28 March 2012 | Florida Keys
22 March 2012 | Florida Keys
17 March 2012 | Key West, FL
04 March 2012 | Key West, FL
22 February 2012 | Key Largo
17 February 2012 | Ft Lauderdale, FL
16 January 2012 | southern FL
08 January 2012 | Melbourne, FL
05 January 2012 | Daytona Beach, FL
31 December 2011 | St Augustine, FL
23 December 2011 | St Augustine
16 December 2011 | Fernandina Beach
13 December 2011 | mid coast Georgia
05 December 2011 | Charleston, SC
02 December 2011 | Myrtle Beach, SC
28 November 2011 | Swansboro, NC
23 November 2011 | Alligator River, NC
18 November 2011 | Norfolk, VA
17 November 2011 | Solomon's Island, MD
Still Playing in the Keys
28 March 2012 | Florida Keys
Since leaving Key West, we have been having a lovely time just wandering around the Keys. The weather in the Keys is, in my opinion, nearly perfect with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s always with a breeze that keeps it comfortable. Depending on what the winds are doing, we seek out a spot on the chart in which to anchor which will afford us protection from the prevailing winds. Most often, this spot is just off one of the keys (sometimes an uninhabited key) where we are frequently the only boat in sight. We try to anchor by early to mid afternoon which allows us time to nap or read and relax and then watch the sunset from the cockpit.
We did spend 3 or 4 nights in an anchorage off of Islamorada (see picture) which was a lot of fun. The water was a beautiful tropical green and so clear that you could see all the way to the bottom. We would take the dingy in to shore to explore Islamorada and spent a couple of fun evenings at a beach restaurant called Lorelei's which had nightly live music. Seating was available either on the outdoor patio or at tables that were set up directly on the beach. Lorelei's is a popular spot for vacationers and boaters to gather and watch the sunset over the water which is almost always spectacular. Islamorada is also home to World Wide Sportsman which is a well known store located in the Islamorada Yacht Basin and is devoted to sport fishing. Marc and I had fun wandering around and picking up a few items to enhance our fishing efforts. So far while fishing off the boat, we have only been able to catch small fish called grunts, so we decided to hire a charter fishing captain to take us fishing. We arranged a half day fishing expedition with a genial and experienced captain who sped us around the keys in his fishing boat to various fishing spots. We were successful in catching a number of Mangrove snapper and we each caught a spotted sea trout. Though a bit wind burned and sun burned, we arrived back at the marina feeling good about our expedition. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot from Captain Dick which we hope to apply as we continue to fish while moving around the Keys. We will let you know if we are successful!
Living Your Dreams
22 March 2012 | Florida Keys
Marc and Julie
The best anyone can hope for in this life is to be able to listen to your heart and listen to your self. We have had a beautiful journey sailboat cruising and have met the most wonderful people and made many new and lasting friendships. When I shared my feelings with Julie that I was feeling that it was approaching time to stop cruising, she was a little surprised. Julie was accepting and understanding of my feelings and feels that she too is ready to move on to the next adventure in our lives. For those who may be worried that this decision may be born from developed health, financial, or boat issues let me assure you that we are ok. It is simply time to move on to the next phase of life, the next adventure. The boat is currently for sale and we are sure that the right people will take the beautiful Oasis Rose into the future. We plan on returning to Maine once the boat is sold and while we do not have any concrete plans, we would like to do some traveling to visit family and friends over the coming months and we may even add a little dog to the mix!
We hope this finds everyone well and happy. It was so great of everyone to share this adventure with us through our blog and other means. This has allowed us to stay connected and has been a joy. We will continue to post our adventures on the blog as we continue to move through the Keys and southern Florida until we depart for Maine.
All the best,
Marc and Julie
This Key Fits
17 March 2012 | Key West, FL
Greeting everyone! We escaped from Key West three days ago after a stay of almost two weeks. I say escaped as we were held captive by howling east winds which turned an intended two day stay into almost two weeks. However, Key West was great and we explored.
Key West is the end of the line for many tourists and boaters alike. Boaters of every shape size and description filtered in and out of the harbor past us as we were tied to the end of the dock. Mega yachts to seemingly unseaworthy rafts constantly paraded by. My hat is off to the hearty souls making their way back to the anchorage in water logged dingys with ancient outboard motors with no engine cover using a pull string attached to the carburetor for throttle. May God love them and protect them. Then there were the giant party catamarans seemingly as big as a city block loaded with revelers with full four piece live band coursing past us twice each day. Large schooners with more peaceful clientele would ghost by for the sunset cruise.
In order to earn that "home grown" key lime pie with five inch thick meringue topping we would walk the streets of Key West each morning. Our walks would take us through the Truman Complex which is a renovated and now private former navel base. So named after President Harry Truman who visited Key West extensively during and after his terms as President. Then on down the still asleep Duval Street the epicenter of shops and restaurants and bars. Oh, did I mention that by chance our stay coincided with a week of Spring Break for college students? More of that in a moment.
In our travels our pattern is to try to take a trolley/train/carriage tour in the historic cities that we visit and we took a great trolley tour of Key West with an entertaining and informative narrative by the Conductor. Pointed out to us were landmarks such as President Truman's Little White House, Earnest Hemmingway's House, the street corner where Jimmy Buffet with an open guitar case on the sidewalk was busking at the start of his career, and a dessert only restaurant called "Better Than Sex".
So how about this for a "real life adventure" (this is the part about Spring Break). At four thirty AM we hear bumping on the hull of the boat. Investigation reveals a "person of interest" (male, early twenties) in the water clinging to the side of the boat mumbling, "help, I'm cold...". To make a long story short we managed to get a horseshoe collar on him and work him around to the stern and fished him out, laid him in the cockpit, covered him with blankets, stuffed a wool hat on his head, called 911, jostled him to consciousness once every minute until the Law and paramedics arrived. He survived. In spite of his near death experience the "person of interest" did manage to get off a couple of good ones when he was heard saying in response to questions from the police officer, " I am SO on Spring Break" and "I am 21, I'm drunk, and I want to go to my hotel". We were thanked by the police officer and salt water soaked shoeless young man was taken away.
We are now exploring the waters north of the Keys as we move back to the East. The winds are persisting from the East but we are managing to tuck into little sheltered anchorages each night. We fish each day and are successful but not to the extent that any fish has made its way to the dinner plate. All have been too small or of an undesirable species. We are starting to stargaze some nights which is out of this world with beauty.
Stay Happy. And most importantly, feel GOOD about yourself, Mr.K
It's blowin' in Key West!
04 March 2012 | Key West, FL
After spending Friday at a lovely anchorage in Newfound Harbor off Big Pine Key, we headed out on Saturday morning for Key West. It was a beautiful day and after only about three hours, we arrived at the harbor entrance and tied up to a dock at a marina in Key West. What a busy place! It is easy to see why Key West has the reputation of being party place as there is a bar or restaurant seemingly every few feet and there was a steady parade of tour/party boats, catamarans, and pirate ships in and out of the marina filled with tourists with drinks in hand! We tied up and settled in. That evening we went to a very nice restaurant at the neighboring marina and had a wonderful dinner – grilled mahi-mahi for me and sesame seared yellow fin tuna for Marc a shared dessert called “Chocolate Sin” which was delicious!
Sunday morning we woke to another sunny day and put on our walking gear and set off for a power walk around Key West. We entered a pretty development which turned out to be the former Truman Annex Naval Station that was auctioned to a developer in 1986. The result is a very attractive development of refurbished structures resulting in lovely homes, town houses and condos with white picket fences, and gorgeous flowers and shrubs blooming everywhere. Also included in this development is the “Little White House” that had formerly been the base's VIP lodge and was visited by numerous presidents over the years, though only Truman actually stayed there. It is now a small museum and we plan to tour it at some point during our stay.
Another amusing thing about Key West is the chickens. While wandering around, you will often see hens and roosters just meandering over lawns and down streets. As we were walking, we could see and hear roosters crowing from all quadrants which made me smile. Apparently at one point, they tried to control the number of chickens in Key West by trying to hire a “chicken catcher” but it was unsuccessful so instead they made the chicken the official bird of Key West and they remain!
We finished our walk and by around 11 am, the cold front that was predicted to come through had arrived. The sky turned black and the winds clocked around to the north, blowing around 25mph with higher gusts. The rain started and the temperatures dropped from 80 to 70 in an hour (I know I will get no sympathy from our Maine friends about 70 degree temps but a 10 degree sudden drop with stiff north winds felt significant). The picture featured shows the palm trees blowing in front of a neighboring resort. Marc headed outside about a hundred times to check lines, fenders and boards. We are tied up to a T head on a fixed wooden dock and with the winds rocking the boat, a lot of “tweaking” was required before he was satisfied that all was well. Of course colder temperatures and being plugged to shore power can mean only one thing – time to drag out the crock pot! We have a delicious smelling beef and bean chili that has been simmering in the galley all day!
The front is through though it is supposed to remain windy for most of the week and the temperatures are expected to rebound to around 80 in a day or two. We will be busy exploring Key West and all it has to offer!
The middle Keys
26 February 2012
Well ! Our goal has been to slow it all down and hang out here and there and not freeze. Happening! A few days ago we anchored at Shell Key early in the afternoon and again set about the arduous tasks of napping then fishing. Julie reeled in a delightful small fish and when she raised it out of the water it commenced to inflate itself into a volley ball which freaked us out let me tell you! After a quick snap shot of the Puffer Fish (which unfortunately did not turn out) he was quickly released to swim back to Pufferville to tell the tale. We of course are always hoping for something sizable and identifiable to put on the grill but that has yet to happen. We settled for pork lion rolled on a dry rub of garlic and black pepper, with flash grilled asparagus (Asparagus was WAY over cooked, but down the hatch anyway. And by the way,” flash grilled” means painted with olive oil sprinkle of garlic powder wrapped in foil and on the barbie for 4-5 minutes. I lost track of time.)
We then crossed to the ocean side of the keys and due to lack of an appropriate anchorage for the night we went to a marina which turned out to be a resort by every definition. This place was so nice that we stayed for two nights and lounged next to the pool for a record breaking five hours! The photo accompanying this blog is of a “frequenter” of the resort that undulated out of the bushes to drink out of the hot tub next to us at the pool. Four feet long, no joke. Wild America. With the weather telling us that a cool front (they don't call them cold fronts down here) was on the way we made a hop further down the keys to anchor. We are now tucked into a lee shore as the 15-20 knot winds clock around from the north to the southeast over the next two days. For all you anchoring buffs, we dropped anchor and backed down towards the west and set the anchor for two minutes at 2800 rpm and then I snorkeled to the anchor and found that it was buried out of sight (a beautiful thing when wind is on the way).
With this wind we could sail to Key West in four hours! But why? Tonight it is stuffed Poblano peppers and tacos with all the trimmings. We may even get out the blender and make little ones out of big ones from the ice tray for an accompanying margarita (one with salt, one without).
So boil big pots of water on the stove and get the humidity up to 90%, set the thermostat at 80, turn on all the lights, cook something good and you will be here! Arrivederci for now, Mr.K
Cruising in the Keys
22 February 2012 | Key Largo
We left Ft Lauderdale on Monday morning early so we could make the 7am opening of the bridge next to the marina and headed out the Port Everglades inlet to the outside as we made our way down to the Keys. It was a sunny day and the sea was fairly calm. As we were passing Miami, we were suddenly joined by at least 8 to 10 dolphins who played and swam along with the Oasis Rose near the bow, keeping pace with us. It appeared that there were at least a couple of pairs of moms and babies swimming together in this group and they stayed with us for at least an hour which is the longest we have ever experienced. Usually they will only come and play for about 10 minutes before moving on. It was so much fun to watch! If that were not entertaining enough, we also spotted a number of flying fish going in the opposite direction, no doubt trying to get away from the dolphins! For those of you who never seen a flying fish, they are tiny fish who pop up to the surface of the water and seemingly stand upright on the tails, flap their tails, spread out their pectoral fins for lift and skim across the surface of the water at a fast speed for an amazing distance. They remind me of hummingbirds because they are small and so fast and the first time I saw one I had no idea what I was looking at! They are amazing to watch. We re-entered the ICW through Angelfish Creek and were in the upper Keys. We anchored for the night off Pumpkin Key, a private island in Card Sound.
After a relaxing morning on Tuesday, we got underway at around 11 am and headed further down the Keys. We stopped briefly to get diesel and gas and to top off the water tanks and then found a spot to anchor in Key Largo for the night. In the afternoon, Marc and I were fishing off the stern and I caught my first fish! We could not identify it and it was fairly small so we set it free but it was exciting just the same. Marc caught a small catfish and another small blue colored fish which he also released but it was a fun way to pass the afternoon as the sun was setting. The picture featured is off the sunset last night. We are enjoying just relaxing with no real plans of where to go and are just making it up as we go along!
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