Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Wrongest Buoy On Earth

Okay, so everybody who's ever partied in Key West knows the deal: there's this world famous buoy marker there that marks the spot of the southernmost point in the United States. For many years, tourists have made their pilgrimage to it, posed for pictures with it, proudly went back to Toledo and showed everyone how they went about as fer as they could go.

The thing is, it's all wrong. And not just a little wrong; a lot wrong. Stop reading immediately if you don't wanna read the spoiler.

The buoy is faulty in four major ways: firstly, it's NOT the southernmost point in the United States and never has been. That distinction is reserved for Ballast Key, a privately-owned island further south where dwells the mysterious and eccentric billionaire David Wolkowsky. Very few people have ever gotten to visit this private island. Says the Wikipedia:

"He built a large house and guest house on the island and entertained many of his writer friends there, including Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote. He is known for serving hot dogs, white wine and potato chips to guests including British Prime Minister Edward Heath, various Rockefellers, Mellons and Vanderbilts. During construction of the island Wolkowsky sent his private barge out to the island loaded with building supplies as well as with chocolate pudding and souffles, from the Pier House kitchens, for his laborers."

Secondly, even if Ballast Key didn't exist and Key West were the southernmost of the Florida Keys, the buoy isn't even located at the southernmost point of Key West! That spot would be on the Truman Annex, where President Truman, back in the day, used to snowbird it as his winter home. The property belongs to the U.S. Navy and is not open to the public.

Thirdly, it states that it is 90 miles to Cuba from the site of the buoy. This is not quite right. It is 94 miles (81 nautical miles) to Cuba to be precise, and that would be from the Truman Annex, not from the buoy.

Fourthly and lastly, it isn't even really a buoy. It's actually an old piece of concrete sewer junction that was dug up in the area in the early 1980s and someone got the bright idea to paint it up to look like a buoy.

Even though the whole thing is wrong-em-boyo on multiple levels, it can be right with some repainting and rewording, although "Southernmost point accessible by civilians without an invitation from David Wolkowsky or the Navy" just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

No comments:

Post a Comment