Libby, aboard Tarwathie, is teaching pine needle basket classes here at the marina. The baskets that can be made out of pine needles, sliced walnuts, and shells are just amazing. I have started two but they don't look quite as nice as this one made by a woman with lots of experience. The pine needles are hard to pick up here on Vaca Key, we have to take the bus to Big Pine to collect needles. It's OK, only $1.50 bus fare for old people!
Here you can see the old and the new 7-mile bridges.....one of a series of bridges that link the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West. We rode our bikes to Pigeon Key and saw 8 huge spotted manta rays with wing spans from 4-5 feet gliding along beneath the bridge. It was happy hour at the Sunset Bar and Grill so we cooled off with a brew pool-side and then biked back to Boot Key. There is always something fun to do here and we keep fit with all of the walking and biking that we do. Sunshine today and in the 80's...no rain for the last three weeks!
The social life here in Marathon is incredible! This morning I attended Libby's pine needle basket making class....wow, it's labor intensive! No wonder these baskets cost so much to purchase! We played tennis early and Bill gave Walt some lessons....then our dinghy was picked up for some warranty work, and I had to use the kyack to get in from the boat. We had dinner for six on our boat tonight, Bonnie and Sid plus Rich and Anna. Sailors are such agreeable folks...and fun to boot!
Today we biked to Sombrero Beach after our tennis match and we saw this Manatee mailbox...how cute! Friday is $5.00 lunch day at Hurricane's so we just had to go and were quite surprised to find a good portion of the marina already there! Bonnie and Sid came with us and we met Anna and Rich and also Wayne and Patty who were here in
Boot Key on their sailboat two years ago but are now at the camp sites near-bye with their camper and motor boat. This afternoon we played Balderdash aboard Anythings Paw-sible, a lagoon 420 with hosts Shelly and Lynn plus 4 other couples. This is Dick and Libby's favorite game and it was great with 12 people. While we were playing this white heron dropped by to say hi!
Lots of people wonder what we do all day here in the Florida Keys......well, we've been so busy since we arrived in Marathon last Sunday that I've forgotten to blog! We have started playing tennis again every morning at the community tennis courts which are awesome. We played singles yesterday and doubles today. Monday we provisioned the boat and I attended a pine needle basket weaving class taught by Libby, a friend aboard Tarwathie. Yesterday we had a Boot Key Harbor pot luck dinner and today we went to Hurricanes's for their wing night special. Walt had someone from Shoreline come over and check our dinghy which is having issues in the transom with faulty glue. It seems that the glue is only good to 74 degrees, not the 80 plus we encounter here in Florida. we'll know more tomorrow. Today we finally left the anchorage and went to ball V-3 in the mooring field...and then celebrated at wing night...the gaudy lights in this photo are proof that there is night life here in Marathon!
We had a great motor-sail today on Hawk Channel to a packed Boot Key Harbor...every mooring ball taken, every inch of dock space gone, and a full anchorage! Winds today were 15-24 knots with white caps but lots of sunshine! The craziness today were the crab pots everywhere, on port, then on starboard and difficult to see bobbing in the waves. We didn't snag any! We've anchored and we're number 12 on the waiting list for a mooring ball.
FIU met us this morning in Key Biscayne and we both sailed Hawk Channel to Rodriquez Key where we anchored at 2:15. The winds today were from the north at 15-21 knots with a broad reach so we had a nice motor-sail. This photo of the Biscayne Light has a view of Miami in the background. The turquoise water today was stunning....we have arrived in the Florida Keys! Yea!
We enjoyed our stay in Vero Beach for 4 days and 5 nights. We met with Capt Larry and Saltwater Suzi, friends from Charleston and Marathon, Wed. night for happy hour. They are buying a house in Vero beach and selling their sailboat-they have lived aboard for the last 15 years! Wow..... We sailed to Lake Worth via the ocean yesterday for 66 miles while Bonnie and Sid aboard FIU took the ICW. This morning we left Lake Worth at 6:45 and took the ocean route to No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne where we anchored outside at 5:30 with two other boats. FIU anchored in Miami and will meet us tomorrow. No Name was packed with sailboats as this is a three-day week-end. This photo of Miami was taken under cloudy skies as we sailed past with light winds from behind and an opposing current.
Today was a beautiful ICW day from Mosquito Lagoon to Vero City Marina...89 miles and 11 1/2 hours. Yes, we came into the marina after dark at 6:30 with our spotlight out. We are on mooring ball 41 and we were surprised to see so many boats here in January. The ICW was very wide but very shallow, especially around Haulover Cut, Titusville, Cocoa Beach, and Melbourne. We did see a collection of pink roseate spoonbills...their wings are pink and they have white heads. There are only 450 know nesting spoonbills in all of Florida and many are located near Haulover Cut. I also saw some huge black vultures....yuck. I took the photo of the sunrise at Mosquito Lagoon and the egret was perched next to our boat here in Vero.
We left San Sebastian River at 7:00 this morning in light fog but by the time we pulled out into the channel we were in deep fog...and no radar. We slowly motored south at about 3 knots until almost 9:00 and then made some great time with the current going with us.
Some of the ICW is VERY shallow and I hit some mud in the middle of some crab pots but it was a touch and go. We got behind a huge barge in Daytona and finally passed him, then on to Ponce de Leon Inlet. The sun set before 6:00 but we had light until 6:30 and then anchored just off the ICW at Mosquito Lagoon with one other sailboat in just 7 feet of water. It was dark, but the moon was out.....82 miles today... 11 1/2 hours!
Why do we do this? Actually we love the water, the adventure, the dolphins playing near us, the sunrises and sunsets, playing rummy in the cockpit with just the candles burning....what's not to like?
We left the Fernandina anchorage at 7:00 and pulled alongside the marina dock so we could walk Ranger, go to the post office and walk to my cousin Marilyn's shrimp dock (she is not here on Amelia Island yet). It's very quiet along the docks.....probably because it's January and it's cold! We headed out into the ocean where we sailed and then motor-sailed in 17-24 knots of wind from the NW to St Augustine and made the 4:00 Bridge of Lions opening. On to the Sebastian River where we wove around many marinas filled with deserted sailboats till we finally anchored across from Oyster Marina. There is not much room here but it's calm and quiet.
Wow, is it cold down south!!!! Yesterday was a long day on the ICW with winds between 17-27 knots. We left Beaufort at 7:15 and had a real nasty ride for an hour in Port Royal Sound but we did Field's Cut, Skidaway narrows and Hell's Gate all at high tide. We covered 80 miles and put in at Kilkenny Marina so we could have heat on the boat. Today we left the dock at 6:30 and went out St. Catherine's Sound to Fernandina and took a mooring ball. We did 88 ocean miles instead of 103 ICW miles. Not much wind but the sun was out, the ocean was stunning, and we didn't have to worry about bridges or skinny water. Wish we could sail the ocean everyday!
Big surprise this morning when we turned on NOAA radio.....a cold front is coming through today with gale force winds. It's never fun to anchor in 25-35 knot winds and it's especially bad when the wind chill will be down to 12 degrees. So we pulled into the City Marina here in Beaufort with a collection of other sailboats and trawlers. It's sunny and beautiful with porch swings the entire length of the waterfront. The roses and pansies are blooming right now.....wonder what they'll look like tomorrow morning! The marina is shutting off all the water to the docks at 4:00, otherwise the lines will freeze. We'll be warm-the heater is running!
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