We left Marco Island on an eerie morning. The weather looked like it was going to make for an uneventful motorsail all the way to Little Shark River…looked like. There was some fog that morning in Factory Bay where we were anchored, but fog lifts as the sun comes up, right? The further out into the gulf we got, the thicker the fog became. Before long we could barely see 1/4 mile in front of us (or in any direction for that matter)! This was getting ridiculous – Logan was glued to the radar looking for boats and I was glued to what water I could see to look for those darn crab pots. It was exhausting but just when we thought that there was no end in sight, we started to be able to make out the horizon. Whew! Before we knew it, the wind had picked up, the sun was out, our sails were up and were were on a perfect beam reach on our way to Little Shark River to anchor for the night.
As we approached the anchorage, several other boats were also making there way in for the night. We all sort of lined up to enter the channel and find a spot to anchor, it almost looked choreographed. This spot got great reviews for holding and the serene natural landscape, but we were warned of terrifying amounts of mosquitos and no-see-ums. We dropped anchor right inside the inlet in an attempt to minimize getting eaten alive, and hopped in Princess Ding-a-ling to explore the protected mangrove park before sunset. Wow. So so pretty. It’s one of those places that makes you feel like you are the first person to ever see it, completely untouched. As the sun was setting we realized that we hadn’t gotten a single bug bite, really?! Could we have gotten that lucky? Maybe we had those frigid temps to thank. We slept great and left first thing in the morning for the final leg of our passage – Marathon, a city in the middle of the Florida Keys.
So, that brings me up to today: We have been on mooring ball O1 here in Boot Key Harbor for about a week now. While I was flipping through the welcome packet, I saw the tagline: “Marathon…Where Mooring is a Ball” and just about lost it. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love cheesy plays on words, and when I read that, I knew that this was going to be a great place to call home for a while. Marathon is full of people living the cruising lifestyle and the whole community structure reflects that. The staff is unbelievably friendly and helpful, the showers are super clean, the dinghy docks are ideal. Everything is just well organized and swimming with good vibes. Every morning at 9am, we tune into the cruisers net on VHF channel 68 to welcome new arrivals, swap advice and buy/sell/trade everything from charts to bicycles. Marathon is basically the perfect place for us to prepare for our trip across the Gulf Stream – we rented our ball for a month! (We don’t plan to stay that long – it was just the best deal). My parents are coming in for a visit today, so we will get to do a little sight seeing. Then we will get our new to-do list done and watch for the weather to cooperate.
Everyday is full of firsts here on the boat, but yesterday we had a big one. I went up our mast for the first time! I got in the bosun chair and Logan cranked me up so that I could retrieve our video camera that we had mistakenly hoisted…anyway… Ever since we watched the surveyor go up there, I had been joking about how excited I was to go up. I was actually pretty terrified. It turned our to be pretty fun. Next time I will be less nervous and take a camera with me – it’s really really high 😉