Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We Made it to the Keys!

Location: Marathon, FL (Middle Keys)

Hi everyone,

We are finally in the Keys! We are currently on a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor at the Marathon City Marina and we love it here. Since our last posting, here are the highlights of our adventure.

DAY 8: Friday, June 5, 2009
DESTINATION: Baker’s Haulover Inlet Anchorage, North Miami

When we left the Delray Harbor Club Marina it was overcast and the waters were calm.

At this point in the trip, we had the option to go out the Boca Inlet and sail 20 miles in the ocean to the Ft. Lauderdale Inlet in order to by-pass the 8 draw bridges (most of them with restricted opening times). But, weather reports forecasted winds from the south that would make the trip on the ocean uncomfortable. Since this is a pleasure cruise, we opted to take the ICW and patiently go through the bridges. Besides, we had never been down the ICW in this area, so we didn’t want to miss the sights that we wouldn’t see from the ocean.

Regardless of the delay the bridges created, we made it to Ft. Lauderdale, the “Yachting Capital of the World” in 3.5 hours. And here we found that the houses and boats were even bigger than the ones we saw in West Palm Beach. Here is a huge house with a huge yacht tied up to their dock. I can’t imagine what someone would do with a house and boat that big! We like our 32 foot sail boat just fine!

We had nice weather until we passed the Ft. Lauderdale Inlet when a storm began to build. So, Captain Jim donned his foul weather gear. You can see the storm approaching in the background.

Despite the horrible weather, Capt. Jim weathered the storm with a smile.

By the time we reached Dania Beach, the storm had blown over, but it had definitely slowed us down. Thankfully, one of the kind bridge tenders in Hallandale (south of Dania Beach) let us go through the bridge early because of the bad weather. One of the bridge tenders even held the bridge opening a little longer so we could make it through without having to wait 30 minutes for the next opening. We really appreciated these small acts of kindness.

When we reached Sunny Isles, FL, another storm was building. Admiral Sandy was at the helm when the storm hit with fierce 50-60 mph hour winds, rain and lightning. Admiral Sandy tried to keep a smile on her face, but it was hard when she was being pelted with the wind-driven rain.

Even though we were within a mile from the anchorage, it was raining so hard and visibility was so bad that we had to wait out the storm before we could proceed to the anchorage.

As for me, I was dry and cozy down below, making sure the rain didn’t come into the boat. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.

We were thankful when the storm blew over and we were able to get settled in the anchorage. After the tiring bout with the storms, a rainbow was a comforting sight.

That night, the sunset was beautiful.

We were finally dried out and enjoyed a nice spaghetti dinner after a long, tiring day on the water. Notice the spaghetti hanging out of Capt. Jim's mouth. Capt. Jim needs to learn a few manners for the proper way to eat spaghetti. Even I eat better than that!

And we hung up our foul weather gear to dry, hoping we wouldn’t have to use it the rest of the trip.

Note from Admiral Sandy: Special thanks to Fland for giving me the red “bunny suit” foul weather gear. It was definitely needed and worked great to keep me dry throughout the storm.

DAY 9: Saturday, June 6, 2009
DESTINATION: No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne

We left the anchorage with weather reports of more thunderstorms to be expected in the Miami area by noon.

On our way south, we passed downtown Miami. Boy, am I glad that downtown Jax Beach doesn’t look like this.

We also passed Dodge Island where numerous cruise ships are ported. I am glad that Mayport doesn’t look like this.

Our original plan was to go to Dinner Key and anchor there for the night. But, after we passed the Miami inlet, the storms started building over the mainland near Dinner Key. So, we changed our plans and headed for No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne. And we were glad we did because we never got any storms at No Name Harbor! You can see the storms in the distance and Morgan Glory is the second boat from the right.

No Name Harbor is a great little anchorage with a lot of protection that is part of the Bill Baggs State Park. The park was great park with a restaurant, picnic pavilion with boater’s facilities (restrooms, book exchange, and laundry), and a beautiful view of the ocean. Note: the objects in the distance on the ocean are houses on stilts in an area known as “stiltsville”.

The park also had nice walking trails that I really enjoyed. It was great to stretch my legs after being stuck on a boat for the last 9 days!

There were a lot of power boats and sail boats that came and went throughout the day because No Name Harbor is a popular place for people to enjoy. But, it is also a good stopping point before boats head for the Bahamas or Bimini.

DAY 10: Sunday, June 7, 2009
DESTINATION: Sunset Cove Anchorage, Key Largo (Upper Keys)

We left No Name Harbor bright and early so we could make our next anchorage in Sunset Cove, Key Largo. Here is a photo of the boats in No Name Harbor before we left.

When we made it to the Keys, we crossed over to the bay side at the Jewfish Creek bridge. Here there were a lot of mangroves that are very prevalent in the Keys.

I was so relieved to finally be in the Keys, I had to take a nap.

When we got to Sunset Cove, we went ashore to Snook’s restaurant for happy hour. At the restaurant, we listened to steel drum music and had a wonderful view of Morgan Glory at anchor. Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy also enjoyed lots of good cocktails and food. In the second picture, Morgan Glory is the second sail boat from the right.

Note from Admiral Sandy: It was nice to not cook for a change!

On the dinghy ride back from Snook’s, we caught this beautiful photo of the sunset over Morgan Glory in Sunset Cove. How appropriate!

I love this picture of me and Capt. Jim riding in the dinghy from Snook’s.

DAY 11: Monday, June 8, 2009
DESTINATION: Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Florida (Middle Keys)

When we first awoke, the water in the anchorage was as smooth as glass.

Now that our trip through the Keys put us on a more westerly heading, we were able to take advantage of the south winds and put up the sails!

We had a long trip to get to our anchorage, so I got a lot of rest.

The water in the Keys is so beautiful and clear, you can see to the bottom. We actually saw a spotted stingray swim under the boat while we were underway!

To get to Boot Key Harbor where we were planned to anchor, we had to go under the Seven Mile Bridge. You can see the Seven Mile Bridge on the horizon.

Crossing under the Seven Mile Bridge.

We arrived at Boot Key Harbor and grabbed a mooring ball for the night. The City marina has 226 mooring balls in a very protected harbor. They also have lots of services and their facilities are very nice with free internet access, laundry, nice bathrooms, tvs, a book exchange, storage area and a workshop for those who need a place to build or work on anything that needs to be fixed. Adjacent to the marina is a city park with tennis and basketball courts, playground, baseball and soccer fields. We really love it here and will plan to spend a day here before going to Key West. We will also plan to stay here a few days on our way back from Key West because it is such a great place.

DAY 12: Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Vacation Day in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Florida (Middle Keys)

The mooring ball we were assigned last night was on the far end of the mooring field because we arrived after the marina office had closed and they assigned us the easiest mooring ball to find. So, today we moved our boat to a mooring ball that is much closer to the marina. The dinghy rides to shore were a long way and was not much fun for me or Capt. Jim since he is typically the dinghy driver.

Here are views of the Boot Key Harbor mooring field:

And here are views of the marina (Ron and Sharon: note all the Out Islands!)

Now that we are closer to the marina, Admiral Sandy took the dinghy to the marina for a shower.

I hate it when the pack is not together and I anxiously awaited Admiral Sandy's return. You can see Admiral Sandy on the dinghy in the background.

Admiral Sandy and Capt. Jim also had a chance to check email in the marina building. You can see washers and dryers in the background where boaters can do their laundry.

The rest of the day, we plan to work on the blog and relax. Tonight, we plan to go out for dinner again! I love going to restaurants and there are so many dog-friendly restaurants in the Keys!


Next time you hear from us, we should be in Key West! I can’t wait to get to the Schooner Wharf Bar and get some food from the cooks. It’s a special thing they do for dogs at the Schooner Wharf Bar and I will make sure to post a picture so you can see what I am talking about.

Also, we plan to celebrate Capt. Jim’s birthday in Key West on Thursday, June 11th! What a great way to celebrate your birthday.

Until we have internet access again…

Coconut and Crew

You may join my Yahoo group by going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coconutandcrew/

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