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December 2007

Week One:

We left Sunset Lake and took a short hop over to No Name Harbor, Bill Baggs State Park at Key Biscayne. There were a few boats already in the anchorage but there was just enough room for us to squeeze in. We took a hike around the park and managed to get lost so one of the rangers gave us a lift in his truck back to the harbor. (Communication was a little difficult because he spoke little English and we know no Spanish!) We spent two nights there and on the last evening we were treated to a fantastic show by several dolphins who had chased their evening meal into the harbor. One poor little fish was hiding between the rungs of our swim ladder (Click here for video). The wildlife was great, iguana's, raccoons, ibis and manatee to name a few. We called our nephew, Giles, who was arriving in Miami the following day and we arranged to meet him at Dinner Key marina over on the mainland side  of the bay. We had a super evening with him. 

Next day was another ocean trip (fantastic few hours of idyllic sailing) out of the Biscayne channel and down to Caesar's Creek to begin our trip down to the Keys. We were the only boat anchored there and the current was really fast. Vanessa spent most of the night on self-imposed anchor watch. Andrew spent most of the night snoring! Thankfully all was fine and we set off bright and early for a wonderful ocean sail down to Key Largo and the John Pennekamp State Park. The entrance was a bit hairy as we met an oncoming motorcat tour boat at low tide, but the captain took it  all in his stride and although we did bump the bottom a couple of times it was a darn sight better than colliding with a boat load of tourists!

South Beach in December

Aah, cocktails and look who's cooking!

Farewell Miami

At anchor in No Name Harbor

The lighthouse at Bill Baggs State Park, Biscayne Bay

Behind the restricted area...naughty!

Mangy Racoon

Sunset at No Name Harbor

Captain doing the repairs

Another lovely evening

A fishing hut in the Biscayne Channel

Now the water's changing color

Small squall coming in

A great evening with Giles our nephew

This iguana is about 3ft long




Week Two:

Vanessa went snorkeling at JP State Park and the visibility was really bad. Several years ago it was the same and we attributed it to rough seas. Well, it appears it's always like that and you have to take a trip 4 miles off the coast to be able to see anything worthwhile. We didn't stay long enough for that. We left Key Largo first thing in the morning since the bugs were out big time and the weather report gave us a day of pleasant winds before it was forecasted to pick up. We got out into the Hawk Channel on the outside and headed to Marathon 50 miles away. We made good time although it was a very uncomfortable ride for several hours, and got into Marathon at about 4 p.m. where we discovered that we could immediately go into our slip a week early. Bliss!


So here we are In Marathon for the next five weeks. Our first night in dock and we were treated to the Xmas boat parade. (Click here for video) It's hot and breezy. Truly tropical. The bar with live nightly (and daily!!) entertainment is 100 yards away. No wonder they call this place "Paradise".

On day one we walked for miles and realized we needed another mode of transport. We were so tired we began hitchhiking and a fellow boater stopped and gave us a lift back to the dock. He suggested buying bikes. So on day two we bought a couple of bikes from Kmart with the intention of selling them on our departure. Feeling we needed some more exercise, we immediately launched on a 10 mile bike ride to check out a boat storage yard. Oooh the agony! We really need the exercise.  Our camera had broken at Key Largo so we had to go to Kmart to get a new one. Went to Kmart for some new clothes. Went to Kmart for some beer. Went to Home Depot for our Christmas tree. Sent the Raymarine Computer back for repair. Getting ready for some maintenance on the head senders.- Are we looking forward to that!

All in all we are enjoying the stay and so is Kmart. Hmmm - where's the Super Walmart? A mall anywhere?

Sorry about the limited pics. We bought a new chip for the camera and now can't find it. It had some beautiful shots on it. Believe me!

Vanessa doing the laundry

View from back of Tally Ho from our Slip

Looking the other way

Week Three:

Lots of maintenance has been done this week. Andrew worked hard on the main engine. Vanessa replaced the sender on one of the water tanks (under supervision of course), and new head senders arrived from the manufacturer....hmm! I wonder who'll be tackling those? We have been exploring a little more of the town each day. (The bike purchase was well worth it)Vanessa took a 2 hour bus ride to Florida City (because there's a Walmart there!!!) It cost $1.85 each way and was a very enjoyable ride. If she could only speak Spanish it would have been great. More time was spent on the bus than in the store.

We are excited because we're expecting Hannah and Bobby (our daughter and son-in-law) to arrive on Saturday for a 3 day visit, so we are busy doing laundry and cleaning up for their arrival. It may be a small boat but there's always tons of cleaning to be done.

We had a enjoyable evening at the local Theatre where they put on a free Christmas show. Click Here for a brief video of the show.

Marathon Community Christmas show.

Tap dancers at the show.

The Choir

The famous Walagonga tree!

"The Birds"

Views of the mooring field at Boot Key harbor.

A Great White Heron...... I think

View from Tiki bar at Burdine's Marina

Vanessa having a day off from cooking.

Week Four:

Christmas week - Hannah and Bobby arrived after a 22 hour long car drive from Maryland and joined us for two days. We spent the first day showing them the sights of Marathon and we all enjoyed a few hours on the local beach.  On day two we had a full day wandering around Key West. It was lovely to see them both albeit for such a short time. They departed Christmas morning (flying home this time) and we went off to the Overseas Bar with our neighbor Alan for a huge luncheon buffet. A great time was had by all! Andrew slept all afternoon and I went out kayaking.

We have been experiencing all sorts of problems with the fridge/freezer, so much to our chagrin it's time to call someone in. Hope they work Xmas week! OK....we made the call and now the freezer seems to be working fine! "Murphy's Law" did you say?  The computer that runs the autopilot was returned from it's trip to the repair shop, and guess what? They could find nothing wrong so $$$$ later we are still in the same boat ('scuse the pun). It's just too hot to do some of the repairs and chores, but a cold front is coming in next week and temps will drop to 75 degrees, phew!!! so we'll be able to work then. For now it's keep cool and prepare for New Years Eve at the Overseas Lounge! 

Vanessa went fishing yesterday with Sharon, our neighbor, and the catch was good enough to eat. Not only did she catch 'em, she filleted 'em and cooked 'em. Mangrove snapper are very tasty if you catch enough. Five fish between us. Andrew spent his day sewing bike bags for another neighbor, and I have to say they turned out great. I think he has an ulterior motive though......stay inside in the air conditioning! Whatever works!

Manatee at the back of our boat

One of many mangrove iguanas

Sombrero beach - our local hang out

Hannah and Bobby visiting

Our day at Key West

The Southernmost Point

Mallory Square, and Hannah performs!

Allan, our neighbor, at Xmas luncheon

Christmas at the Overseas Bar/lounge

The Overseas Lounge

Our transport around town - another great Kmart purchase!

Andrews handiwork