We are anchored here in Lake Worth for the second night and are departing for the Abacos tomorrow morning at 5:30 with two other couples aboard their 39' cutter. We'll anchor in Great Sale Cay tomorrow night and then continue to Green Turtle where we'll clear customs. We have a weather window to get around the whale and into Marsh Harbor for the week-end. Hopefully I can pick up wi-fi from there. Today we spent a great morning touring Peanut Island which was created from material dredged to make the Lake Worth ocean inlet. In 2005 the $15 million Peanut Island Enhancement project was completed and is open to the public. There are campsites, picnic tiki huts, beaches, nature trails, great snorkeling, reef boardwalk, and boat docks. What a great place to visit!
We spent the night in Biscayne Bay in a nice 8-9' anchorage in front of Hurricane Harbor with a view of the city....quite awesome. Early this morning we followed the ICW north into Miami and then out Government Cut into the ocean via Fisherman's Channel. The winds were 2 knots and the ocean was like glass. We motored past Ft. Lauderdale and around 12:30 a front from the north hit us at 21 knots....we still had 34 more miles to do before Lake Worth...yuck! We turned around and headed back to Ft. Lauderdale for the night...we're in no hurry as we can't cross to the Bahamas til next Wed or Thursday.
Laundry is always an issue when you are cruising on a boat. We have a small hand crank portable Wonder Wash on board and it works great when we can't get to a laundromat....crank the clothes, wring by hand and hang out to dry on the life lines. But in Marathon there is a laundromat at the marina...$2.00 for a cold wash and #2.00 to dry. There is always a line and doing the wash takes about two hours. So I stopped at the laundromat near I-Hop...the only one around and look at these prices! $4.00 a load and $8.50 for a front loader...wow! The owner was in when I took this pic and she said just to hook up to the water and sewer cost her $180,000. Then she has to pay a monthly water and sewer bill on top of the hook-up fee. No wonder laundromats are scarce on the Keys. But then again, there is no fresh water here....it's all pumped in from the mainland.
We are getting ready to leave the harbor and the list of tasks is endless......fill water, gas, and diesel tanks. We have to mail all of our letters, do the shopping for 2 months, and make sure we have the weather info that we need. We are still waiting for our AIS and e-perb to be delivered that we ordered at the show last Friday. Sid arrived today to hoist Walt up in our bosun's chair so that he could attach lines for our quarantine and Bahamian courtesy flags which we'll use when arriving in the Abacos.
We visited Flamingo Key the other day and passed this very unique mailbox. The owner must love fishing! The mailboxes in the Keys are very different from up north and the manatee and dolphin mailboxes are everywhere, but a lure?
Today was hot, sunny and beautiful....I paddled the kayak to Sombrero Beach via Sister's Creek which was lined with mangroves. There were water birds peeking through the branches but the bushes look so tangled it's hard to believe that anything else could work their way into the dense growth. Sombrero Beach is beautiful and lots of people were reading, playing volleyball, swimming and just enjoying the weather.
Today we rented a car and drove to the 2012 Miami Boat Show. The show is huge and uses shuttle buses and a water taxi to get people where they want to go. We started at the in-water sailboat show and checked out the new Catalinas, Island Packets, Tartans, and Hylas models. All the boats were air-conditioned....how nice on such a HOT day! We took the bus to the convention center and bought an AIS and an e-perb as safety precautions when we cross to the Bahamas next week. I feel much better knowing that we can at least notify the US Coast Guard if we are having trouble as our phone and computer don't work in the ocean. I'll register the e-perb as soon as it arrives this week. The AIS unit will allow us to see where the freighters and big ships are in relation to our boat and then we can steer clear of them.....good plan!
Dinghies are essential to the cruising boat, especially here in Marathon where over 240 boats are on mooring balls. Without your dinghy there are no trips to the store, the beach, happy hour at other boats, or to the marina showers..... You are totally isolated without your dinghy. Even Ranger loves our dink because when he's aboard he knows he's going to shore for a walk and a visit with other boating canines. Most dinghies don't like salt water....as critters attach themselves to the bottom as well as lots of algae. Walt spent an hour or two cleaning the bottom of our dink so it would glide through the water better. Keeping up with the salt environment is quite a challenge.
We had some interesting planes visit us here in Marathon this week. This is a photo of boats in Boot Key Harbor mooring field and up above the masts is a B-17 headed for the airport where you could pay for rides. Also flying around were the B-24 and the P-51 Mustang....it was quite a sight....also very noisy. This week we also had a craft show located in the K-Mart parking lot and a Pigeon Key Art Show located at the airport.....always lots going on!
One of the really great things about Marathon is the Community Park that adjoins the City Marina. The four tennis courts here are fantastic, with bathrooms and drinking fountains just a step away. Everyone plays tennis here in the Keys. We are fortunate to have Bill, a tennis instructor, who decided to coach us two years ago and who picked us up again as soon as we arrived in Boot Key this year. Every day he helps us with our swings, serves, and foot placement. It's great and we are improving nicely! We never had the luxury of lessons before.....thanks, Bill for all the time you've spent with us!
Steve and Juliann visited us here in Marathon for about 2 and a half days and we filled each day to the max! We sailed on Saturday even though the winds were gusting to 28 and there were crab pots everywhere, what a ride! Then we went to the Sunset Grille for Happy Hour..Steve and Juliann swam in the pool. Off to Burdine's for dinner on the second story deck and JO MAMAS Band. Sunday we spent the day in Key West walking Duval Street, Mallory Square, and lunch at the Hog's Breath Saloon. Tuesday Steve flies to the Philippines for three weeks to oversee the TI production department of the silicone testers. We keep busy!
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