The long gap between postings does not mean we’ve been idle! We took two trips to the Keys, one in August/September and one in November, enjoying various islands, snorkeling, sunsets and dolphins … We spent time in Key Biscayne, which is our favorite anchoring place as we travel south. On the second trip we also anchored at Elliot Key for six days. It was an idyllic spot, much quieter than our usual anchorage, but also less protected from north winds that were prevalent during our cruise. From Biscayne, we cruised south discovering and re-visiting Rodriguez Key; on the second trip, we met up with our friends Christine and Joe Cook on Legacy. They were returning from their voyage around the Keys and the Dry Tortugas. It is ALWAYS nice to catch up with our cruising friends!
On our first trip south, we stayed at the Marathon City Marina in Boot Key Harbor. There, our very dear friend Christa drove down from a convention she was attending in Miami. We had not seen each other in almost two years, and it was so great to catch up. We got to visit a dolphin training and rehabilitation facility in Marathon during her stay, as well as dining at some of Marathon’s colorful eating establishments. On our second trip south, we again anchored just outside the Marathon City marina, waiting and hoping for some clear weather to adventure to the Dry Tortugas. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Neither trip afforded us our necessary weather window, so it looks like we may have to try again next season.
We did travel to the gulf side nearthe Everglades and enjoyed unbelieveable beauty and solitude on Cape Sable. Not another soul in sight and too many shells to imagine. It is a national park, so all shells were left where we found them on the beach, and we reveled in the calm beauty of the area. Unfortunately, we also discovered that our house battery bank was in need of replacing, as well as our main engine alternator needing some serious attention. We decided it was best for us to head back to Vero Beach to attend to needed maintenance. On the way back, we did celebrate Thanksgiving in Biscayne Bay, which was pretty much as close to perfect as it gets.
On our return we did shorter hops back to Vero instead of cruising overnight up Florida’s Atlantic coast, spending the night in the Palm Beach anchorage. The next morning, when we were heading out to turn into the channel for the inlet, we came to a halt, seeing on our navigation chart and hearing over VHF that a cruise ship was heading in to port. It was amazing to watch this huge ocean liner coast into the Palm Beach harbor right in front of us! At that moment, we once again sent a quick mental thank you to Bernie Francis, our training captain, who drilled us on the importance of using ALL devices at our disposal to always look ahead and pilot defensively.
We got back to our Grand Harbor Marina on November 27th, with our welcoming committee of two dolphins leading us back to our slip. The next two weeks were busy with boat repairs/maintenance, Christmas shopping, and packing. We left for Denver December 16th, and by the end of the day, were able to hold our oldest, Sean, who we had not seen in over two years. Needless to say, it was amazing, and there were a lot of tears on Kathleen’s part.
Our kids were with us again – which was amazing. We also all came down with Omicron eventhough we were all vaccinated and boosted. Many silver linings, not the least of which was that no one got too sick, and we were all together for three weeks. We spent many great hours laughing, doing jigsaw puzzles, even went ice skating when we were in the clear. It was a truly magical time and we can’t wait to do it again next year (albeit WITHOUT any version of Covid…)
We returned to Vero on January 8th, and left on the 15th to head to Yacht Tech at Seminole Marine in North Palm Beach for our biannual haul out. Cruising on the ICW and through Lake Worth on Martin Luther King weekend definitely ensured a lot of crazy boat traffic, and a busier than usual anchorage, but all went smoothly. The next morning, we manouvered from our anchorage over to Seminole Marine and into the Travelift’s waiting straps. She was lifted out of the water and moved a very short distance to a space where work would be done over the next two weeks.
- New bottom paint
- Rebed rub rails
- Replace some old hoses
- New house battery bank
- Service the dinghy crane
- Service the stabilizers
- and other misc stuff
We splashed back in with just a minimal rub against a piling due to a swift cross current. We went back over to the anchorage by Old Port Cove Marina to wait out some inclement weather. Had high winds and rain for a couple of days (as well as a close call with a nearby sailboat that anchored too close to us), but the worst of it was having our cooktop go kaput when the generator malfunctioned and output >300VAC, smoking the cooktop circuitry, and then the clothes dryer gave up the ghost. Murphy’s Law was working overtime for us. Luckily, Neil was able to locate both a new cooktop and dryer AND have them delivered to Vero the following week. We returned to our Vero slip on January 31st, anticipating Neil’s brother, Dave and his wife Elaine coming from Vancouver to journey with us to the Bahamas for our next adventure.