Friday, January 30, 2009

Key Hopping

Originally Posted January 22, 2009

I don't usually talk about politics in this blog, but Tuesday was a pretty awe-inspiring day not just for the country but for the gypsies!

Tammy here...

We had stayed another day in Coconut Grove due to really high winds and bad seas, so about 11:30 am, Colleen, Doug and I made our way back to Mr. Moe's Bar and Grill to watch the inauguration. We certainly weren't going to head north to brave the cold on the Mall like so many millions, so since Mr. Moe's has 34 ounce beers and about 20 TVs, it sounded like the perfect place to see history unfold and celebrate. John had to leave that morning to fly back to New Hampshire for that work thing, so unfortunately he wasn't with us to wave a fond (OK I'm trying to be nice...) farewell to the old, and give a very enthusiastic hello to the new! Despite the fact that I had been looking forward to this day for a very long time (I did after all have one of the very first 1/20/09 hats and I'm very sure it was the first in Kennebunkport), I was truly surprised and somewhat overwhelmed by the emotions! The three of us watched with rapt attention first Biden being sworn in, then Aretha Franklin singing, Obama's oath of office and finally the inaugural address - there wasn't a dry eye in Mr. Moe's. We felt a little better when Al Roker confessed to the same thing. What we watched was not only history being made, but renewed hope, energy, youth, compassion and above all leadership - all of which have made this country great over the years but which have been lacking for some time amidst the pains of war, terrorism, partisanship and recession (yes, its past January 20th, so we can actually call it that now). Our gypsy hope is that our new President can live up to such lofty expectations and set this great country of ours on a better, stronger path (of course being cruisers we wouldn't mind universal health care and the opening of Cuba either!)!

But enough of politics....we left Coconut Grove the next morning at sun-up despite some heavy winds and cool temps (OK - I know it wasn't below freezing like up in New England but its funny how quickly we have adapted to warmer climes). We weren't going far - just across Biscayne Bay to No Name Harbor - so we bundled up (Colleen even got her winter gloves out!) The morning got off to a tough start, though - as we exited Dinner Key Marina, we saw a sailboat in the anchorage engulfed in flames. As a boater, few things strike more fear in your heart than the thought of flames onboard!!!

Over the next 15 minutes we saw and heard SeaTow and the various fire and rescue boats responding - unfortunately they couldn't save the dog aboard. I quickly hugged our two boat kitties - they are 21 so I know we won't have them around forever, but for now, we cherish every day we have with them (and if we feed them way too many treats and spoil them rotten, well they'd tell you its just what they deserve)! Even Auntie Colleen has gotten into spoiling the girls!

Since there was nothing we could do to help the sailboat, we continued on to No Name Harbor, a very cute, protected harbor at the southern end of Biscayne Bay.

The wind was whipping and the harbor was pretty full so we decided to just tie up to the seawall in back of a couple other boats so we could go ashore for the day to explore Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

We walked around the park along the water's edge, found a very cool restored lighthouse, hit the beach even though it was definitely not swimsuit weather and wandered through various nature trails. We found some great flora, saw a huge green iguana (which was too fast for me to get his picture) and came across a beautiful mangrove swamp. [To see an enlarged picture double click on the thumbnail]

Five miles later we were parched and ready to head back to the boat for some coldies.

As we were sitting beers in hand watching the sun go down, a couple whom we had met in Charleston before Thanksgiving happened to walk by the boat - did we mention how small a world it is!! We first caught up about where we've all been since then, compared notes about future plans and then swapped some boat stories as cruisers often do. We felt pretty good about ourselves when they told us they had run aground 3 times requiring a tow and had stopped counting how many times they had just hit ground - ouch!! So far (our fingers are crossed) but we haven't required the services of TowBoat US for going aground (no that's NOT what happened in Northport) and have only really hit a couple times. We both will be in the Bahamas in March so hopefully we'll be able to meet up with these guys again - of course, if we do, we'll let them go first!

We left this morning again at sun-up on our first leg down the Keys - we wanted to get out of dodge before the park rangers came to work since we never left the sea wall to anchor after we got back from the state park yesterday afternoon - in our defense, the winds were still humming, the harbor was crowded, the boats in front of us didn't move and the beers were too cold and good. Sometimes they don't really care and we just told ourselves this was one of those times!! We had a beautiful steam this morning down the Hawk Channel and as you can see, the boat kitties have gotten their sea legs back after a rocky run for them from Pompano to Coconut Grove.

We are now anchored off of Rodriguez Key - the water is that wonderful shade of blue that you see down here and in the islands which makes you want to just dive off the back of the boat!!! Not going to happen today though as its still pretty cold and windy, although Colleen did find a place to sunbathe....I think she was last heard uttering, "I'm in the islands, darn it - I'm going to get some sun..." Sounds like something sun pig would say!!

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and we are headed further south to Lignumvitae or Shell Key where they have some moorings and more state parks to explore. Hopefully we can drop the dink and the kayaks and start living da life again in the sun!!!! Tonight I guess we'll just have to suffer through another beautiful sunset in paradise - this one over Key Largo!

To see a Google Map of our locatin in No Name Harbor click here.

To see a Google Map of our location off Rodriguez Key click here.

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