23 Jan – 13 Feb
Our friends David and Kathy from s/v Orion showed up in the mooring field. We haven’t seen them since the Chesapeake two years ago while waiting out a hurricane in Deltaville. They, like us, are staying in the States this year and taking their time moving from one spot to another. We’ve had plenty of time on our hands and have been able to take care of those small projects that always pop up when you own a boat. I’ve been able to test a few new recipes such as Salmon with asparagus and red potatoes cooked in parchment paper, curry chicken with summer squash and spinach, and Greek chicken breasts with feta cheese and black olives. Needless to say the meals on the boat are getting a good bit better.
The winds in the mooring field were kicking up quite a bit for several days. We stayed on the boat and read while getting rocked and rolled. We also had shrimp boats going down the channel from 0200-0400 every night causing both wakes and lots of noise. We figured it was time to leave, but ………… Lynn started not feeling well again so away we went back to the doctor. With a new jolt of steroids and more antibiotics she fought this episode off in less than 10 days. Another trip back to the doctor for a checkup and then we got ready to leave.
Sunset view from our boat at Dinner Key
We rented another car for a day to do some more shopping. Mostly heavy items like beer, wine, sodas and bottled water that are difficult to pick up on a foot trip to the store. It took two trips in the dinghy to get everything back to the boat. The following day more friends arrived. Dean and Susan from s/v Autumn Bourne stopped by on their way to the Bahamas for the night. It was good seeing them again before they left. We also took the car to see Dorothy and Glenn, s/v Dotsway, and had a great happy hour and dinner with them. We made plans to meet them the following week on our way to Marathon.
The day before departing we noticed a huge barge pull into the anchorage next to the mooring field. It had a crane with a bucket and started picking up abandoned boats out of the water and crushing them into giant dumpsters. We heard that over a dozen boats were disposed of in two days. Florida has a real problem with people just leaving boats anchored in the waterways and causing navigation problems for other boaters. These people just decide they don’t want the boat anymore and set an anchor and walk away.
Glenn and Dorothy at Pumpkin Key
Some coral with my new underwater camera
Our boat at anchor in Pumpkin Key
Channel Marker at Pumpkin Key. Note the multiple pumpkins that go all the way around
My first catch of the season
After 55 days at Dinner Key we finally left the mooring ball and headed south. Our first stop was Pumpkin Key where we met Dorothy and Glenn for the weekend. We had two great meals with them and on Sunday took a 3 hour dinghy ride thru the creeks and canals. I was able to catch my first fish on my new rod and reel but it was not a “keeper”. On Monday we headed out to the ocean for our ride south and Dorothy and Glenn headed back to Miami Beach. The seas were rough starting out but did calm a bit later in the afternoon. We pulled into Indian Key and hooked up to the one of two free mooring balls. During the evening the winds increased and made for a rather uncomfortable night’s sleep.
On Tuesday, 12 Feb, we finally made it to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. This will be our home for the next 30 days. We had to anchor the first night because there were no mooring balls available for us regardless of seeing at least 12 empty???? Today we were assigned one of the empty ones from yesterday and have started to get settled in for our stay. Hopefully we will get to meet up with friends Ian and Sharon from Canada that are down in Florida for a holiday. We also might get to see Beth and Bruce from Ohio when they come to Key West to see their new granddaughter.