A Travellerspoint blog

Sailing and Motoring down the Keys

Visiting Grandchildren and Getting to Marathon


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2003-2004 Winter in Marathon & 2003-2004 Marathon Winter & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Driving back and forth to our daughter's house, I took some photos of Miami
Miami Christmas decorations

Miami Christmas decorations

Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower


Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne


The big Hard Rock guitar at the Marina

The big Hard Rock guitar at the Marina

Hard Rock at night

Hard Rock at night

Hooters on the second floor

Hooters on the second floor


7 to 12 December 2003

We went to the gift exchange the next day - B supplied us with gifts, and Bob got 3 lobster tails (frozen) and I got some purses and other stuff from B's travels and we had lunch/dinner there.
Children eating at the gift exchange - presents in the back

Children eating at the gift exchange - presents in the back

Gift exchange - Singing into a microphone seen on the TV

Gift exchange - Singing into a microphone seen on the TV


During the week we went to our grandson's batting practice,
Where grandson had batting practice

Where grandson had batting practice


saw our granddaughter's 'portfolio' at her art class,
Granddaughter's class

Granddaughter's class

Granddaughter's art portfolio

Granddaughter's art portfolio


went to our grandson's school to see their project on the coral reefs, heard him play the tuba (although we didn't go for the breakfast concert), bought lumber for some project of Bob's, did the laundry at B's,
Son-in-law's aquarium

Son-in-law's aquarium


filled up the water tanks on the boat, and Bob went to the commissary at Homestead. We all went to Outback Steak House for dinner
Family walking into Outback

Family walking into Outback


after B got back from Mexico City on Thursday night.

Friday, Bob started on his project in the marina.
Reflections in Miamarina

Reflections in Miamarina

Moon shows over our mast

Moon shows over our mast


We are leaving here Saturday morning after we turn in the car and going to Marathon which will take about 3 days.

Dec 13, 2003 - Saturday

Bob returned the car ($168 for the week). Miamarina has a pumpout but no nozzle for it (Bob thinks that the big charter boat captains have their own nozzles),
Fair on the waterfront as we sail away

Fair on the waterfront as we sail away

Pirate Ship available for tours

Pirate Ship available for tours


PRINCESA - the gambling boat

PRINCESA - the gambling boat


so we went over to Crandon Park to get fuel, They tried to tell us that their pumpout didn't work, but the fuel dock guy managed to give us a free pumpout.

We went out the Florida Channel and we saw all the people waiting for a weather window
Waiting for the Weather at No Name Harbor

Waiting for the Weather at No Name Harbor


Also saw
The Medicare blimp

The Medicare blimp


Bob put up the main while I made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.
Cape Florida lighthouse

Cape Florida lighthouse

Stiltsville

Stiltsville

Sun peaking through the clouds

Sun peaking through the clouds


We anchored off Key Largo about 1720 after 42.2 sm.
13 December - sunset

13 December - sunset


Setting the table for dinner in the main salon

Setting the table for dinner in the main salon


We spend a very uncomfortable night due to wind and rollers from the east. Tonight was the Ft. Lauderdale boat parade, and Channel 7 said they would have it on TV, and they did not.

14 December 03 Sunday
a10180a0-029e-11ea-8e4d-bdc112e1d3a7.jpgSunrise 14 December

Sunrise 14 December

Got up at 0530 and listened to the weather report. Started to pull the anchor at 0630. Had to drive up to the anchor and finally got it up at 0700.

About 0830, I saw a small sea turtle (about the size of a dinner plate) idling at the surface - just sticking his head out occasionally. It is cloudy and we don't need sunglasses.

The wind is 22 knots on the nose. As the day wears on, I become resigned to anchoring out another night. We pass Rodriguez Key about 1035 - too early to anchor.
10:31 - too early to anchor

10:31 - too early to anchor


Pass Tavernier at 1135 - still too early to anchor. We decide to try to make it to Indian Key.
1534 - time to stop for the day

1534 - time to stop for the day


When I look at the guidebooks, I see that there are 5 or 6 free moorings near Indian Key which are provided by the park service.
Mooring ball off Indian Key

Mooring ball off Indian Key


I call them to check. The park service inspects the moorings at least yearly, and renews the line when necessary. But the moorings sometimes break loose in a storm or are sabotaged by the crab fishermen. (The moorings are free so that the park service has no liability.)

The area on the other side of the cove is marked as an anchorage area on the chart. Do not anchor on the grass flats (usually marked by a yellow ball) unless you want a massive fine.

The mooring has a line (which floats) on it and the mooring can be picked up with a boat hook and attached to the boat. The mooring ball does not have a ring on it however. If the mooring line has been there for some time be careful as it will be slimy. After a great deal of difficulty, we pick up the mooring pennant from the mooring. Twice the engine stopped when I dropped back to neutral. There are crab pots interspersed in the moorings - maybe I've got one on the prop.
Attached to the mooring

Attached to the mooring


This mooring has no metal ring on top, so in order to put a bridle on it, we have to pull the mooring up to deck level. We try several times, and also try to pull the boat up to the mooring with no success - the wind is blowing us too hard. We want the bridle on so that there's more than one line on the mooring for safety. One lines goes from the mooring ball to each side of the bow. There are rain showers where it rains hard on and off.

After dark, the wind drops off to 5 knots and it is only sprinkling. So we go up on deck together and finally get the bridle on the mooring so we can sleep easier.
Mooring Ball at Indian Key

Mooring Ball at Indian Key


The wind clocks around from SE to NE, and the rollers go away. We spend a pretty peaceful night, and still have pretty good reception on the TV antenna.

15 December 03 Monday

Got underway a bit after 8. I had to drive up to the mooring to get the bridle off. Bob pulled out the jib and ran the refrigeration. The other day when we ran it, it kicked off early because the pump lost its prime. But it works this time.

Bob saw a pod of dolphins and then later a bunch of frigate birds swooping over the water. Heard a big bump on the hull and looked back and saw a light blue crab pot like we'd seen in the mooring field (looking somewhat the worse for wear) in our wake. We are motor sailing - fastest speed 10.0 mph.
Coming into Marathon 15 December

Coming into Marathon 15 December


We saw a Tilden's dive boat. Tilden's has a place at Hawk's Cay resort and one in Marathon. It was one of the places recommended to me by someone at the marina (one of the guys who lived on a boat said his girl friend worked there.) I never actually got to dive with them myself.
Tilden's Scuba Center boat

Tilden's Scuba Center boat


Rounded East Sister Rock, and went by Sombrero Beach and came into the marina and got fuel (which was only $1.19/gal for diesel). Our total trip to this point is 1109 nm.

Tied up in the marina.
RosalieAnn docked in Marathon

RosalieAnn docked in Marathon


Called Bell South to get a phone. They said we'd have a phone line by Thursday. Talked to Ed Marill on the bag phone - we are going to meet him at Castaways Wednesday for dinner. We walked up and ate dinner at Cabots.
Cabot's Restaurant

Cabot's Restaurant


When we first came to Marathon Marina in 2001, this restaurant was a raw bar and hamburger place. The next time we were here it was closed. This time, as we came in one of the first things we saw as we came in the channel was this restaurant. We ate here the first night because we were too tired to go anywhere else. Bob had
a house salad side ($2.95) and a half pound of peel and eat shrimp for $7.95

a house salad side ($2.95) and a half pound of peel and eat shrimp for $7.95


I had a rack of bbq ribs
A rack of BBQ ribs  ($18.95) which came with a salad (I had caesar) and vegetables (julienne squash and carrots) and bread

A rack of BBQ ribs ($18.95) which came with a salad (I had caesar) and vegetables (julienne squash and carrots) and bread


and Creme brulee ($4.95)

and Creme brulee ($4.95)


The total including tip came to $47.64. This restaurant is still there but it is now (2019) called Lazy Days South

Wednesday 17 December 2003

We unpacked the bikes. Bob started cleaning up the boat and redoing the topsides and the toe rail. (He stood in the dinghy)
031228Imagea007-001.jpg00309532298720110308183549561.jpg
We met Ed Marill and some other CSY people at Castaway Waterfront Restaurant for dinner. This restaurant is near some marinas Oceanside (in Marathon the directions are the number of miles from Key West, and whether it is Ocean Side or Bay side) . When we were here before we took a taxi over, but this time, since we knew where it was, we walked.
large_205aac20-0441-11ea-9219-a9a420924e44.jpg
Ed Marill

Ed Marill


Bob got the
Shrimp salad

Shrimp salad


and I got
Coconut shrimp

Coconut shrimp


which included new potatoes and a salad bar. We also got a basket of 'honey buns' which were deep fried bread which were a cross between donuts and hush puppies. The total including tip was $39.22.

Summary of 16-31 December

We are going to be here for the winter. As we explored the area, we discovered what restaurants we could walk to, In addition to Cabots and Castaway, we could walk to Seven Mile Grill, Porky's, and New China Inn.
00309532298720110308185650386-001.jpgOur boat at the dock

Our boat at the dock

031227Image002.jpgBob walking up the dock

Bob walking up the dock

Solar panels on the boom (since we are in a marina full-time)

Solar panels on the boom (since we are in a marina full-time)


Sunset 23 December

Sunset 23 December


Our original idea was to buy a 'conch cruiser' (an old car which runs but looks as if it won't) and then sell it when we left. However, renting a car was only $155 to 175/week. So we rented a car for a week once a month to make the run to the commissary in Key West. When we have the car, we eat out every night. When we don't have the car we still eat out. We just walk to the restaurant. Bob also periodically rode his bike up to Publix for provisions.

I gave my family the following instructions:

Our address for mail will be our name
% Marathon Marina
1021 Eleventh Street Ocean
Marathon, FL 33050
At the dock

At the dock


Birds on the dock

Birds on the dock


We have a local number so I can send email. You probably won't be able to get me on it but the number here is 305-743-XXXX. If it is busy, call the cell phone as I'm on the computer. If it rings and isn't answered, call my cell phone as we aren't on the boat. Keep in mind that the cell phone down here is on roaming and will not ring more than 3 times. I can't change that. It usually takes 3 rings for me to
a) realize that it is ringing
b) find the phone and
c) answer.

So if I don't answer and you go to voice mail, hang up and call again right away.

Sunset Christmas Eve

Sunset Christmas Eve


We celebrated Christmas on the boat.
00309532298720110308185627184.jpgOur mast as a Christmas tree with Christmas gifts at the base of the "tree"

Our mast as a Christmas tree with Christmas gifts at the base of the "tree"

Watching TV in the aft cabin

Watching TV in the aft cabin

Sunset

Sunset


I took some photos of them moving another boat which had engine trouble around in the marina.
c551a7d0-05d4-11ea-9ad7-71f62944ed5f.jpgMoving YEMAYA

Moving YEMAYA

YEMAYA moved

YEMAYA moved


I also took a photo of this Chinese junk which was for sale and which the marina wants to get rid of because they have not paid their dockage fees.
Chinese junk in the marina

Chinese junk in the marina


sunriseImage006.jpgSunrise 28 December

Sunrise 28 December

Then after Christmas our daughter and SIL and grandchildren came down from Miami in their boat and spent some time with us over New Years.
Daughter B and granddaughter

Daughter B and granddaughter

A/C in the boat hatch

A/C in the boat hatch


Bob carrying the trash on the dock with daughters family

Bob carrying the trash on the dock with daughters family


They stayed at another marina, and then came down to our marina in their boat to the empty slip next to us to pick us up to take us to dinner.
SIL's boat fueling at 'new' fuel dock

SIL's boat fueling at 'new' fuel dock


Son-in-law bringing his boat around to our slip

Son-in-law bringing his boat around to our slip


Coming into the slip

Coming into the slip

Bob helping them to tie up

Bob helping them to tie up


Unfortunately, the place he had in mind was too far away for us to eat and get back before dark, and he didn't want to be running around in the Keys after dark.

They took us on a tour of Boot Key Harbor on their boat,
Basin in marina from SILs boat

Basin in marina from SILs boat


CSY in the anchorage outside Boot Key Harbor

CSY in the anchorage outside Boot Key Harbor

Boot Key bridge

Boot Key bridge

Pancho's Fuel Dock

Pancho's Fuel Dock


3fe75eb0-0641-11ea-8fbd-bb9735769976.jpg Boats on moorings in Boot Key harbor

Boats on moorings in Boot Key harbor


and stopped at Dockside Tropical Cafe Florida at Sombrero Marina.
Dockside from the water

Dockside from the water


Dockside Tropical Cafe at the Sombrero Marina

Dockside Tropical Cafe at the Sombrero Marina


Many cruisers make this a meeting place because they have a dinghy dock for the folks anchored or moored in the harbor. But they told our SIL that they didn't have room for his little boat - they were saving the dock space for a big boat. {The second time we tried to each here, they were having chicken wings and Bob doesn't like chicken wings. It was taco night, but they weren't serving until 6 and we'd have had to wait 1/2 hour.}

So we went back and went to dinner at Burdines.
Burdines from the water

Burdines from the water

MM 47.5 Burdine's Marina on Boot Key Channel
Tying up at Burdines

Tying up at Burdines


We went to the upper deck where the food is served. There was a figure of a woman at the bottom of the stairs which would wave when you pulled a string from upstairs

Waving mannequin at Burdines

Waving mannequin at Burdines


This intrigued our grandson. After you get upstairs, you can look out over the Boot Key harbor bridge, and the entrance channel.They have a bucket on the table with a roll of paper towels, and also a large mousetrap type clip to put the order into. The waitresses were quite prompt and the food arrived very quickly.They have live music every night, but it is not intrusive or wasn't when we were there.
Eating on the upper deck

Eating on the upper deck

Daughter and grandchildren at Burdines

Daughter and grandchildren at Burdines


The food was quite plentiful - the two orders of fries
Fries

Fries


were quite large.
Quesadilla

Quesadilla


I got a quesadilla. The children had chicken which they cut up into fingers for them. I also had a fried Key Lime pie for dessert (not a very good picture).
Fried Key Lime pie

Fried Key Lime pie


This was quite a bit different than the one we had at Porkys because it was inside a roll of dough. My daughter had the fried shrimp basket and a beer. Our SIL also had a beer and a fish sandwich.The bill for all six of us was a bit under $100.00.

-------------------------

Restaurants that we can walk to

MM 47 - 7 Mile Grille - Closest to Seven Mile Bridge

One of our favorite restaurants when staying at Marathon Marina. For one thing it is close to walk to. The food is good and the price is right and the waitresses are friendly.
Behind the counter of 7 Mile Grille

Behind the counter of 7 Mile Grille


It is essentially an outdoor restaurant with seating along the outside protected in case of bad weather with shutters and plastic curtains. The picture shows it with the shutters and curtains up. There are two enclosed dining areas on the right of the picture.
7 Mile Grille with the shutters up

7 Mile Grille with the shutters up

For two of us it costs between $27 and $35 to eat there - entre, iced tea and dessert and tip. I usually try to select one of the specials.When we ate there 18 Dec 2003, Bob had the scallop plate (2 sides) and I had the spaghetti special ($5.95) with garlic bread and rice pudding.
Spaghetti special

Spaghetti special


The total including tip was $22.75. The fish sandwiches are also good. Note in the picture the Xmas oilcloth tablecloths.Tuesday is Mexican night - the specials are 2 soft tacos ($4.95), or a huge burrito or taco salad (both $6.95). They also have root beer floats, which I love.
Inside 7 Mile Grille

Inside 7 Mile Grille

'
Sunset walking home as we cross US 1
large_xImage008a.jpg
Traffic is very bad in the Keys. An accident will tie up traffic for hours because there is only one road through the Keys. The other day, a motorcycle came out onto the highway from Knight Key which is just at the east end of Seven Mile Bridge, and ended up under a propane truck. The motorcyclist woke up in the hospital and didn't remember what happened. Traffic was at a standstill for four hours because there was a worry about the propane truck exploding or something.

My SIL brought his boat down from Miami and it only took him 4 hours. If there is an accident on the road, it will be quicker by boat. (Although not by our boat which took 2.5 days)

So drive carefully, pay attention to what is going on and don't rush or tailgate.
-----------
MM 47.8 Bayside Porky's Bayside Restaurant and Marina
The restaurant looks out on the dock area on the Bay side, and it is interesting to watch the activity there while you eat. The charter fishing boats from Capt. Pips come in and the pelicans fly in to get the fish cleanings
nImage007.jpgCapt. Pips charter boats behind Porky's

Capt. Pips charter boats behind Porky's


I didn't like it as well as the Seven Mile Grill which is closer to the bridge
Bob going in to Porky's

Bob going in to Porky's


I ordered a la carte Caesar salad, black beans rice and fried plantains,
Black beans rice and fried plantains

Black beans rice and fried plantains


and bbq sandwich. Bob got pork bbq.
Pork BBQ

Pork BBQ


We each had key lime pie - he had regular and I had fried. The fried Key Lime pie was AWESOME.
Fried Key Lime pie in the front and regular in the back

Fried Key Lime pie in the front and regular in the back


But Bob likes the regular better. That's a little different than the regular Key Lime pie too. The plantains were good. I thought the meat in the bbq sandwich was in sort of big pieces. The service was hit or miss. Our bill with a $6 tip was $42.82.

Next time I had the steak special which was VERY good and tender for $16.95 and there was enough for me to take some home. It came with zucchini and rice.

New China Inn MM 47.9 Buffet or Takeout?
New China Inn

New China Inn


This place doesn't look like much, but it is cheap and the food is good. They deliver, and they also have a buffet both at lunch and at dinner. The lunch buffet is 11:15 to 3:00 and the dinner buffet doesn't start until 6.We got there about 5:30 so we ordered off the regular menu. Several other folks came in and waited until 6 - the photo inset was taken of one buffet table after they'd decimated it.
Buffet at the New China Inn

Buffet at the New China Inn


Our bill was $21.67 including tip.I had General Tso's chicken combo plate which included fried rice and an egg roll for $7.95. Bob had Sweet and Sour Chicken and Won Ton soup. We drank hot tea.The lunch buffet is $5.49 seven days a week. The dinner buffet costs about $7.95.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:41 Archived in USA

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Comments

It's odd for me to look Christmas photos without snow...What was the weather do you remember, was the water warm?
How much costs a permanent marina spot and what it includes?
Yup, I am hungry. I have never had root beer float or Key Lime pie but both are something I would like to try!

by hennaonthetrek

The weather was pretty warm. Sometimes it would be really too hot for us to feel like doing much - our boat didn't have A/C. Note that my daughter's boat had an A/C unit in the hatchway so that it would be cool enough to sleep. If we get a storm from the north, the air gets colder (although not below freezing) and the water gets colder then too.

When you ask if the water was warm, you have to specify where you are from. People from the north think the water in Florida in the winter is warm because it is as warm as the water in New England ever gets. People from Florida think the water is cold - too cold to swim in. Average temp in Dec/Jan/Feb is 22 deg C Compared to July/Aug when it is 31 deg C. But it depends on how hot the air is. Air temp in December is a high of about 26 deg C and a low of 21 deg C

by greatgrandmaR

I am from Finland, so I am positive that the water in Florida is warmer than I am use to! 22C might be warm enough for me to swim in, depends on the weather in general :)

by hennaonthetrek

A permanent spot in a marina usually just includes a place to tie up the boat and everything else is extra. The basic cost depends on where the marina is - in Florida, Charlie paid $800.00 a month in Daytona and he got one parking spot with the rent. The marina where we were staying in Marathon was about the same plus $45/month for electricity and there was also a charge for water.

by greatgrandmaR

I tired to get some idea is it cheap or not comparing what it is in here, but I am non the wiser..I found that in Helsinki you can rent a marina spot, it was 8,5e/m/month (so the bigger the boat, the more it costs) but I didn't find what it includes..Is there possible to buy a permanent spot or is it always rental?

by hennaonthetrek

Tried (not tired :) )

by hennaonthetrek

Yes the bigger the boat, the more it costs. The rental at the marina in Florida was about $18/foot/month and there are 3 feet 3 inches to a meter. It depends on the conversion from $$ how that will work out. Sometimes a house will have its own dock and that means that you don't have to rent space and there are some condo docks, but most of the time people rent space. At our home marina, we pay quarterly by the year and it is about $460 a quarter for a 45 foot boat - so cheaper than a month in Florida which would be $800 in the winter. Parking is free, water is free, there is a meter for electricity. Hauling the boat costs extra.

by greatgrandmaR

So in here it is quite a bit cheaper but we have a short season too..
We bought a spot in "small boat harbor" and have annual 100e bill for maintenance. For a winter obviously we have to lift our boat out of water.

by hennaonthetrek

Lifting is what I call "Hauling". We pay extra for that and usually also tip the man who does the work. We pay the same price if the boat is up in the yard (on land) in the winter as what we pay for the slip (dock) in the summer.

by greatgrandmaR

We have own trailer and we do the hauling by ourselfs, but we have way way smaller boat than you :)
We also could keep the boat at the "harbor" at winters but we opt to keep it in my boyfriends familys place. There is more room and we don't need to worry if someone is going to do something to the boat. Also maintenance wise it better there.

by hennaonthetrek

Yes - a trailer-able boat is easier to keep at the house. The mooring balls in the harbor are $150/month (any size boat) and you get 4 pumpouts a month and you can take in your trash. You also have to pay $60 a month to park your dinghy which includes parking for a car and/or bike, and garbage and trash disposal.

by greatgrandmaR

Would you be able to keep your boat on the ocean full year (if need to be) in your home marina? I am sorry, I am not aware of the weather in Maryland..

by hennaonthetrek

Yes most of the time the Chesapeake Bay doesn't freeze over. It's not the ocean, but it is brackish water with some salt in it. We do sometimes get a really cold winter with ice over the whole Bay, but most of the time we could leave the boat in the water.

by greatgrandmaR

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