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s/v Chanticleer
On Up the West Coast of Florida

We left Marathon on Thursday, February 14th (Valentine's Day), and had a wonderful motorsail under the Seven Mile Bridge, up the Red Bank Bay, through Bullard Bank and on to the Little Shark River. The winds were 10-12 knots, but not in a good place for us to just sail. Seas were about 2 feet, a light to moderate chop in the Florida Bay, and we found ourselves very relaxed, enjoying the bright sunshine and warm breezes. Just as we were about to enter the Little Shark River, however, the winds started howling at 25 knots or more and the seas kicked up as well.. We were planning to drop the hook just inside the entrance in a little bay but it was much too exposed so we went upriver, just past red mark '4" and around the bend where we found protection and enough room to anchor. The wind and rain squalls kept up all night, but we were held snug by our new Rocna - this was the very first time we had deployed it and it lived up to its reputation.
The next morning, the winds had died and the seas were more settled but it was raining. Nevertheless, we set out early for Marco Island as it was a long trip - 50+ nautical miles, and we had to make a wide detour around Cape Romano to avoid the shallows there. We arrived at Marco Island about 3:30 PM and anchored in Factory Bay. By this time, the rain had stopped and we could take a deep breath and let our shoulders down. The only glitch was that our tacktick wind instrument had stopped working altogether. While we still have the Davis masthead unit to give us wind direction, we do not know how strong the winds are - we'll just have to make our best guesses.
On Saturday, February 16th, we went into a slip at The Marina at Factory Bay, our first dock in about a month and a half. It felt very good to be there, as the winds picked up strongly within a couple of hours of our arrival at the dock, and the temperatures dropped as well - it was below 40 for the next two nights, and we even turned the heater on in the mornings.
About 15 minutes after we tied up, Bill & Susan Hurt on Osprey pulled into a slip on the next dock. They are friends of Jeff & Terry Zukerman and we had been looking out for them (and they for us as well). It turns out they were also friends of Al & Mon Cameron's - they had met each other in the Bahamas a few years ago. What a small world the cruising community is!! We spent the next 3 days at the dock, and hanging out with the Hurts and the Camerons. Mona and Al hosted us for pizza and dessert at their condo one evening, Pat made chili another night which we hosted on Chanticleer, and we all went to a gulfside restaurant another night where we could watch the sunset as we guzzled sundowners.
On Tuesday, February 19h, Al & Mona took us to the northernmost part of the Everglades National Park, where we climbed an observation tower and had a great view of the Ten Thousand Islands. We then went to Everglades City, where we stopped by the famous old (circa 1864) Rod & Gun Club. Pat & Mona also saw about a dozen big gators on the ride back.
The next day, February 20th, we left Marco Island after Al & Mona took us to the Farmers Market, and made the short ride up to Naples (about 10 nautical miles), where we picked up a mooring at the City Dock. Very early the next morning (about 3:45 AM) we got a call that our daughter-in-law Kathleen had given birth to our 9th grandchild, a boy named Desmond - 7lbs, 5ozs, 20 " long. All are healthy and happy, just a bit tired. We will be here in Naples for a couple of more days then move on to Fort Myers Beach where we will make plans to leave Chanticleer at a dock for 10 days or so, rent a car and drive home to visit our new baby boy and his delightful parents.

03/04/2013 | Kathy Payne-Davis
We were a week or so behind you getting to Marathon. Have installed Garhauer dinghy davits! Duke beat Miami!! All is right with the world- we'll be here through most of March Madness and then head north. Hanging with Autumn Borne- Hope to catch ya'll again
Fun Times in Marathon
02/19/2013, Boot Key Harbor

It's been a while so we want to update everyone on our last few weeks, relaxing and enjoying Boot Key Harbor, Marathon. When last we left you we were on the hunt to buy a couple of used bicycles, but that did not work out as we found ourselves in a time when there were no suitable ones for sale. After a week of frustration, we rented two bikes (actually got a pretty good deal), so now we had wheels.
Honestly, we don't know where the days went - we seemed to just piss them away! We'd wake up between 6:30 and 7:00, make coffee and breakfast, then on to the radio from about 8:00 to 9:30 or 10:00: the Waterway Cruising Club Ham Net, then the Cruiseheimers SSB net, and finally the Marathon VHF Net. About half the mornings after the nets, Pat would go to Yoga from 10:00 to 11:00 (Bob actually went once himself and felt it for two days afterward). Now it's time to take stock of the larder and usually that meant a bike ride to Publix for some fresh veggies, fruit, bread, cheese, wine or some other staples or goodies. Kind of like living in Paris in that regard. We also took full advantage of our proximity to Home Depot and West Marine. By then, it was time for lunch, then making plans to see friends like Mike & Polli (Chinook) or Joe & Michele (Simple Life) for sundowners or dinner. It was great to spend time with old friends and new friends as well, such as Ago & Pat on Second Wind who, along with Jim Stiner, gave us some great information and valuable tips for heading up the West Coast.; and Lawrence & Elaine on Elle & I.
Special events included a concert by the Glenn Miller Orchestra; a local theatre production of "Five Women in the Same Dress", a very funny and risqué comedy about bridesmaids; and we even went to the movies on a Sunday afternoon ("Silver Linings Playbook"). On Saturday evenings, the harbor community held a musical get-together at the marina's Tiki Hut, and there were several very talented cruisers who contributed to the evenings' entertainment. We all would bring appetizers and beverage of choice and listen, sing along and even dance as the mood would strike us. Several times each week we would find ourselves enjoying a meal or sundowners at one of the local establishments - Porky's, the Hurricane, Pincer's Perch, Lazy Days or Burdine's, just to name a few. On our last day, we found the best place of all (with our friends Joe & Michele) - the Sunset Grill, which is located right by the Seven Mile Bridge. The best boat drinks, great view of the Seven Mile Bridge and a heated salt-water swimming pool. We could have stayed a lot longer but we needed to pick up our new anchor and return our rented bikes before leaving.
One day, we rode our bikes down to the Old Seven Mile Bridge and across to Pigeon Key, the site of the living quarters for the workers who built the bridge in the early years of the 20th century. At one point, there were over 400 workers living on this little island, sleeping in dorms and tents and being fed three meals a day. Quite an operation! Another day, we took the bus to Key West, toured Hemingway's house and watched the sunset at Mallory Square. Only problem was that there were two huge cruise ships in the harbor and the square (and the bars) were so crowded you could not even move, let alone get served. We did manage to find an out-of-the-way local harbor hangout for dinner, a place we remembered from our last visit many years ago. This allowed us to relax and enjoy beers and burgers before boarding the bus for the two hour ride back to Marathon.
We were really itching to get out of Marathon, even before our full months' mooring rental was up. So as soon as it looked like a good weather window to head out and start the next phase of our cruise, up the West Coast of Florida we stocked up and made tracks, but not before acquiring and installing our new 44 pound Rocna anchor. Stay tuned for the next installment...

02/23/2013 | Mike R
Great description of life in Marathon.
Biscayne Bay To Boot Key Harbor
01/24/2013, Marathon, Florida

Biscayne Bay to Boot Key Harbor

Being on a Dinner Key Marina mooring outside in the bay in strong east winds was oh so much fun! More days than not we took the launch into town. We enjoyed Coconut Grove and discovered a lovely state park almost in the center of town called Barnacles. Barnacles is the home and grounds of Ralph Munroe, built in 1891. Munroe was Coconut Groves most influential pioneer and developer. The park includes a beautiful house, boathouse, and workshop located on Biscayne Bay. The landscape represents one of the last remnants of the Miami Hammock (tropical hardwood forest).

We moved over to Hurricane Harbor on Monday the 14t where it was calm and beautiful. Tuesday and Wednesday we sailed the Hawk's Channel! The winds were ESE on Tuesday with winds ranging from 15 to 24 knots. It was great!! We sailed to Rodriguez Key where we anchored along side Mike and Polli on Chinook. Wednesday was another day of wonderful sailing. By 5pm we were settled on our mooring having an arrival beverage. Pat had all day Thursday to explore and re-provision before she abandoned Bob and flew to DC for 3 days to attend our daughter-in-laws baby shower. DC was fun and seeing Adam and Kathleen was wonderful.

We are now busy getting acquainted with Marathon and the surrounding area. Its Bob's turn to travel, today he is driving to Delray Beach to meet with Randy his son as they are going to a Duke basketball game in Miami. He will return to Chanticleer on Thursday. Whew!! Then we will be able to slow down and relax a bit. We are in pursuit of used bicycles which will make exploring easier. There is also a bus that we can take to Key West for the day, a little beach and of course we can also take the big ship out and do some more sailing on Hawks Channel.

More to come!

We hope all are well and warm

Pat and Bob

01/24/2013 | dean perry
Congratulations on getting to Boot Key Harbor. We loved Marathon last year... It's an easy place to "live"; with West Marine, and Publix being so close... Plus propane at the Exxon station across the street; and scuba air fills also just down the street. We understand from Tony on the CSY on mooring B4, or 5 that the Dockside Bar and Grille is "sinking"... and not open.. .BUMMER !!! We always seem to get mooring B-12.... You'll understand why the Dockside was nice to have open... if you look at the mooring plans.
OK... WELL.. miss your faces... Have a great time.
01/24/2013 | Ed Hind
Hi Bob/Pat, It was 14 degrees last night and 2" of snow on the ground this morning. Nice breeze through --- 35 knots from the NW. You made a good choice to go South this year.....
01/25/2013 | David N. Parker
We are in the process of buying a boat and have a question for you. How much time to you spend looking ahead, planning your next step?
Dinner Key
01/10/2013, Miami

Underway Again

On Tuesday, we finally managed to extract ourselves from the dock in Pompano Beach and headed south once again down the ICW to Port Everglades Inlet (Fort Lauderdale) where we went out the inlet to go to Government Cut in Miami. The winds were ESE 9 - 16 knots and the seas were 1-2 sometimes 3 feet. All was well for several hours, then you guessed it NOAA once again struck and the winds went from nice to not so nice- 20-25 (some even higher) which of course meant that the seas also increased. We continued on our way with a reefed main and motor sailed the last 1 and half hours to our destination. Chanticleer is settled in very nicely on a mooring at Dinner Key. We have never been here so we are looking forward to exploring the Coconut Grove area. Right now it is extremely windy - you have to hold on so that you don't lose your balance. Unfortunately we are not on the inside at a mooring at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club as there were no moorings available for our size boat which means we are rocking and rolling pretty good right now. If the winds settle down soon enough we will head down Hawk Channel to Marathon but we may be here longer as Pat will be flying to Washington DC for our daughter-in-law's baby shower next week and Bob and our son Randy are going to the Duke-Miami basketball game on the 23rd.
We hope all are well, looking forward to meeting up with all our cruising friends, and send our best to everyone.

Pompano Beach

I think we are stuck. We are still in Pompano Beach but we really are planning to leave on Tuesday. The beach here is wonderful and we have been able to take long walks along the beach every morning. We have had a good time here as we have been able to visit with family and friends. Our three grandchildren who live here stayed overnight aboard Chanticleer and we had a fun night of games and laughter and ice cream of course. They are wonderful and lots of fun! Bob and I spent New Years Eve with his son Randy and family, where we made slow cooked ribs and enjoyed every morsel! There is no shortage of good restaurants here so Bob and I and Randy and Kelly had an outstanding dinner last night to celebrate my birthday. We have finished our boat chores and will do laundry one more time tomorrow, fill the water tanks, empty the holding tanks, return the car and we will be on the move once again. Tuesday we will go all of 15 miles to Lake Sylvia where we will anchor and wait for good weather to go offshore to Miami (Coconut Grove Sailing Club).

Our best wishes to everyone for a very happy and healthy New Year.

01/06/2013 | dean perry
Just read your webpage articles about low bridge, and masthead stuff. OUCH.
We're still on the hard doing bottom work, but will be down toward Miami shortly....2 weeks or so... Miss your faces.
Have not been on Cruisers Net - No ground plane without water... even though it might work... I've been listening though. :)
12/18/2012, Stuart, Florida

Well, we'd been having way too much fun and not enough challenges for this to be a real cruise. The day before yesterday, however, things leveled out in a big way. We had started out in the morning from Vero Beach, motoring of course, and had an uneventful ride to the crossroads near Stuart. We were traveling with our friends Mike and Polli on Chinook, and they developed some engine problems after a couple of hours underway, so we diverted to Stuart. We were leading Chin ook and two other boats as we started to proceed under the three close bridges just before entering Stuart , and we mistakenly went under the wrong section of the first bridge - the 65-foot fixed bridge. Unfortunately the section we entered does not have a 65-foot vertical clearance, more like a 61 or 62 foot clearance, and we have a 62-foot mast (not counting masthead instruments). Although we were able to reverse out from under the bridge, needless to say, we are now in the process of replacing our masthead instruments. Pat was able to raise me up to the masthead yesterday and we replaced the VHF antenna and the wind indicator. The masthead light and the mounting bracket for the TacTic wind speed/direction unit (which fell onto the deck but seems to still be working) are on order and we will re-install them after we get to Pompano Beach. We're still managing to have some fun, as we are visiting with our friends Bob & Bonnie, who live here in the winter and with friends on two other Endeavour 42s: Ed & Chris on Freedom and Stu and Diana on Casual Class. They are both full-time liveaboards and have given us some great tips and ideas for finding and creating more storage space on our boat, increasing our battery bank, setting up a fan for the aft stateroom and other "quality of life" improvements.

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s/v Chanticleer
Who: Pat and Bob Sikora
Port: Tipers Creek, Virginia
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