However, Grandma was standing on the shore when we arrived and spent the next several days hanging out with us, feeding us, and helping us complete errands.
It was such a good time, and she gave us really yummy sugar cookies as a parting gift. They were great snacks on our overnight passage to Key West! Being offshore and remembering "oh yeah! The cookies!" lifted our spirits.
You don't start a journey on a Friday, so one minute after midnight, Saturday morning, we raised anchor and sailed out into the darkness, leaving the glow of Marco Island in our wake.
Small waves and calm winds slowly increased as we distanced ourselves from land. We soon killed the engines and continued on sails alone. Crab pots no longer a concern.
The trip took about 14 hours and we arrived in Key West at 2pm the next day.
We passed wooden schooners and it felt like we had been transported in time, except for the parasailors, speedboats, and jet skis. Still, it was magical to see these beautiful ships, and easy to imagine what this busy port might have been like 100 years ago.
On our way to the anchorage, we passed a nice gentleman, sitting sadly on his boat who said: "Don't anchor here, I'm stuck on a sunken ship."
At the beginning of all this, our goal was to reach Key West, but there was no celebration upon reaching the island. I felt accomplished, proud, but LeeAnn and I knew we knew we would not stay long.
But we had an empty bank account and nowhere else immediately wanted to go. So we took things day by day, and little by little we started to make friends.
Awimar +Family (our Puerto Rican friends)
S/V High Five (The Belgians)
And boats we had parted with started to arrive:
S/V Brin De Folie
I started doing web work for a few local clients...and before we knew it more than a month had passed.
Key West took a little getting used to. It's one of the few places we've had to pay for the dinghy dock. Water is limited to 25 gallons per day and you have to lug it in jerry cans. The anchorage is rather exposed to wind, waves, and a 2-knot tidal current that switches direction every 6 hours. This in addition to unmarked underwater obstructions.
At one point we hooked an abandoned mooring that took all day and the help of Tim (SV Ohana) and his scuba gear to get free from.
But as many do, we grew to love Key West. I even came to enjoy jerry jugging water.
One thing I will never forget is the CONSTANT East wind blowing 20-25 knots. We got very few breaks in the wind during our +month stay, and finally, sadly, we took a weather window and sailed to Bahia Honda. A nice little state park where we snorkeled in clear water. The boys did great swimming. It was one of the first times they really got over their fear of being in the ocean and started swimming around the boat. It probably helped that the water was clear, calm, and 75 degrees on an 80-degree day.
We stayed an extra day in Bahia Honda when we learned the Belgians (S/V High Five) were on their way. The next day we made our way to Boot Key Harbor. We sailed, close hauled making 4.5 to 5 knots on a 10-15 knot breeze. The water was beautiful shades of blue, and with no particular place to be, and no particular time to be there, and only 11 miles to go...we enjoyed the smooth sailing conditions.
|Sailing to Marathon|
|A lazy sail to Marathon.|
We anchored outside the Boot Key inlet and waited for a mooring assignment from the harbormaster. The kids were watching a show, so LeeAnn and I had a rare oppertunity to look at our favorite gif from Arrested Development:
Then we all went swimming. The kids were even MORE fearless and swam alongside me while I scrubbed the bottom of the boat.
We're not on our second week in Boot Key Harbor, but that is another blog post!
|The boys playing to the south of the southernmost point buoy.|
|What I think is called a Banyan Tree. Regardless of the name... it's cool!!|
|I am their favorite peice of playground equipment.|
|Charlie LOVES "bucket baths". Not sure why, but it's cute as hell!|
|Yeah! LeeAnn excited after our GoPro was miraculously recoved from the seafloor.|
|DON'T smile. Perfect.|
|Someday our kids will thank us. I hope.|
|A Belgian Birthday! We had Crepes!|
We added a spoonfull of sugar then rolled it up...DELICIOUS!
|Charlie is one badass sailor kid.|
|Charlies firth haircut!! Finally!|