use by modern and longer cruise ships while also addressing navigational safety?”

Since when did the Army Corps of Engineers have to do with environmental, economic and social impact? This is federally-protected seabed. Shouldn’t the US Department of the Interior and the US Environmental Protection Agency at least determine the environmental impact? The Army Corps of Engineers is in the business of dredging, building, etc. It cannot possibly be neutral. Might as well hire Ed Swift, owner of Historic Tours of America, which runs street-clogging, noise-blaring, cruise-ship-passenger-laden conch trains and trolleys all over Key West, to do the study.

Critical comment on Fury was way off base

Mark SongerSonger

I was discouraged to read the Citizens’ Voice comment on Sunday criticizing Scott Saunders and Fury Water Adventures.

Perhaps the individual making that comment is unfamiliar with the Marine Sanctuary Blue Star certification. Fury has that certification, which means that all their employees are trained in how to protect the coral reef and sanctuary resources while helping thousands of visitors enjoy these natural wonders.

Perhaps the individual didn’t know that a portion of Fury profits are donated for research and coral restoration efforts.

Perhaps the individual didn’t know that Fury supports hundreds of Key West charities by giving away trips on their fleet; they never say no.

I don’t agree with everything Scott Saunders does, but the Citizens’ Voice comment was way off base this time.

Mark Songer

Key West

Even if Fury’s clients are not walking or standing on or touching or taking coral, it is known sunscreen kills coral.

You should have told The Citizen’s many readers what you don’t agree with about what Scott Saunders does. You also should have included the citizen comment to which you objected, so the readers would know what the other writer said:

“Fury Watersports owner Scott Saunders, I don’t care if you’re 100th-generation Conch, you rape and pillage the reef every day. If you cared about the Keys, you’d be against the study.”

cruise ship invasion

What does it say about bawdy Key West, which apparently loves eco-destructive cruise ships, but doesn’t want a Haloveresque nude beach, which would be a serious no-cost, eco-nomic stimulus package?

Haulover Beach


Sloan Bashinsky




About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; spoken for; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days at, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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