|Handmade Eye Splices|
We left Destin on 3/24 and planned to do a non-stop sail to St. Petersburg. We needed to go 100 miles on the first day in order to stay in front of a cold front, which was forecast to bring high winds and seas. Unfortunately, the winds were blowing from the exact direction we needed to go and the waves had a particularly annoying period. They were spaced so that when one wave was at our stern the second wave was at our bow and would set the boat pitching like a see-saw. We were only moving about 2 miles an hour towards our destination. The next morning we decided to head for land, find a safe anchorage, and wait out the cold front. We anchored by St. Joseph’s Bay and then got back on the ICW for a day until we made it to Carrabelle Beach. During the short trip down the ICW, we stopped at Apalachicola to re-fuel and pick up some groceries. It was a charming little town that had a bustling downtown area. We stopped for a cold beer at the Oyster City Brewery Company and chatted with a couple of locals.
We left Carrabelle beach on the 29th and made it to St. Petersburg early on the 31st. As soon as we docked at a marina, we called Rebecca (David’s cousin’s wife), and she offered to come pick us up, let us do laundry at their house, and spend the night (to sleep in an actual bed was heavenly!). She, Travis, and their 3 kids were awesome! We hadn’t been able to let them know when we’d be arriving since we’d been without cell service for a few days, but they accommodated us at the drop of a hat. We went for a sail the next day and then headed for the beach at Fort Desoto. It was a great two day visit!The next day it was time to leave for the Florida Keys! It was an uneventful but pretty 48 hour sail. The water color around us would change periodically, and we saw deep blues, bright light blues, and light blue-greens. We were able to watch dolphins swim underwater alongside the boat when the water was light enough. It was all very peaceful.
We arrived in Marathon, which is 58 miles northeast of Key West, on Saturday, April 4th. There is a mooring field in Boot Key Harbor that is ran by the city, and it has space for around 230 boats. We were hoping to get a mooring ball, which would allow us to use the marina facilities while in Marathon, but they were full when I called that morning. We anchored right outside the harbor to wait for a spot to open up. On Saturday night we went to Dockside Tropical Café since we could tie our dinghy up behind the restaurant. You literally step up into the restaurant from the dinghy. There was a live band playing, which had an awesome fiddle player, and it was pretty crowded. We were looking around for a hostess so we could be seated, and this guy came up and started talking to us. He thought we were tourists, and he was trying to get David to book a fishing trip with him. Once he found out we were cruisers, his whole attitude changed and acted like we were old friends. He bought us a round of beers and introduced us to his wife and table of friends. Steve (aka Captain Inappropriate) told us to get on channel 68 on the VHF radio the next morning to introduce ourselves to the harbor. They have a cruisers net every morning where you can ask questions, learn about local events, and buy/sell/trade items. It’s been very informative and helpful.
On Easter Sunday, we took our dinghy to Bahia Honda State Park, which is eight miles from Marathon. It has three beaches, and I read that one of them, Sandspur beach, has been ranked the #1 beach in the continental US. I don’t think we found the right beach though because the one we went to didn’t have much of a beach to speak of and had a lot of grass growing in the water. The water was crystal clear though and we pulled out our snorkel gear. We will need to make another trip out here before leaving Marathon so we can hang out on the right beach.
For the next week or so, we will be staying in Marathon to get a few boat projects done, and then we’ll head to Bimini, which is in Bahamas. It won't be all work and no play though. I want to explore everything in this area that I can, like the Turtle Hospital, Dolphin Research Center, Sombrero Beach and reef, and the Dry Tortugas National Park. Also, there is a large live aboard community here, which hosts things like yoga and sailing parties, so hopefully we will get to meet some new people. I am looking forward to staying in one spot for a while!!
|7 mile bridge|
|Bahia Honda State Park|