Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 26, 2014 Breakfast company and Saturday potluck/jam session

My niece, Sherri Zeller and her husband Bobby Hanson, of Denver, CO were in the Key Largo area for a long weekend vacation.  So we connected ahead of time to figure out how we could get together. 

They arrived at our marina about 8:00am.  I gave them a tour of the facilities before taking them back to our boat by dinghy.  Dave and Pete made breakfast for us, a frittata.  We enjoyed the frittata, bagels, tangerines and coffee in the cockpit.  We were able to visit for a couple hours before taking photos and taking them back to the marina.  What a nice surprise visit. 

The rest of the day was lazy.  Dave walked to West Marine to return some items.  He picked up Cuban sandwiches and beer on the way back.  Have to make the most out of our trips to shore.  Pete played guitar, and we all took turns taking naps.

About 4:30, our Lithuanian friend, Thomas, stopped by inviting us for shish kabobs, but his grill wasn’t working properly.  So actually, he wanted to cook on our grill.  We told him how we were planning to go to the potluck and jam session.  So we invited him to cook them here and then go to the marina with us.  He couldn’t convince his wife to join us, but he took us up on the offer. 

So he came back between 5 & 5:30.  Dave helped him grill while Pete made roasted potatoes for our potluck.  I helped out where ever needed.  One thing was mixing drinks.  Thomas brought his favorite Polish vodka.  We only had tonic to mix it with, but that worked fine. 

Our potatoes took longer than we hoped, so we ate his shish kabobs here before we went.  They were great.  They were pieces of pork, green pepper and onion marinated in mayonnaise.

Then we packed up everything for the party.  People were still arriving and eating, so we weren’t too late.  About 7:00, the guy who brought the sound system sang for awhile.  Then another gentleman sang.  They both said they needed to play while there was still daylight so they could see their music.  Pete then played from about 8-9:00.  Then a few others played for about 30 minutes.  Then the sound system had to shut down because of the boats in the area.  But we stayed for a couple more hours with Pete and some others taking turns playing.  

It’s always fun to visit with the other sailors, too.  We met a guy who just returned to the US after sailing from California, to the south Pacific to south east Asia to south Africa and back here over the last 17 years.  Really gets the wheels turning about the endless opportunities we have. 


April 25, 2014 Media and bar hopping day

We decided to go out for breakfast this morning at the Stuffed Pig, just across the highway.  They have a patio out back that we sat on today.  Pete and Dave had the usual combination breakfasts with pancakes or waffles.  I had an omelet with crab, bacon, spinach, mushrooms and feta cheese and brought half of it home. 

Dave needed some things from West Marine, so he walked there after breakfast, about a mile away.  Pete and I went back to the boat to load up things to take to the marina.  We wanted to spend some time on the internet.  We had some things to print, scan and e-mail.  We also decided to update our computers.  So we loaded up Pete’s laptop, our laptop, our Apple Macbook, our mini iPad, portable printer and portable scanner, all the appropriate cords and our phones into two back packs (only one was water proof).  Then we decided we might as well do some laundry while we were there, so packed up 3 loads.  We had to get a dock cart to take everything to the marina from our dinghy. 

We spent the afternoon getting caught up on lots of things.  We do take the wifi for granted.  Dave had been talking to several Verizon people about options for a traveling hot spot for us.  Other servers seem to have options, but Verizon hasn’t been too helpful.   One guy told Dave just to go to a McDonalds or another public place to get the wifi.  This was after Dave explained that we live on a boat and plan to go to foreign countries.  So if anybody has any suggestions, we would appreciate it. 

There were 3 manatees in our dingy dock today!!  I finally got to see my first manatee.  They really are just ugly blobs that lazily float around.  There was a mother about 6 feet long and 2 babies about 3 feet long. 

We were done with our computers about 4:30.  We took everything back to the boat and just unloaded, let Pete change into clean clothes and we headed for Happy Hour.  There is a restaurant across the highway that we have been to for lunch and dinner.  And we heard they had a great happy hour.  Florida Keys Steak and Lobster had a happy hour from 2-6pm with $1.50 domestic draft beers and $2.00 foreign drafts.  So we had a few Guinness beers for $2 a pint.  They also had $5 appetizers.  We had some chicken wings, peel and eat shrimp and Dave and Pete each ordered sushi off of their dinner menu.  Lots of fun sharing again.  Someone told Pete he was a professional happy hourist. 

After leaving there, we took a dinghy ride out Sister Creek to Sombrero Beach, on the south ocean side of Marathon.  We went out in the open water to circle and island just to open up the dinghy motor for awhile.  There was a home on the island with windows on all sides and hammocks on two sides.  Looked pretty nice. 

When we returned to the Bay, we decided to go to Dockside, a bar in the bay.  They had live music tonight.  The band was good and played a lot of 70’s music, which we all enjoyed.  Pete was raised on that.  We had to have their famous Hog Handles appetizer.  It is 3 hunks of pork each on a rib that have been smoked.  I think Dave said its back meat.  We also tried their specialty of home made potato chips with bacon and bleu cheese with bleu cheese dressing.  They were pretty good,too.  We stayed until the band quit at 10:00.  We have to get up early Saturday for company.

April 24, 2014 Snorkeling Sombrero Reef

I went to shore early to have the bike company pick up our bikes when they opened at 9:00.  They didn’t show up until 10:30 :(  But I was able to get a few things done using the wifi at the marina.  It was also our pump out day for our heads, so we couldn’t leave until that was done.  We are on a schedule for every Thursday.

When I returned to the boat, we had breakfast, then headed out for a day of snorkeling.  We decided to just motor right to the reef instead of sailing.  If the winds aren’t in your favor, you  have to zigzag to get there, which takes much more time.  We went to the same reef that we took Dean, 3.5 miles south of Marathon.  There were a lot of other boats here today with other snorkelers.   So I wasn’t as worried about boats not seeing us. 

Pete decided to wear a dive skin, since he hasn’t had as much sun.  You can get sunburned just laying on the water for an our or two.  You don’t have to think about that with diving.  Dave and I just wore t-shirts last time and opted to do that again.  Last time, I had a swimsuit with a little skirt on it.  This time I had the normal suit that just covers your cheeks.  WELL, the tops of the back of my thighs got sunburned this time!  Will make a mental not of that.

The snorkeling was, again, great.  Lots of variety of fish and coral, and jellyfish.  This time we saw some huge parrot fish, probably 4 feet long.  And I saw 3 kinds of angle fish, my favorite: queen angels are very colorful with blues and yellows, French angel fish are dark grey with yellow accents-the yellow eyelids really stand out, and grey angel fish-more of a washed out grey color with specks on the sides.  All of them were probably 18 inches long. 

Dave returned to the boat a earlier than us and started cleaning the hull.  When we returned we made guacamole and had a couple beers.  Then we headed  back to Marathon and cooked dinner on the boat.  We grilled hamburgers, with corn on the cob and a salad. 

It was a calm night, so Pete and I played cribbage in the cockpit until it was too dark to see.  Then we moved inside for more Malice.  I love it!

Pete picking up our mooring ball back at the marina

(and Happy Birthday Dad, he would have been 98 today)

April 23, 2014 Bicycle Ride

After listening to the Cruiser’s Net and having breakfast, we rented bicycles for the day from Wheels-2-Go.  They deliver and pick up bikes for 24 hour rental.  Cruisers were $10 and Hybrids were $15.  We figured we would just be on flat sidewalks or roads, so we chose the cruisers.  They delivered them about 11:30am.  They came with locks and a basket, which was optional.  We took the baskets to hold our water bottles.  After many years of mountain biking in the Black Hills of SD, it was strange to be on a basic bike.  I don’t remember the last time I had to pedal in reverse for the breaks.  And there was a  nice cushy seat!  When we would meet other hard core bikers, Dave would shout out “I have a basket!”

We rode the bikes to the west end of the island and took the old railroad bridge that goes to Pigeon Key.  It is now a pedestrian and fishing bridge.  The whole  trip was about 5 or 6 miles one way.  I’m not sure if there is a bike lane on the full 7 mile bridge.  But that would be a beautiful ride. 

From the bridge, we could see all kinds of sea life.  The water is pretty shallow in this area.  And the bridge was probably 20 feet off the water.  We saw a couple 6 foot sharks and one that had to be over 12 feet.  We saw one turtle whose shell looked about 6 feet in length.  We saw schools of tarpon hanging out under the bridge.  They had to be 8-10 feet long.  And we saw a school of 12 spotted eagle rays that had about a 6 foot wing span and one sting ray about 4 feet wide. 

At Pigeon Key, there is a museum and several building remaining that were part of the camp used when building the bridge in the early 1900’s.  It’s an amazing story about Henry Flagler and how he is responsible for the development of most of Florida.  I had read a book about building the highway and about Flagler, so I wanted to check this out.  We took a tour with a guide around the island, then toured the museum and watched a video about Flagler and building the railroad.  A hurricane destroyed it in 1938.  It later became a highway.  And eventually, they built the new bridge over the 7 mile stretch.  But many of the other bridges are still in use. 

We returned to the main islands of Marathon and had lunch in a Cuban cafe.  Pete had Cuban sandwiches on his wish list.  Then we rode to the Key Fisheries for their Wednesday special of 50 cent oysters on the half shell.  Another thing on Pete’s list.  We went back to the boat, hung out for awhile, then went back to Key Fisheries with the bikes.  We wanted to watch the sunset from there and have more cheap oysters.  They had run out of them by now, so we were glad we stopped earlier.  But we had conch fritters (on the food list) and Dave loves  their rare tuna steak sandwich.  The guys shared that and one of their konchworst. I had a conch salad which was similar to ceviche.  It was fun to sample and share. 

We rode around the park for a while with the bikes.  It was after sunset, so we stayed off the main road.  We returned to the boat for more cards between me and Peter.  Fun day!

 tried to zoom in to get one of the spotted eagle rays from the bridge.  also got my thumb because I was afraid of dropping my phone

April 22, 2014 Exproring the bay

Tuesday:  At 9:00, we listened to the Cruiser’s Net on the VHF radio.   Dave had an extra spotlight that he wanted to get rid of.  Afterwards, a man came to our boat to pick it up.  He told us about his boat.  It is an historic tall ship.  He takes it to different shows and wins money in competitions.  He pays crew $200-250 per day when moving the boat.  The boat is called La Rena and was built in 1877.  He has documentation and photos of the Kennedy’s and Winston Churchill on the boat and all the log books.  Interesting stories.  I haven’t been able to find a site on the web about it, but will share that if I do in the future.

We had to return the car by noon, so we took advantage of it and ran a few errands.  We dropped Dave off at Home Depot.  Pete and I went to K-Mart to find him swim trunks and some more summer clothes.  We also went to the grocery store.  Nice to pick up fresh produce and meats when we can. 

Dave ended up walking back to the marina instead of waiting for us.  We got back to the Marathon airport by noon WITH our groceries.  Then we had to call a taxi to get us back to the marina.

We took all of our purchases back to the boat and stored the perishable items.  Then we hopped in the dinghy for a tour of Boot Key Harbor.  We ended up at Castaways, a restaurant we had heard about from other sailors.  We sat outside and had a couple beers, some peel and eat shrimp 6 for $2 and their menu looked too interesting to pass up.  Dave and Pete had hogfish dinners and I had a shrimp, scallop and fish seafood enchilada with poblano sauce that was amazing. 

We returned to the boat, hung out, ate leftovers and played some cards.  Pete is into playing Skipbo now.  Our game was buried under some cushions in the salon, so we played Malice,  which isSkipbo  with regular decks of cards.  I have played this game since high school with my girlfriends.  Then later with my mom and sisters, and some friends over the years.  Dave doesn’t care to play, so I was in heaven. 

April 21, 2014 Miami Run

Dave was working on some things this weekend that he had to access through the aft cabin, which is where Pete will sleep.  So he had to rearrange everything to make it into a guest cabin again.  For one thing, he cleaned the generator water intake filter and we were amazed at how clogged it was. 

So when it was getting closer to leaving to pick up Pete at the airport, he decided to stay and continue working.  I have gone to the Miami airport from the Keys twice as a passenger and figured I could handle it, especially with a GPS.  We rented a car, but it is at the airport in Marathon.  So I had to take a taxi to the airport.  The Miami airport is 90  miles away, but the GPS estimated 2hr 10min.  I made it in 2 hrs.  Pete arrived about 15 minutes early.  I scooped him up and headed out again.  It is so great to be able to hug your son.

We stopped in Key Largo on the way back at one of our favorite restaurants, the Fish House.  It was first recommended to us by my sister, Janice.  It was about 4:30, but neither of us had lunch today.  We had excellent meals of mahi mahi,  Pete’s had a swiss cheese sauce and mine was their house specialty of sautéed vegetables over the fish.  We also had an appetizer of grilled shrimp wrapped in basil and prosciutto.  I would highly recommend it. 

We checked out a few marinas in Key Largo, in case we decide to stop there on our way to the  Bahamas.  Not impressed, and very shallow.  So we’ll see.  We also stopped in Islamorada at the Fish Market.  Always have to stop here on our way through.  The restaurant is good, too.  We picked their smoked fish dip, seaweed salad and marinated octopi.  Dave was in heaven with our left overs and his favorites from the market. 

Pete pulled out his guitar and played for us in the nice breeze in our cockpit.  I really miss listening to him play.  So it was a dream come true. 

April 20, 2014 Easter Sunday

Happy Easter!  We started the morning with taking our dinghy on a 20 minute ride down Sister Creek to Sombrero Beach for a sunrise service for Easter Sunday.  It was a beautiful morning.  There were about 6 dinghies at the beach.  Then we walked up to the park and there were about 200 people there.  I guess the park is accessible by car, but I didn’t think about that. 

There were 4 different ministers that shared the service.  The guy on the organ looked and sounded like an old rock star.  He was very good and sang a solo of ‘Mary Did you Know”.  The other music was provided by a group of 5 women and it was the good old southern gospel type of music.  There were programs for us to follow along and to sing along.  There were also lots of amens and alleluias.  They also had communion that was unusual for me to see.  They passed out little containers that were like restaurant jelly packets.  There was grape juice in the bottom.  But there was a top layer that had a wafer.  All at the same time, everyone peeled back the first layer and had the host.  Then together, you peeled back the second layer and drank the juice.  It worked well for a crowd that wasn’t sitting in any kind of organized rows. 

We returned to the boat, had a small breakfast, & I changed for church.  Dave took me to shore to get a taxi to the Catholic Church by 11:00.  When I walked up to the common spot to wait for a taxi, I saw a couple dressed like they were going to church.  So I asked them if they were waiting for a taxi to go to the Catholic church.  They were, so I asked if they would want to share a taxi.  They were glad to share.  We exchanged the usual introductions and found out we had the exact same boat.  There’s was a 2003 and ours 2007.  So that got us talking about all kinds of things unique to our boats. 

They wanted to make a stop on the way back, so I paid for the taxi there and let them pay for the way back.  They have been here most of the winter.  They found out that the Walgreens liquor store had the best prices for their scotch.  So they like to stop there on the way home from church.  They were a little embarrassed to tell me, but I though it was pretty funny. 

Dave met me at the dock and we went out for Easter Sunday lunch at the restaurant across the street.  We had been there for dinner with Dean, Florida Keys Steak and Seafood.  Dave had their rack of lamb that was on the special.  It came with a mint sauce that was unbelievable.  I had a skirt steak prepared with a Mexican flare.  Also delicious.  Dave had his favorite dessert, flan.  He said it was as dense as butter, the best he had ever had.

After lunch, we headed towards the boat that belonged to the people I went to church with.  On the way, we saw a 393 Beneteau and were checking out how he had his dinghy and life raft attached to his stern.  A guy was outside, so we started visiting.  Then we tied to his boat to visit, and eventually, they invited us aboard their boat.  Very interesting couple.  Gerry and Isolda.  He was from the northern part of the Yukon Territory and she was from Germany.  They had been living in Northern Ireland for several years (and many places in between).  They left there to join a group called World ARC and circumnavigated the world in 14 months.    Now they were heading to Nova Scotia where they bought a home and they are selling the boat.  They even invited us to their home in Nova Scotia.  After visiting with them, we are going to check into circumnavigating.  No definite plans or dates, just checking.

We then returned to the boat to get it ready for our son, Pete, to visit tomorrow.  Can’t wait.

 We drove through mangroves on Sister Creek.   Thought I'd include a picture in case someone had not seen mangroves.  I guess it's a good place to tie up a boat in a hurricane.  The mangroves just move with the water. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 20, 2014 Saturday potluck

Today, I defrosted the freezer.  The freezer is a well in the counter top next to our sink.  Our boat leans to the starboard a little, so water tends to run from the faucet onto the counter.  We used to place a towel there, put it would end up stinking.  So we thought we were being careful with excess water, but apparently not.  The water would get into the seal around the lid of the freezer and run to the back.  Then when the door was opened, it would run into the freezer and create a waterfall of ice in the back of the freezer.  This happened before when we had a leaky 5 gallon jug of water on the top of the freezer.  So we thought we had taken care of the problem.  Evidently not.  Last time, I did the boiling water trick to thaw the ice.  This time I was just able to leave it open for a few hours.  It was plenty warm to melt and I didn’t waste water or fuel in the process.  The water drains into the refrigerator.  So I had to occasionally run the sump pump for the refrigerator.  This time I was smart enough to empty the bottom shelf of the refrigerator first  We have a few soft coolers to store everything in while it’s defrosting. 

In the meantime, I helped Dave climb the mast again.  He needed to replace a flag halyard.  So he only had to climb par way up.  He found a screw that was coming loose and connections that were rusting.  So It’s good to check everything out while you are in the area.

On Saturday nights, the marina has a potluck dinner and musical jam session.  We decided to go this week to see what it was all about.  Then maybe we’ll go next week, while Pete is visiting.  I decided to make Mexican Roll-ups.  We had all the ingredients I wanted except sour cream.  So we tried a boat trick that I read about in  We bought 8 oz cans of Media Crema in the Mexican section of the grocery store.  You add one teaspoon of vinegar to it and it makes sour cream.  You can add a second one to make it thicker, which I did.  I let it cool for about 30 minutes before mixing it in and it worked great.

We met several nice people at the potluck.  And had some tasty dishes to try.  We listened to music until about 9:00 and called it a night.

April 16, 17, 18, 2014 Shopping day

Wednesday, April 16
Spent some time in the marina doing laundry and at the laundromat.  It costs $3.00 per wash and $3.00 per dry!  Good thing our boat clothes aren’t fancy and can be thrown in with anything. 
I had another good day on the computer getting things up to date.  Amazing what you take for granted now with wifi connections.  The Bahamas will be interesting. 
Thursday, April 17
Spent the entire day on the boat reorganizing things and updating things. 
Friday, April 18
The local Seven Seas Sailing Association meets for lunch at a local restaurant of Fridays.  We are members and receive info online, but have never been to a function.  We joined them and met some great people.  There were about 15 couples,  Everyone is so willing to share their experiences with you.  There was even a single guy, probably in his late 20’s, that didn’t know how to sail, bought a boat in New York and sailed it to Florida learning as he went.  Dave ended up going to his boat later that afternoon and helped him with some things.
After lunch, we planned to walk to the grocery store and K Mart, then take a taxi back.  On the way, we stopped at a dive shop.  We found a couple useful things even though we no longer have our dive gear.  (It was that or have room for company.)  I found an awesome backpack that is a dry bag.  We have other dry bags, but they have small handles or they are duffle bag size.  With this I will be comfortable carrying a laptop to shore.  We also found a float to swim with when snorkeling so boats will see us.  And we bought a bag that you can inflate to bring heavy objects up to the surface, like an anchor.   It was kind of expensive, but much cheaper than buying a new anchor. 
Then we passed a sandal store and I found the perfect pair of Teva’s.  I needed to replace my sandals, but figured I’d have to wait until we got back from the Bahamas.  Even then, I don’t know how easy it would be to find a shoe store on the east coast without a car. 
Finally we made it to K Mart.  Dave made it through half of that shopping list and had to get out of there.  I now keep my shopping lists in my phone.  I add things as soon as I think of them.  And I don’t lose the list.  So I had to copy and paste my grocery list and send it as a text to Dave’s phone so he could start grocery shopping.  By the time I got to the grocery store, we were pretty well set.  The list said fruits and vegetables.  Dave sent me there.  I guess I didn’t give him enough details.  Funny how about 2 years ago, he did all the grocery shopping and I have taken that over now.  Usually it’s because he has better things to be doing on the boat instead of shopping.  I guess that was the case back in SD, too, since I was working full time and he was the house husband.
Friday night, we got a phone call from our son, Peter.  Months ago, we talked about him visiting us after St Patrick’s Day and before the summer.  He has an Irish Band, and so it would be easier for him to leave during that time period.  We talked dates and places and decided that now would be the best time for him to join us with any predictability of our location.  So we made quick arrangements for him to join us for a week.  He will fly into Miami on Monday the 21st and stay until Tuesday the 29th.  He hasn’t been on our boat yet. Can’t wait to see him!!! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 15, 2014 Dean's Departure

I did get up at 2:50am to see the lunar eclipse.  At that time, you could still see part of the moon still lit.  I watched it go into full eclipse and turn the copper-red color.  Dave took one look at it when I first got up, then wen’t back to bed.  I went to bed about 3:20 and then heard Dean get up for a look.  It was cool to see.

Dean’s flight wasn’t until 7:00pm out of Miami.  But he had to catch a shuttle to the airport at 1:00pm.  He spent the rest of the morning rearranging his packing and giving away things to us that didn’t fit into his bags.  Dave made another awesome omelet.  This one with shrimp.  As Dean finished packing, it was getting pretty warm and humid in the boat.  I checked the temperature using my phone.  It said it was 85 but felt like 100 with 71% humidity.  I actually thought the humidity would be higher. So Dean took a quick shower on our boat before leaving.

We took Dean to shore just in time to catch the shuttle.  Then we returned to the boat for our  projects.  Dave was going to take the propane tank somewhere to be filled.  And I wanted to spend some time on the computer at the marina where we could get wifi.  I am just getting used to using an Apple Mac.  And since I have been the photo guru, I had to figure out how to get photos into my blog using this computer.  I ended up calling Tracy Perdue in Rapid City.  She has been using a mac for several years.  AND she is a great photographer.  She really helped me.  So she asked that she receive credit in my blog :)  KUDOS to Tracy!!

We returned to the boat for a simple meal of shrimp and pasta.  It’s great having company, but there is something so relaxing about being back to just the two of us again.  We had a great time with Dave’s brother and saw some things in the Keys that were new to us.  Now we have to concentrate on getting everything ready for the Bahamas.   

 Photo courtesy of Rod Schneller in Canton, SD

April 14, 2014 Sombrero Reef

After listening to the cruiser’s net again, Dave made us an awesome breakfast omelette with leftover meat and cheese from the crossing.  Our boat was scheduled for a pump out for our heads.  We didn’t have to be here, but we couldn’t take the boat anywhere either.   So we just sat in the cockpit talking until about noon.

We had asked at the marina about places to snorkel.  There was a reef about 3.5 miles south of us that was popular.  So once we were free to leave, we headed snorkeling.  We sailed the boat to the reef.  We actually turned the engine off and sailed for the first time since Dean was with us.  The dive site was marked with a lighted tower.  Dave read that there has been a tower at this site to mark the shallow reef since before the Civil War.  There were several mooring balls to tie your boat to near the reef.  That way you don’t damage the reef by dropping an anchor. 

We swam right from our boat to the reef.  Right away, we noticed jelly fish about 2-4 inches in diameter all around us.  Nobody noticed anything stinging us, so we just ignored them.  They were all over the place the whole time we were in the water 

We saw a large variety of fish at this reef, comparable to what we see in Cozumel.  There were several Tarpon in the area.  Dean saw 2 large stingrays.  And on the way back to the boat, Dave and I got to see one, too.  We never did get to the shallowest part of the reef.  There was enough surge (wave action below the water) that we didn’t want to go any more shallow.  You worry about getting pushed up against the coral.  After about 90 minutes, we headed back to the boat.

We have a wash down hose on the swim deck.  And since the motor had been running to get us into position for the mooring ball, the water had been heated.  So we hosed off our gear and rinsed the salt off of ourselves.  It’s now at least 4:00pm.  I made us a quick snack of cheese and crackers and cucumbers.  We didn’t have lunch and were all hungry.

After getting back to our mooring ball in the marina, I took a quick shower on the boat.  Then we out to eat, AGAIN.  This was Dean’s last night and he wanted to go back to the fish market.  Dave had his tuna sandwich again-huge tuna steak, Dean had a lobster roll, and I had key lime scallops over linguini in a wine sauce.  We also shared a Konchwurst just to see what it was like.  It was a wurst made with conch.  And they served it like an Italian sausage with sliced peppers and onions in a light tomato sauce.  Wouldn’t recommend it. 

We came back to the marina and the guys showered there.  I used the wifi from outside of the marina (if you sit by the east wall).  But I also had a nice chat with my sister, Janice. 

We returned to the boat so Dean could pack.  We also sat in the cockpit and visited with a nice breeze.  There was a lunar eclipse at 3:00am, so I set my alarm to get up and check it out.  There was no way I would be able to stay up until then.  Another sign of age. 

 Dean enjoying the sail to Sombrero Reef
 Tower marking the reef and white mooring balls
                                       Sunset on the Gulf side of the island at Key Fisheries

April 12 & 13, 2014 Lazy Days

Wow, have we been lazy.  Our main activities have been sailing, eating and sleeping.  Every morning at 9:00 they have the Cruisers Net on the VHF radio on channel 68.  They have a host that leads the program through several sections.  There was a welcome to  new arrivals.  You call in with your boat name, they recognize you, then you tell them where you are from, who’s on you boat and what your plans are.  Then they ask for anyone that is leaving the area and their destination.  Then they ask if anyone has any questions about the area or needs help with anything.  There is an announcement section and an advertisement section.  Then there is a buy, sell, giveaway section.  We got rid of some paper charts of the Gulf of Mexico the first day.  Yeah!!  They ask for any final business, then they have a trivia section.  Sounds like there are some regulars that call in everyday, after listening to it for 2 days now.  Sunday I asked if anyone had transportation to go to the Catholic Church in Marathon.  No one offered a ride, but someone did suggest that the taxi was $6.00.  So that’s what I ended up doing.

On Saturday, Dave made us a lunch with leftovers.  We also ran the water maker, which is so cool to have.  Then we all went up to the marina to get information about the area, like where the grocery store is, where to fill propane tanks, etc.  They have an area to watch TV, and area for power and wifi, and lots of open tables to use as you wish.  They have some large areas with large garage doors where you can work on projects too big to do on your boat.  There is a  big wall of book shelves where you can exchange paperbacks.  I am going to leave 2.  But I have several on board already to read.  I wanted to pick up more, but you have to worry about them becoming moldy, too. 

Later that afternoon, we took the dinghy to a local restaurant for a meal and a few drinks, Dockside.  It was right in the bay where the marina is located.  We could see the sun set behind all the sailboats.  We returned to the boat and sat outside and enjoyed the nice breeze in our cockpit.  Beautiful evening. 

Sunday morning, after listening to the cruiser’s net, I had a quick breakfast and got ready for church.  Taxi ride was very convenient. The priest was Cuban and had a booming voice.  He really stirred the spirit within you.  It was Palm Sunday.  This is the second time I have gone to church on Palm Sunday in the Keys.  They really decorate their churches with great palms since they are plentiful in this area.

After I returned, Dave wanted to go somewhere for a burger.  We decided to walk to a restaurant within a couple blocks of the marina.  It was closed.  But just down the street from it, on the gulf side of the island, there was a fish market and restaurant that we walked to.  It was fantastic.  I had a lobster reuben sandwich.  Dave had a tuna sandwich with a thick tuna steak cooked rare, as he likes it.  Dean had a seafood combination platter.  You ordered at a window, then sat at tables outside.  We went to the second floor to look out over the Gulf. 

We walked back to the marina in about 85 degrees with humidity that felt close to 100%.  We went a couple extra blocks to check out where you refill propane.  By the time we returned to the boat, we were all exhausted.  So we took naps.  LAZY!!

After naps, we went to the marina for showers.  Then off to another restaurant to eat again.  We went back to Dockside because it was dark by now and we knew our way there by dinghy.  They were having a jam session tonight.  It was great to begin with, but later the music was really loud.  I didn’t care how stupid I looked, so I plugged my ears for a few songs.  Dave and Dean had appetizers and I had a salad with shrimp.  Relaxing night.  There is a full moon on the 15th, but it looked pretty full tonight.  And the sky had a pretty color to it.   So we had to take photos before dark with the moon behind our boat. 

I told Dean today that there are “trips” and there are “vacations”.  Trips are where you go somewhere to see as much as you can, like New York City.  And Vacations are where you go somewhere to relax.  Sailing is definitely a vacation.  He felt this has been a combination of the two for him.   

April 11, 2014 Marathon City Marina

We were  up around 8:00 with no alarms.  Didn’t catch any crabs in our crab cage.  We had quick simple breakfasts and were able to leave our anchorage at 9:00am.  High tide would give us the best chance of getting out of this channel without hitting bottom.  Dave brought up the anchor and I was at the helm.  Once the anchor was up, we let the current drift us backwards, away from shore.  Then we could look at our chart and follow the same route back out, the way we came in.  But for some reason, the chart was showing our route in a different location.  So you always need to be aware of the channel markers (red and green) and stay between them accordingly.  Today, red would be on our left, because we were leaving a channel and heading to sea.  When you are returning to an inland port, you go by Red Right Returning.

Once we were back out in Hawk’s Channel, that follows the shoreline along the Keys, we headed east again towards Marathon, Florida.  The seas weren’t as rough today.  Winds were 10-15 knots and swells were 2-4 foot.  We decided to take one hour watches.  Is not as important to take watches if you are only making a passage in the daytime.  But none of us slept very well last night.  I think we may have overdone the spicy dinner last night.  We all had crazy dreams.  And besides, if we don’t take watches, Dave will be at the helm the whole time. 

We could see the Seven Mile Bridge on the overseas highway starting about 1:30-2:00pm.  Marathon is at the east end of the bridge.  We have driven over that bridge several times.  So it was pretty cool to see it from the water.   Once we were vacationing in the Florida Keys while our son, Peter, was in the Merchant Marines.  He was on a freighter ship passing the Keys and could see the 7 Mile Bridge.  We hadn’t seen him in a loooong time, like over a year.  So it was so strange to be so close and not be able to actually see each other. 

When I was in Marathon in February with my sister, Bev, we stopped at the City Marina and were given some great information to know the marina before we entered it.  We entered the channel to the Boot Key Harbor about 3:30.  There is an old bascule bridge that is now open permanently between the opening of the channel and the marina.  We were told to call into the marina once you reach that bridge.  Dave was at the helm, so I called in on the VHF radio.  This is a huge marina.  There are over 200 mooring balls (Ft Myers had 75), about 20 places at the dock, and LOTS of boats anchored. 

So on the VHF, Ann directed us to follow channel markers into the “streets” between the mooring balls.  Then she asked us to call again.  The second time she directed us to the actual mooring ball.  They are designated by alphabetical rows and the balls are numbered. 

Once we were at our mooring ball, D8, Dave and Dean cleaned the bottom of our dinghy that was on our deck.   I did a quick cleaning of the heads, not as detailed as I usually do on a weekly basis.  Since they were washing the dinghy on the deck, we couldn’t open any windows yet.  And it was in the low 80’s.  So I didn’t want to stay below the deck too long, or I think I would have passed out.  We had to mount the motor back onto the dinghy.  Then Dave and I went to shore to check in before they closed at 5:45. 

We figured we’d stay here until Dean leaves on Tuesday.  That is 5 nights at the marina.  Paying for a week gives you a discount.  Here if you pay for 5 nights the next 2 are free.  So we paid the weekly rate.  They give us keys to the showers that are available 24 hours.  There are 7 rooms.  Each one in as individual room with shower, sink and toilet.  I have a cheap pair of flip flops that I wear in the marina showers.  Just feels better.  We decided to all shower. 

After cleaning up, we walked to the closest restaurant.  The Florida Keys Steak and Lobster was right across the highway.  We each had an excellent dinner.  Then we called it a night.

 Seven Mile Bridge-longest segmented bridge in the world. Picture doesn't do it justice.
 Common room in Marathon Marina.Wall on right side has picnic tables, power connections, and wifi for the computer geeks.  Rooms in the back have TVs.
Map of the mooring field. Had to enter along the south to follow a channel deep enough for our boat.

April 10, 2014 Windy 3 Hour Cruise

We didn’t accomplish much on Wednesday.  The late night was a little hard on all of us.  We enjoyed the facilities at the marina and meals at local restaurants. 

But today, Thursday, we wanted to start making our way towards Marathon.  We would have had to leave early to make it there in one day.  And we knew there were going to be some strong winds.  So we found a place 15 miles, or about 4 hours from Key West where we could anchor for the night. 

We left the marina at 11:00am.  There were 2 larger boats beside us.  And just today, a catamaran parked along the channel across from us that we had to go through to leave.  They are much wider than a mono hull.  With the wind blowing, we knew it would be a tight maneuver to get out of our slip.  Dean and I were on the bow, and a couple other people came out of their boats to help push us off when we were too close to their boats.  The wind kept hitting our bow and Dave had a hard time turning the boat.  But we made it without any scratches on anybody’s boat. 

We traveled around the west end of Key West and to the south of the Keys to head east.  There were 2 cruise ships docked at Key West.  You really feel small sailing by them. 

We were in 15+ knot winds.  The wind was from the east, so it was on our nose.  That meant we rocked like a hobby horse for 3 hours.  That also meant we had to motor instead of sail.  Our bow was washed thoroughly.  BUT no one got sea sick. 

We pulled into Saddlebunch channel and anchored just off the channel near an island of mangroves.  We found this anchorage on our Active Captain application on our phones.  Other people that have anchored here, give us their reviews and suggestions.  It was a little hairy at times, because of how shallow it was.  We touched bottom twice.  But we were anchored by 2:00pm.

We pulled out the snorkel gear and hit the water.  This was our first snorkel adventure since we have been living on the boat.  We dove the anchor.  It was only in about 7 feet of water.  So it was fun to check that out.  We missed a 4 ft diameter coral head by about a foot.  The water was cloudy, but if you dove down to the bottom, you could see a few fish.  I saw a lobster close to our boat.  And Dean saw a turtle near our boat before we entered the water. 

After our swim, we had guacamole as an appetizer.  Then Dave made his famous shrimp boil (minus the corn).  We didn’t keep large pots on the boat, so the corn wouldn’t have fit, anyway. 

After cleaning up, we watched the sun set in a cool breeze.  Dave put out a crab trap, but no luck.  We’re going to leave it until morning.  We made it to cruiser’s midnight-9:00, and hit the bed early.  A full day in the sun and fresh air can wear you out.  And we have to leave at high tide in the morning, so we won’t hit bottom on the way out of the channel.

Apirl 8, 2014 Dean's Birthday

 Happy Birthday, Dean!  We started out the day with breakfast at Pepe’s.  This is something I have always wanted to do.  But usually we stay where our breakfast is included, or we are so far away from there, that it’s hard to get there for breakfast.  It was only about 3 blocks from our boat.  Pepe’s in over 100 years old and is probably the oldest restaurant on the island.  I had a mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice.  Their home made bread of the day was key lime.  It was a sweet bread with lime zest, awesome.  Breakfast was great.  They are open for lunch and dinner.  But I had always heard about their breakfasts. 

We had started our laundry before breakfast, so Dave headed back after eating to check on it.  Dean and I went to the new West Marine store that was between Pepe’s and our marina.  Didn’t find what I wanted.  So I went back to relieve Dave from the laundry.  Dean went exploring/shopping.  My priorities sure have changed.  In my younger years,  after having mimosas with breakfast, I would have gone bar hopping afterwards.  But instead, I was doing laundry.  But the best part is that it was air conditioned and FREE.

Dean and I went for a swim.  The pool was nicely warm.  The lounging chairs were all taken.  And if you sit at the tables with umbrellas, there is a $50 minimum order required.  So, we swam and headed to the showers afterwards.   Again, Dave was doing some project on the boat, but didn’t need any help. 

I had heard from some other sailors about a guy that sings at the Bull Bar on Duvall Street in the afternoons that was entertaining.  I found out he was singing today, but not tomorrow.  So Dean and I headed there about 3:30 and heard him for an hour, Yankee Jack.  The walls have murals of different people who made Key West famous.   He sang a song called “On the Walls of the Bull”.  He has a youtube video of the song and sometimes the lips in the murals move and sing along. 

By 5:00, Dave was done with his projects and wanted to meet us at an Irish Pub near our marina, Finnegan’s Wake.  We had been there once before with Pete.  And now the wind and rain were hitting us. 

We settled in, ordered beers and their Irish whiskey special of the day, Tillamore Dew.  We decided to eat dinner there.  Dave had the Irish breakfast that they serve all day.  Dean had the Shepherd’s Pie.  And I had the pot roast.  Mmmm, Mmmm.

Yankee Jack from the Bull showed up for their trivia night.  Dean does trivia at a bar in Minneapolis.  He asked us to join his team.  His other team mates drive mopeds and didn't show since it was raining.  It was fun, but we didn’t win any prizes.   

The evening turned into quite the celebration.  Dave walked me back to the boat before the guys were ready to return.  Is that another sign of old age? 

Apirl 7, 2014 Conch Harbor Marina, Key West

 Before leaving the slip, Dave moved our dinghy onto the deck.  We will probably back into our slip, so the dinghy could be in the way if it’s on the davits.  Raising the anchor took longer than usual.  The chain seemed to have laid across itself several times. 

On Saturday, I called the Conch Harbor Marina to make a reservation for Monday and Tuesday night.  I believe there are 4 marinas in Key West Bight which is right in the Old Town section of Key West.  The cheapest is the city marina.  It sounded like you had homeless people hanging around your showers trying to get inside to use them.  So we chose a private marina.  It is spendy, but much less than a room in Key West.  I believe they said it was $3.86 per foot.  So that will be about $166 per night.  I don’t think we have paid more than $2.00 per foot so far.  That included free electricity (some marinas charge that separate), water, and pump out at our slip.  Their shower facility was very clean and roomy.  Their laundromat is FREE.  That is unheard of. 

We also had access to the swimming pool at the end of our dock, Dante’s.  There are two outdoor bars and 2 restaurants.  Plus you are walking distance to unlimited restaurants, bars and shopping.  The funny thing was that the  Ft Myers to Key West shuttle docked next to this marina.  We saw that boat leave and return to Ft Myers for 3 months.  And here we are next to it in Key West. 

Every time we have been to Key West since we started sailing, we have said that we wanted to sail in here someday and stay in Key West Bight (this bay).  So it was pretty cool to sail in here today at about 1:00.  It’s always a little nerve racking to pull into a new marina.  And the wind was about 15 knots.  We were able to pull up the the fuel dock easily.  Then we scoped out where our slip would be, which side we would tie to the dock, and how much room we would have to take the stern into the slip first. 

Dave brought her in like a pro, with the help of me, Dean, and Jimmy, their dock hand.  We had a lazy day checking out the facilities.  Dave did a few odd jobs.  Then we went to the Turtle Kraal for dinner, just 2 restaurants down the dock from our marina.  Excellent meals.  Then we went to Schooner’s Wharf Bar a little further down the dock.   This is a great outdoors bar with live music.  We usually make it here every time we are in Key West.  There were 2 guys singing, playing steel drums and guitars.  When we arrived, they were singing a spoof on Margaritaville called Minnesotaville.  They were using accents and talked about snow, mosquitoes, hunting, and fishing, eating hot dish, etc.  It was great.  They played some fun music.  One of the guys was from North Dakota.  We had a few beers and even danced on a rocky, uneven floor.  Sure was nice to be able to just walk down the dock to our boat to go home.

 Ft Myers to Key West Ferry from our cockpit

April 5 & 6, 2014 Passage to Key West

We are finally leaving Ft Myers Beach after about 3 months.  We had discussed going directly to the Dry Tortugas from Ft Myers Beach (70 miles west of Key West).  But the weather was not in our favor.  Monday night through Wednesday were going to be pretty windy.  We would have made it there, but then we would have had to just bob around in our boat for a couple days.  So we decided to go straight to Key West across the Gulf of Mexico.  It was about 145 miles.  And we go between 5 & 6 knots, so we thought it would take us 24 hours.

Saturday morning, we prepared the boat for the passage.  We took the dinghy motor off of the dinghy and placed it on a motor mount on our stern.  We took all our life jackets, etc, out of the dinghy and we hung it on the davits (hangs sideways off the back of the boat).  We stored anything that could fall off of a table or counter when the boat heels.  Then we “dogged the hatches” (locked the windows closed) and closed all the through hulls.  Every sink, shower drain, and toilet have fittings to close the pipes.  That keeps water from coming into the boat.  So anytime you use the head or the kitchen sink while you are under way, you have to open and close them.  I cut up meat and cheese and cantaloupe for ease of eating while underway.  And we all had our “comfort foods” to snack on.  We didn’t plan to cook anything while under way.  Dean had not been out on the open water.  And I was sick on our last passage.  So we were going to eat light.

We left the mooring ball at 12:25pm.  We went to the DYS Marina to get fuel and water and pump out our heads.  So it was 1:15 when we left Ft Myers Beach.  We enjoyed our stay here, but were both ready to move on. 

It was a beautiful day with only 1-2 foot swells.  We set a course for Key West and used the autopilot.  The biggest concern was dodging the crab pots.  They are marked with a floating ball about the size of a soccer ball.  Most are white, many are black, but we saw a few red or orange ones, too.  At 3:00 we started taking our 2 our watch rotations.  Dean went first.  Since we were all awake anyway, it gave us a chance to show him what he needed to do.  He caught on right away and it was great to have 3 people in the watch rotation.  That way you had 4 hours off before your next shift.  We did 3 hour shifts before, but you do get sleepy towards the end.  We figured there were more obstacles here to watch for, so 2 hours would keep us fresh. 

It was a beautiful starry night.  I made sure to drink plenty of water.  And I didn’t eat anything spicy.  When I did eat, I ate outside.  Dave and I even decided to sleep outside in the cockpit (as best you can).  I think all these things helped avoid sea sickness. 

We put up the main sail right away and left it up the entire trip.  We put up the gennaker sail right away, but brought it down about half way through the passage because the wind shifted closer to the nose of the bow.  And we motored the entire trip.  Our fuel gauge indicator was stuck, so it registered full for the entire trip.  From past usage, we figured we would have plenty of fuel.  And we carry 4 -5 gallon jerry cans of fuel, too. 

About 7:00pm we saw the Ft Myers to Key West ferry.  So we decided to move our path to match theirs.  We figured there must not be any crab pots in her route.  Wrong, we still saw them and had to dodge them, though they were getting fewer and farther between.  The sun set about 7:40 and you can’t see them any longer.  We would occasionally see them once we passed them.  We just decided if the prop catches one, we’ll put the motor into neutral and deal with it.  Which means Dave would have to go overboard to untangle the prop.  And hopefully there wouldn’t be any permanent damage.  We didn't have any problems.   

Before my 5:00 am shift, the wind was picking up.  It has been about 8 knots up until now.  And it was closer to 10-12 knots now.  So I brought out some of the side windows to block the wind on the port side and closed the windows in the dodger.  That helped.  Dean is always so quick to offer help with things, but he seemed pre occupied with the radar.  I thought he was just checking out the different functions.  So when I finished the windows and went to take over for him, I realized he was handling the boat manually and trying to avoid some ship wrecks.  I guess he had said that to me earlier, but I didn’t hear him with the wind blowing.  There is a boat symbol on the radar to show the position of our boat.  It doesn’t change size when you zoom in our out.  So to Dean, it looked like we were right over the wrecks.  They are charted, but you don’t know what it is.  So it’s best not to go over them.  I thought I heard Dave say that he picked a course that looked like we would avoid the wrecks.  So I zoomed in and it was much easier for Dean then to see how much space we really had.  We were impressed that he handled it so well when he really hadn’t had to steer this boat before.  When I took over, I was all over the place trying to get us back on track.  I finally had to just put on the autopilot heading south parallel to our track and eventually got us back on our track by tweaking the autopilot 10 degrees at a time. 

By now the winds had picked up to 15 knots with some 17 knot gusts.  We still had our main sail out, so we were getting closer to 7 knots.  We weren’t in a hurry to get to Key West, so I backed off the engine to save fuel and still went about 6 knots.  The swells were 4-6 feet now.  Dean was trying to sleep in his berth.  He has a double berth, but we had totes stored on part of his bed.  So his bed is comparable to a single bed in a straight in slot.  He ended up bouncing off the wall and totes and didn’t get  much sleep.   BUT, he didn’t get sick!  About 6:00 am, I was able to see the red light at the harbor of Key West even though it was about 15 miles away.   There wasn’t much boat traffic all night.

Dave’s shift started at 7:00am, but I stayed up to watch the sunrise shortly after 7:00.  I had some great pre dawn and sunrise pictures.  I ended up staying up with Dave.  It was so beautiful and peaceful sitting together on the boat.  About 8:00 I could see land!  Dave’s shift should have ended at 9:00, but we were getting close to Key West.  He continued so he could bring the boat into Key West.  It’s best to have everyone help to keep an eye on traffic and channel markers.  You could see a cruise ship docked on the north side of Key West from a long ways off.  It was so much taller than the surrounding trees and buildings.

We used our Active Captain application to find a good place to anchor for the night.  The time from entering the northwest channel inlet to setting the anchor was about 90 minutes. Entire trip took 22 hours.  We anchored on the north side of Key West and on the east side of Fleming Island.  We were on the west side of Salt Pond Key near Sigsbee Park, which looked like a trailer park. 

We opened the hatches and through hulls, had a bowl of cereal and went to bed.  Around 4:00 or 5:00pm, we finally had our shrimp ceviche and a couple cocktails.  It was great.  I think letting it sit a couple days really improved the flavors.  We called it a night early because we still felt like we needed to catch up on our sleep.

April 4, 2014 Water Maker completed!!

The never ending story of the water maker is finally finished.  It all began back in the fall of 2013.  IF we were to place a water maker on our boat, Dave wanted to research which one would  be the best for our boat.  His main criteria were ease of use, maintenance involved, filters that can be bought at local hardware stores, modular-meaning it didn't have to be installed all in one place.  He found one made by sailors who are engineers, so they knew what worked well in a boat and were great at answering questions.  It's called Cruise RO for reverse osmosis.

We decided on the system while we were still in Mobile, but we didn’t order it until after January 1 and had it sent to the Killion’s house in Cape Coral.  It arrived in 4 boxes by late January.  I was in South Dakota at the time, so Dave tore apart the boat to decide where to put all the parts.  He thought he was going to have to put the  controls near the floor under our dinette table.  But he talked to the company about it and the said they could send longer hoses (we would need 2 different ones).

There are 2 low pressure filters to remove debris, 2 controls, 2 high pressure filters to removes salt, and several hoses.  The  hoses are color coded.  Green-not drinkable yet or raw water, red-high saline content and will go overboard, blue is drinkable.  The water can be tested before it goes into our tank for contaminants.  The EPA standard is under 500.  But we want it closer to 200 or less. 

We placed the controls in our galley.  That way we will be able to test water over our sink.  There is a pickling solution to use if you will be leaving your boat for awhile and won't be using the system.  You use a 5 gallon bucket to mix solution and run it through the system.  So we thought being near the sink in the galley would make that easier. 

Early February, Dave started cutting holes in the wall in the galley, into the engine compartment, for the control panel.  I may have said this before, but it’s always scary when you have to cut holes into your boat.  Al least these were internal.  I watched from the other side to be sure he didn’t puncture anything. 

Under our starboard settee, we have a panel that had our fresh water tank pressure pumps and valves and 2 bilge pumps.  Dave moved them to make space for the water maker-low pressure DC pump and high pressure AC large pump (this heats up, so it needed to have air access for the fan).  Then he had to cut new hoses for the things he moved, because now they were farther from their source.  And he had to run DC and AC power from the port side of the boat through the bilge to the starboard side.

Then he had to wait for new, longer hoses.  On Friday, Feb 21 one hose arrived at the Killions.  The other was delayed because of bad weather up north.  Boy, what an inconvenience that snow up north was for us :)  On February 27, he ran the new green hose.  He had to take up floor boards to connect the hose, and then realized that they sent the wrong size-3/8 inch instead on 1/2.  So Dave had to call the company and ask them to send a different hose.  They were going to rush this hose and and check on the status of the other hose we were still waiting for. 

We didn’t get the hoses until we saw the Killions again on March 21.  The canvas work was done on March 24, so we could leave.  But Dave’s brother decided to meet us here, so this gave Dave more time to finish the water maker while we were still here.  So Dave had to tear the boat apart again to run the hoses.  On April 1, he finally tried it for the first time.  He had to chase down a few leaks. 

After the leaks were contained, he ran it and it was pulling fresh water out of our tank instead of sea water.  He got back to it on Thursday while Dean and I went shopping.  He worked through several scenarios with calling back and forth to the company.  On Friday, I had to pick up some more parts for him.  He had to remove the panel and take a picture of the valving assembly to send to the company.  While he was waiting for them to return a call, he took apart the valving assembly panel and figured out the problem himself.  Our panel was put together wrong.  By mid afternoon Friday, we had water!

April 3 & 4. 2014 Shopping and final projects

Before we left Ft Myers Beach, I wanted a few more things from the grocery store.  Dave continued to work on the water maker-almost done.  So Dean and I walked about a mile to the grocery store and did some tourist shopping along the way.  We picked up our groceries and took the trolley back to the dinghy. 

On our way back to the boat in our dinghy, we saw something making small splashes on the surface of the water, so we went to check it out. We saw about 6 of them on our way back.  We weren’t sure at first what they were, so we kept circling one trying to get a picture.  By then we had the attention of the boat next to us.  So we had to show them the picture.  We decided it was a cuttlefish.  They are in the squid family.  Pretty cool. Dean later found a picture of a sea hare that looked more like this, so not sure.   Cheryl, what do you think?  (my diving queen)

Then we had a great conversation with the neighbors.  They had just returned from the Bahamas and gave us some great information.  They have been cruising for 18 months.  But they had to learn how to sail and everything about buying a boat before they could move aboard a boat.  I’m glad we had about 15 years of experience behind us.  While talking to our neighbors, we had a beautiful sunset.

That evening we ate at the Parrot Key restaurant in Salty Sam’s marina.  Wonderful meals.

Friday morning, Dean and I went to the Farmer’s Market right by our dinghy dock.  I am going to miss getting my fresh fruits and vegetables there weekly.  Then we picked up fresh Gulf shrimp at the company right by the shrimp boats, TRICO.  We invited the Killions to  join us for a shrimp dinner on the boat, our last chance to see them before we leave. 

Dean and I made shrimp ceviche in the cockpit, while Dave FINISHED connecting the water maker. Then Dean and I scrubbed the deck.  He even got a blister!  And Dave used our new hookah system to dive the hull and clean the barnacles and muck off the hull.  The boat will move faster, the prop spins better, etc. 

The hookah system has a compressor that uses our generator for power.  It has 2 hoses that are 160 feet in length.  They have regulators similar to scuba diving.  Besides using it to clean the hull, we can also use it for diving near our boat, spear fishing, checking the anchor if we are close enough, or doing repairs (like getting a crab pot line out of our prop).  

By about 4:00, we knew we weren't going to have time to prepare dinner for the Killions.  So we all met at Doc Ford’s restaurant about 7:00pm for one more good-bye.  We had to take Devyn out in the dinghy to see the cuttlefish.  She wants to be a marine biologist.