Getting Set for the “winter” Season

Two weeks have already passed since we first grabbed a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor. We still feel as though we are just getting settled. Of course, we had a few standard items to tackle when we arrived. We made a small grocery run, since we were on foot at this point. We still had to rent a car to drive north to pick up our car in Vero Beach.  Our bikes were in the car, so we didn’t have access to them either.

Once we picked up the car, we could get a major grocery order. I also drove up to Dolphin Research Center to arrange my volunteer time for the coming season.  And Sandra stopped by The Art Studio to confirm her schedule there as a visiting artist to teach how to make pine needle baskets. She’ll be leading two classes during the coming months.

image

A collection of her recent baskets

We have managed to find time to enjoy the area as well. We’ve been kayaking twice into the mangroves of Boot Key. Both times we went late in the day to avoid the hot sun. As we glided along, we managed to disturb many herons and egrets of different sorts who were settling down for the night.

image

image

Maddie in the mangroves with me

We also got out of the harbor for an overnight at our favorite mangrove island in the Bay. As usual, we were totally alone except for the cormorants and frigate birds. Away from the lights of Marathon, the Milky Way was especially bright.

Then, of course, there’s the boat project list. Our alternator was sent off to be rebuilt, but it was bad enough that buying new made more sense. The refrigerator is acting up, and I’ve been calling tech support and trying a number fixes. So far, no luck.

I should also tell all that the weather is still summer like, but we get to jump off the boat several times a day if necessary to cool down. We’ve seen a slight change over the past several days. We expect that we’ll be required to swim fewer times each day by the end of the month.

One last item of local news: a 26 foot boat arrived at Sombrero Beach the other night with 14 refugees from Cuba. I went to the beach when I heard about it the next day, but the boat had already been towed away, so no photo to share.

Cruisers haven’t really begun to arrive yet, but that should change soon.

This last photo is to remind all that Marathon has more of the best sunsets than most anywhere we’ve been.

Carpe Diem
Captain Bob

image

Posted from WordPress for Android

Traveling the Keys

The weather seems to dictate all of our travel these days. While in Miami the weather forecast changed on a daily basis.

image

We’re always watching the weather – especially this time of year.

The day we left the weather forecast had changed again but looked good, so we headed out into what turned out to be a quick rain shower, but then it settle down and was a good day sailing down through Biscayne Bay into Card Sound. Our destination on this first day was Pumpkin Key, a small island at the north end of Key Largo and right near a channel that allows us to cut through the Island chain to get out into Hawk Channel, more ocean like sailing than in Biscayne Bay and also a more direct route to Marathon.

image

Our first sunrise in the Keys. It doesn’t get better than this!

We had a very settled but warm night at Pumpkin Key and then headed out the next morning through Angelfish Creek which is the name of the cut into Hawk Channel. We traveled down Hawk Channel under nearly ideal conditions for short day to Tavernier Key at the southern end of Key Largo. This was our first stop at this anchorage, and it turned out to be a reasonable one with good protection and a very calm evening. That night while we were tying up our dinghy to the back of the boat, we both notice that the dinghy painter, that is the rope that connects the dinghy to the boat when we’re pulling it, was really frayed badly and looking like it needed to be changed sooner rather than later. However no thought was given to it the next morning as we headed out from Tavernier Key with plans to travel down to Marathon. After we had sailed several miles south of Tavernier Key, we got a phone call from the Coast Guard. Turns out that somebody had picked up a yellow dingy that matched our description and it had our registration numbers on it. I assured the Coast Guard caller that our dinghy was securely attached to the back of our boat, and so she asked me to get the registration numbers off the dinghy. I excused myself from the phone and went to the back of the boat to check the registration numbers on the dinghy. At that point I realized there was no dinghy there, and our dinghy was the one that somebody had found. So we turned around and headed back toward where the dinghy had been located. It turned out that a dive boat captain found it and ended up tying it to a mooring ball at a dive site we had passed about a half an hour previous. We were very fortunate that this happened. Otherwise we might not have ever gotten our dinghy back.

image

          The dinghy we almost lost

The retreival was a 2 hour ordeal.  We couldn’t tie up to the mooring ball because it was pretty shallow right there. So we had to drop the anchor and put one of our kayaks overboard so I could paddle to the dinghy, attach the two together and then come back to the boat. Then reattach everything and head south once again.

By this time we were emotionally, if not physically, spent so we decided to make it a shorter day of travel turn north through Channel 5 and take advantage of an anchorage we’d used before, dropping the hook for the night. The next morning we began again by going back out through Channel 5, back into Hawk Channel and down to Marathon.

image

      Our first rainbow after arriving

So we have arrived.  No more long traveling for a bit. Within a few days we will be renting a car and driving up to Vero Beach to pick up our car and return with it. Beyond that we’ll be getting ourselves organized here for the winter and begin to tackle some boat projects. There are always boat projects to tackle. More on that in upcoming blog posts. Until then…
Carpe Diem.

Captain Bob

Posted from WordPress for Android