After the chaos of Fort Lauderdale, we were ready for some down time. Delray was the next stop on the road north.
Days 135 – 137, February 25 – 27, 2019
It was a leisurely morning at Bahia Mar before getting under way. The dogs got to explore the facility one more time – thankful for the little park-like area with nice paths, tall trees with lots of shade, and excellent green stuff to sniff. Our priorities are simple, but sometimes hard to satisfy. One last oogle at the mega yachts, and a visit to the office where the cookies were plentiful and the girls showered Pepper and Mattie with love and treats. Very feel-good. Continue reading Ft. Lauderdale Crazies to Delray Beach Recovery→
With ongoing record-breaking heat, we continued our journey up the busiest part of the Florida ICW, enjoying the impressive skyline, astonishing real estate, some lovely nature preserves and state parks, and mind boggling yachts. We were thankful it wasn’t a weekend.
Days 132 – 134, February 22 – 24, 2019
Our day started in our quiet little marina in North Miami. We walked the dogs as best we could. The Marina Palms Marina actually had some very nice landscaped areas for the pups to enjoy, but that didn’t get them any exercise, so we marched them a ways up Route 1. It wasn’t very pleasant as far as dog-walking was concerned, and quickly became very hot, so we retreated to the boat and got ready to get under way. Our new pals on the Mexican yacht alongside were nowhere to be seen. Continue reading Miami to Lauderdale: Canyons, Real Estate and Yachts→
We were in for a culture shock, slipping out of the wilds of the Florida Keys and into the wilds of the Miami canyons.
Day 131, February 21, 2019
Yes, it is indeed a culture shock to transition in one day from the rustic, laid-back, scruffiness of the Florida Keys to the glitz and glamour, crazy speed-boats, and high-rise glass buildings of Miami. I do now understand why they call it “the canyons” of Miami. Continue reading Into the Canyons (Miami Canyons, that is)→
Cruising up the Keys “inside” from Marathon to Key Largo offers a new definition of “shallow water”. We like our 3.5-foot draft.
Day 130, February 20, 2019
Leaving Key Largo, we found ourselves once again in new cruising grounds. We had elected the inside route because a) the weather demanded it and b) we wanted to see it.
As for a), the breeze was cranking out of the southeast. While we were in the lee we were seeing 20- 25 knots, but as we crossed the passages out to the oceanside, it cranked up to gusts of nearly 30 knots. Definitely not a good day to be running up the outside.
As it was, even on the inside, we were taking a lot of spray over the bow. We had to keep the pilot house windows closed, and as it was still very hot out, we were grateful for our generator and air conditioning. It would have been an impossible ride without them.
It was a beautiful trip. The water was shallow and spectacularly beautiful, with the keys and bridges not far off to the south. The channel meandered constantly and piloting required close attention at all times. We were grateful for our very shallow draft of just three and a half feet, especially as our depth sounder blipped below five feet on a few occasions. We did hold our breath once or twice, and we definitely stayed in the channel.
It was a week day, and there were very few other boats out to distract or bother us. A couple of sailboats westbound were having a glorious broad reach. Just a great day to be out on the water.
There really aren’t a lot of options for stopping over in Florida Bay between Marathon and Key Largo. There are some anchorages, but getting the dogs ashore did not appear simple, so we elected to go to The Anchorage, as an acquaintance in Key West had recommended it. It’s the last stop in Florida Bay before you enter the string of sounds leading up to Biscayne Bay and Miami. After a lovely ride, things got a little, um, weird as we approached The Anchorage in Key Largo. First, we couldn’t raise them on the radio. Then no one answered the phone. We began to wonder what it was all about.
Finally we got someone on the phone who sounded like a hotel maid directing a guest arriving by car. It was just a strange reception, especially after the professionalism and efficiency in Key West, Stock Island and Faro Blanco. As we approached the facility, things began to fall into place. The docks were a dilapidated mess. Old Florida, and deferred maintenance for maybe the last, oh, say, 50 years. Lots of old rusty nails sticking out of the scrawny, shaky piles. Crumbling cement finger piers. Hmm.
And to make matters worse, no dogs. Okay. We walked them beyond the parking lot on the litter-strewn access road, underneath the Route 1 overpass. Lovely as you can imagine.
I sort of have no pictures of the place. Ya-know-why? There wasn’t much picture-worthy.
Alright. It wasn’t that bad. It’s website definitely oversells it. About the only thing it gets right are the spectacular sunsets. It was a simple hotel from maybe the 1960s, on stilts with a pool. There was a restaurant adjacent (different property), the Blackwater Siren, that is a typical keys tiki bar thing, and we did have fun there. The restaurant part is out of business, but the tiki bar part was definitely open for business and did a lively happy hour. The clientele and staff were a sort of rough-and-wildish bunch and the tiki-bar food was good as it goes.
We had made reservations for two nights, primarily because the Miami area was still all jammed up from the mess of the boat show, which was being broken down, but we could find no reason to spend a second night so we took our chances cancelled our reservation for the second night, and had a good nights’s sleep.
The next day we would leave the keys and head into the wild unknown of Miami.
The Florida Keys
Marathon (Faro Blanco) to Key Largo (The Anchorage)
February 20, 2019
52 Miles, 7h 1m
Gorgeous day, hot, windy, SE 15-25, G30, overcast & shower in the am then clear, sunny, windy, beautiful.
Total trip miles: 1954
Yesterday’s short run from Key West to Stock Island had greased the gears. We were back in move mode, and ready to head on.
Days 128 – 129, February 18 – 19, 2019
It’s much easier to move when you are in move mode. Our short run from Key West to Stock Island had shaken out the cobwebs and transitioned us from stationary to in-motion. We really like being on the move. We like the intellectual stimulation that comes with having to plan, to make decisions, to study the weather, to organize the boat and to be under way, handling the boat and navigating. We were in move mode.
The day started hot and still in Stock Island. It was almost 80 degrees when I started coffee. We took the dogs for a short walk in what little shade we could find, along the Perry Hotel and through the parking lot. They do have a small dog run, but it had no shade. Lingering only long enough for them to handle business, we made our way back to the boat, and fired her up for the not-so-distant Faro Blanco marina in Marathon.
Our trip took us up Hawk Channel. The wind was out of the south, which can make conditions uncomfortable-to-challenging in the channel. I was concerned that the breeze would pick up because that’s what the pattern had been the last few days. We were pleased that after one little spurt of energy that cranked it up to 12 knots and threatened to build an uncomfortable chop, it ultimately backed off to ten and under, and the sea stayed relatively flat. Our biggest challenge was negotiating the ga-zillion crab pots, little black floating bombs that threaten the tranquility of the trip and make certain the helms(wo)man never gets to relax and has to do a lot of hand steering.
It ended up being an easy and 40 miles. We enjoyed being back in move mode routine. The sea was lovely. The pups we’re content. Bruce was relaxed. I was pleased. Happy ship. On the move.
The boat did seem a little slow. We had had the bottom scrubbed about 10 days earlier, in Key West, but apparently growth can take hold even in that short time. We hoped we could shake some of it off with travel.
We pulled into Faro Blanco shortly after noon. The dock staff, friendly and efficient, remembered us. It can be nice coming in to a familiar port. And it was still hot hot hot. The pool, which had been almost too chilly for a dip on our previous visit in January, was very busy. It was not a particularly productive afternoon, but we did have a fun evening with Tim and Diane from the Kadey Krogen Acadia, who joined us for happy hour and supper alongside the pool.
We didn’t need to spend two nights at Faro Blanco, but because of the Miami boat show, which displaces a lot of boats, we were having trouble organizing spots in the Keys. Our layday in Marathon was hot and unproductive, with the exception of a run (literally) across the street to West Marine for Bruce, and a run (literally) on the treadmill at the Hyatt for Dorsey. Oh, and the dogs got a bath! Nice to get rid of the Key West grime.
Bruce spent some time in the afternoon at the bar and had fun chatting (for hours!) with an electrical engineer from New Hampshire. I joined them for happy hour, but the crowd turned a bit weird at that point — a couple of nice tourists but one sort of nasty, cranky, tatted-up washed out biker dude, and a flaky pair of Michigan transplants — so we abandoned our plans to have dinner at the bar and retreated to Esmeralde for hot dogs. Fancy!
Two lovely events that evening, though. First, a spectacular moonrise of the rare super snow moon, and second, a surprise lovely visit from Cyndi from The Galleon in Key West, who had driven up to celebrate a birthday of friends on a different boat. All good!
Key West (The Galleon) to Stock Island (Stock Island Marina Village
February 17, 2019
We had to admit it: the time to leave Key West had arrived. We planned our exit strategy and began the trek up the island chain. On the road again.
Day 127, February 17, 2019
Yes, time to leave Key West. While we had enjoyed our stay, we were ready to be on the move again.
Executing the departure was tricky. We looked out a week and contemplated the weather patterns and stops along the way. Both proved to be complicated, especially since the Miami Boat Show was looming large and a lot of boats seemed to have flooded into the keys to escape Miami. Accommodations were in short supply. Continue reading Good-Bye Key West: Headed Up The Chain→
Key West, Part #1 was about loss and grief. While that is not what I would wish of Key West, it is what it was. There is another side, though, and this is that story.
Days 84 – 127, January 6 – February 17, 2019
Our visit to Key West was split into two distinct segments, as the previous post makes clear. I’m not really going to define our experiences in Key West in terms of how they were in the first part or the second part, even though they were different. Instead, I just want to talk about the Key West that we experienced overall. Continue reading Key West, Part #2→
All things fun (and tasty) in the life of the Beards