It was our first experience at TrawlerFest. American Tug was an Exhibitor at the Stuart, Florida, show and asked Esmeralde to be there for the event. We were apprehensive as the event approached, but we had a great time!
Days 142 – 148, March 4 – 10 2019
Our itinerary since leaving Key West on February 17 was loosely geared towards getting the boat to Stuart in time for TrawlerFest in early March. TrawlerFest is a six-day event sponsored by Passagemaker Magazine. The event includes a lengthy list of seminars presented by seasoned industry professionals designed to offer educational opportunities for those contemplating the trawler lifestyle, or for those looking to improve their experience and knowledge. It also includes shore-side exhibitors and an in-the-water boat show featuring — wait for it — trawlers! Continue reading We Survived TrawlerFest!→
Most of our travel decisions since leaving Key West were generally targeted at getting us to Stuart for TrawlerFest, where Esmeralde was scheduled to be on stage. Today we headed to Stuart for final prep. And we completed our loop of south Florida at St. Lucie Inlet.
Days 142 – 143, March 4 – 5, 2019
So many milestones. First, we were leaving the Gold Coast and entering the Treasure Coast. Second, we were closing our first loop of Florida. Third, this was the final step before our first TrawlerFest. Lots to be thinking about.
Or more accurately, West Palm, but who’s counting? Palm Beach was just over the handsome Flagler Memorial Bridge, a destination in itself. It all added up to an excellent stop for us for a few days.
Days 138-141, February 23 – March 4, 2019
We had just enjoyed a rather lovely and low-key stopover in Delray Beach, and now headed up the river towards one of the more (most?) upscale stops on our trip. Palm Beach. Images of The Gold Coast, of lifestyles of the rich and famous, floated across our bow roller.
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
All things fun (and tasty) in the life of the Beards