More Key Largo

Well now that we’ve done miles on the bikes I can tell you that Key Largo has a lot of restaurants, resorts and motels. All the beach areas seem to be in front of the restaurants or resorts. We biked to the Atlantic side and couldn’t get to the shore unless we trespassed private residences or property owned by some sort of club. So for the tourist I would say there’s a lot to offer. For the cruiser there is West Marine, a decent dinghy dock, good holding in the anchorage and plenty of wildlife within site of your boat. And for us the last two things are at the top of our list of what’s important to us. This is in Tarpon Basin, now when we get to Gilberts in Blackwater Sound, about five more miles north, we may have a different perspective altogether.

Here is a shot of one inlet to the canals that run behind some homes. The water was just flying through there! The house on the left was for sale. Could you believe 1.3 million?? The road noise was constant and for 1.3 mil, I think I would want some quietness.

The canal..P1010498Right across the canal from the 1.3 mil house was this giant billboard. We both got a great laugh…

P1010499 Took in the Seafood Festival on Saturday and had a great time. The weather was perfect and even the small kids there were enjoying themselves on the various attractions, such as a zip line and rock wall. The whole atmosphere was laidback and relaxed. And the food, let’s just say we could have blown a big portion of our budget here.

Check out the size of the pans!

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Inside the Festival…

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I can’t remember the pirates name but he was absolutely huge! Really nice guy too…

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I know you may be getting tired of sunset pics but each one seems more beautiful then the next.

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This was taken after dark and I thought the clouds looked cool lit up by the moonlight..

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Church on Sunday was at a very small church that had missionaries just back from Peru. We got to talking to them after service and found out we had some things in common. They have a daughter in the Air Force stationed at Ft. Meade where Michele used to work. Also their next mission field is the Dominican Republic where Michele has friends. We’re trying to make the DR one of our stops later this year if things workout. They were really nice and hopefully we can somehow hook up with them again.

Samuel and Irene Serrano…

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As they were leaving, Samuel reached into his car and gifted us with this flute he brought back from Peru.

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This is another example of meeting the most extraordinary people on this adventure. I may forget some of the places we visit, but I will never forget the people we have met!

Thank you Samuel and Irene..

Until then….

 

Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don’t We Go?

When I think of Key Largo what comes to mind are pastel colors on everything, Hemingway, The Rum Diary’s, men in white linen shirts and pants and of course that Beach Boys song, Kokomo. So much for pre-conceptions. Granted, so far we have only walked a couple of miles from the boat, but have not experienced anything “tropical” about Key Largo yet. Today the bikes come out and we’ll head off in the direction of Miami and see if we can find the Key Largo that resides in my minds eye.

The trip here from Islamorada interesting in that you follow the ICW all the way in. You had to be on your toes because there was some seriously skinny water if you wandered off the prefered path. Some of the cuts we went through, and we went through several, you just couldn’t see until you were right there on top of them. You could see them on the chart, but looking from a distance the cuts looked like solid land.

Here is an example. Can you see the cut?

P1010460Now here it is two hundred yards closer. Cool huh?

P1010465Here is the cut coming into Tarpon Basin…

P1010473And in the cut itself…This cut was a little longer then the rest and it reminded me of the Jungle Boat ride at Disney Land. We slowed down to two knots and meandered through.P1010477

Some info for the other cruisers who may want to anchor here. I was given this info by  “Five Slug Doug” but promptly forgot it. When you get through the cut at Tarpon, stay to the right about two hundred yards offshore. Do not try to go across the middle in order to reach the anchorage on the other side. We tried, we failed. Another cruiser guided us to the proper approach.

One important thing we did discover was that right across the street from the government center, which is where the dinghy dock is located, is a place that has dollar tacos at happy hour! I’ll get the name of the place today and report on the tacos. Mike and Sue, whom we met at Marathon and caught up with here, will be headed there with us.

Here are some shots we have so far…

As you can see, the water gets real thin not far off the channel…

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The fire training tower, which makes for a great landmark, at Key Largo…

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Gotta love the sense of humor here…

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More detail…P1010482

 

 

 

 

 

Islamorada

Arrived here and realized this may not be the greatest place to anchor in a north wind that was blowing 15-20 mph. A full hour after we dropped the hook the wind picked up and we started dragging. Pulled the anchor up and it looked like a huge ball of grass and weeds. Cleaned it off and dropped it again. Same thing, started dragging and came up full of grass and weeds. After the fourth time and no luck, Michele suggested we move to deeper water and maybe the grass would thin out. It did and the anchor grabbed hard on the first drop. I did end up setting two anchor alarms. I used the Garmin 740 chartplotter anchor alarm and an app called Drag Queen on the Ipad. For the cruisers out there, the anchor I have is a spade type. Great up till now, so maybe a Rocna is in the future.

The next day we did some dinghy exploration and found this little cut maybe twenty feet wide with small marinas on one side and mangroves on the other. We were mesmerized by the amount of sea life that was present. It was very clear and only about five feet deep. We kept saying to each other ” hey look at this, come here check this out”. It was like schoolkids at the zoo. At one point Michele spotted a baby octopus and we watched it change colors as it moved from one area to the next. We could have spent hours there, but needed to move on. We landed the dink, locked it up and then started walking to try and find an inner tube for my bike. Islamorada seems geared more toward tourists and fishermen then Marathon. Lots of gift shops and restaurants. Higher prices it seemed as well.

Here are some random shots we took on our walkabout..

This shop had some very unique driftwood sculptures. Here is one that stood outside the shop.

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A little more detailed shot. Cool huh?

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The purple color in this flower was beautiful…P1010447

An entrance to one of the many resorts here. Inviting….P1010446

Another driftwood sculpture. Look at how the glass flows around the wood. I believe the glass must have been placed on the wood when it was still hot and pliable.P1010451

Detail shot..P1010452

And this has to be the largest hanging basket we have ever seen. I estimate it to be eight or nine foot across. Look at the size of the tree..P1010454

A detail of the block and tackle used to haul the basket up.P1010456

As I write this we are in Tarpon Basin, Key Largo. Will update our thoughts on Key Largo tomorrow….

Until then..

 

Goodbyes Are Hard

Another round of goodbyes yesterday, (Monday). It’s amazing how fast you can make friendships when you know your time together is short. I’m kinda surprised and I think Michele is too, on how hard it tugs on your heartstrings when you have to depart and leave new friendships. Everyone we have met has touched us in some way and I can only hope we have touched them as well.

After topping off the diesel, gasoline and water tanks we pulled out of Marathon about 9:00am. I was pleasantly surprised when I figured out our diesel usage from Punta Gorda. We took on 20 gallons of fuel. That’s 20 gallons to get from Punta Gorda to Marathon, pretty good huh? It figures out to burning half a gallon an hour, remember we sailed quite a ways too. Once we were in Hawkes Channel we started dodging the crab pots and to be honest, they were not all that thick. Off to the starboard side, that’s the right side for you landlubbers :), we paralleled a rainstorm for many miles before it rained itself out. Made for some great views though.

This is the Channel Five bridge we had to go under in order to get back on the Gulf side. This time around I was not worried about clearance as I had been when crossing under the Seven Mile bridge.P1010431

Once on the Gulf side we just picked up the ICW and followed it to Islamorada where we dropped the hook. At one point we started to drag and had to reset the anchor. Started dragging on that reset and tried three more times but still drug the hook. The bottom is grass here and it’s difficult to get the anchor to dig beneath the grass and set. At that point we moved further offshore into deeper water thinking the grass may thin out. This time when we dropped the hook she set immediately. It was a little rolly through the night as the wind was coming from the north so we set two anchor alarms and called it a night. Now it’s Tuesday and we’re trying to decided whether to stay here another night or just head out to Key Largo. Not sure yet….

The rainstorm…..P1010425

I wish folks could see this in person, the pic just doesn’t have the same impact. The water looks amazing when the sun shines through the clouds onto one small spot…P1010427

A hitchhiker we picked up. He stayed there for quite a while…P1010441

The only casualty was Miss Kitty. Here’s what a seasick cat looks like…P1010428

And here’s what she looked like after the seasick drugs:)…notice the eyes!P1010444

Ok,ok, everbody’s been askin’ for a “glamour” shot, so here it is….P1010443

 

Until then…..