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sailing away with R & B
Happy New Year's Eve 2015!
Beverly/sunny and warm
12/31/2015, Islamorada, FL

We moved to this anchorage at Islamorada on December 28. It's only 2 1/2 miles from Shell Key. It's a great place to be. The first day here we dinghied in to the Lorelei restaurant, where we met our friend from Texas, Melanie, and her dog Henry. She kindly drove us around Islamorada, took us to visit her fiancé's work and to run errands, and stayed at Lorelei's for drinks and dinner. From our anchor position we have seen float planes land and take off, along with lots of boats coming and going. Tonight we saw phosphorescent fish right by the boat. And there were really nice fireworks later.

New places
Beverly/sunny and warm
12/24/2015, Shell Key, FL

We decided to go north along the ICW through Florida Bay, where we have never been before. Today we went to Shell Key, near Islamorada. Yes, we had to dodge crab pots again, but it was sunny and fairly calm so they were easy to spot. This island is part of Lignumvitae state park and they have mooring balls that are free for a week. Nice! Apparently they aren't used much because Ralph said the pennant (the part we connect to) was very slimy. We are the only boat here, but there are only 3 mooring balls and there are crab pots all around. We are close enough to the island to see a huge osprey nest (and the ospreys).

Beverly/sunny, warm, and windy
12/17/2015, Marathon, FL

Salt water pool at Marathon Marina

Today we moved from our uncomfortable anchorage to Marathon Marina for a week. Strong winds are predicted in the next few days and we have decided to consider this our "vacation." We are looking forward to a week of luxury here and plenty of pool time. (As Ralph was pulling up the anchor a large pod of dolphins raced by. We saw tail slaps, Sea World type jumps, and families with babies. Awesome!)

Back in the Keys
Beverly/mostly sunny and warm
12/16/2015, Marathon, FL

Florida Bay, on the way to Marathon

Today we motor-sailed to Marathon through the usual crab pot maze. It was mostly sunny, with a few clouds on the horizon, which makes it easier to spot those crab pots. To give you an idea of what it's like, imagine a highway where you have to drive a slalom course around cones placed all over in intersecting grids. Fortunately we only had to deal with them about half the time (the middle 4 hours of our 8 1/2 hour trip). We had hoped to get a mooring in Boot Key Harbor here, but they are full. For tonight we are anchored just outside the harbor with a few other boats, but it's kind of bumpy so we may make other arrangements tomorrow.

Little Shark
Beverly/warm and sunny
12/15/2015, Little Shark River, near Cape Sable, FL

The seas were really calm this morning.

Today we moved from Russell Pass to Little Shark River in the Everglades. It was sunny (once the light fog burned off) and warm, starting with no wind and gradually picking up enough for us to motor-sail. We will only be here overnight, but have already seen dolphins, rays, and manatees. (Before we got chased inside by the mosquitoes and no-see-ums.)

Beverly/sunny and cool
12/14/2015, Everglades National Park

Sunset at Russell Pass, near Indian Key in the Everglades National Park.

We left Marco Island on the 11th. It was sunny and cool when we left but warmed up later. The ride was pretty rolly until we got close to shore but it's only 35 miles, so not bad. While we've been here we have seen raccoons digging for shellfish on shore every morning. They're pretty fat so they must get a lot to eat. We have also seen dolphins, rays, turtles, and a manatee in the water. Of course there are a lot of seabirds: pelicans (white and brown), egrets, ibis, great blue herons, and roseate spoonbills. Unfortunately there are also a lot of mosquitoes, but what else would you expect in the Everglades? Tomorrow we go on to our next stop, Little Shark River, also part of the Everglades.

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