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Tom & Ollie Adventures
Key West and Marathon Again
03/20/2013, 24 34.184N

We left on Friday to go to Key West. At first we anchored at marker 31==however the hold was not good. Our Rocna could not dig down in the plain coral bottom. So we took a mooring ball at Garrison Bight. On Saturday, 16 March, we went into town. Everyone was celebrating already. We had lunch at the Thai Restaurant near the marina. (Great Food). We walked to a kitchen store for the ladies and West Marine for the men. We went to many different establishments - mainly to people watch. We saw one woman who had melons for breast==and she only had a small triangle patch of fabric to cover them. YUCK!! Not a pretty site.

By the time my friend from K-12 school came from Big Pine--other people we were buddy boating with wanted to go back to the boat. We met Mary, Ron and their friend Rusty at a place called Rick's. We were upstairs--people watching. What a HOOT!!!! Mary asked if we wanted to do a bike tour on Monday--we said yes. They had a party at Big Pine on the 17th.

Our buddy boat, Shirley and Eddie, and Tom and I went to into the city to see the crazies. Actually it was calmer on the 17th as most people partied on Saturday the 16th. We had lunch at Finnegan's Wake. Then walked to several places we all wanted to see. About 2:30--my knees and back was giving me problems. Mary had told us of a place where we could sit and overlook Mallory Square. It was a great place to rest. Then we went to the Cuban Restaurant near Mallory Square, Tom asked a Cuban family (mother, daughter and granddaughter) what was good. They suggested the sampler platter and a Mojito and Cuban Rum and Coke. We ordered it. Both the Mojito and Rum and Coke would knock you on your fanny if you didn't watch out. Everything was great!! After dinner we went to Mallory Square to watch the street performers. It was great as usual!! We went back to the boat and crashed!!

The next day Mary and friend Rusty came with bicycles they rounded up from their neighbors. It was lunchtime--Mary wanted to know if we wanted a sit down lunch or go to a café in a Laundromat. We all choose Sandy's Café--which is located in a Laundromat. Tom and I had a Cuban sandwich and plantains. Great food. Then off we went all around the city on bikes. Mary was concerned that our buddy boat friends would be bored as they have lived in the Key West area for 3 or 4 years. But Shirley and Eddie both said they learned about things they did not know about. We went to beaches, up scaled hotels, flower gardens in the ruined fort, and even cemeteries. It was a long afternoon for me. When we came around the last corner--it was all I could do to make it. We said our good byes to Mary and her friend Rusty--then we went back to the boat. We had appetizers for dinner.

The next morning was Tuesday; we were heading back to Marathon. It was overcast all day. We arrived about 3:30 pm. We called some other friends, Carol and Doug and arranged to meet at Hurricanes for the taco specials. It was a good time.

The next day was preparing for our journey north to Lake Worth. We will meet up with Jon and Marcia on Non-Linear and then we plan to go to the Abacos. But before the day ended--Doug and Carol, Shirley and Eddie came to our boat for Key Lime Pie and to finish telling Doug and Carol about the West Coast. It was fun!



Marathon
03/09/2013

When we arrived at Marathon, Eddie a friend we met through Jon and Marcia, came by an took Tom and I under his wing by taking us lunch and anywhere we wanted to go. His friend Shirley also took us around. One day the guys had to do some work--so Shirley and went to the beauty shop for a hair cut and then she took me to CVS to get my medicine. We then went to Hurricane's for Happy Hour--several other friends met us there.

The four of us went to Key Largo and shopped and had lunch. On our way back to Marathon, we stopped at a tourist shop that had a giant lobster statue in the parking area--so we could take pictures for our grandsons. Then we went to Robbie's to feed the tarpon. That was fun!! Almost lost my fingers a couple of times!!!

Tom had to get back so he could ship Doug's old engine to a repair man in Goldsboro, NC. After that was all completed--we then went out to dinner at an upscaled restaurant. The food and company were great!!!!

Last year Tom had volunteered to work the Lobster tent and had a great time. So we had Eddie sign us all up to work. I never knew I could spoon so much coleslaw in a short period of time. The booths kept exchanging food to the volunteer. Our tent gave maui-maui, clam strips, hush puppies (no lobster). The lobster that they could not sell went to the workers of our tent. I ate a lot of fish that Saturday. We were so tired and our backs were sore--we walked a little of the booths but then said we did but went back to the boat to rest. Tom and Eddie plan to work on the boats. I walked around all the booths to find the right piece of jewelry to buy. I found it--it was a glass pendant that matched a pair of earrings I purchased coming down the ICW in Southport, NC.

After the seafood festival, we were busy getting the boats ready for the trip to Key West. One day we decided to eat at Wendy's. Guess who I met--Mary Helen from PCS. We had a miniature 50th Class Reunion but we told our husbands that they had to take us back to Peru for the real 50th Class Reunion. It was great visiting with both Mary and Ron.

We plan to leave for Key West on Friday so we will be there for St. Patty's Day.

Marco Island
02/26/2013

The fog let up about an hour out and the rest of the trip was beautiful. Good winds!! It would have been perfect if we did not have so many crab pots. Since Nate and Joann had never been to Marco Island--they followed us in to Smokehouse Bay.
After we anchored, we dinghied over to Nate and Joann's boat and introduced ourselves but we felt like we knew them already. I have been following their blog--"Chasing 70"and are on their way down from Michigan. They are planning to do the loop. We told them what little we know about Marco. Then we went over to another boat that anchored near Elsie--the new boat is named "Invincible". It turned out to be a family of 7 on a 44 foot Morgan Out Island -- plus a cat and dog. Ruth, the wife, has more sailing experience than her husband Mark. It was Mark who wanted to sell everything and go sailing, they did! He asked Tom if they could get together with us in order to pick Tom's brain. They came over to our boat about 2:00 and left about 5:00. They were taking notes all the time. Mark made the comment that boaters are willing to share knowledge and hands on experience to fix a problem. They also have a blog--"invincibleadventure.com" We asked them--how did they find Smokehouse Bay--they said we followed you all in.
After we went out to do some shopping and lunch--we noticed a sailboat we saw the last time we were there called "Grendel". It turned out that the owners name is Herman and he was part of the team that took the condo and home owners to court to allow anchoring in Smokehouse Bay and won. They had cruised over 10 years and now live on Marco Island. Very nice person. He told us to keep coming, stay as long as we wanted and enjoy the peacefulness of the area.


Pelican Bay & then Ft. Myers Beach
02/22/2013

We spent the night at Sarasota and left early the next morning off to Pelican Bay. A 25.5 foot Hunter sailboat started to follow us. The boat name was Elise and the owners were Nathan and Joann. They followed us all day. During the day, Tom and Nate talked a lot on the VHF. They decided to anchor in Pelican Bay also. Tom talked him into the anchorage as it is difficult unless you know the trick. Quite and restful evening.

Up and ready to go at 7:30. Even though we were a foot less of water--no problems getting out. We started running and then all of a sudden--we had boats passing all round us all the way to Ft. Myers Beach. We heard a Mayday--a ladies husband had a stroke. She was a trooper answering all the questions and handling the boat. Coast Guard and the emergency crew got to them and the patient on the way to the hospital. I sure am glad it was not me.
We finally arrived at Ft. Myers Beach. I was able to bring the boat up to the mooring ball all by myself so Tom could catch the pendent the first time. We called Lara's (our daughter in law) parents. We were not able to get together this time. We visited with other friends we knew there and the endless task of doing the laundry.
We left Ft. Myers Beach on Sunday--again in the fog. Nate had called Tom at 7:30 to see if we were still leaving. Since, their mast is short enough to go under the bridge in Ft. Myers--they had stayed at Ft. Myers side. They were already going on the water. Nate said it was foggy but not bad. We put the running lights on and away we went.

St. Petersburg
02/10/2013

When we left Sarasota--it was so foggy--we had use our running lights and kept the horn blasting ever so often to let boats know we were coming from the other direction. We made it safely to St. Petersburg by 4:00 that afternoon. We were so tired--we took a mooring ball in the North anchorage. The marina personnel gave us a wealth of knowledge of places to go and eat.
The next day--we road our bikes to the end of the Pier--the building is an inverted pyramid. (This building will be replaced by May 2015). The first floor is full of gift shops. The second floor houses and aquarium--I choose not to go thru it --due to the fact when you snorkel in the Keys and the Bahamas--your swimming with the fish--it is more fun. We went to the third floor which housed the Columbia Restaurant. It was a little too early to eat--so we went to the Coconut Tiki Bar on the top floor and had a drink. Then we went back downstairs to the Columbia Restaurant and had our Valentine lunch. The food was great!
That afternoon we rode our bikes to the Dahli Art Museum. Dahli had a wide avenue of art abilities--as he grew older his art changed. We walked around the park they created at the museum.
The next day we went to the Chihuly Collection. It was amazing what people can make with glass!!! Before we left the Chihuly Collection -- Tom surprised me with the gift receipt to go to the Morean Arts Center Glass Studio and Hot Shop. He made arrangements for me to go back on Tuesday afternoon to watch their demonstration and then after the demonstration--I would have an instructor assist me in making a glass project--I chose to make a spiral paper weight in blue/green colors. I had a grand time!!!!!! I would love to go back to St. Petersburg and spend more time. There are so many other art projects you can get involved in. So many bike trails to ride on all over the city. Hopefully, we will go back. It is my kind of town. I thought Sarasota was a great city to visit but St. Petersburg beats them! The spiral paper weight that I made is attached to this article.

Sarasota
02/10/2013

We traveled the ICW to Sarasota--the ICW at Venice was a nightmare. I had to keep blasting the air horn at the bridges--as everyone wanted to have a conversation in the middle of the open bridge. I blew the horn and waved for them to get out of the way. We arrived at Sarasota about 10:00 am--we went to shore and obtained sightseeing things to do. We were told the most important thing to see was the Ringling Circus Museum. So we walked over to the bus line and took line 99 to the front door of Ringling Circus Museum. We had a great time! So much to see--their home, the Museum of the Circus, Art and the most beautiful grounds. When we returned to the city, we had many restaurants to choose to eat at. The food was great!! The next day we walked to the movie theater on Main Street -- we saw Zero Dark Thirty. We did some more sightseeing while going back to the boat. The next morning--we were off to St. Petersburg.

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