A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Oyster Creek at Thanksgiving Offshore to the Miami River

Jacksonville Beach to Miami


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

Tuesday 25 November 2003

Bob was up at the bathroom 3 times list night and said it was due to the black bean soup we had in Fernandina - I had similar but less intense problem.

I called Robert about 7 to tell him where we had gotten to and where we were going. Then we cast off nicely. Problem was - the McCormick Bridge only opens on the hour and we had to wait until 8. The current was going through the bridge at a couple of knots and there was a wind. So we called the bridge tender and told him that we would wait in the entrance channel of the marina until he started to open and then go through. As soon as the bascule started up, Bob dove for the opening - we went through when the bridge was barely up.
Looking back at the McCormick bridge

Looking back at the McCormick bridge


It's overcast and chilly today. We see evidence of another condo on the west bank. We go through Palm Valley and there are huge houses on the east side
House in Palm Valley

House in Palm Valley


but no one around except yard workers and construction crews making more big houses. We did see someone inside one house on the phone. We came by a house with 4 dogs out on the pier and Bob and I bark back at them. The other side is completely wild.
Wild side of the river

Wild side of the river


The Palm Valley bascule bridge has been replaced with a fixed bridge. I note that the tide board ends at 61 feet, so I guess if your mast is taller than that you have to hope you guess right as to what the clearance actually is.
Palm Valley fixed bridge with truncated tide board

Palm Valley fixed bridge with truncated tide board


BLUE MARINE the catamaran passes us. PARADOX, one of the multitude of Carvers that were in the marina last night also passes.

I called Oyster Creek and obtained dockage for 3 days. Oyster Creek says we can come if we promise to leave Friday morning before 11 as they will need the dock then. Then I canceled St. Augustine (which I don't like because they charge for the internet access and Oyster Creek doesn't plus it is more expensive overall) and also pushed back Daytona reservation which I made for tomorrow to Friday. I figure no one will be open Thanksgiving, so there's no point in pushing it. We heard folks going through the Bridge of Lions at 1130 and 1230 (they don't open at noon).

We went by the little airport and Vilano Beach
Villano Beach pier

Villano Beach pier

Conch House Marina near the lighthouse

Conch House Marina near the lighthouse

St Augustine lighthouse

St Augustine lighthouse


and across the St. Augustine Inlet. There were breakers all the way across the mouth of the inlet.
Waves across the inlet

Waves across the inlet


I have seen it that way several times before. There was a presumably local sailboat sailing out near the breakers of the inlet.
A sailboat and breakers across the inlet

A sailboat and breakers across the inlet


Bob was swore that it was NOT the inlet, but he had to admit that it actually WAS, when the place he thought was the inlet was a landlocked dead end.

We approached the Bridge of Lions and found BANDERSNATCH on the green side of the channel.
Bandersnatch and the White Rabbit (dinghy)

Bandersnatch and the White Rabbit (dinghy)


The normal anchorage is on the west (red) side. When we saw that White Rabbit (their dinghy) was there, we called on the phone and talked to them, and then also called across between the boats. We had to wait until the 1300 opening for the bridge anyway.

Our friends said that the channel markers had been moved so that the channel was wider and the anchorage was narrower, but there was plenty of room where they were and the holding was good. It would just be a longer dinghy ride to the dinghy dock.
Green light on the Bridge of Lions

Green light on the Bridge of Lions


When it was time for the bridge to open, there was a sports fish on the other side wanting an opening and Bob thought he'd go through first, because he was upstream. But he hung back and then when we started to go through, he went at the same time.
Following us through the bridge

Following us through the bridge


A large scruffy looking buff-yellowish power boat with a for sale sign on it also followed us through. We'd heard them calling 'the sailboat' for a pass and had no clue who or where they were. Our name is written in letters over a foot high on the stern. Don't know why they couldn't see it.

They went up the San Sebastian River before us and we heard them docking on the radio. The dockmaster was very explicit in his directions - he told us later that as he assisted them to dock, the lines were falling apart in his hands.
SCARLET LADY Trumpy style yacht

SCARLET LADY Trumpy style yacht


We docked on the end of C dock T head about 1400 after a trip of 34.5 sm - maximum speed 11.4 mph, average 5.9 mph. The trip took about 6 hours.

After I checked us in (Boat US discount makes it 97 cents a foot), I used the bathroom and took the computer up to the internet. I looked up phone numbers of places that delivered food in the phone book in the cruiser's lounge, and we ordered pizza from Papa Johns. It was delivered very quickly.
Papa Johns

Papa Johns

Wednesday 26 November 2003

Bob walked to the Sailor's Exchange but didn't buy anything. He also walked down to West Marine. They said that the restaurant here (which is closed Mon and Tues) would be open Weds for lunch, so we assumed it would be open Weds night as well. NOT.
Oyster Creek - closed restaurant

Oyster Creek - closed restaurant


It was closed for "Thanksgiving eve". So we walked down to where the restaurant La Pentola used to be. La Pentola had moved downtown, and there was a new restaurant there called La Cocina Restaurant which had just been in operation for eight days. We were the only people there, so the service was excellent.
Inside of the restaurant

Inside of the restaurant


I had carrot soup and Bob had French onion soup - both very good.
Bread basket and Bob's onion soup

Bread basket and Bob's onion soup


Then Bob had ravioli appetizer as an entree and I had the ribeye special which was $16.95.
Ribeye Special

Ribeye Special


It was very good - it had a sauce on it, and was presented with rice, a squash corn vegetable dish and cactus. There was also 'garlic bread' which was in a basket of 5 and was replenished 3 times as we ate it. It had a bit of red (tomato maybe) on top.
Reflections at Oyster Creek

Reflections at Oyster Creek

Thursday Nov 27, 2003 - Thanksgiving

I wrote up some stuff and went up to send it.
RosalieAnn at Thanksgiving

RosalieAnn at Thanksgiving


Bob cooked the turkey breast and we had Thanksgiving dinner about 3 pm. Bob spent most of the afternoon watching an "At Home with the Braithwaites" marathon. Also watched a little bit of football.
Sunset at Oyster Creek

Sunset at Oyster Creek


Friday -28 November 2003

We cast off at low tide - the stern swung out so we could turn around.

Leaving Oyster Creek - looking back at B dock and SCARLET LADY

Leaving Oyster Creek - looking back at B dock and SCARLET LADY


We didn't have much water - depth gauge showed only 5.2. We idled slowly down the creek - me at the wheel and Bob stowing lines and fenders. The sky is a brilliant clear blue. I'm a bit worried about the forecast front going through and showers this afternoon, but there's no sign of it now. We are being given a boost by the tide coming in the St. Augustine inlet. We pass the stern wheeler dinner boat JEAN MARY which has been under renovation by the yard farther down the river.
JEAN MARY - dinner cruise boat

JEAN MARY - dinner cruise boat


We had to be off the dock today because this boat is coming from there to be docked at the dock we just left at Oyster Creek this morning. We get down the San Sebastian River and go under the fixed bridge there before 0800.
Fixed bridge next to the San Sebastian River

Fixed bridge next to the San Sebastian River


A sports fish called JACKPOT wakes everyone and I hear other folks complaining on the radio. He doesn't know how to give folks an easy pass with little or no wake, or he doesn't care.
House with a cupola which is on the charts

House with a cupola which is on the charts


When we got to the Crescent Beach bridge, we go through by ourselves (there is a significant amount of current against us)
Crescent Beach Bridge all the way up

Crescent Beach Bridge all the way up


after another boat about a mile ahead called KALUHA. There are two or three boats behind us, and the bridge makes the first two of them wait and we go through together.
Houses on shore south of the Crescent Beach Bridge

Houses on shore south of the Crescent Beach Bridge


A sailboat from Florida with the US flag flying from the spreaders (not correct flag etiquette - should be from the backstay or from a flagpole at the stern - flags that fly from the spreaders are courtesy flags of a country you are visiting, or yacht club pennants etc.) comes north and she makes him wait for the next opening.

We hear a commercial fishing boat reporting to the CG in Mayport that a sportsfish is taking on water and dragging toward the Matanzas Inlet bridge from the ocean side.
Fort Matanzas from the ICW

Fort Matanzas from the ICW


Since it has be dredged, this inlet hasn't been as troubling for us. People still tend to follow us (even though we are slower than they are) so that if anyone is going to go aground, we will do it first.
Ketch way behind us in Matanzas Inlet

Ketch way behind us in Matanzas Inlet


We can't see anything of the inlet itself from the ICW, as we go inland around the delta of shallow water at the entrance of the inlet. We do see kayakers along the shore.
Kayakers near the inlet

Kayakers near the inlet


It is a nice day, and it is a holiday weekend so a lot of people are out and about. We also see people launching boats along the river,
Launching boats on the ICW

Launching boats on the ICW


and we pass the inlet without incident.

SEAFOX, a large power boat with a tent/cabana on the top aft deck and a mural below that passed. As we passed the old Marineland about 1000, Bob said that he saw a dolphin jumping in the old stadium. I didn't see it. The stadium and marina closed down before our 2000 trip, but I have heard rumors that they might reopen.
Old Marineland complex and stadium

Old Marineland complex and stadium


We actually catch up with KALUHA (from Norfolk with a tan hull) and pass. As we pass them, we see someone standing almost in the channel and the water is only up to their thighs. He's completely captured the attention of the man at the helm of KALUAH.
Man on KALUAH looking back at someone fishing in the channel

Man on KALUAH looking back at someone fishing in the channel


This sign on the Palm Coast side of the waterway says:
Sanctuary development sig

Sanctuary development sig


"SANCTUARY" (which I think is the name of a development)

"Estate Size
"Homes Sites
"Available"

with a phone number and tacked on the right edge

"Coming Soon"


We pass the north end of the Palm Coast waterways and canals, and look down the canal at all the expensive houses. I guess these are 'estate sized'.
Palm Coast houses on a canal

Palm Coast houses on a canal

Palm Coast Marina from the intercoastal

Palm Coast Marina from the intercoastal


We pass a large area on the east side of the canal which appears to be some kind of construction project for a marina or something. The channel goes all the way in to a basin.
Large cleared area with harbor

Large cleared area with harbor


On the other side (the Palm Valley side) we see a relatively wild area, but with houses and things visible through the trees.
Couple with a boat

Couple with a boat


We note that many of the fixed bridges are not 65' at high tide. This bridge doesn't have any numbers on the tide board at all.
Fixed bridge with no numbers on the tide board and fisherman behind the fender

Fixed bridge with no numbers on the tide board and fisherman behind the fender


Note the fishermen peering out from the other side of the fenders. It doesn't concern us of course - we are only 58.5' but we hear some questions on the radio about whether the boats behind us will have to wait for low tide. It's low tide for the bridges and high tide for the shoals.

The blue ketch that went through the Crescent Beach bridge on the opening right after ours hangs in behind us for awhile. Their name turns out to be BIGGLES and I hear on the radio that they are from Wrightsville Beach NC but it's not on the boat anywhere. Their anchor is perched on the bobstay, and their outboard is dotted with pink and white polka dots.
KALUAH and BIGGLES

KALUAH and BIGGLES

Kayakers about 1130

Kayakers about 1130


We are going through a canal known as Fox Cut now which is just a straight cut - no aids to navigation as there's no way to get lost. You just go straight ahead. Two trawlers, RETREAT and BLUE (with a wide blue hull stripe) pass. Finally CLEO a Nonsuch catboat from Dublin NH passes, and a trawler named POLLYANNA passes north of Ormond Beach. We pass an osprey or bald eagle on the top of a palm trunk which has no leaves.
Osprey on a palm trunk

Osprey on a palm trunk


It has gotten quite windy.

We hear a tug on the VHF radio, calling to traffic ahead of him. He is concerned that the wind will blow him into the shallows, or that he won't be able to make the turn ahead without being blown onto the side of the canal. So he wants to stay on the west side of the canal instead of passing oncoming traffic port to port as is normal. We are happy to oblige..
Barge being pushed by a tug

Barge being pushed by a tug


A big power boat named CHARM III passes and wakes us. We hear other folks on the radio complaining about him when he passes them, and he is highly indignant as he has passed far away from them, so what are they complaining about? (Closer is better in this case.)
Blimp

Blimp

No wake sign on a couple of old boats

No wake sign on a couple of old boats

House near Ormond Beach

House near Ormond Beach

Ormand Beach fixed bridge at 3:15 pm

Ormand Beach fixed bridge at 3:15 pm


We see Charlie and Sandy Jackson's boat WINDSTAR (another CSY like ours) is still at Caribbean Jacks.
Windstar between two power boats

Windstar between two power boats


We go through the Main Street bridge in Daytona (the first of two opening bridges there). Unbeknownst to us, Charlie was sitting in his truck on the bridge and saw us go through. They ask us our final destination, and I lie and say the Bahamas. I think (although they say it is the CG that wants to know) that this is a ploy to track down boaters who are in FL more than 90 days to collect registration from them. Then we go through the Seabreeze bridge with the mosaic murals on the columns
Seaborne bridge with less than 65 ft clearance

Seaborne bridge with less than 65 ft clearance


The Seabreeze bridge (both spans) and several other bridges north of it are only 64 feet at high tide. Of course the tide has been unusually high because of the new moon.
Main Street Bridge opening

Main Street Bridge opening


We go through the Memorial Bridge which is the second opening bridge in Daytona at 1610. I note that there is an 'advertisement' for the municipal marina on the side of the bridge.
Memorial Bridge with advert for municipal marina

Memorial Bridge with advert for municipal marina


It is a green sign that says

Daytona Marina available at
-- Halifax Harbor Marina--
Slips and Fuel at
Marker 39A
500 yards Ahead
Contact on Channel 16

We tie up on the J dock at Halifax Harbor after a trip of 53.6 sm at an average speed of 6.0 mph. Halifax Harbor is now $1.35/ft plus $5.00 for 30 amp. (Our bill for 2 days was $118.80 for 44 feet).

After we tied up, I called Caribbean Jacks to find out Charlie's phone number, and he calls me back right away. He tells me that he saw us go through the Main Street bridge. It starts to get very windy and cold and then starts to rain heavily. I'm happy that the rain held off until after we got docked.

We walked up to the parking lot and Charlie picked us up and we go back to Caribbean Jacks for dinner. Caribbean Jacks costs Charlie more than $800/month. This restaurant has been built since we last stayed at this marina, and it is BIG and popular. They have had to put in reserved parking spaces for the live-aboards - otherwise the restaurant patrons would leave them no place to park in their own marina. Charlie gets free meals for taking care of their salt water fish tank. Charlie figured there wouldn't be as many people here since it was rainy and nasty out - particularly there wouldn't be many motorcyclists out. Even so the restaurant was quite crowded and busy.
The special on the entrance board was Tilapia (fish) for $17.95.

The special on the entrance board was Tilapia (fish) for $17.95.


Fishtank collage

Fishtank collage


The fish tank was at the entrance and you could see through it to the kitchen. There was also a window at the far end looking out onto and across the river.

Bob's half rack of ribs

Bob's half rack of ribs

My Teriyki chicken

My Teriyki chicken


Charlie's salmon special

Charlie's salmon special


He paid with his free meal card, so I don't know exactly what the total was.

Sandy is currently working in Tampa and living there. Charlie is getting ready to go back to their place in VA and fix the damage that Isobel caused. He said it cost him $5K to have the downed trees removed. $1K to have all but two done, and $4K for those two. He said that all the contractors are salivating to repair the damage and get big bucks.

The rain has more or less ended and Charlie takes us back to the marina. It is quite windy during the night, and it gets cold.

November 29, 2003 Saturday

The temps are about the same as they are in Baltimore today (Saturday).

Bob did a laundry. Washers were $1.25 a load and so were the dryers, and Bob said they were super efficient and dried quicker than most. They actually dry all of a load. Bob liked the West Marine here better (more complete) than in St. Augustine. I sent emails. Not much activity at the marina or on the waterway (we have the VHF on). The charmless CHARM III left early before I had a chance to 'educate' him in how to pass correctly - probably just as well.

Only happening of note - Bob checks the aft holding tank (the new one which he installed before we left) and discovered it is overfull and backed up into the toilet inlet. We tried to pump it out at Fernandina Beach, and they said there was nothing there. So we plan to get a pumpout in the morning before we leave (it's free here). He switches the forward head to the holding tank so we can get that pumped out too.

This means we can't use the toilet in the aft head next to where we sleep tonight. This is VERY inconvenient, as we normally get up a couple times a night and since it is VERY cold here (down in the lower 40s or upper 30s) that means we have the hatch boards in. So to 'go' we have to put on clothes, take out the hatch boards, put them back (so the other person doesn't freeze) and either go forward or walk up to the marina bathrooms. I decide to sleep in my clothes (with the key to the bathroom in my pocket) in order to eliminate one step.
Bathroom key

Bathroom key


The forward head is very cold as we don't have a heater up there.

Sunday 30 November 2003

Bob got up about 0610 and ran the refrigeration. We undocked (I actually managed to flip a line off the cleat!!!) at 0655 and went over to the fuel dock for a pumpout. (It doesn't open until 0700) I did OK at throwing the bow line to the dock guy, but when I went to throw the midships line, a screwed up because I got parts of two different lines from the pinrail.
At the pumpout and gas dock - Marina office on the other side of the fairway

At the pumpout and gas dock - Marina office on the other side of the fairway


We had a successful pumpout of both tanks and Bob put the forward head back to Lectrasan. I then motored out of the channel while Bob stowed the lines.
Ocean side of the Halifax River in Daytona

Ocean side of the Halifax River in Daytona


For some reason, Bob always switches off autopilot whenever he hands over to me. I have trouble steering a straight line without it. I got into shallow water close to the edge of the channel and panicked but managed not to run aground.

He was finished stowing lines etc. by the time we got to Seven Seas Marina at Port Orange. The bridge in Port Orange is between several islands and the river narrows here. This makes for a Venturi effect at the marinas (like Seven Seas) upstream. Fortunately the bridge is a fixed bridge (even though the tide boards on the bridge show that at high tide it's only 64 feet),
Clearance of the Bridge

Clearance of the Bridge


so we don't have to wait in the current for the bridge to open or worry about going fast enough to get through before it has to close. Bob pulled out the jib.

Ponce Inlet was our next obstacle, with shoaling reported down to 4'6" in some places. My observations of the tell-tails on the posts led me to think that the tide was going out. However the tide tables said that it was already out and coming in. If we were to go aground, coming in would be better.

In any case we entered the estuary of the inlet (with the red lighthouse on our east side Ponce Lighthouse

Ponce Lighthouse


and were passed between marker 1 and marker 3A by a big power boat which stirred up the bottom and made it impossible to tell what the depth actually was. We were passed by ANYTIME and by a Grady-White who didn't come off plane, so they didn't stir up the bottom much. Bob didn't go over behind them - partly I guess not to get out of the channel. If we steer into the wake of a power boat the wake is less. At the G5 we saw 5.5' on the depth gauge. when the power boats were long gone. We draw 5', but we don't actually go aground until the depth sounder says 4.6'. But it is anxiety producing when the thing starts beeping loudly at 7 feet. A power catamaran GADZOOKS came out of the anchorage and passed us.
GADZOOKS coming out of the anchorage

GADZOOKS coming out of the anchorage


I'm sure they don't have any problem with the shoaling as their draft is probably much less than ours.
Anchored catamaran and lighthouse

Anchored catamaran and lighthouse


Bob pulled in the jib. EXCEPTION passed.
Lighthouse and ATON

Lighthouse and ATON


Near the Green 19 there was a red floater and the red side got shallower so we stayed closer to the green.

We got to the Coronado Bridge (North Causeway Bridge) in New Smyrna Beach at about 9:35. The New Smyrna bridges are painted pink. As we came into New Smyrna Beach, the sailboat behind us (named as we found later DUSO) which drew 7 feet ran aground briefly. We found that the Coronado bridge which used to be on demand is now on a schedule of every 20 minutes. A trawler passed and went under without an opening.
Pink Bridge clearance when closed

Pink Bridge clearance when closed

Marina and Riverview Hotel and Restaurant

Marina and Riverview Hotel and Restaurant


We went through the 0920 opening with DUSO and a white ketch.
DUSO and ketch going through bridge

DUSO and ketch going through bridge


We passed the municipal marina.
New Smyrna Municipal marina

New Smyrna Municipal marina


A sailboat was docked at the Sea Harvest restaurant which advertises free dockage.
Sea Harvest docks

Sea Harvest docks


We saw the red catamaran (with the difficult to pronounce or remember name) from Norway (I think) that we saw getting fuel in Fernandina Beach. They were tied up to what looked like park docks.
Scandinavian catamaran

Scandinavian catamaran


There are signs on the docks, but I can't read them in the picture.
Pink fixed bridge

Pink fixed bridge


After we went under the pink fixed bridge, DUSO passed (I think he is single handing) and called across and asked if this was our normal speed because he never passes anyone. We see a park on the starboard side.
Riverfront Park in New Smyrna Beach

Riverfront Park in New Smyrna Beach

Playground in New Smyrna Beach

Playground in New Smyrna Beach


There is a children's playground a little farther along. I took this picture of an interesting barge as we passed.
T-Storms barge

T-Storms barge


Fishing is big here. We go past a bunch of fish camps, parks and trailer parks.
Fisherman's boats on shore

Fisherman's boats on shore

Boat ramp,  pontoon boat and egret

Boat ramp, pontoon boat and egret


Bassy Bay Fish Camp

Bassy Bay Fish Camp

Indian Mound Fish Camp

Indian Mound Fish Camp


Trailer park

Trailer park


Going down through Mosquito Lagoon we met a barge and the tug ALIA from Stuart.
Tug ALIA and barge

Tug ALIA and barge

Birds on an ATON in Mosquito Lagoon

Birds on an ATON in Mosquito Lagoon


Unlike Mosquito Inlet which has been renamed Ponce de Leon Inlet, Mosquito Lagoon has not been renamed. It's pretty quiet and there's very little to look at - Bob considers it boring. We see dolphins playing in the channel and some white pelicans. There's one little sandbar that's so thick with birds that it looks like it is covered with gravel. There's a boat putting out crab pots. Much of the Lagoon (outside of the channel) is very shallow.We are passed by a motor boat named PRUSSIAN PRIDE who asks us on channel 17 if we knew a doctor in Leonardtown who had a compound of 5 houses. I can't think who that can be, and he doesn't remember the name.

DUSO slowed down - I think he wanted us to go first, but we were at the turn into the Haulover Canal. Bob complained that it was a bad place to pass, and I reminded him that he didn't HAVE to pass, he could slow down too.
Fishermen near Haulover Canal

Fishermen near Haulover Canal


There were a lot of fishermen at the entrance to the canal and I briefly mistook one of them with a red shirt for a red marker on the green side.
Fisherman with a red shirt on the green side of the channel

Fisherman with a red shirt on the green side of the channel

Fenders of the Haulover Bridge

Fenders of the Haulover Bridge


DUSO went through the Haulover bridge ahead of us
Following DUSO through the Haulover Bridge

Following DUSO through the Haulover Bridge


and he stayed open for a blue hulled ketch (RHAPSODY?) that was behind us.
Looking back to Haulover Bridge

Looking back to Haulover Bridge


DUSO keeps looking back at us, and is talking on a phone, and isn't steering very well. He doesn't seem to know about the tanks that you can use as a range on the far bank of the Indian River.
Tanks to use as a range coming out of the Haulover Canal taken when we are closer

Tanks to use as a range coming out of the Haulover Canal taken when we are closer


The spoil islands right at the exit to the canal have brown and right pelicans, cormorants and a couple of rosette spoonbills.
Pelicans and other birds on a spoil island

Pelicans and other birds on a spoil island


Off beyond one of the spoil island sandbars covered with cormorants there's a sign - I take the binoculars to read it - it says "Resume normal safe operation."

We are now crossing the Indian River toward Jay Jay and closing in on Titusville.
Going through the Jay RR bridge

Going through the Jay RR bridge


Blue hulled ketch goes through Jay Jay RR bridge

Blue hulled ketch goes through Jay Jay RR bridge


After we go through the Jay Jay Railroad Bridge (followed by the blue hulled ketch), DUSO goes into the anchorage.
Anchorage from the marina

Anchorage from the marina

Anchorage from the marina

Anchorage from the marina


We come into the marina and get fuel and tie up. I pay for 2 days.
RosalieAnn in Titusville

RosalieAnn in Titusville


The rate with Boat US discount is 95 cents a foot, but the fuel is $1.389 which isn't particularly cheap - total trip 812nm Today's trip 48.3 sm

Every time we come to Titusville we walk across the highway and across the parking lot of the shopping center and go to Azteca for dinner. The food is plentiful, and good. It seems to be a family run place. In the daytime the nearby courthouse workers probably come to eat here.
Bob walking in to Azteca

Bob walking in to Azteca


We came here on Nov 30th and it was decorated for Xmas.
Angel on the tree like one we had when I was little

Angel on the tree like one we had when I was little


There was a Xmas tree as well as exterior lights. Bob had the taco platter
Bob's taco platter

Bob's taco platter


I had a taco salad. We also each had a frozen ice cream. The service wasn't as good as before and I didn't think the food was as good, but it is still a good restaurant.
Taco salad

Taco salad


After dinner I talked to a guy from a power boat and he told me about the fire in the St. Augustine anchorage. This is what the live-aboard list had to say about it.
It was a brand new trawler on it's maiden run from up north. A retired couple and their little black dog lived on it. When it first caught fire it was tied up (so we heard) to a green floater not more than a hundred yards from us. I only wish I had known. We are very sensitive to the danger signal. There were no whistles. ... But by the time we were aware of the fire the local cops had it towed to the flats north of the anchorage and were letting it burn.

The couple and their dog escaped in their dinghy. They were on TV that night. The skipper said he lifted the engine room hatch and could only see black smoke and no flames to squirt a fire extinguisher at. They couldn't think of anything to do about it but to abandon ship. I suspect it was an electrical fire.

Monday 1 December 2003

Did email. Bob walked to Eckarts and the Box and Save, but only bought lactaid. The weather sounds ominous. Bob says the power plugs for 110 on the forward port side of the boat aren't working.

The second day we were in Titusville, we figured that we'd spring for a cab and someone recommended this place. After we got here, we found that they would have delivered to the boat, which would have been way cheaper as the cab fare was $7.50 each way plus tip.
Kelsey's sign

Kelsey's sign


The place was much better than the chain pizza places, and was nicely decorated with murals on the wall. They had half portions on the menu which is good for us as Bob doesn't want what most places give you as a full portion.
Mural on the wall

Mural on the wall

Murals on the wall

Murals on the wall

Garlic bread

Garlic bread


Bob had spaghetti, and I had a pasta dish without sauce which I thought had a bit too much garlic. They have a notice on their menu which said that Italian cooking had to have garlic in it, and not to even bother to come in if you didn't want garlic. I also had garlic bread.
Pasta dish without sauce

Pasta dish without sauce


The bill was $23.22 and we gave the waitress $4.00 tip
Sunset in Marina December 1st

Sunset in Marina December 1st


Tuesday 2 December 2003
Sunrise at 0710 from Titusville

Sunrise at 0710 from Titusville


No wind this morning. Cast off about 0700. I was at the wheel and Bob managed the lines.
Leaving Titusville Marina

Leaving Titusville Marina


I forgot to put the external antenna on the charting GPS and it and Bob both complained. It said it wanted an INIT method, but as soon as it got the first satellite, it forgot about that.

TYCO, another sailboat, was waiting for the Titusville Swing bridge's first opening at 0715, but the bridge tender saw a trawler coming out of the marina and waited to open until she saw that the trawler was heading north.
Anchorage in Titusville

Anchorage in Titusville


Bob pulls out the jib. The bridge finally swings open at 0719, letting the sun shine across the water. The sun turns the bridge into a silhouette.
Sun rises opposite the Titusville bridge

Sun rises opposite the Titusville bridge


When we go through at 0720, the rising sun shines on the golden tan concrete against purple and pink clouds. 7e7b61c0-febd-11e9-972c-3b1bb3a3bef3.jpgEast side of the bridge in the morning sun

East side of the bridge in the morning sun


After we go through the bridge, Bob pulls out the jib. The Indian River is one of the few places on the ICW where we could actually sail
Titusville bridge closes as cars wait

Titusville bridge closes as cars wait

Cape Canaveral launch building

Cape Canaveral launch building

High tension power lines high over the ICW

High tension power lines high over the ICW


We got to the NASA bridge after 0800
NASA bridge opening

NASA bridge opening


TYCO ahead of us at the NASA bridge

TYCO ahead of us at the NASA bridge


and went through with TYCO
NASA bridge restrictions

NASA bridge restrictions

Do not drag anchor sign

Do not drag anchor sign

Cormorants on the bridge fenders

Cormorants on the bridge fenders


and a trawler named SHIRLEE-J.
88000ed0-febd-11e9-b182-83f9269cbadd.jpgSHIRLEE-J as the NASA bridge closes about 0820

SHIRLEE-J as the NASA bridge closes about 0820


Traffic was backed up past the end of the very long causeway. Bob said they should have left for work earlier.
Model missile on shore

Model missile on shore


We went by the Canaveral Barge Canal, which I've never paid much attention to before. This time I watched out for it because we had considered whether it would be a good place to go outside or to come in.
Looking from the ICW to the Barge Canal

Looking from the ICW to the Barge Canal


Several little power boats turned the corner before the fixed bridge and went down this channel.

There are several power plants on the west shore of the river,
Power plant on the west side of the river

Power plant on the west side of the river


and associated with them are big overhead power lines on very tall concrete poles. Authorized clearance 45 feet, except 85 feet over the channel.
Electric lines framed by lines on our boat

Electric lines framed by lines on our boat

Power lines crossing the river

Power lines crossing the river


SEA CAPER, a dark hulled sailboat passed us.
Under fixed bridge

Under fixed bridge

A pair of Pelicans on the bridge fenders

A pair of Pelicans on the bridge fenders

SEA CAPER behind us at the fixed bridge about 1000

SEA CAPER behind us at the fixed bridge about 1000


About 1015, some big grey dolphins came up and splashed water at us on the windward side. They got water all over Bob's sunglasses and over the curtains on that side. I didn't get any pictures because I was afraid that the camera would get wet. We are coming down by Cocoa with its huge water tower with the American flag on it
847dc5e0-febd-11e9-86c7-59d0da0b54f4.jpgCocoa's water tower

Cocoa's water tower

Shore of Cocoa

Shore of Cocoa

Leaving Cocoa

Leaving Cocoa


. Bob complained that the wind was not as strong as predicted and took down the jib.
Intercoastal Marina sign

Intercoastal Marina sign


Then the wind picked up, and Bob put up the jib. We really sailed along, and reached the Melbourne fixed bridge by a little after 1230.
Going through the fixed bridge

Going through the fixed bridge


Since we have a strong NE wind now, we need to anchor SW of something for protection. The Melbourne bridge is the last place I know of where we can get this protection. So we anchor after a trip of 40.6 sm by 1300.
In the lee of State Route 516 fixed bridge

In the lee of State Route 516 fixed bridge

Bridge abutments NE of us

Bridge abutments NE of us


There is a sailboat named OMEGA closer to shore,
OMEGA closer to shore

OMEGA closer to shore


and a little later, there is a fire on shore and fire engines come. Since there is high wind (18-25 knots) and it is dry, there is a significant fire hazard. But the fire is soon out.
Smoke lingers after fire on shore is out

Smoke lingers after fire on shore is out


A barge and tug come through the bridge and go south.
Barge pushed by a tug coming through the bridge

Barge pushed by a tug coming through the bridge


There are bad wakes at this anchorage during the day. But they die out during the night. Bob has forgotten to run the refrigeration, so he turns on the engine to do that, and we eat dinner on the boat - very nice tender steak.

The windmill ran hard all night, and we have very good TV reception of several local channels so we don't even bother with the satellite TV. We got the big quilts out of the V-berth, but do not need them as it did not get cold.

Wednesday 3 December 2003

Melbourne at 0638 in the morning

Melbourne at 0638 in the morning


In the morning we were pointed east. I made Bob get up and start pulling the anchor, although he grumbled that he couldn't see the crab pots yet. The GPS said we went 1.2 sm last night (swinging on the anchor).
Indian River about 0900 December 3

Indian River about 0900 December 3


Bob said he had trouble getting the snubber off the anchor, and I had to motor up to it in order to get it up off the bottom - trying to keep the boat from swinging too much past where Bob wants it to be headed. Bob said the last 4 feet of chain was caked with black sand and shell.

We see wind gusts from the SE of up to 25 knots although the weather is still saying the wind is east. We run the engine driven refrigeration and it is making a funny noise.

0823 - As we come past an anchorage at the spoil islands, a grey hulled sailboat named ELAN came out and passed us. They pulled out their jib and eventually Bob pulled out the staysail. He says the wind is borderline too strong.
Computer charting program

Computer charting program

Spray droplets on the dodger

Spray droplets on the dodger


We are getting too much spray on the windward side of the boat for me to risk the digital camera. ODYSSEY, the power cat that passed us in Bucksport and again after McClellanville passed us again at 0950. We are about halfway to Ft. Pierce now.
Houses near the ICW near noon 116

Houses near the ICW near noon 116

Power plant

Power plant


We had hot dogs for lunch. Ominous clouds are building up. It is still really windy. We pull in the staysail when we get to Wabasso where it is a bit more protected. Bob goes out and washes off the curtains so he can see a bit better.
Bob washing the dodger

Bob washing the dodger


1400 - ABOUT TIME, an Albin 40 passed along with GNATLOOP (another trawler). I see a pontoon boat from the Harbor Branch marine studies laboratory on the east.
Pontoon boat

Pontoon boat

Little barge 1215

Little barge 1215


We go by Vero Beach and I finally get a picture of the boats rafted on the moorings.
Vero Beach rafted boats on moorings

Vero Beach rafted boats on moorings

Vero Marine Center sign

Vero Marine Center sign

17th Street Causeway

17th Street Causeway


We get to the North Ft. Pierce bridge, which has a barge anchored in front of it - in front of us are two more sailboats and the two trawlers. ABOUT TIME asks about the clearance and the bridge tender says he won't be able to see because of the barge, and just to wait that he is opening. So the bridge opens for the trawlers and the sail boats also eventually get through.
Approaching the North Ft. Pierce bridge

Approaching the North Ft. Pierce bridge


We can't make it so we throttle back. Eventually two more power boats pass us so the bridge opens again.
Barge by the bridge

Barge by the bridge


Workers dangling

Workers dangling


We get to our slip (H15) after a certain amount of maneuvering - there are two slips and Bob doesn't know which one to go to - since the dodger (windscreen) is buttoned down he can't hear me. That means that he has to turn the boat sharply in a restricted area to get in the nearer of the two slips (there is a big power boat in the way so he can't see). This causes the sailboat on the other side of the power boat to think that we have bow thrusters!!!

Anyway, the end of the finger pier is right next to the shrouds so we have to go out the gate and walk along outside the lifelines and then step over onto the finger pier.
Rosalieann's deck

Rosalieann's deck


We get tied up after a total of 887 nm and a trip this day of 46.9 sm at an average of 5.9 mph. Harbortown in Ft. Pierce is now $1.00/ft with the BoatUS discount and electric is $4.00. They still have the email line outside the office.

ABOUT TIME is here too over on D dock (also leaving tomorrow), and AFTERNOON TEA (we saw in Dowry Creek and Georgetown among other places) is here getting some hoses replaced.

The weather report says that there are going to be strong winds and big waves on Friday, plus possible showers and it will be even worse weather Sat and that a front will go through. We had planned to go to Miami on Friday, getting there on Sat. But I think we will stay here until the wind dies down and the waves subside.

I went up and did email. Bob was upset when I came back because he can't make the 110 refrigeration work. The pump works, but won't turn on. He has fixed the problem with the plugs on the port side though. There was a short brief shower with the sun still up which gave a nice rainbow. I took a film picture of it.
Rainbow in Ft Pierce

Rainbow in Ft Pierce

Pink clouds

Pink clouds

Marina cat

Marina cat


Then we went and ate dinner at the marina restaurant - Since I knew to ask for the early bird specials (4-6 pm), we each ate for $9.95 which included soup or salad, one of four entrees (crab cake, broiled flounder, strip stake or pasta primavera) rice, pasta or baked potato, vegetables and key lime pie. I had crab cake which proved to be fried (which I don't mind at all) and VERY large,
Early Bird Crabcake dinner

Early Bird Crabcake dinner


and Bob had flounder.
Tree pelicans about sunset

Tree pelicans about sunset


Then I went and got the black Dell it's virus definitions and and took some night pictures of the pelicans in the trees. We watched TV.
Bob watching TV in the aft cabin

Bob watching TV in the aft cabin


Thursday 4 December 2003

Bob is washing the boat, and I am writing emails. The 110 refrigeration is now working again. I'm thinking of going up to use the pool - but I didn't - I did go up and get a shower.
At the dock in Ft. Pierce

At the dock in Ft. Pierce


When I went up to do email I talked to a guy who said Friday was the best window we'd have for awhile. There are supposed to be light winds from the south and then after midnight to come around to the NE with possible thunderstorms. So I reconsidered, and thought we might get to Miami before the thunderstorms and decided to leave after all. I went up and paid.

We had dinner at the marina restaurant again.
1717 - sun going down

1717 - sun going down

Sunset

Sunset

Marina cat

Marina cat

Early Bird steak

Early Bird steak

Night in the marina

Night in the marina


Bob found a CSY in the yard - after we had dinner, we walked up there to look at it.

Friday 5 December 2003

Bob ran the refrigeration, and went up to the bathroom and turned in the keys. I let him back in to the dock gate. We cast off about 0715 and went out the inlet.
Leaving the marina

Leaving the marina

Harbortown Marina entrance

Harbortown Marina entrance


The marina looks very peaceful as we leave and there is very little wind. Bob goes on the wrong side of one of the ICW markers, but there's no problem - just a little shallower than the main channel.
Anchorage outside the marina

Anchorage outside the marina


The tide is supposed to be high, but is still coming in according to the current.
Coast guard ship

Coast guard ship

Red and white range marker

Red and white range marker


We go by the CG station and out between the stone jetties.
Powerboat in the inlet

Powerboat in the inlet


The inlet is relatively calm with just a little surf on the jetties and some fog over the beaches beyond it.
Fort Pierce through the morning mist

Fort Pierce through the morning mist


Breakers on the jetties

Breakers on the jetties


There are BIG rollers (well 8 ft anyway) from the east, as the wind has been from the east for awhile. Sort of uncomfortable because the wind is from the south and we are going south so we roll a bit.

Bob saw a turtle, but all I saw was the ring in the water where it had been. After awhile of the wind being from the south, the roller smooth out. Big cumulus clouds build up over the land - we are on the outer edge of them.

By noon, we've gone 30 sm and are past the St. Lucie inlet. We can hear people calling the bridges as we pass. We are going 6.6 mph and are being helped a little bit by a current flowing south. We have lunch (tuna sandwiches). We pass a tug pushing a barge north.
Tug and barge

Tug and barge


We see a big ship with the name CROWLEY on the side in big white letters. We also see a green oil ship going north. At 1618 there is a current against us of about a knot, but the water temperature is only 73 degrees, so it's not in the Gulf Stream - it's probably the tide going in or out Lake Worth inlet.
Rain in the distance

Rain in the distance


We see a small cruise ship (too far away to make out the name - the Palm Beach Princess maybe?)
Small cruise ship

Small cruise ship


going into Lake Worth.
Sailboats

Sailboats


Bob asks what the line of buoys east of us is. We are passed by some racing boats which appear to also be headed from the inlet. Eventually we get close enough for me to tell that the line of buoys is in fact a line of sailboats. There must have been a race somewhere, or there is going to be a race off Lake Worth inlet. We speculate where they could be coming from. I think the Bahamas is unlikely given the reporting requirements, so I think they must be coming north from Miami.
Lowering skies

Lowering skies


Coast at about 1700 (5 pm)

Coast at about 1700 (5 pm)


We had dinner - I ate my beef from last night. There was a brief shower. I went to lie down, but Bob called me up because there was a torrential thunderstorm (with lightening) and the bimini appears to have stretched a bit and is funneling water between the gap in the side curtains right onto the computer box. I bring up towels, but soon all of them are soaked. Eventually, I sit on the top of the computer box with an old throwable cushion on my head to push the bimini up. We kept going south and eventually the shower passed.

About 2100, Bob decided on his own to go down for a nap and left me with the main and jib up. I listened to the VHF and spent my time avoiding ships. I also tried to take a picture of the skyline at night. Fortunately, most of the inlets between Lake Worth and Ft. Lauderdale are 'local knowledge' only, so no big ships going in or out.

I heard a (presumably) big ship talking to the harbor pilot - he was asked if he needed a tug and his answer was "I don't know, I've never been to your harbor before." Also heard the tow boat people in Miami and Ft. Pierce talking about a boater who was near Dodge Island in Miami and wanted help.
Shoreline at night

Shoreline at night


The most exciting drama was passing Ft. Lauderdale when a guy called to say that he'd lost his rudder about 3 miles off shore (44 ft sailboat) and that a cruise ship was running down on him.

Saturday, 6 December 2003

Eventually, the wind was shifting around to the NW, and I was concerned that I'd gybe the jib, so I waked Bob up about 1230. I then went down and slept until about 0230. We were approaching Miami, and Bob still had the sails up, and needed help pulling them in as the wind was now gusting to 25 knots. I don't know why he insists on keeping the sails up like that. Eventually he had to use the winch to get the jib in and it is now wrapped REALLY tight.

We came in the inlet without a problem - passing the Fisher Island ferry. Bob refused to try to get into our slip in the marina at night although I knew it would be marked. But I also knew it would be hard with the wind without someone to help. We could not find the little floaters that used to be at the west end of the channel, but we did revisit the unlighted day marks going south along the ICW - not as close as the other time we'd done it though.

We anchored on the SE side of the Rickenbacker Causeway at about 0400 after a trip of 134 sm at an average speed of 6.4 mph. It took us almost 21 hours. Our total trip is 1004 nm.

We slept until we could get into the marina. Holding was good and there was protection from the north wind. The anchor came up with a white clay type substance on it which didn't wash off very well (still on there). After we got settled, we went to sleep. I woke up a couple of times as the wind generator was running and went up to check on our position.

At 0730, I waked Bob up and insisted that we get up and pull the anchor and go into the marina. We actually went back under the Rickenbacker Causeway about 8. It was about 3 nm back to the marina,
Dec 6 0803 Approaching Miami from anchorage

Dec 6 0803 Approaching Miami from anchorage


Approaching Miami from anchorage

Approaching Miami from anchorage


Miami from the water

Miami from the water

Statue on the waterfront

Statue on the waterfront


and we were there by about 0845, and got tied up. The dinghy was battered by the downwind piling and no matter what we did, we couldn't get the boat over to the upwind piling to put a line on it.
RosalieAnn in the marina

RosalieAnn in the marina


Also the marina rates have really gone up - now $1.85/ft. Lots of empty slips. There are no other charges except of course for tax. It is $25/ft/month and they will kick you out during the boat show which I think is in Feb. They have instructions for how to call customs and go to immigration at the south FL ports. One of the showers in the ladies is plumbed backward which makes it confusing to get hot water.

The boat next to us is a brand new SeaRay and the owner has absolutely no idea how to handle it - it was brought in by a delivery skipper.

After we logged into the marina, Bob wasn't going to take a nap, so I called to see if we could pick up the car and he walked over across the Miami River drawbridge and got it.
Drawbridge over the Miami River

Drawbridge over the Miami River


Hotel where we rented a car

Hotel where we rented a car


Then we went out to our daughter B's house.
large_xImage082.jpg
They had a bunch of people there and were making deer meat chili. We were pretty tired, so we just ate a venison chili potato at her house and drove back to the boat.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 20:43 Archived in USA Comments (8)

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 Comments (13)

The Marathon Winter - Part I - A Busy January

Shopping and Revisiting Old Haunts


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.

Map of our Day Trips from Marathon

Map of our Day Trips from Marathon

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.
Conch cruiser that runs

Conch cruiser that runs


However, we discovered that Florida charges $100 extra for the first car you register in Florida (which this would have been) and we figured that by the time we bought a car and paid that fee and taxes and registration, we'd have spend $700 to $1000. And 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

January 2004 - First Rental Car Week

January 8th, Bob took a cab to the airport to pick up the car. He felt the taxi overcharged him.
A fish

A fish


We didn't do much as it was too hot, except we went all the way to the east end of the island for dinner. First I looked at Captain Hook's. I wanted to go scuba diving, so I asked around. There was a guy named Larry at the marina who works at this place, so I went up there to check it out. I never did go diving - it was always too windy (not good visibility) or the water was too cold or I didn't have a car to get up there. Captain Hooks was about as far from the marina as it was possible to get. (Address: 11833 Overseas Highway)
Capt Hooks

Capt Hooks

Part of the grounds

Part of the grounds


"Our custom dive boat goes to the reef twice a day. The Reef Hopper has a fresh water shower for refreshing after your dive and a long ladder to assist with your boarding needs. Capt. Hook's is a PADI 5 STAR CENTER. We specialize in small groups so you get personal attention and are never rushed. Come dive where you know you will be taken care of. "
Captain Hooks has pools of fish outside. Crane Point Museum where we went later also has fish but these are better and there are more fish - plus it is free to look at them. Every evening at 4 pm, they feed the fish. You can come and see that for free too.
Fish under reflections

Fish under reflections

19058ab0-089e-11ea-852f-27789409067d.jpgMore fish

More fish


Captain Hooks is sort of next door to where we ate dinner at Fish Tails. I had actually confused this place with the Keys Fisheries Market and Marina which is where I meant to eat. Address: 11711 Overseas Highway MM 53
Directions: Ocean side of Overseas Highway just before the Vaca Cut Bridge near the Marathon Lady Party Boat and Captain Hook's Dive Center.
113607b0-089e-11ea-852f-27789409067d.jpgFish Tails sign from Captain Hooks

Fish Tails sign from Captain Hooks


This place is small but neat. On the west side is a cooler with desserts and bottled drinks. Opposite it was a display case with all kinds of fresh fish. On the other side were small light colored natural wood tables, backed by a full wall mural of an island and crab pots, and a board with the specials written on it.
FishTails 2019

FishTails 2019


I had the curried dolphin infused with coconut, and dirty rice special for $9.95 (with some coleslaw, a hot roll and a slice of tomato). Bob had the fried yellowtail special (also $9.95) with potato salad, coleslaw, roll etc. We both drank iced tea. Bob had enough to eat that he couldn't finish his potato salad (so I had some of it), but I also had a chocolate chip ice cream pie ($2.95) for dessert. I could also have had either mocha or peanut butter and chocolate ice cream pie. They also had key lime pie.

On January 9th we made a trip to Key West.
Pigeon Key from the new bridge

Pigeon Key from the new bridge

7 Mile bridge

7 Mile bridge

Island off the highway

Island off the highway


First we revisited the Botanical Garden on Stock Island. I had visited it for the first time when we lived in Key West in the late 60s.
Plants in the Botanical Garden in the late 1960s

Plants in the Botanical Garden in the late 1960s

Pod and flower display

Pod and flower display

Reflections in the water-1960s

Reflections in the water-1960s

1968 Botanical Garden

1968 Botanical Garden

My dad and my kids in the Botanical Garden in 1968

My dad and my kids in the Botanical Garden in 1968


There's not too much to see on Stock Island. About the only things I know of on the island are businesses, a marina, some restaurants, Key West area's one golf course, some dive shops and the animal rescue shelter. So if there is a Must See on Stock Island, this would be it.
Entrance to the Botanical Garden 2004

Entrance to the Botanical Garden 2004

Looking up the tree

Looking up the tree

Bob in the Botanical Garden

Bob in the Botanical Garden

Bob in the Botanical Garden by the plant wall

Bob in the Botanical Garden by the plant wall

Wall of plants

Wall of plants

Palm tree

Palm tree


This is advertised as the 'only frost-free tropical moist forest garden in the continental' US. Their goal is to eliminate the non-native invasive plants and retain the local indigenous plants. They have three rare fresh water ponds in the Keys and so they are on the migratory bird routes.
Birdhouse

Birdhouse

Base of the trunk of a  Canary Island date palm

Base of the trunk of a Canary Island date palm

large_mapbg.JPGSplit trunk - #1

Split trunk - #1


Unfortunately it was so long after I took the photos that I lost the brochure that they gave me, so I'm not sure what my photos have pictured.
99d4d6b0-0767-11ea-a240-ef07fc3361ef.jpgBotanical Garden

Botanical Garden

9f14d530-0767-11ea-b1e2-25b5b59fef62.jpgBotanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Yellow flower

Yellow flower


We also visited the Boca Chica marina (on the Naval Air Station) where we had our boat for a couple of days two years ago.
Deck of the CSY Ol' Dog 2

Deck of the CSY Ol' Dog 2

Boca Chica marina

Boca Chica marina

We had lunch in Key West at the Key West Diner (which we had eaten at before) As of 2019 this place no longer exists
Key West Diner sign

Key West Diner sign


It looks interesting from the outside but the food is nothing special. We went here again for lunch (so I could take some photos). The paint on the front (not pictured) is peeling. Lots of regulars eat here but I thought the prices were quite high.The waitress's uniforms don't say Key West Diner - they say "Key West Buffet". They had buffets all day.
Early Bird 7 am to 8 am $3.99
Breakfast 8 am to 11 am $6.25
Lunch 11 am to 4 pm $8.99
Dinner 4 pm to 9 pm $10.99
Seafood - Friday dinner time $14.99
Buffet

Buffet


The first time we went at lunchtime, and I got the buffet. I would have done better to get a sandwich as I didn't find that much that was attractive to eat on the buffet. The second time I knew to avoid the buffet. As it was just before noon, and since breakfast is available up until noon, I got a
3 Egg cheese omelet, hash browns and toast $6.75

3 Egg cheese omelet, hash browns and toast $6.75


and Bob got
Hamburger and fries for $5.95

Hamburger and fries for $5.95


We drank iced tea, and our total before tip was $17.76

After that we went to the West Martello Tower.
West Martello sign

West Martello sign


There are two Martello Towers East and West. The West Martello tower was built on a site which historic research shows had been a burial ground for almost 300 African slaves.
Original sign for the African cemetery

Original sign for the African cemetery


The disinterment of human bones on the southeast side of the island, where excavations were being made for public improvements a few years ago, gave rise to the impression that a public burying ground had once been located in that vicinity. These remains, however, were those of the Africans who were en route to Cuba on the slave ships Wildfire, William, and Bogota which were intercepted by the US Navy in 1860; a number of those Africans died here, and were buried some distance from the barracoon, at the place where the bones were found.

The African cemetery appears on an 1861 map drawn by the US Army Corps of Engineers located in an uninhabited tract of land, along the beach what is now called Higgs Beach. On the map, it is labeled "African Cemetery," with nine small X's to represent the location of the graves. Later, a Martello tower was constructed in the same location in 1862.

According to maps, 295 graves were under the West Martello structure, and extended out onto the beach towards the East. Ground Penetrating Radar was used in an archaeological survey that tested the theory of the location. On the beach, approximately 40 feet from the fort walls, rows of grave-like features were found. At this location, 2 to 3 feet below the surface were a series of 5 to 6 foot long oval holes exactly where the African Cemetery was mapped in 1861. Nine of these are very clear, and another six are there, but not as well defined. These features are closely spaced, and form three rows. The images recorded of these features match exactly with other known grave-sites found by using GPR.

There has now been constructed a memorial to those who died as a result of the conditions on the slave ships.
Sign about the cemetery which was put up later

Sign about the cemetery which was put up later


It was a part of the fortifications of Key West, which included Fort Taylor. It was never involved in an actual war, but in 1873, the Fort Taylor gunners were using it for target practice. They stopped in 1921 when Key West's first (and only) beachfront hotel (Casa Marina) was built just south of the tower. For some reason the hotel guests objected to having cannon shells flying overhead. But the damage had been done - many of its Romanesque arches had fallen and the watchtower was leveled. Rubble, bricks and slate flooring littered the beach. It was an eyesore that the county wanted to demolish. This was another place that we visited in the late 60s
My father taking a photo in the West Martello tower c 1967

My father taking a photo in the West Martello tower c 1967


Entrance

Entrance

Sign on the door

Sign on the door

gazebo inside

gazebo inside

West Martello Tower

West Martello Tower

Spooky

Spooky

Arch surrounded by Strangler Fig

Arch surrounded by Strangler Fig

Gate

Gate

Lattice shadows

Lattice shadows

Palm branches

Palm branches

Pathway

Pathway

Doorway

Doorway

Trees above the broken roof

Trees above the broken roof

Small pond

Small pond

2ad4de30-089e-11ea-852f-27789409067d.jpgSea view and beach

Sea view and beach

Casa Marina beach from West Martello Tower

Casa Marina beach from West Martello Tower

Pathway

Pathway

Bob walking ahead of me

Bob walking ahead of me

Archways

Archways


Today the Tower is operated by The Key West Garden Club, and hosts the Joe Allen Garden Center (small admission charge), offering self-guided tours to explore local flora and enjoy the tropical settings. Open Tues-Sat 9:30 to 3:15.

Coming back to Marathon

Coming back to Marathon


We had dinner at the Cuban restaurant Don Pedros in Marathon MM 53 Address: 11399 Overseas Highway Directions: Just south of the Vaca Cut bridge and north of the airport. (Ocean side). This restaurant has apparently closed.
Don Pedro sign

Don Pedro sign


We were pretty early for dinner, and there were few people there. The place was dark and cool, but the wait staff seemed uninterested. I had
a la carte Black bean soup

a la carte Black bean soup

Fried plantains, yellow rice and chicken

Fried plantains, yellow rice and chicken

Tres Leches

Tres Leches


I don't remember what Bob had. Our meal including a $5.00 tip was $35.40
Their website says: "We specialize in Roasted pork, Argentinean steak, Nicaraguan steak (the authentic Churrasco with chimichurri sauce) and fresh Yellow tail. We also have homemade sangria and for desserts we offer Flan, Tres Leches,Key Lime Pie and many more. To finish your meal! Have a cup of Cafe con Leche (cafe latte) or a shot of Cuban espresso."

On Saturday January 10th we had dinner at the Key Colony Inn which we think is the best restaurant in Marathon. Most people eating here looked like golfers - there is a golf course across the street.
1375625-Golf_course_at_Sombrero_Marathon.jpgGolf course in the evening behind restaurant

Golf course in the evening behind restaurant


Front door

Front door


The restaurant was nicely decorated, with carpet on the ceiling (which had precast concrete beans) to keep down the noise. Even though we came without reservations, we were seated without any fuss. The wait staff wear T-shirts that say
Heaven is when...

Heaven is when...


"Heaven is when the police are British, the cooks are Italian, the mechanics are Germans, the lovers are French and it's all organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the chefs are British the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss, the police are Germans and it's all organized by the Italians."

Trying to keep the total bill down, Bob had a bowl of the soup of the day (split pea $2.50) and a serving of lasagna ($11.95) which he couldn't finish and we brought some of it home and a banana coupe ($3.95). I had
Chicken l'orange ($12.95)

Chicken l'orange ($12.95)


which was so tender I could cut it with a fork (but I also couldn't finish and had to bring part of it home). With our entrees we got bread, and I had au gratin potatoes. We each also got a salad. I had a
Chocolate Mousse Cake $3.00

Chocolate Mousse Cake $3.00

.
The total bill was $46.08 including tip.

On Sunday January 11th we went to the Big Pine Flea Market
Sign for the Flea Market

Sign for the Flea Market


Big Pine Flea Market

Big Pine Flea Market


There's a big flea market at Big Pine every Saturday and Sunday 8 to 2 from October to May. So many people come that the traffic is terrible. There is a big parking lot with no shade. Be sure you've got sunscreen.

There are a variety of items on sale.
Fishing equipment booth

Fishing equipment booth

Socks

Socks


The first time, I got some canvas for painting pictures on, and sunglasses. Bob got some very cheap canvas bags, and shirts that were seconds. There were also books, pottery, dishes, knives, T-shirts, sarongs, socks, and knicknacks of various sorts.
Sunglasses

Sunglasses


One time Bob got a pair of polarized sunglasses for $6.00. He also got a patch repair kit for patching a flat hose for about $3.00. One guy has various pieces of stainless boat hardware such as handles and hinges, stainless strips, and dinghy plugs, etc.
T-shirt and clothing booth from pavillion

T-shirt and clothing booth from pavillion


They also have women's sarongs, terry bathrobes, bathing suits, etc. These shops with the T-shirts nicely displayed are not the ones that you get 4 for $10.00. But at that they are probably cheaper than you will get in Key West on Duval Street.
Big Pine Flea Market bargain shirt table 4 for $10

Big Pine Flea Market bargain shirt table 4 for $10


The bargain shirt table has seconds which have a flaw in them - Check to see where the flaw is. But I've worn some of these where the flaw was covered by an embroidered star in the back of the neck for several years and they are cheap enough
Plant stand

Plant stand


Fresh vegetables or plants is/are one of the things you can buy. We've never bought any so I don't know the prices
Flea market Mini Donut stand

Flea market Mini Donut stand


I have never seen this place when the line was short enough to stand in the sun to get food here. So I do not know anything about the food. I do not even know if it is open any days except Saturday and Sunday. If I was to buy something here it would probably be donuts!!!
Big Pine hamburger stand

Big Pine hamburger stand


Bob sometimes gets lunch here when we go to the swap meet. You can get hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, sloppy joes, fries, cheese fries and ice cream here at this booth. Also ice cream, cotton candy, shakes, lemonade, iced tea, bottled water, soft drinks, orange juice, milk and ice.
Before the rush

Before the rush


This food stand is open during the Big Pine Flea Market, and on a hot day it is a nice place to sit out of the sun. They have mostly fried seafood. I've had conch fritters for $3.50 which were OK.
Sign advertises
- New England clam chowder $2.99/cup
- fish sandwich, clam strips, or chicken strips for $4.99 - add fries for $5.99
- chicken or tuna salad sandwich $3.00.
- Fisherman's platter $7.99.
- Onion rings $2.25.
- Brownie 75 cents
- Coffee 65 cents
- hot cocoa 75 cents
- mug root beer, pink lemonade, iced tea, bottled water or soft drinks for $1 (small) or $2 (large size)
All PLUS TAX, which in Florida is 7.5%
Fish Fry Menu Board

Fish Fry Menu Board

Katie's Cantina menu board

Katie's Cantina menu board


Bob having lunch

Bob having lunch


Sitting on the benches in the shade and watching the passersby, I've seen really tall model type girls in high platform shoes (I didn't see how they could walk) with short bald men. I've seen families with double strollers, and bikers. Very interesting to watch the people. I couldn't believe it when I saw this lady at the flea market, but I didn't get my camera working in time to get a really good shot. What she is wearing is a fanny pack/waist bag that is in the shape of a rainbow trout.
Lady with fish waist bag

Lady with fish waist bag


Then we went to the Blue Hole part of the Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine. The visitor center is located 100 miles southwest of Miami and 30 miles northeast of Key West, FL along U.S.#1. Headquarters is on Big Pine Key in the Big Pine Key Plaza off Key Deer Boulevard. It is not at the Blue Hole or the other two trails.
Sign about refuge

Sign about refuge


The Blue Hole has visitor facilities including an interpretive kiosk, staffed by volunteers, and an observation platform.
Bob and me reflected in the refuge map

Bob and me reflected in the refuge map


Central on Big Pine Key is an old quarry, filled with freshwater, and home to a diverse array of wildlife— the Blue Hole. It is a popular look-out spot for visitors to Big Pine Key.
submerged alligator

submerged alligator


Alligator swimming toward us

Alligator swimming toward us

Alligator in the Blue Hole

Alligator in the Blue Hole


1378613-Our_shadows_in_the_water_Big_Pine_Key.jpgOur shadows by alligator

Our shadows by alligator


2 alligators

2 alligators

Alligator swimming away

Alligator swimming away


1378610-other_shore_Big_Pine_Key.jpgOther side of the pond

Other side of the pond


Interpretive Sign

Interpretive Sign


1378614-Snapping_turtle_Big_Pine_Key.jpgSnapping turtle

Snapping turtle

Snapping turtle and fish

Snapping turtle and fish

Viewing stand from across the quarry

Viewing stand from across the quarry

Water near trail

Water near trail


Just north of the Blue Hole are two interpretive nature trails: one penetrating the tropical hardwood hammock, the other a wheelchair accessible journey through pine rocklands to a freshwater wetland slough.
Wheelchair Accessible Trail sign

Wheelchair Accessible Trail sign


1378544-Freshwater_slough_Big_Pine_Key.jpgFreshwater Slough

Freshwater Slough

Marsh area from the trail

Marsh area from the trail

We also started our visit of Museum and Nature Center of Crane Point. 5550 Overseas Hwy Directions: Mile Marker 50.5 Bayside (there is a traffic light there)
US 1 sign for the museum

US 1 sign for the museum


In 2004, Admission was $7.50 per adult. Children under 6 free, students 6 and up $4.00 (college students must have ID) and seniors $6.00.
Canon in front of the museum

Canon in front of the museum

Boat of the type used in the late 1800s

Boat of the type used in the late 1800s

Outside Door of museum

Outside Door of museum


Inside door

Inside door


Inside the museum is a Natural History section with dioramas of local flora and fauna and historic displays.
Key Deer family

Key Deer family


Shore birds

Shore birds

Fishes of the Keys

Fishes of the Keys

Hallway

Hallway

Turtle shells

Turtle shells


Out in the back of the main museum building is a small aquarium and zoo,
1374971-Fish_Vaca_Key.jpgFish tanks

Fish tanks


1374263-Denizens_of_Crane_Point_Marathon.jpgNurse shark

Nurse shark

1374973-Sharks_Vaca_Key.jpgShark and Hermit crab

Shark and Hermit crab


Crane Point's crane fountain

Crane Point's crane fountain


Sign about mosquitoes in the Crane Point Museum

Sign about mosquitoes in the Crane Point Museum


Sign says: Mosquit-O-Meter
1 You're in the Florida Keys
2 Don't let a couple of little bugs scare ya!
3 OK, OK..We know! But it still beats shoveling snow and 40 deg below
4 Yikes!! Use lots of repellant and run as fast as you can!
Duck when you hear the mosquito plane!

The lower signs have questions on them like "Why does a film of oil on water kill mosquito larvae?"

Really the no-see-ums, which live in the mangroves, are more of a bother in the winter.

Wear long trousers and a shirt with sleeves at night.
1374873-Museum_cat_Vaca_Key.jpgMuseum Cat has waked up and is looking off the porch

Museum Cat has waked up and is looking off the porch

1374976-Cockatoo_Vaca_Key.jpgSleepy cockatoo peeking under his eyelids

Sleepy cockatoo peeking under his eyelids


Watch your fingers

Watch your fingers

Iguana shows his toes

Iguana shows his toes

1374997-Iguana_on_the_roof_Vaca_Key.jpgIguana on the roof

Iguana on the roof

Iguana on the roof

Iguana on the roof

Wild iguana

Wild iguana

Captive iguana's tail

Captive iguana's tail

and a children's museum section. Then there are several nature trails that you can walk. Many of the plants have signs telling what they are.

The main trail is big enough for a little train (and they do have train tours if you sign up in advance), and is about a mile over to Crane Point where there is a house. There are also a few houses over on Florida Bay and a Wild Bird Center out on this trail. We did not go out that far, and so we also missed the osprey nest. But we see plenty of osprey nests from our boat. I spent some time on the walk photographing spiders in their webs.
Spider with red legs

Spider with red legs

Spider which may be a Golden Orb

Spider which may be a Golden Orb


Spider web and spider in the mangroves

Spider web and spider in the mangroves


We ate dinner at Annette's Lobster House. MM 48 A Big Menu 3860 Overseas Highway. I asked the group at the marina where we should go, and they recommended this place. It was very pretty inside, with lighted medallions with fish in them, and art (for sale) around on the walls.
Lighted fish medallions

Lighted fish medallions


There is a big big menu which starts out with the desserts instead of appetizers. Entrees ranging from $12.95 up to a seafood dinner for two for $69.95. There was a separate folder with a menu of specials. The specials today were stone crab claws for appetizers, three fish dishes from $19.95 to $21.92, a special vegetable, and a whole page of the day's desert specials in addition to specially priced drinks. The wait staff was very attentive. The girls mostly wore shorts or mini skirts.

We tried very hard to chose the cheapest items on the menu. The last page of the menu was headed "Lite Fare", and had slightly cheaper dishes with smaller portions - these included a half rack of lamb for $16.95, frogs legs (fried or broiled) for $13.95, chicken breast, and the catch of the day for $13.95. The catch of the day was mahi, which both of us took.
Catch of the day with mashed coconut sweet potato

Catch of the day with mashed coconut sweet potato


The price included hot hard rolls, either caesar salad or a trip to the soup and salad bar (soups today were tomato and chicken), a starch and a vegetable medley (peas, carrots, string beans, sweet pepper and those little tiny pickled corn cobs). For the starch, Bob had a baked potato (which was huge) and I had the vegetable special of the day which was mashed coconut sweet potato. We each had dessert - Bob had a brownie sundae ($5.95) and I had caramel apple crisp ala mode for $4.95. The total bill was $52.71 including tip. (the tip was $8.00)
Caramel apple crisp and Brownie Sundae in the background

Caramel apple crisp and Brownie Sundae in the background


Monday the 12th

We finished up the visit to Crane Point ( the local museum/aquarium and historical exhibit) . Included in the Crane Point admission price is Adderley House which is the oldest house in the Keys except for those in Key West. It is out towards Crane Point and it requires a walk to get to it. We walked out to the Adderley House on a secondary trail, and came back on the main trail. Then we crossed the boardwalk over the end of the freshwater pond and went around a little trail on the other side. There are 160 species of native plants in the hammock including red, white and black mangroves.
Nature trail

Nature trail

Tree leaves against the sky

Tree leaves against the sky


Beautiful fruit on a tree

Beautiful fruit on a tree

large_1374918-Adderley_House_Historic_Site_Vaca_Key.jpg
George and Olivia Adderley were Bahamians who sailed to the Keys in the 1890s. After they lived in the upper keys for several years, they purchased 32 acres at what is now known as Crane Point.
Bahamas masonry house with top hung shutters

Bahamas masonry house with top hung shutters

Bedroom at Adderley house

Bedroom at Adderley house


Separate kitchen building at Adderley house

Separate kitchen building at Adderley house

Inside kitchen

Inside kitchen


The house, which George built himself, is made of Tabby, a concrete like material made of burned conch and other shells mixed with water and sand. It is a classic Bahamian style. Note the shutters which open from the bottom to keep the window shaded from the sun.
large_1356455-Crane_Point_Vaca_Key.jpg
After almost 50 years, Olivia died, and George Adderley sold his property to the Cranes and moved to Key West. That's how the area got the name of Crane Point.

We ate at the Village Cafe -an Italian restaurant.MM 50.5 in the Gulfside Shopping Center. 5800 Overseas Highway- In the Gulfside shopping center
Village_Cafe

Village_Cafe


We went to this Cafe originally because I thought they had a buffet. It turned out that the buffet was only on Sunday (breakfast 8:30 to 2, lunch 11-2, and dinner 5-9). It is very nice inside, with black and white drawings on the walls, and a model ship made of sugar by one of the family in a display case inside the door,
Ship made of sugar

Ship made of sugar


They serve local specials, Italian food (pasta and pizza), and have a soup and salad bar. They will cook your catch. I had
A nice tender steak for $13.95

A nice tender steak for $13.95


and Bob had a $9.95 salad. My dessert was $4.00. With tea ($2.00) and tip $6.00, the total bill was $38.70
$4.00 Dessert

$4.00 Dessert


Tuesday the 13th we visited two other CSY boats - one was the former LIMBO LADY in Marathon
00309532298720110308185259973.jpgBow and deck

Bow and deck


which they are living on while they are working on restoring her,
LIMBO LADY cat napping

LIMBO LADY cat napping


and the other was SOGGY PAWS up at Matecombe Key
Satisfied Siamese cat

Satisfied Siamese cat


We ate lunch up at Little Italy On Long Key MM 68.5.
Little Italy Lunch Specials board

Little Italy Lunch Specials board


The restaurant is listed as having italian specialties, fresh seafood and steaks; Eat in or take out. We stopped here for lunch
Bob's sub

Bob's sub


and Bob had a meatball sub and I had the special
Baked dolphin and shrimp scampi over linguini $7.25

Baked dolphin and shrimp scampi over linguini $7.25

.
We were about the last people here before they closed after lunch.
Bob by the window

Bob by the window


Other specials on the board were * Cream of tomato and basil soup with a turkey sandwich for $4.50* Country fried steak, mashed potatoes & corn for $6.25 * Jerk chicken salad $5.35Lunch favorites also include Caesar salad, chicken marsala, stone crabs, and stuffed snapper for $4.95-$8.95 Fodors says: "Dinners are equally tasty and well priced -- pasta, chicken, seafood, veal, and steak. Try the rich, dreamy hot chocolate-pecan pie. Breakfast, too, is served, and a light-bites menu has smaller portions for kids and calorie-watchers."I understand that this place is run by the same people who run the Key Colony Inn, which Bob considers one of the best restaurants in the Marathon area.

We ate dinner down at the Quarterdeck MM 54 - On the Causeway For some reason I can't find the receipt for this meal and I don't remember what we ate or exactly what it cost. However, it is important to note that any restaurants past MM 54 are on keys north of Marathon.
Quarterdeck outside

Quarterdeck outside


Entrance to The Quarterdeck-On The Causeway

Entrance to The Quarterdeck-On The Causeway


Bob had
Club sandwich with fries

Club sandwich with fries


which was so large that he couldn't eat it all and had to bring it back to the boat. I had some kind of dish that was covered with cheese, and a side of pasta (butterfly).
My dinner

My dinner

Wednesday 14 January we went back to Key West, and shopped at the commissary (had lunch at the lunch stand outside),
00309532298720110308185628987.jpgBilbe's Snack Shack

Bilbe's Snack Shack


and I had Bob drive around various places so I could take pictures, starting at the
Welcome Center

Welcome Center


Then we drove down South Roosevelt (A1A) past the former location of
The Naval Hospital where our daughter was born in 1968 was past this gate

The Naval Hospital where our daughter was born in 1968 was past this gate

Baby in 1968 in the hospital

Baby in 1968 in the hospital

South Roosevelt Blvd on the Hawk Channel side (Atlantic Ocean)

South Roosevelt Blvd on the Hawk Channel side (Atlantic Ocean)


and Smather's Beach.
Beach Toilet

Beach Toilet

Trying to find shade to park in along the Atlantic beach side

Trying to find shade to park in along the Atlantic beach side

Vendors on the beach

Vendors on the beach


Charles Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park entrance - Native Tree Park and Sanctuary

Charles Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park entrance - Native Tree Park and Sanctuary

Man with birds in front of the Indigenous Park

Man with birds in front of the Indigenous Park

Clarence S. HIggs Memorial Beach sign with the park behind it.

Clarence S. HIggs Memorial Beach sign with the park behind it.

C.B. Harvey Rest Beach Park

C.B. Harvey Rest Beach Park


Fishing at White Pier in 1967

Fishing at White Pier in 1967


White pier where we took the children fishing, and White Beach

White pier where we took the children fishing, and White Beach

The Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory

The Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory


Garrison Bight

Garrison Bight


Green route bus with a bike rack on the front

Green route bus with a bike rack on the front

Parking locations and times

Parking locations and times

Tent for the January sailboat races

Tent for the January sailboat races

Tall ship masts at the end of the street

Tall ship masts at the end of the street

Turtle Kraal tower

Turtle Kraal tower


For VT I wrote a Warning Tip: T-shirt shops in Key West have been found guilty of scamming customers, failing to give written estimates of costs, and telling them how much T-shirts would cost after the work was done. Sometimes they would quote one price for the work and then charge another price at the the register. 37 out of 40 shops were in violation of the codes which are meant to stop these practices and eight of them were found guilty in a special master hearing in February 2004. They were barred from making T-shirts for 10 days and fined $5000.00. The suspensions are being appealed. I have not been here, but if you don't want to buy from the aggressive T-shirt vendors, I suggest going to the T-Shirt Factory and getting a custom shirt with whatever logo you like done for you. They will charge about $15.00 each I wanted a photo of the T-Shirt Factory to put on the tip
T-Shirt factory - retail sales and Custom Printing

T-Shirt factory - retail sales and Custom Printing

We had dinner at Marathon Pasta and Pasta. MM 50 - Sombrero Resort . 19 Sombrero Blvd.
Driving Range from Marathon Pasta and Pizza

Driving Range from Marathon Pasta and Pizza


Looking into Marathon Pizza

Looking into Marathon Pizza

Marathon Pizza and Pasta sign

Marathon Pizza and Pasta sign


We've been over to Dockside before, and Bob hated it. but I thought we might do better if we went to this restaurant which is not as far down on Boot Key Harbor as Dockside is. Bob had lasagna (his favorite) and I had eggplant. They also have pizza of course. The meal for the 2 of us including tip cost $33.30
Garden outside restaurant

Garden outside restaurant


Then he turned in the car in on Thursday 15 January.

During the following days, I practiced riding my bike, and biked out as far as Knight Key.

23 January
We walked over to Castaway for dinner
Canal reflections

Canal reflections


nImage003b.jpgCastaway

Castaway

Castaway Outside Seating

Castaway Outside Seating


This time, I got the snapper curry ($20.95) which included a trip to the salad bar, and Bob got the steamed shrimp appetizer for $14.95. The total with tip was just under $50.00
Twilight

Twilight

26 Jan Sunset

26 Jan Sunset


Sunrise from the boat - 27 January

Sunrise from the boat - 27 January

Tips

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:25 Archived in USA Comments (4)

Swimming and Sunsets - The Marathon Winter - Part 2

February


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.

Map of our Day Trips from Marathon

Map of our Day Trips from Marathon

Monday, Feb 2nd (GroundHog Day)

We took the boat out to Sombrero Key Light and
Leaving the marina

Leaving the marina


picked up a mooring.
Approaching a mooring ball

Approaching a mooring ball


Sombrero Light is located roughly five miles south of the eastern end of the 7-mile bridge near Marathon. Sombrero Light is a weather station for NOAA. You can check the weather observations at Sombrero Key. It is only possible to visit by boat and it is not open to the public. The lighthouse has a number of moorings for dive boats or private boats. Sombrero Key itself no longer exists as it has succumbed to erosion. Under fun facts, one of the websites on the lighthouse says: "The keepers of Sombrero Key Reef Light have had more accidents than any other lighthouse in Florida." At least four former keepers drowned at the reef. That doesn't sound to me like it was such fun.
Sombrero lighthouse

Sombrero lighthouse


When I looked up the Sombrero Key lighthouse, I found it was constructed by George Meade. General George Meade is mostly known for his service during the Civil War. But first he had a lengthy career as an engineer. In 1854, the Lighthouse Board contracted with George Gordon Meade to build a lighthouse halfway between the Sand Key and Carysfort lighthouses. Since General Meade had built those two lighthouses, he was given the task of locating the site for the new lighthouse. He recommended several different styles of lighthouses to be built at this point including masonry, an iron structure with a masonry foundation and a completely iron structure. The first two structures proved to be too costly. The US lighthouses site says: "Meade had also suggested that the lighthouse be componentized. That way it could be built on shore to make sure all the pieces fit together, then disassembled and taken to the site where it would be put back together. The one thing that wasn't too well know was the effect of seawater on iron. Would it cause it to rust? The English had been conducting a test regarding this matter and had found that a process of galvanizing iron had protected the iron from seawater for over 15 years with no evidence of corrosion. Meade had lined up a company in Philadelphia to have the galvanizing work done." After the work began, a hurricane on August 29, 1856, destroyed the works at Coffins Patches (which was another name for the site), but the next year, Meade started again. He used 12-inch galvanized iron piles, which he sank 10 feet into the coral rock. He estimated that these piles should last 200 years before eroding to the point where structural integrity might be compromised. The lighthouse was first lighted on March 17, 1858. To distinguish this light from the flashing lights at Carysfort and Sand Key, the Sombrero Key Lighthouse contained a fixed first-order lens made by the firm of L. Sautter et Co.. This original lens was removed in 1982 and placed on display at the Key West Lighthouse Museum.

The Sombrero Key Lighthouse is the tallest reef light in the Florida Keys and the last one built by George Gordon Meade. Meade had estimated the cost at $118,405.60, but due to the damage caused by the hurricane, the actual cost had come to $153,158.81. This was one of the few lighthouses along the Florida coast which remained lighted throughout the Civil War. In the 1880's red sectors were added to the lantern to provide a red light over the most dangerous sections of the reef. In 1912, the kerosene wick-lamp was replaced with an incandescent oil vapor (IOV) lamp. The 160-foot tower has a focal plane of 142 feet above sea level - flashing a light five times every 60 seconds that can be seen 15 miles at sea. The current optic is a solar-powered (VRB 25), installed in 1997. There are two platforms on the light (which are not open to the public) which offered various accommodations. The lower one, 15' above sea level, was for storage, a workshop and a hoisted launch and lifeboat. The second platform, 40' above sea level, contained living quarters. A cast-iron cylinder leads from the living quarters to the lantern room to provide keepers with protected access. There was no room for families at this lighthouse - just the lighthouse keeper and his assistants.Hurricane Donna struck the lighthouse with 200 mile per hour winds. In 1960 the light was automated. This meant that keepers no longer had to stay at the light. Only one boat was kept at the light, and at least one of the keepers drowned.A model of this lighthouse (also labeled "Lighthouse at Coffin’s Patches,") is also on display at the Key West Lighthouse Museum.
Sombrero lighthouse

Sombrero lighthouse


I dove down to see whether the prop had a lot of growth on it and whether the zincs (zincs protect the prop from electrolysis in the sea water). were still in good shape. The prop looked OK but the water was so cold that I couldn't stay in there very long (I didn't wear a wetsuit because I wanted to be able to get down to the prop and the wetsuit would make me too buoyant without a weight belt and I didn't want to wear a weight belt without scuba tanks, and I thought it was too much trouble to use the tanks just to see the prop). Anyway, there was a lot of wind and current, and I was soon ready to get back on the boat.
Someone dinghying into Boot Key harbor

Someone dinghying into Boot Key harbor

Coming back to the marina

Coming back to the marina

Returning to our slip

Returning to our slip


Bob wanted to turn the boat around in the slip so he could wash and use penetrol on the other side. But it was too windy for that, so we just went in bow first like we had been. Both of us were pretty tired by then.

February car rental

February 3, Tuesday Bob rode his bike out to the airport to pick up the rental car, and I rode my bike over to Burdines.
Burdines bait sales area

Burdines bait sales area


Unlike Key West or the other communities along the Florida keys, Marathon is a city but it is not also the name of the key that it is on. (Marathon was named by one of Flagler's railroad builders who said that building the railroad was 'a Marathon'). The two main keys in the Marathon area are Vaca Key and Boot Key. The people and buildings are on Vaca Key.

Boot Key is mainly a dense mangrove swamp. If you know anything about mangroves, you know that it is impossible to get through a thicket of them. Since the mangrove areas are protected, they can't be cut down and the land can't be filled and built upon. So Boot Key is a privately owned wilderness. It has one road which goes out to Radio Marti, and then to the end of the key towards Sister's Creek.
Unused road

Unused road


After Bob got the car, I asked him to drive out to Boot Key to see what was out there. The answer is - nothing is out there, just like on the maps and charts. We saw an iguana sunning himself on the road,
Iguana

Iguana

You Looking At Me?

You Looking At Me?

Tandem bike

Tandem bike


It's a good place to bike as there is no traffic.
Road back to the bridge

Road back to the bridge


The only way to get to the Key is via a drawbridge. The drawbridge is over one of the inlets to the Boot Key Harbor. I got out on the bridge
Burdine's Marina from the bridge

Burdine's Marina from the bridge

From the bridge

From the bridge

Boot Key Harbor moorings

Boot Key Harbor moorings

Moored boats

Moored boats


and talked to the bridge tender a bit. According to a conversation I had with him, the bridge is required by the Coast Guard to be manned 24 hours because it is part of the ICW (and possibly also because Radio Marti is in operation 24/7). But normally it is only opened for boat traffic from 6 am to 10 pm. Unlike many other Florida bridges, it opens on demand. There is so little vehicular traffic on the bridge that there's never anyone to hold up for the opening. {The drawbridge appears to be gone now so there is no longer a way to get out to Boot Key except by boat}
Bridge tender

Bridge tender

Looking through the bridge

Looking through the bridge

Burdines Marina from the bridge

Burdines Marina from the bridge

End of the bridge

End of the bridge


That night, we drove out to MM 48.5 Faro Blanco Bayside 1996 Overseas Highway. Faro Blanco has two locations - one Oceanside and one Bayside. Faro Blanco sign

Faro Blanco sign


Faro Blanco Oceanside sign

Faro Blanco Oceanside sign


They were in flux at the moment. Their oceanside restaurant has closed, and so has Kelsey's which was the former fine dining restaurant on the Bayside. The only thing left is the Angler's Grill, which is upstairs over what used to be Kelsey's. We drove over to that side to see what was there, but did not go in or eat there.

So we ate at Burdines Chiki Tiki Bar and Grill, The hamburgers are nice and big but we were eaten alive by no-see-ums because there wasn't any breeze.
Boat passing Burdine's

Boat passing Burdine's

Sunset from Burdine's

Sunset from Burdine's


They supplied repellent, and I went and sat under the fan. Bob hated it.

Wednesday Feb 4th

We went down to Key West to go to the commissary (which is not open Sunday or Monday). Afterwards we went to the Navy Base
Part of a range on the Navy base

Part of a range on the Navy base


at Truman annex,
Playground on the Navy Base Annex

Playground on the Navy Base Annex


and ate lunch at the snack bar there, and I had a swim on the beach.
Ships off the beach

Ships off the beach


The beach is between the Southernmost Point and Fort Taylor.
Beach looking toward Ft Taylor

Beach looking toward Ft Taylor

Beach looking north

Beach looking north


There are bathrooms at the snack bar, but they assume that you are going to be using an RV to change clothes in to swim (this is one the overflow sites from the big RV park at Sigsbee) so there are minimal showers.

We had dinner at the Cracked Conch Cafe.
Cracked Conch Cafe

Cracked Conch Cafe


Conch is usually called cracked conch, not just conch for some reason. Since Bob got so sick in Chub Cay from eating conch, he's avoided anything with Conch in the name like the plague.
Conch tiles in the steps

Conch tiles in the steps


However, I was interested in this place (the Chamber of Commerce meetings are here) and persuaded him to go one night. I had
conch chowder

conch chowder


Pizza

Pizza


which was very good. I think Bob had a hamburger. The total with tip was $27.50

Their website says
"We use only the freshest seafood and finest ingredients. Start out your meal with our legendary Conch Chowder. Try some of our truly Conch Specialties - Conch Parmesan, Conch Joseph or our Cracked Conch Platter. Our Grouper & Dolphin are fresh from local waters. For the landlubbers, we offer Choice New York Strip Steak, Filet, Ribs and Chicken. And, on a lighter note, sandwiches and salads are always available."

Thursday February 5th

I had intended to go out to Pigeon Key, and have dinner at the Hidden Cafe on Grassy Key. But the Cafe didn't have any early bird reservation slots left, and Pigeon Key is completely closed this week for the art festival. They closed Pigeon Key from Thursday through Monday. Anyone who came on the old bridge other than via the shuttle or who wasn't an exhibitor or worker at the festival WILL BE ARRESTED. The Foundation feels that this is a very successful event, but I was just really annoyed.

So instead, Bob dropped me at Sombrero Beach,
Friends sitting on the beach

Friends sitting on the beach


and I went swimming.
Seagulls

Seagulls

Seagulls by Palm trees

Seagulls by Palm trees


Not very many people outside of the local community know about Sombrero Beach, which is one of the best beaches in the Keys (possibly Bahia Honda being better). It is free, and dog friendly (bags provided). Sombrero Beach has lots of interesting little decorative details in the construction.
Bench

Bench

Bird tracks in the concrete

Bird tracks in the concrete

Turtle imprints

Turtle imprints

Seashell Imprints in the concrete

Seashell Imprints in the concrete

Crab imprint on the sidewalk

Crab imprint on the sidewalk


Activities include swimming (no lifeguard but a buoyed line along the beach), and snorkeling Also there is a small playground.
Playground next to Sombrero Beach

Playground next to Sombrero Beach


There is an outdoor shower, water fountains, shaded picnic tables. and rest rooms which are handicapped accessible.
Child chasing a seagull

Child chasing a seagull

Leaving Sombrero Beach

Leaving Sombrero Beach


We had dinner at Herbie's MM 50.5 Bayside - Since 1972 - Herbies has 3 entrances - one on each side and one in the middle. Apparently if you get there 'late' (i.e. after 6) you have to stand in line in some kind of rotta. We walked in the south entrance where there were large picnic tables, and were put at the end of one of them with another party. The central area has barstools. Herbies does not take credit cards or checks. CASH ONLY. So I don't have a ticket to tell me what we ate, and I can't find the pictures of it either. But the whole thing with tip was $30.00. I think I had chicken strips and yellow rice which was a special for about $14.00. And we both had dessert.
Herbies

Herbies


Their advertisement says:
"Today at Herbie's, we offer you some of the same great food that was served back in 1972, when this was just a lazy spot for locals. Once only a raw bar where a cold beer could be had, we have gathered momentum and have become a place for everyone. Now a full-service restaurant, in the heart of the Florida , we offer you a menu of many choices, allowing you to get your wish at lunch or dinner."

Friday February 6th
8c017660-0b40-11ea-b834-b95f689d86b6.jpgSunset from our boat - Feb 6th

Sunset from our boat - Feb 6th


It was too hot to do anything so Bob pulled the boat away from the pier and washed the other side.

Then we had a Full Moon party here in the marina. It was a pot luck - lots of food
Lighted Umbrella

Lighted Umbrella

fImage006.jpgFull moon party

Full moon party

large_8363f500-0b40-11ea-b834-b95f689d86b6.jpgBlack cat on a boat in the marina as we were walking back to our boat

Black cat on a boat in the marina as we were walking back to our boat


Saturday February 7th

In the morning we could watch the moon set over Knight Key.
Moonset

Moonset


After Bob gets a few spots that he missed when he did the boat, we went to the Big Pine Flea Market again. On the way I got a photo of Fat Albert.
Fat Albert overhead

Fat Albert overhead


Look up and you can probably spot the radar blimp over Cudjoe Key affectionately known as Fat Albert. There are actually two of them, and they take turns guarding the Keys from 1400 feet up. Fat Albert can be seen from miles away in either direction.
Big Pine Flea Market

Big Pine Flea Market

The Knife Guy

The Knife Guy


Garden shop

Garden shop


We went to a garden shop on Big Pine and bought a plant for our daughter in Miiami
Plant we bought

Plant we bought


For lunch we went to Coco's Kitchen.
Coco's Kitchen sign from inside

Coco's Kitchen sign from inside


This restaurant in the shopping center serves breakfast (7:30-11:30am), lunch and dinner (11:30-7:30pm) Tuesday through Saturday. Their sign says a part of Key's History since 1969.
Two sides of the mural - God up on high on the left, and Coco's beach hut on the right

Two sides of the mural - God up on high on the left, and Coco's beach hut on the right


There is a mural on one wall which shows God up in one corner, a palm tree and a little beach hut labeled "Coco's". They have different Dinner specials for $6.50 every day.
-Monday is Cook's Choice
-Tuesday - Ropa Vieja, Shredded beef in tomato sauce with beans
-Wednesday - Taco platter - 3 tacos, 1 burrito, 1 quesadilla - regular or vegetarian
-Thursday - Chicken Fricassee
-Friday - BBQ Spare Ribs with beans
-Saturday - Cuban Style Roast Pork
We were there for lunch, and I had fried plantains.
Fried Plantains

Fried Plantains


Afterward I took photos of some chickens in the parking lot.
Hen and chicks in the parking lot

Hen and chicks in the parking lot


Then we went to the other site in the Key Deer Refuge.
National Key Deer Refuge sign

National Key Deer Refuge sign

National Key Deer Refuge map

National Key Deer Refuge map


The Key deer are the smallest of the 28 subspecies of Virginia white-tailed deer. Bucks range from 28-32" at the shoulder and weigh an average of 80 lbs. Does stand 24-28" at the shoulder and weigh an average of 65 lbs. They are found only in the lower Florida Keys - they were isolated by glaciers about 4,000 years ago. In 1957, the deer population was only 27 deer. Now they have rebounded and there about 800 deer, mostly on Big Pine. Currently, illegal roadside feeding contributes to road kills which account for 70 percent of the annual mortality.
Key Deer (far away)

Key Deer (far away)


When we drove out to No Name Key we actually did see a Key Deer in the flesh. Unfortunately my camera battery was running low, and I did not get a better picture. I know you can't see the deer in this pictures although it is a good picture of the road. The car ahead had stopped and was taking movies or video tape of the deer

We ate dinner on the Wreck Galley Grill out on Grassy Key because I hadn't made a reservation soon enough to eat at the Hide Away Cafe. The food was more ample, and the place was less pretentious.
Wreck Gallery Grille sign from the highway

Wreck Gallery Grille sign from the highway


Wreck Gallery Grille sign from inside the restaurant

Wreck Gallery Grille sign from inside the restaurant

Inside the Wreck Gallery Grille

Inside the Wreck Gallery Grille


I had an excellent
Prime rib

Prime rib


that was the Saturday special and Bob had an enormous
Shrimp Caesar salad

Shrimp Caesar salad


Waiter's photo of us at the Wreck Gallery Grille

Waiter's photo of us at the Wreck Gallery Grille

Lawn flamingos at the Wreck Gallery Grille

Lawn flamingos at the Wreck Gallery Grille


Sunday February 9th

We finally had dinner at the Rainbow Bend Resort's Hide Away Cafe Early Bird. We thought our friend worked there, but he had actually switched and was working at the Wreck Galley Grill. This is a very fancy, very expensive restaurant. The restaurant is at the back of the resort and upstairs. You have to park on the highway and walk in. They advertise that the only thing they overlook is the ocean.
View from Hide-Away Cafe

View from Hide-Away Cafe


Waiter statue that holds a menu

Waiter statue that holds a menu


Their specialties are meat dishes - beef, lamb, veal, duck and chicken. They do have seafood, but their meat is better.
Bob across the table from me

Bob across the table from me


If you make reservations, and are seated before 6 pm, they will let you order off of the "Early Bird" menu. This menu is half the food and is less expensive. For instance, I had the duck, (Hideaway's famous Whole Duck $25.95) and my portion of duck was a half duck instead of a whole duck.
Twice baked duck

Twice baked duck


My vegetables (mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus)

My vegetables (mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus)


Bob had
Tiny Surf and Turf Grilled jumbo shrimp and petit filet mignon $24.95

Tiny Surf and Turf Grilled jumbo shrimp and petit filet mignon $24.95


and his portion of steak was tiny and he had one shrimp. The deserts were not half price. Bob got
Bananas a la Hideaway $5.95

Bananas a la Hideaway $5.95


and I had Creme Brulee.
Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee


Beach at night

Beach at night

Looking back at the Hideaway Cafe sign at night

Looking back at the Hideaway Cafe sign at night

Rainbow's End sign at night

Rainbow's End sign at night



End of February Rental Car

11 February 2004
Wading bird at sunset

Wading bird at sunset


A big evening activity around here is to sit in some spot where you can watch the sun set with a sundowner (a drink). Some of the people here who do this on a regular basis say they have seen the 'green flash' several times.

The green flash can range from non-existent to spectacular depending on the atmosphere. In "standard" atmosphere it will be small and appear right at the horizon. If there is a temperature inversion it may look like a small flash just above the horizon. If you watch as the lower limb approaches the horizon you can sometimes predict the flash. If the sun forms "feet" as it gets close to the horizon watch for a green oval flash just above the horizon about 4 minutes later..

A high pressure system settling in over southeast with a combination of crisp clear skies and winds in the teens are have optimum conditions. The best sky and wind combination is crisp clear sky w/ very small % cloud cover (few IF any/ few better/ none optimal) and winds out of E in the mid-upper teens ..... the majority of green flashes are Oct-Dec. Conditions necessary to see the Green Flash are the "blaring ball" sunsets, clear crisp skies few if any clouds anywhere on horizon/winds east in mid-upper teens Viewing from Hawk Channel & not the gulf...

Explanation: Just as the upper limb of the sun drops below the horizon the acute angle of sunset the atmosphere acts as a prism breaking the light into a spectrum. The blues and violets get absorbed so green is the last color visible.

And even if you don't see the green flash, you usually get to watch a wonderful sunset.
11 February - Wading Bird at sunset from our boat

11 February - Wading Bird at sunset from our boat

Sunset - not the kind of sky for a Green Flash

Sunset - not the kind of sky for a Green Flash


I finally saw a manatee in the marina and could take some pictures.
large_e6d2ed60-0bc4-11ea-a651-f7bcf59efd36.jpglarge_e4152cf0-0bc4-11ea-a651-f7bcf59efd36.jpglarge_e4e9e210-0bc4-11ea-a651-f7bcf59efd36.jpglarge_e7ade410-0bc4-11ea-be59-dd4330e1556a.jpglarge_e631f270-0bc4-11ea-a651-f7bcf59efd36.jpglarge_00309532298720110308183248412.jpg
We also saw a pod of dolphins (including some that looked like babies-if you look at the photos you can sometimes see a tiny fin next to the big one) herding fish out in the flats off the stern of our boat.
large_3a1f6e70-0bc6-11ea-a681-0dd21d8c9c20.jpglarge_38d33f60-0bc6-11ea-be59-dd4330e1556a.jpglarge_395b0d00-0bc6-11ea-be59-dd4330e1556a.jpglarge_Image013-001.jpglarge_38747d90-0bc6-11ea-be59-dd4330e1556a.jpg
A couple who have a CSY 33 picked us up at the marina and took us to see their boat, and we all had dinner at Burdines afterwards.
Burdine's fountain

Burdine's fountain


This time the no-see-ums were not in evidence. We ate under cover instead of out on deck.
large_ccdc8110-0d71-11ea-8a9a-73138e1161ae.jpg

Marathon Marina Shenanigans

RosalieAnn at the Marathon Marina

RosalieAnn at the Marathon Marina


We decided to stay here for the winter because the marina was easy to get to and had space. They have a gas dock (the first one on the left as you go in Boot Key channel). Be aware that the price on the sign does NOT include the 7.5% Florida tax.

They are quite *** about including the bowsprit and dinghy davits in the length you pay for, even though it makes no difference -it is the same length slip in any case.They forbid the use of fenders on the wooden finger piers (on the pilings is OK).

They require a deposit of $150 for utilities - Electric is 10 cents/kwh and water is 3 cents a gallon and there is a minimum monthly charge for both water and electric. There is no way to check whether you are being overcharged (and we were) because they have the meters are hidden and are read by electronic device and there is no way to see what they find. Their new docks have phone connections at each. There is an expensive new restaurant. There's no dinghy dock, nor does there seem to be a free dock available for people that want to eat at the restaurant. They do not keep restaurant patrons from parking in the marina lot, and if we find no parking, and park in the commercial boat lot, the owner will have the car ticketed and towed.

There is now also a grudgingly offered internet connection in the store. The pay phones only work intermittently with PocketMail. They say that they will not forward mail after you leave.

Hot water for the showers on the west dockside go cold when washers are filling or toilets are flushed. The east side is separate so it's better to shower over there - all the washers are on the west side. The washers are open 24 hours a day for anyone to use - you do not have to have a slip at the marina. The washers are $2.00 each except for the big industrial one which is $3.50. This sometimes means there are no washers available because they are being used by local town folks because they are cheaper than the local laundromat.

They charged my credit card for the full December month's rental in October including $150 utility deposit when we weren't getting there until the middle of December. Sometime in the middle of February, we found out that while they pro-rate a part of a month when you come (the end of a month) by the day based on the monthly rate, they pro-rate a part of the month when you leave (the beginning of a month) by the weekly and daily rate. The bottom line for this is that we will get no refund for the end of March because the monthly rate for the whole month is less than the weekly rate for two weeks plus 1 or 2 days. These fiscal policies which seem designed to get the maximum amount of money for the minimum service are the reason we will not go back, even though the marina is clean and the workers are efficient and cheerful.

If the weather is bad, and you want to wait a bit to check out to see if the weather will get better, they will not extend the 10:00 checkout time past 11:00 and which time you have to pay for another day. This was not an issue for us, but Bob thinks it is practically criminal, especially as in the case I am thinking of the slip was empty for the following week so they didn't need the slip.

They do not tell you that if you get more than 2 pumpouts a month, the extra ones are $20.00 each. Pumpouts are done only on Thursday. This was also not an issue for us as we've just put in a larger holding tank, but some other people had greater charges than they needed to have.

Bob is pissed. He is talking about not going south next year and even selling the boat. I don't think he really wants to sell the boat, but I'm thinking that there's lots of places that we could go that we can't get to on the boat very easily.

Not going last year saved us an enormous amount of money, but I don't know that I want to save an enormous amount of money

For the month of March, see The Stressful Spring of 2004

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:36 Archived in USA Comments (12)

(Entries 5 - 8 of 8) « Page 1 [2]