Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Return Trip Home Begins

Location: Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

Hi all. We are on our way back home to Jacksonville Beach. We are currently spending a few days in Marathon at the Boot Key Harbor City Marina mooring field waiting for the rain from the tropical wave to pass. So, I thought I would update you on our adventure while we have internet access.

Monday, August 10, 2009
Our Last Visit to Schooner Wharf

Of course, we had to say goodbye to all our friends at Schooner Wharf our last day in Key West. But, we look forward to seeing everyone when we return to Key West.

Admiral Sandy and Captain Jim at the Schooner Wharf:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Destination: Newfound Harbor, Big Pine Key

Leaving Key West
As we were leaving Key West, a Carnival cruise ship was arriving to give their passengers an opportunity at a few hours of the little bit of paradise that we enjoyed for 2 months.

Beautiful water leaving Key West:

Newfound Harbor
Our destination for the night was Newfound Harbor off Big Pine Key where we anchored in a nice quiet harbor. The sunset was beautiful:

When the sun set and night fell on the anchorage, we were treated to a special viewing of stars in the sky and stars in the water! There were no clouds in the sky, so the stars were amazingly brilliant. And for about 10 minutes, we enjoyed little bioluminescent marine animals that created bright green explosions in the water. We don’t know what they are, but they look like green fireflies in the water that swirl and explode like fireworks. It was a site that we couldn’t capture with the camera, but we hope to never forget it! Just another wonderful part of our adventure!

Happy 25th Anniversary Captains Bob and Fran
Captains Bob and Fran from the sail boat Double Decker are in Bermuda today celebrating their 25th anniversary. We wish them a happy and memorable 25th anniversary and many more happy anniversaries to come!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 – Sunday, August 16, 2009
Destination: Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

Preparing to Leave Newfound Harbor
Before leaving Newfound Harbor, we took a dinghy trip to the nearby Dolphin Marina for my shore leave to pick up some ice. It was a beautiful, tranquil morning in the harbor:

Newfound Harbor homes:

Dinghy ride: I love the smell of the ocean air!

Dolphin sighting: Morgan Glory is anchored in the background.

Morgan Glory at anchor:

Little Palm Island
As we were leaving Newfound Harbor, we passed a beautiful resort called Little Palm Island Resort. The resort is on Little Palm Island and you can only get to the resort by boat. We understand it is expensive has a very Pacific d├ęcor. It’s interesting that this resort would have a Pacific style when it is on the Atlantic. Hmmmm. Maybe some day we can afford to stay there.

Looe Key Snorkeling
On our way to Marathon, we stopped at the Looe Key reef to do some snorkeling. We had heard that the reef is beautiful. And we found that it is a really popular site. There are 28 mooring balls and boats were on almost all of them! The water was amazingly clear and there was a diversity of coral here and it seemed to be very healthy considering the amount of “traffic” that comes to this site. While snorkeling, Capt. Jim and Admiral Sandy saw some staghorn coral which they had not seen at any of the Key West sites. They also saw a five foot nurse shark and another five foot shark that wasn’t a nurse shark!

We saw the Jolly II Rover from Key West taking boy scouts snorkeling at Looe Key:

Boats at Looe Key:

The reef at Looe Key:

Beautiful Keys Water
We never get tired of the beautiful water in the Keys! We are definitely going to miss the beautiful blue water!

Dockside Bar and Grille
For dinner, we took the dinghy to a great little place called “Dockside Bar and Grille”. The bar/restaurant overlooks the Boot Key Harbor mooring field, so it was easy to get there by dinghy. The Wednesday night special was Prime Rib, so Admiral Sandy, Captain Jim and I enjoyed the first steak of the entire trip. It was such a monumental event for Captain Jim, he took a picture. Thankfully, Admiral Sandy shared some of hers with me!

We also enjoyed a musician that was playing at the Dockside whose name is Travis Proctor. He played a lot of great songs by Eric Clapton, James Taylor, the Eagles, Neil Young, Arlo Guthrie, and other great classic rock artists. His guitar playing was fantastic and he had a great voice. He is leaving the Keys and moving back to Raleigh, NC and this was his last time to play at Dockside. So, if you are ever up in the NC area, you should definitely try to find where he is playing. We know you will enjoy it.

The Hazards of Being On Shore
As we were leaving the restaurant, I decided to take my last shore leave before returning to the boat. Unfortunately, I forgot how troublesome mud could be. Before long, the mud and rocks had collected on my feet and I had cement shoes on all four feet. I didn’t like it at all and didn’t want to walk any further.

Captain Jim came to my rescue, removed the mud and rocks, and rinsed my feet off in a puddle of water. He also carried me to the grassy area so I didn’t have to walk in the mud again. That was an experience I don’t ever want to have again!

One morning, while enjoying my shore leave, I found a coconut while Captain Jim and I were having fun running and playing at the nearby City park! The coconut wasn’t very heavy, so I was able to pick it up and run and play with it like a ball.

When I was tired of that, I proceeded to try take it apart… which is what I do with all my toys!

I think that was my first experience with a real coconut!

Mooring Ball Maintenance
Every four months, some guys do an inspection of the mooring and clean the growth off the mooring balls and lines. Most of the work is done below the water, so a diver has to do the work. When I saw the diver, I thought there was a dolphin around our boat because he sure looked like one!

The good news, our mooring passed the inspection, so our boat won't be floating away!

The Most Important Person in Boot Key Harbor
The Pump Out man! Because the Florida Keys are a “No Discharge Zone”, you cannot discharge any waste into the water. So, it is important to pump out your boat head (i.e. toilet) on a regular basis. Otherwise, the intense summer heat makes life on a boat like living inside a Port-O-Let if you have a full head. One of the great perks of staying in the Boot Key Harbor mooring fields is that the marina provides a free mobile pump out boat that pumps out the moored boats on a weekly schedule according to the mooring ball row.

While staying in Boot Key Harbor, it was interesting to watch the Pump Out boat in action. When the Pump Out boat approached a boat with dogs on it, the dogs began barking and wagging their tails. Admiral Sandy was a little concerned that the Pump Out man might have a problem getting near the boat if the dogs were protective of their territory. However, the dogs happily greeted him and then he gave them a handful of treats! Wow! I think I would really like the Pump Out man too! When we talked to the Pump Out man, he told us that the dogs like him because he gives them treats... and the people like him because he keeps their boats smelling nice. Some may say he has a crappy job, but he is really number one to the people and dogs in the marina!

Gotta Beat the Storms!
Well, we have been very fortunate to have had such wonderful weather the entire trip. Of course, we know that it can’t last forever because they don’t call it “hurricane season” for no reason. So, as the storms start building off the coast of Africa, we hope they will stay away long enough to give us an opportunity to get home safe and sound.

Our original plan was to leave Marathon tomorrow (Sunday, August 16th) and our next stop would be John Pennekamp State Park to snorkel the coral reefs of John Pennekamp. However, the potential storms may require us to change our plans. So, we will be keeping a close watch on the weather and will adjust our itinerary accordingly.

At this point, we don’t know when we will have internet access again, but we will provide you another update as soon as we can. In the meantime, keep the wishes for fair winds and gentle seas coming our way until we can get back!

Until we have internet access again…

Coconut and Crew

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1 comment:

  1. Coconut!

    I remember you from Harpoon Harry's, you are so cute and you can write really well too! Keep sailin!