We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas in Key Largo with Laurie and Lars, Stacey, and Steve. Even my cousin Marilyn came for a visit. We made three trips to the Ft. Lauderdale airport which was extremely busy this year. Stacey arrived just ahead of the ice storm that hit up north. We had a Toyota mini-van for three days that seated seven people! It was great! Not so great was the trip to the ER in Marathon after church on Christmas Day. Walt has been sick for over a week and come to find out he has strep throat.....not good on a boat with seven people... but he is on medication and slowly getting better. While Walt was at the hospital I showed everyone the City Marina where we'll be spending the winter, the community park, Sombrero Beach and the prayer gardens at San Pedro Church.
We had an amazing day yesterday. We went to visit with Mike and Brenda at their beautiful apartment which is located one block from Marina del Mar in a private villa. The owner is from Freeport, Long Island which is near Baldwin where I grew up. He is also Cuban and his wife is from Ecuador so I'm getting lots of practice with my Spanish. We met the owner's son, Rick, who is a born again Catholic and a tennis player. We played a bit of tennis and then after dinner he drove us to Islamorada where the Baptist Church put on a magnificent Christmas Pageant at the high school. It reminded me of productions at Family Life Ministries in Bath, N.Y. The focus was totally on Jesus Christ and the music was wonderful.
Today Rick picked us up again and we all attended Mass at San Pedro on Islamorada. Coffee and donuts were served after church and we met lots of really nice people. They were having a Christmas bazaar in the church hall-lots of nice gift possibilities.
Ranger seems to attract people....he's like a magnet and everyone wants to pet him. So we met a couple from Quebec, Pierre and Gisele who were admiring Ranger. I got to practice my French and learned that his family was one of the first to arrive in New France. He is in an RV and stays at all the Moose Clubs around the US. He's also a singer and does karaoke here in Key Largo at the Moose Club. He's 74 and doesn't look a day over 55. Must be the warm weather here acts like a preservative!
I am tutoring some people at Marina del Mar in ESL and I have contacted the ESL director for some materials. There is such a need for tutors as lots of the employees in Key Largo don't speak any English at all. Rick (who is bi-lingual) is getting trained and when Walt and I head back to Marathon he'll be continuing the teaching.
We sure do seem to keep VERY busy!
We are back in Key Largo and loving every minute of it. Here Waves of Grace is backed into her slip so that we can easily get on and off the boat. We had breakfast with Diana and Howard from C-Horse on the veranda. Mike stopped to say hi although he and Brenda are renting a place here in Key Largo this year rather than staying on their boat "Foxy". After the reunion Walt and I played tennis and then cooled off in the pool. We are having record high temperatures this week and I had to take Ranger into the air-conditioned lobby to cool him off.
We spent a few hours at Sombrero Beach which is just around the corner from our mooring field. We can take the dinghy through Sisters' Creek or we can ride our bikes on the new sidewalks. Today we took our bikes because McDonald's is on the way back and we wanted to order some hot fudge sundaes and senior cokes. It's a three mile bike ride to the beach one-way so that keeps the pounds off! The beach is beautiful with picnic tables, bath houses, and a playground.
Marathon City Marina has been upgrading their facilities in the last three years to attract more and more transients. It has now become a winter destination and by mid-January the 226 ball mooring field will be full of boats that will be spending three or four months here. There is a Tiki Hut near the water with grills and a huge new dinghy dock. We have met cruisers from Lake Ontario and tomorrow we are all going for Buffalo Wings at the Hurricane Bar and Grill right down the road. Our wing tradition carries on!
Walt and I have been avid sailors for 38 years. Our retirement dream was to sail to Florida and the Bahamas for the winter months which we did for the first time last year, 2007-2008. We decided that we loved the cruising life
and four days after our return to Lake Ontario we traded our Catalina 320, Eagle's Wings, in for a Catalina 42 which we named Waves of Grace. We hope to continue to cruise in the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas for many years to come