We all rode our dinghies to Burdine's Restaurant for dinner. It's located just past the Boot Key Lift Bridge and offers outside dining under a Tiki Hut, great sunsets, and live music. There were 12 of us sharing two tables, good conversation, and from time to time lamenting the downturn of the stock market this week. The really big concern though was whether or not we would see the "green flash" at sunset. Evidently when the conditions are right there is a bright green flash as the sun disappears over the horizon. Alas, no green flash tonight.... The music and the company were great though.
We have added a new hammock swing to the bow of our boat which is a great place to read or just look out over the mooring field. If I'm not careful the swing can go right out over the water and back which is pretty darn cool.
Roosters seem to be the mascot of the Florida Keys. They are also the symbol of France which is interesting. They strut around Key Largo and Key West flaunting their colorful feathers and their independent natures.
Our friends, Gordon and Lorrie, have never been to Key West so we visited Duval Street, of coarse. We stopped at the Lazy Gecko for $2.00 drafts, shopped at some great stores, and then we had dinner at the Hog's Breath Saloon which is a Key West tradition. One of the best shops on Duval Street was a hammock store that was filled with colorful hammock swings that you could hang off the bow of your boat. Every sailboat needs a reading room and the hammock swing fits the bill! We did not wait for the sunset but left town at 5:00 to catch the northbound Key's Shuttle to Marathon. We'll visit Mallory Square another day!
Eight of us cruisers took the bus to Key West for the Seafood Festival. It's a great deal-$1.50 per person one way to the mall in Key West via the Keys shuttle bus. We all walked to the festival from there and enjoyed the fresh seafood, crafts show and the music. The lobster was sweet and delicious!
Today we attended our first boat concert via our dinghy. There were two guitarists and an opera singer aboard Maggie just before Sister's Creek here in Boot Key. We all enjoyed the stories and the songs while we floated in our dinghies-all tied off together in one giant dinghy web. The people behind us were from Wayland and went to school with Jim and Charlie Brewer....small world!
This photo is looking past Sister's Creek to the Boot Key Bridge and shows about one-fourth of the moored boats here at the City Marina mooring field. It is still very cold but warmer temps are predicted for the end of this week. We are trying to keep warm! However, even in the cold this harbor is charming.
We arrived in Boot Key Friday, January 8th, the only nice day we've had in almost ten days. Here is a photo of us at marker 10 just before the Boot Key Bridge which is always up. Since arriving we have had the coldest weather on record for the last 30 years in Marathon......two days ago it was 42 degrees in our cabin when we woke up. In addition to the cold the winds have been howling 20-25 knots every day. One good thing is that most days have been sunny so our solar panels have our batteries charged in full by noon every day. However that doesn't help us with heat. We are using a propane camping heater just in the mornings for about an hour. All the cruisers here look like they are dressed for skiing at Swain! Sunday we went to Hurricane's for their rib special with friends Lorrie and Gordon, and Larry and Suzi. It was warm in the restaurant!
We left Marina del Mar at 7:15 in the morning. This is a photo of the bow of Waves of Grace looking back to the famous "Crash Corner" which is a 90 degree turn in the canal and pretty scary when you meet another boat, hence its name. We had a good motor/sail to Marathon via Hawk Channel. There were lots of sailboats on the move as really bad weather is forcasted for this week-end with very cold temps, rain, and high winds. We were very lucky to get a mooring ball at 1:15 when we arrived in Boot Key harbor. We are just across from Sisters' Creek on N-12. We are so happy to be back! Gordon, from Mystic, was at our mooring ball ready to help us tie off.
This is a photo of our last sunset in Key Largo at Marina del Mar. We said good-bye to lots of friends including the two women that I teach ESL, Yalina and Dalgis. Yalina and her family are from Cuba and live in a beautiful home on one of the Port Largo canals. They shared a traditional Cuban dinner with us at their home for New Year's Eve. We had slow-cooked pork, rice and black beans, yucca, and flan. It was delicious. Miguel, 10 years old, translated for Walt and I got to practice my Spanish...how cool is that!
We stopped at the Lorelei Restaurant, bay side, in Islamorada with Jim and Linda. The sun was out and the band was setting up for the afternoon...just beautiful! We walked, took photos of the mermaid and ordered a few brews. For lunch we toured Sombrero Beach in Marathon and had a picnic overlooking the waterfront. The Florida Keys are amazing and we love it here.
The prayer gardens at the San Pablo Catholic Church in Marathon are gorgeous! There is a river walk that is decorated with angels, Christmas Stars, a full size Creche and lots of Christmas lights. There is gentle, soft music playing throughout the gardens and it is very relaxing.
What do you give your grown children for Christmas? It's always a problem choosing the right gift but this year I gave Walt, Steve, and Lars a four-hour fishing trip on Sailor's Choice. The weather was sunny but windy so the fishing boat went as far as Molasses Reef, a bit into the ocean, and then back to the reef because there were quite a few waves. Steve caught a yellow tale snapper that we ate for dinner.
Christmas week was quite windy with temperatures in the mid-70's so it was near impossible to go snorkeling at Molasses Reef. We did go out for a sail in Hawk Channel and made it back to our slip just after dark. Walt is getting good at backing Waves of Grace into her slip.....good thing as the docks are short and it's very hard to get off the boat from the bow.
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