Saturday, March 14, 2009

Marathon Our Home Away From Home

Can I tell you how cool it was pulling in to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon yesterday afternoon and seeing Roy (the dockmaster) and John (the 4th gypsy back from the cold wilds of NH) at the dock at Sombrero Dockside to greet us! We also had an audience dinghying around in the harbor cheering us in, Carol and Dan Rohr from Lucky Stars who we last saw up at the DeFever Rendezvous. Luckily it was a perfect dock....such pressure! Carol and Dan even thought we knew what we were doing....

Tammy here...

No sooner had we tied up to the dock when Carol and Dan came on board for a cold beer - now that's the way to get a pseudo-homecoming started!!

We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening catching up and chilling out since this week we have tons to do to get ready to head to the Bahamas. We have work to do on the boat, provisioning, and miscellaneous "chores" to get done before leaving the States and heading south. There are some things that you just can't find or are too expensive in the islands - luckily this is offset by the cheap and plentiful rum!! We just spoke with Bob from September Song and they should be here in less than a week and then we will just wait for a weather window to hop over to the Bahamas - finally!! So far the plan is for Gypsies, September Song and Lucky Stars to head out from here and meet up with Tide Hiker and Rickshaw, who are going to be leaving from No Name Harbor in Biscayne Bay, somewhere in the Bahamas (tbd)...sounds like a plan! Will the Bahamas ever be the same again???

Doug and I (of course) had to bike to the Stuffed Pig for breakfast this morning after being awakened by two laughing gulls outside our porthole window - they were sitting on one of the marina pilings having quite the loud conversation!! It wasn't even the boat rooster waking us up this morning!!

We needed a good night sleep after the prior night anchored in the Little Shark River - our anchor seemed to have a mind of its own! Around midnight it seemed to drag about 50 feet one way, reset, and then when the current turned again around 5:00 am, it seemed to drag about 50 feet in the opposite net net, when we hauled it to leave at first light, we were basically in the exact same position as when we had set it the afternoon before...the only casualty was our nights can sleep when you're dead I guess!! And after all, we did have company during the night - Puss was right there with us!

Otherwise we had a really nice afternoon hanging out in the Little Shark River watching the dolphins, snapping turtles and birds playing around our boat and the sunrise that morning was spectacular!

The day before we had dropped the dink to explore Marco Island - we were a little disappointed in that there is no real cute town (ie no seaside bars or quaint shops) in Marco(at least that we found without a car) - it is very much a planned development community and while it has beautiful beaches, it didn't appear to have that really funky character that we usually look for. So after a quick land reconnaissance, we hopped back in the dink and sauntered over to the Snook Inn for lunch - a perfect way to pass the afternoon - that and sunning topsides for the rest of the day! The next morning we raised the anchor at first light as we had a long trip to the Little Shark River. Some mornings when you are out cruising are so beautiful that they just make your soul sing and if you ever had any question why you're out here doing this, they instantly vanish - the morning leaving Marco was one of those unbelievably spectacular mornings! As I pulled out of our anchorage, the full moon still hung crystal clear in the sky ahead of me,

while behind me the sun was just starting to crest over the horizon - as I turned out of Capri Pass to head south, a solid white orb hung in the lightening night sky to my starboard and a brilliant orange orb lit up the morning sky and the reflected water to my port.

I truly felt like the luckiest person in the world, not only to be witnessing such a spectacle of nature, but to be sharing it with people I love. I also know that this is still the beginning of our adventure and there will be many more sunrises and sunsets that await us in settings we've probably only dreamed about!!!

Yesterday's trip from the Little Shark River to Marathon was an awesome ride as well - we timed getting out of the Little Shark with the tide, so although the water was pretty low, we always had at least a foot, foot and a half of water under our keel - a virtual embarrassment of water after our last trek there! We left at first light again so got to watch the moon sink into, and the sun rise over, the horizon in tandem - it never gets old!

We had tons of company on the ride back - flying eagle rays, lots of dolphins and even a cormorant that caught a ride with us for about 15 minutes by perching on our front bow rail - he/she (its so tough to tell) was a riot! The wind was blowing and the cormorant would just lift up its wings to better balance himself or air out his wings. He was obviously tuckered as there was no land in sight and decided that he would take a load off and ride in style for awhile - he flew off but circled back onto our boat for a little while longer before finally flying off for good. He was a welcome passenger!!

I'm sitting topsides writing while the sun is shining and it is a beautiful warm afternoon after a morning filled with checking out and consolidating stores - Doug just installed our new screen doors in the pilothouse. We are meeting Dan and Carol (Lucky Stars) and Jim and Robin (Adventures) around 3:30 this afternoonto head over to the Marathon Seafood Festival and tomorrow there is a cocktail party on Gypsies before we head over to Docksides (the bar at the end of our dock here) to listen to the Florida Straits Band - who said anything about the party being over???? It's just ramping up....

Click here to see a Google map or our Marco Island location.

Click here to see a Google map of our Little Shark River location.

Click here to see a Google map of our Marathon location.

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