Thursday, January 22, 2009

Marathon in the Florida Keys!

Since our last blog, we have had some interesting days. After leaving Coconut Grove we stayed in a small, "Keysie" (the word they use down here to describe quaint but rather tacky places!) marina at Key Largo for 3 days waiting out the wind. Here is Rickshaw at the rickety dock. They had a great German restaurant, though, so we enjoyed that.
We left early on Sunday heading to Islamorada. We had taken this trip the last time we were here and knew that it would be dicey because the water is so shallow. We had about 6 miles where we went very slowly hoping to not bump the bottom. As soon as Lynnie said 'Yippee...we haven't bumped yet'...we did! Three times, in fact. We don't like to bump because it could damage the props. But in this case it was just the keel stirring up sand. While it was very stressful, it was also very pretty. The water is a beautiful turquoise and there are mangrove islands all around.

We were very happy to arrive in the anchorage at Islamorada which had 8 feet of water. Phew!We took the dingy down and went to a favorite restaurant, Lorilei, for a late lunch and watched the NFL playoffs. The dingy has been having troubles starting since we left NC. We bought a new battery for it, which we thought was the problem. Turns out it was only one of the problems but Rick figured out that the battery switch was also bad. Once he bypassed the switch it has worked just fine. We got back to Rickshaw, pulled the dingy on top and sat on the back deck and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

The next day we again left early because we were going 'outside' which meant that we were headed for Marathon, on Vaca Key, in the Atlantic ocean. We wanted an early start because the winds were supposed to kick up again after noon. We passed a shoal that had what appeared be hundreds of birds hanging out on it. We also passed some fish haven sticks in the water that the cormorants took advantage of to hang out and dry their wings.

The winds came sooner than anticipated at 15-20 knots and we were in 2 - 3 foot seas, with an occasional 4 footer, for most of the trip. We were rocking and rolling with water occasionally breaking over the bow of the boat. As we were making our way into the channel, dodging crab pots, a huge black cloud blew in and with it a soaking rain. We were exhausted but happy to make it to our marina.

On Tuesday Vicki, Norm and their neice came over to watch the inauguration on our satellite TV. What a thrill to see it. We had been having some troubles with the satellite TV but those gremlins seem to have gone...probably to some other part of the boat. I'm sure we will see them soon enough!

We will be here for a few weeks getting the new window panels made and installed on the bridge. It will be wonderful to be able to see out of them. With our old ones, it is sort of like looking out the bottom of a coke bottle!
The winds are still blowing, but we are comfortably tucked into our slip at Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, with our boating buddies just up the dock. Boat chores, haircuts, some fishing and dining with friends are in the offing, so life is good.