We Made it to Marathon
19 January 2012 | Marathon, FL
Beth / beeeutiful weather
We've been hearing about Marathon for years and years - the sailor's gathering spot in the Keys - where people come and never leave. Some folks have told us they love it here, and others were disappointed in it. We've had just brief glimpse of it, but I could see a bit of what they all were talking about.
The very best thing about the place was what happened here - and what the stories are about. We dinghied from our anchorage outside Boot Key Harbor to the bar at Dockside Marina, sat down and ordered beers. We were feeling pretty good about being here in this cool sailor's bar already, and then four folks came along to sit at the table next to us. With great gasps of surprise, we recognized Pat and Doug (Sanctuary) and Debbie and John (Troon) who had been our neighbours at Tiger Point Marina in the spring when we were all getting our boats ready. We were with Sandra and Steve who have had boats there in the past, so it was a Tiger Point reunion for sure. Once hugs were exchanged all around, we shoved tables together and amid bites of very good nachos and slurps of beer, we managed to talk all at once and with great animation about our trips and our plans. It seemed just the perfect "Marathon" experience.
We took a walk up the road a bit and back along the docks, returning to have dinner at the same bar. That part was a mistake. What was a wonderful experience earlier (except for some trouble the server had with the bill) turned into a sour one. We waited and waited for our orders to be taken, and then waited ages again for our meals to arrive. Mine came first - good fish and chips. I was just about finished when Steve and Sandi's arrived. They were pretty much done when Jim's was finally ready, and by then he asked for it to be packed for take out. When the server brought the bills, ours was wrong again. So my moral of this story is go for happy hour and forget about having dinner there. There was some pretty good music happening, but it didn't make up for the poor service.
Weatherwise, in typical win one/lose one fashion, coming down here on Wednesday was a boring old motoring trip. Once again we could take turns going forward to sit on the foredeck, but it just wasn't the same listening to the roar of the engine instead of the swish of waves. One thing though - that water is the same lovely aqua green that we loved in the Bahamas.
We anchored outside the entrance to Boot Key Harbor - just at the west end of the Key. There were no mooring balls available and we weren't sure enough of anchoring room and depths when we arrived, so we joined the 8 or 9 other boats outside. Once again, there was no wind to speak of so aside from the occasional wake of a passing boat, we rested well out there.
On Thursday morning, Jim and I took a little run around the harbour again to get gas for the dinghy, check out the Bayfields we spotted on our first trip in, find Patty and Steve (Indigo Falcon) who are also here, and see if we could get more of a sense of the community of Marathon. We had success on almost all fronts. (On our way in, we passed this solitary heron standing knee deep in water just a few feet outside the channel. I forgot to take pics all the rest of the time here!) Our first stop was at Marathon Marina for gas. With tanks filled, the next stop was at Blue Bay, a Bayfield 36 from Minnesota with Rick and Nancy on board. It was a delight to meet these two fellow B' 36 owners and we had a great time chatting with them about our sister ships and places we've been in them. As we moved down the harbour, we spotted B' 36 Calixta but no one was home. Next up was Indigo Falcon and we were lucky to find Patti and Steve aboard. With a bag of crisp green beans in hand (fresh from the farm yesterday - thanks Patti) we ventured on to Troon for one more visit with Debbie and John and to drop off a book we'd been given on Mr Rossborough - builder of Rossborough boats; we thought it really should live on a Rossborough trawler!
By then, the morning had pretty well slipped away so we gave up on any land exploration and contented ourselves with the knowledge that we really do have a feel for Marathon. It's a boater's community with boatyards, boaters and bars; it revolves around the harbour and has a little land and some stores behind it. That's enough for us for now!
A short motoring ride along the keys - always watching those fishing balls that are scattered over the surface - seemed like Maine except for the colour of the water -brought us to Newfound Harbor, in through a deep enough but narrow channel to a skinny little anchorage tucked behind the key. The sun emerged from the cloudy sky and we shed our jackets to enjoy a lovely still evening. Off to Key West in the morning!