MARATHON & WAITING

Another day another margarita, another place in “paradise”. Well not quite but still some nice areas to visit. We left Marco Island on Wednesday 2 March and because of the impending weather we decided to head north for a couple of hours to Naples. We were due to have strong north easterlies for a number of days which was not good travelling weather for our southbound trip. We love Smokehouse Bay in Marco but there is only so much you can do there without a car, so Naples looked like a good option with a nice mooring, a beautiful town and an equally gorgeous beach. The wind did indeed blow, rather hard at times, one day we didn’t even leave the boat for fear of being drenched in the dinghy! Still we had a lovely time and met a very nice couple from San Francisco who had also been in Marco with us. We enjoyed a few cocktails with them on a couple of occasions, and their cute cat who each time we came alongside in our dinghy came down to the bottom step, right on the edge of the water, to meet us.

NAPLES

NAPLES YACHT CLUB

Saturday morning dawned clear and bright, with predicted lighter winds so we headed out around 7.00 am for our next destination, Everglades City. Well the winds were less but the sea was rather lumpy. Not a very pleasant 8 hours thumping into the waves. We made our anchorage just off the channel into Everglades City around 3.00pm and found a “good” spot. We had been warned that the mosquitoes out numbered and out bit the alligators, but to our pleasant surprise the bugs and alligators were few and far between. The biggest problem was the current. It was a monster and we spent the night listening to the anchor chain groaning and moaning as the boat was pulled round and round as the tides changed. Peter was up at 3.00am sorting it all out and I think it was somewhere about 4.00am Anything Goes went on the market! He decided he was definitely too old for all this stuff! Anyway with very little sleep we up anchored at 6.00am, I had forgotten that hour existed, and off we headed out into the Gulf for the next stage of the journey south. Much smaller seas today, and 15-20 Knot winds so not too bad, in fact quite a pleasant day. We made our turn into Little Shark River at around 2.00pm and as I was looking down into the rather murky water, what should swim right up to the boat but a rather large shark! Quite exciting really, I have never seen one so close (about 2 metres). I guess Little Shark River has large sharks too. Just as we anchored a turtle popped his head up. This is a very nice place, just a lovely river and quite tall mangroves, but there are a few bugs, sharks of course, and massive currents. Oh well we are used to the graunching sounds by now so I hope we can get some sleep tonight!

LITTLE SHARK RIVER

SUNSET AT LITTLE SHARK

Tomorrow it is Marathon, our stepping stone from the Keys to the Bahamas but the weather is not looking good with 8-10 foot seas in the Florida Straits!! No problem we are keen to have a few days even longer, in the Keys for a bit of R & R, re-provisioning and to arrange our exit papers to leave the US.

10 March 2011

We have been in Marathon now for three days. It was a lovely morning when we left Little Shark at around 7.00am. Winds were light but for a change were out of the North so we had a little push from the sails. It would have been a great sail south to Marathon, about six hours; however we were on constant watch for crab pots. They are literally in their thousands. You pass through a number of lines, then think you are clear for a while when suddenly another series of them pops up. At one point as we approached the Seven Mile Bridge at the entrance to Marathon, I looked back and the harbor was littered with pots. It looked like someone had thrown a handful of sprinkles onto the water! I am going to start a movement to ban eating crabs. Perhaps if I suggest that they make men impotent and women fat it may work?!!!!!

SEVEN MILE BRIDGE APPROACHING MARATHON

Well we made it to the City Marina where we are now tied firmly to a mooring ball. It is rather important actually, that we are firmly tied as a major storm cell has just passed through. Peter looked at the wind speed at one point and it was up to 41 knots. For those of you are landlubbers that equates to 78 km/hour. Not exactly  fun. We had the VHF on listening to a lot of distress calls coming in as so many people were caught unawares. We can only hope they are all found safely.

THE APPROACHING STORM!

Up until today’s storm the weather here has been lovely and we have enjoyed relaxing on the boat and going ashore for walks. Marathon is a bit run down, I think fairly typical of the Florida Keys, but the people are friendly and the community here at the marina is great. Always something happening. We had a welcome pot luck dinner for the new arrivals last night. We are going to a Seven Seas Cruising Association lunch tomorrow and are supposed to go to a movie tonight but will wait and see how the weather is. The sun is shining again so all may be well!
It looks likely that we will be in Marathon for sometime as these northerly fronts just keep on rolling in, preventing us from crossing the straits to the Bahamas.
Last night we met a very nice couple who have done the trip many times and suggested that we “buddy boat” over when the time is right. We will most definitely try and do this as it is far nicer to travel with others.
I guess that brings you all up to date with our news. We are not moving as fast as we had hoped but, heck, what does it matter, we have time, as Peter and I always say “We’re retired”!!!!

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