We Are Underway

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As I write this, the sun has set for the last time this season on our Keys experience.  We are definitely on our northern adventure. And an adventure it has already been. We began with a couple of quiet days in Florida Bay at one of our favorite anchorages.  It was our fourth time there this season. Friends from Marathon came out to spend a night with us which made this end/beginning that much better.

On our second day there, the resident barracuda came over to our boat as it had in previous visits. It was calm and non-threatening, but at nearly five feet in length, it gets our attention.

After a brief swing by what will be our marina next season, we headed up the Keys for our first day of travel.  While the travel went well, our anchoring at Rodriguez Key was not as positive. It is often a bit tricky anchoring where a thin layer of sand covers hard coral. When a  thunderstorm arrived between 11 and midnight with strong winds, we began to drag our anchor.  We wrestled with the situation for nearly an hour before getting the anchor up, cleaned off and reset. It was well after midnight before we settled down to attempt sleep as the wind continued to howl.

It was pleasant in the morning, and our planned destination of Pumpkin Key was a short day away, so we slept in and got a late start.

Upon arrival, we set the anchor carefully with lots of chain, since we knew more storms were in the forecast.  Well right on schedule the storm came,  and we dragged again. We got things sorted out more quickly, but sleep was illusive.

The next morning offered more wind on the nose, but was a decent day otherwise. We arrived in a very different world that afternoon.

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               Approaching Miami

The north end of Biscayne Bay got busy with all sorts of boats. Then we traveled through the Port of Miami with its cruise ships. As in earlier trips here, we anchored in South Beach, surrounded be tall condos.

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The cruise ships line up for the thousands who line up each week.

The best aspect of this anchorage was the clay on the bottom for our anchor to dig the into. No more dragging to worry about.

We took a day to get organized for the next stretch with lots of bridges, super expensive homes and a few super yachts as well.  This meant getting ashore for a few perishables (fruits and veggies) as well a bit of drinking water. This also gave us a chance for our first walk on land in six days. We’d get a brief view of the activity at South Beach.

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One of the tourist attractions – a duck boat ride around the harbor

The marine forecast still sounded a bit nasty, so we opted for the ICW and all that included as mentioned above. The first day was a short one with fewer than a dozen bridges.
   Our first bridge opening of the trip

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Our first bridge to deal with
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One the local boats

      
               Local boats in Miami

Arriving in Ft. Lauderdale, we were reminded of its title as the yachting capital of the world. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it is a bit overwhelming to see so many large yachts in one city, a city that also appears from our ICW perspective as one where most travel is via the network of canals. This is not surprising, given that the city has five times as many miles of canals as Venice.
                  The simple life

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Today we continued our travels on the ICW, since the ocean forecast called for 5-6 foot waves with occasional ones of 8 feet. The ICW was a little breezy but otherwise not a problem. We continued to be amazed at the wealth exemplified by very large yachts and mansions. By the time we reached the Palm Beach area, these bungalows were as big but had more land. Donald Trump has an estate here – one of several, no doubt.

Today was also another bridge day, our busiest of the trip with 15 in all.

Tomorrow we continue the journey with plans to reach Vero Beach by Friday. We’ll spend the weekend in this familiar spot. We have a few errands, and the free bus service will make that easier.  We also prefer not to travel the ICW in south Florida on the weekend. It’s really a zoo.

More to come.

Carpe Diem
Captain Bob

The Season Comes to an End

Our time in Marathon has rushed past once again. While we have been busy with a variety of activities, I haven’t managed to add to the blog. Sorry about that. Now that we are preparing to leave, it seems appropriate to get back into it.

As our plans stand at the moment, we expect to leave sometime during the week of of April 11th to head north. If all goes as planned, we will arrive in Virginia by the first of June. 

A month and a half may seem like a long time to travel the1200 miles, but you must keep in mind that our travel speed is in the neighborhood of six mph. 

Later in June, we will head further north to Maine. After family visits in NH and Ma and a week at a cottage on the coast of Maine, we’ll do a bit of coastal cruising before turning south once again.

The trip could last as long as seven months. To be as prepared as possible, we’ve created lists to guide us in checking all the boat systems and to be sure we are properly equipped for the journey.  But talk of preparing can be boring, so I’ll focus a bit on some of the highlights of the season just ending.

Major highlights include the visit of each of our daughters. Samantha came for a week with family which included our three grandsons.   We enjoyed the beach days, a day in Key West and a day at Theater of the Sea. Below is a shot of one of Chris’ favorite moments petting parrot fish.

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A short time later Jennifer and her dog Kaya arrived for a visit. We had a great time with her. Kayaking provided a highlight. We met up with a mother and child manatee who just wanted to visit. We tried to keep our distance, but the young one would have none of it and kept swimming over to us.

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We managed another trip to Key West with Jenn. This time we got to see a Spanish gallion that had just arrived.

I also found a sign that indicated how far we were from our old stomping grounds of Mobjack Bay in the southern Chesapeake

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Aside from our visits with daughters and families, we also got to visit my sisters and then cousins I hadn’t seen in many years.

In between this visiting I continued my weekly volunteering at the Dolphin Research Center, and Sandra volunteered at the local hospital once each week.  In an earlier blog post, I included a photo of a hyacinth macaw named Blue. Sandra painted that photo and gave it to the woman at Dolphin Research Center who cares for him.

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Both Sandra and I continued to enjoy our fifth season here in the Tai Chi class as well.

We also got together with friends we’d met while cruising or here in Marathon. They hale from far away places from California to Maine and Wisconsin to Ohio and North Carolina to Colorado. We also met a couple who live in their motor home several months each year here in Marathon.

It’s been another enjoyable season, but we now look forward to the new adventure of travel. Aside from our trip to the Bahamas a couple of years ago, we’ve not taken the boat out of So. Florida for four years. 

I’ll look forward to updating one and all regularly as we head north.

Captain Bob
Carpe Diem