Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Florida Keys

This is the cruising scene in Marathon, FA! It is the home to a huge number of boats for the winter. There is a radio net, they have yoga, baseball, Mexican Train, and meetings about Crossing to the Bahamas and what you can expect in Cuba. We are anchored in the outer harbour, about 2 nm from the dinghy dock, which costs you $22/ day to leave your dinghy, OUCH! I can see how staying here would be a comfortable place to spend the winter, apparently there are a lot of RV's here as well. I think we will move on down to Key West so that our crossing to Havana will not be so far. 
This series of shots were taken at the lighthouse on the south end of Key Biscayne. It is located in a state park on land that a newspaper fellow convinced the owner to donate to the state when it was scheduled for development. He felt that the people of Miami would need some green space, there are over 800,000 visitors to the park every year!  The lighthouse was built in 1855 and restored in the late 1990's, they had the bricks fired in a special way so that they would be like they were in the 1850's and they replaced all the iron stairs inside. It is now automated but still in use. 
The more modest homes of Key Largo, notice the cannons in this fellows' front yard, I was jealous, also the houses are built from large cement blocks. We talked with a taxi driver and he has been here 18 years and they have had 4 hurricanes, so the houses are pretty sturdy. 

We motor sailed down to Key Largo and pulled in behind a little island just at dusk.  We needed fuel and water so pulled into a Marina which we had to enter at high tide.  It was down a canal, which was about .8 km long and stayed there for the night. We arranged to go diving and what fun! Two really nice dives with lots of sea life, the corral on the second dive was a lot better and we saw nurse sharks, a bull shark possibly, and a largish sea turtle, plus a delicious looking lobster. There were a tremendous number so reef fish as well, all colours and sizes. I remembered how much I loved being under the water, yippee. 
 The start of the seven mile bridge from Marathon to Key West. I checked it out and Key West was the site of the filming of another 007 movie, so this will be our 4th Bond film location! 

So do the two boats look similar?? When we pulled in to Marathon there was another Fast Passage 39 anchored. The folks, Monika and Trent came right over and introduced themselves and we had a couple hours of a mutual admiration chat and then they kindly invited us to a potluck dinner aboard   their buddy boat. We had a lovely evening on a roomy 43 foot boat, the Last Tango, where Tim and Gigi were the hosts and a delicious bean stew was produced with fresh corn bread, yum. 
The last two days have reawakened my desire to continue cruising, the diving and the fellowship we experienced the other night. The ICW was not my favourite place, due to the shallow water, the constant fear of grounding and the inability to sail.  I am really glad we experienced it, we saw lots of places we never would have if we had hopped down offshore, but NEVER again!