Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boot Key Harbor to Manatee Pocket

We returned from Key West on Friday, April 9th, and spent the next two days on the boat in Boot Key Harbor, recovering! On Saturday Todd got in the water and cleaned the side of the boat at the waterline. That afternoon Linda (from “Where’s Linda”), laid back and looking very relaxed, stopped by on her way to get dingy fuel.


Sunday evening we went over to “September Song” and then to Dockside for a few drinks. We also spent Monday and Tuesday on the boat, during which time Todd put a new cable and hook on the dinghy davit.

A beautiful morning shot looking back toward the Sombrero Dockside marina .


Tuesday evening we joined several of the Dockside crew for drinks and dinner at the Sunset Grill. We all met at “September Song” and then eleven of us piled into two cars. Fortunately, the car Bob & Stephanie rented was large enough for two people to tuck themselves into the hatch and Todd and Stephanie volunteered for the honor!


A fun evening at the Sunset Grille.


The Admiral and Joe cut a rug.


Bob and Todd dropped me off at Winn-Dixie Wednesday morning while they went to run other errands. We were back by noon and spent the remainder of the day on the boat enduring 30-40 mph winds. Thankfully, Boot Key Harbor is very well protected so the water was relatively calm.

Todd dinghied over to do laundry Thursday morning and then the girls went shopping that afternoon. Seven of us piled in to Bob & Stephanie’s rental and we all took turns riding in the back hatch. By the time our stops were complete, it was all we could do to fit seven bodies and numerous bags into the vehicle! We had a good time, though, and I think everyone really enjoyed Daffy Doug’s Discount Dollar Store where there is something for everyone and the price is right!

That evening we again met at “September Song” before going to Dockside for rib night (the ribs were really good!). Since we were leaving Marathon the next morning, a number of our boat friends stopped in to say goodbye.


We left Boot Key Harbor Friday about 9:00 a.m. Even though it was still windy, the trip to Islamorada via Florida Bay wasn’t too bad. We arrived at Don & Alina’s dock about 3:30 and had drinks and dinner with them that evening. Alina even gave me a bag of candied pecans that I will horde and treasure!






Saturday morning we left for breakfast at Lorelei’s at 8:00 a.m. and then pulled away from the dock about 11:30 to continue our journey to the east coast.


After another 45 miles we anchored off Elliott Key on Biscayne Bay on a cloudy, breezy day but at least we didn’t have to deal with any rain. We did, however, have rain overnight and into Sunday morning. We left our anchorage at 10:30 a.m. and had two hours of rolly water after leaving the lee of Elliott Key, then rain the last hour. Of course the rain was the heaviest when we were trying to dock at Tommy & Coral’s house on Palm Island and I was soaked within a few minutes of leaving the flybridge!

Life’s2Short comes in to Miami on a drizzly Sunday morning.


That evening Coral fixed us a great seafood stir fry using herbs and spices from her home garden. It turned windy and chilly about 8:00 p.m. so we called it a night and went back to “Life’s2Short.”

Monday we had more drizzle all morning so I defrosted the refrigerator and cleaned the shower and cabin floors. That afternoon Todd helped Tommy with some dock lines and did a weather stripping project on the flybridge while I worked in the kitchen.

Life’s2Short” at Tommy & Coral’s dock on Palm Island.


Monday evening we were picked up by Arturo and his lovely wife Lourdes who took us to dinner at a very expensive, upscale Italian restaurant in Miami Beach called Prime Italian. Arturo was Todd’s first boss when he was 15 or 16 in Boulder, Colorado, and they hadn’t seen each other in something like 35 years. We had a wonderful evening catching up and the wine was flowing like a fountain. In fact, the next morning Tommy accused us of being hit by a wine truck! Nonetheless, we had a truly wonderful time and are so very grateful to Arturo and Lourdes for treating us to such an incredible dining experience. We felt like celebrities!


Tuesday we said goodbye to Tommy & Coral and took off at 8:30 a.m. As usual, Tommy shows us his good side!


These photos were taken as we were leaving Tommy’s dock.



One of many beautiful homes along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.


This ship at Port Everglades was loading boats for ocean transport.


One of many mega yachts we saw in the Ft. Lauderdale area. What a beauty!


We traveled 45 miles to north Boca where we tied to a very nice, protected dock offered to us by a fellow cruiser.


Ed and his adorable little dog Charley were there to meet us and then Ed took me to Publix in his new LSV (a.k.a. low speed vehicle, a.k.a. golf cart). Light rain set in around 7:00 a.m. so we had dinner and called it an early night after the wine truck collision of the previous evening.


We were underway Wednesday by 8:00 a.m. and had traveled two hours before being held up at the Lantana bridge due to a vehicular accident earlier that morning that knocked out the power to the lift-bridge. We were told that it would be at least four hours before the bridge would open, so we dropped anchor and prepared to wait. After about 45 minutes the bridge tender came on the radio and said they were going to do a test opening at 11:00 and to be ready to go through. So we hauled anchor and were able to get through and continue north.

Ouch, not a good way to start your day!


We made it to Manatee Pocket (near Stuart, FL), 57 miles from Ed’s dock, about 4:30 p.m., were anchored by 5:00 and spent a quiet evening on the boat.

Today is Thursday, April 22nd, and we are preparing to leave the anchorage for points north. Aside from the rain, the temperatures have been nice for traveling and it is supposed to be in the upper 80’s by the weekend, which should find us in New Smyrna Beach where we hope to spend some time on the beach.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

From Marathon to Key West

On Wednesday evening, March 31st, we met Bob & Stephanie and Joe at Dockside for Prime Rib night. They also invited John & Gloria off “Bombay Lady” who we had seen in Demopolis this past November when we were there and who are planning to be in the Chesapeake this summer, as we are.

Joe and Salty off “Sea Pearl,” hanging at the Dockside bar.


Gloria & John off “Bombay Lady” joined us for a drink at Dockside.


Bob found flowers for all the girls, and even one for himself…isn’t he cute!


Thursday afternoon the five of us dinghied to Sombrero Beach with the three dogs. We rode with Joe and Salty and took a few side trips along the way.


The iguana love to sun themselves on docks.


Todd takes Cassie for a walk down the beach.


Godiva and Cassie await instructions from their Master!


An apropos name for a boat, don’t you think?


This is a private island just offshore from Sombrero Beach. Sweet!


That evening we rode with Bob & Stephanie in their dinghy to have dinner at Burdines. Then we went barhopping with Joe in his car to Sunset Grille to hear Tommy Santelli, on to Castaways and, finally, back to Dockside.

On Friday we borrowed Joe’s car for hair cuts and re-provisioning with Bob & Stephanie. “Where’s Linda” arrived late that afternoon with fuel/engine issues so Todd went out in the dinghy to help them get docked at Sombrero Marina where “September Song” and “Sea Pearl” are located.

Pete & Linda and Jay & Nancy from “Serendipity” (who we met this past summer on Watts Bar Lake) joined us, Bob & Stephanie and Joe for dinner at Latitudes on the Sombrero Resort property where we had some great pizza while listening to musician Tommy Santelli again. Then it was back to Dockside for a nightcap.


Musician Tommy Santelli entertains the crowd.


Jay & Nancy off “Serendipity.”


Pete & Linda off “Where’s Linda.”


Bob & Stephanie off “September Song.”


Saturday morning we left the Boot Key Harbor mooring field about 8:30 a.m. and stopped in at Pancho’s fuel dock to get some dinghy fuel, top off with water and pump out the holding tanks. When we left the harbor, we attempted to go the Hawk Channel route to Key West but it was far too rolly. So we went under the Seven Mile Bridge and took the inside route. The water was beautifully calm at first but got rougher as we got further north in the open water. We were surfing rollers on our stern but it still wasn’t too bad, even though we had to dodge a lot of crab pots.

The Captain loves to watch the porpoises surf our wake!


We finally got to Key West and got tied up to our mooring ball around 5:30. [A big thanks to Pete & Linda for allowing us to use their rented mooring ball while we were there!] Lobster Lee, the owner of the mooring ball, even came out in his boat and helped us get tied up.

Our first Key West sunset. No green flash but still very pretty.


We had a great time Easter Sunday in Key West with Doug & Tammy from “Gypsies in the Palace” who are staying at a nearby marina and are very well-acquainted with the area. We met up at noon at the dinghy dock in front of Turtle Kraals where we also ran in to Greg & Sandy from “Latitude Dancer” (who we last saw in Ft. Myers Beach). Greg & Sandy had other plans for Easter, so off we went with Doug & Tammy. We stopped in at Guy Harvey’s for a beer to start the afternoon and then we walked around the corner to Irish Kevin’s to see Bil Krauss, a friend of Doug & Tammy’s, play and perform.


After that we were off to Dave’s house (another friend of Doug & Tammy’s) for a barbecue. A fun time with excellent food, guys! Thanks for allowing us to come.




A true Key West Hog Fish!


By 5:30 we were heading back to town to the Hog’s Breath to see Massacoustics, a great band comprised of two incredibly talented brothers, who Doug & Tammy also know. Are you seeing a pattern here yet???




At this point we rushed off to the Lazy Gekko to watch the Red Sox opener. Tammy is a former Bostonian so she is a huge fan. We didn’t make it back to the boat before dark, but we did leave the game early. Fortunately, the Sox won so Tammy was a happy girl the following day!

Monday we met Doug & Tammy around 1:00 p.m. at Schooner Wharf where we shared a big plate of Caribbean wings and listened to Michael McCloud’s performance (yes, who Doug & Tammy also know!).



The harbor at Key West Bight.

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Then we walked around bopping in and out of a number of other bars and shops until happy hour at the Half Shell Raw Bar where we took advantage of the $0.50 raw oysters, or at least the boys did! Tammy and I stuck to conch chowder and shrimp.

We then hustled over to the Hog’s Breath thinking that the Massacoustics (a.k.a. Yummy Boys) were playing again, only to learn that they weren’t. Disappointed, we wandered back to Duval Street where we were lured in to a new place called El Alamo that was advertising 16 oz. drafts and pork sliders for $1.00. So we spent a couple of hours there and then headed back to “Life’s2Short” before dark.



We spent a quiet morning on the boat Tuesday as the Captain worked with Lobster Lee to get a mooring ball for a fellow boater, “Cigano,” who was coming in Tuesday evening.

Looking toward the Key West waterfront from the mooring field.


We finally made our way in to town about 2:30 p.m. and went to the Green Republic where we had a couple of really good vegetarian wraps. After that we walked down Duval to the waterfront and over to Mallory Square where we browsed through the touristy shops by the cruise ship port. Then we met Greg & Sandy at Alonzo’s for happy hour but were still too full to take advantage of the half-price appetizers, which was a shame because they really looked good!


After we left Alonzo’s we made our way back to Duval Street and introduced Greg & Sandy to El Alamo.


Then we walked up the street to the rooftop of the Crowne Plaza La Concha to watch sunset before returning to “Life’s2Short.” We got back to the boat just about the time “Cigano” was coming down the Key West Channel, so Todd talked them in and met them at the mooring ball in his dinghy.

The next day we went in to town around noon, walked to the post office to mail a few cards and then to the Southernmost Point in the continental United States. Along the way Todd took a number of funky “Key West-specific” photos.

Chickens rule in Key West!



US 1 actually runs from Key West north to Fort Kent, Maine.


BBQ’ed beer?


Now there’s a touristy shot for you!


Key West has the “southernmost” everything, as you will see in several of the following photos.

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This was Todd’s favorite sign!


Interesting people…


…and an interesting golf cart!


The Art Deco Pegasus Hotel on Duval Street in the heart of downtown Key West looks to be a cool place to stay.


Around 2:30 we stopped at Mangoes for a light lunch and then wandered down Duval to Willie T’s where we had a beer and listened to a musician named Fremont John before heading to Guy Harvey’s to meet up with Doug & Tammy.


After chatting for a while, the four of us walked to El Alamo for a few of the $1.00 16 oz. drafts and another sampling of their pork sliders before meeting Greg & Sandy at Kelly’s (owned by Kelly McGillis of “Top Gun” fame) for some very tasty happy hour wings.

Sandy, Tammy and Brenda.


Then it was back to El Alamo to refresh our drinks and off to the Chart Room Bar in the Pier House where we munched on free popcorn and peanuts. The Chart Room is a funky little authentic old Key West bar that sits in the middle of one of Key West's nicest waterfront resorts. There is even a plugged hole in the bar that holds the ashes of a guy who used to hang out there all the time – and there are four other holes that have been reserved for this same purpose! Anyone care to make a reservation?


After leaving the Chart Room we went to Sunset Pier where two more of Doug & Tammy’s friends, Scott Kirby and Country Dave, were playing. These guys really know their musicians, don’t they?


When Greg & Sandy decided it was time to leave, we followed suit. After a brief stop at Turtle Kraals for a bedtime snack, we made our way back to “Life’s2Short” and were in bed by 11:00 p.m.

We hit town about 1:00 p.m. Thursday to meet Todd’s sister and brother-in-law, Jennifer & Mark, at Irish Kevin’s. Jennifer & Mark live near Orlando and are spending several days camping on Sugarloaf Key, about 20 miles away, which is too close not to come to Key West, at least for a day! We were also joined at Irish Kevin’s by Doug & Tammy and Greg & Sandy.

Todd & Brenda, Jennifer & Mark


When Bil Krauss’ set was over at Irish Kevin’s we walked to Schooner Wharf to see Michael McCloud again. Greg & Sandy and Mark & Jennifer took off at this point, so the remaining four of us walked to El Alamo for a few beers and pork sliders. The Captain was feeling a bit under the weather, so we said our goodbyes to Doug & Tammy and went back to the boat for an early evening.

After five days of eating and drinking our way around Key West, we left the mooring about 9:30 Friday morning and spent the next six hours in somewhat bouncy/rolly seas in Hawk Channel working our way back to Marathon. By 3:30 we were tied to a mooring in Boot Key Harbor and spent another quiet evening on the boat, even though Bob & Stephanie graciously invited us to go to Latitudes for pizza and more music by Tommy Santelli.

Today is Saturday, April 10th, and based on the current wind forecast, it looks like we may be in Marathon for several days. So stay tuned for more adventures in the Florida Keys in our next blog update!