11 February 2013 | Marathon (still)
Capt Don Q.
Still in Marathon. Turns out that my TWIC (some sort of clearance card required to keep my Coast Guard Masters License)(Just another way to get money from us) is in Key West and I have to go there to pick it up. As a government office they are only open Tues and Weds from 8-12. No kidding, that's their entire weekly schedule. I had to pay for another several days to wait for them to be open. Silly TWIC card renewal is costing me over $200.00. And I don't even have it yet.
Wednesday, I am heading up the Keys to Cotton Key or Tarpon Basin. I may have to wait there for a few days for a cold front to pass, then I will go to Key Largo and points North. Sadly, I'm done with the Keys...probably forever. Yet another example of a great cruising area that I am 40 years too late for. 30-40 years ago their were plenty of nice anchorages with lots of shore access, cool things to do and, I am sure, much cleaner water. Not anymore.
I hope to sneak away with at least some of my cruising kitty intact. And I hope that there will be no serious cold fronts until I can get to a decent anchorage that won't cost me 20-30 dollars a day.
I sure sound bitter. Actually I'm not. I usually look at this as a learning experience and just shrug my shoulders and move on. I've read so much that is negative about Florida and this year I thought I would give it a try. In 2 1/2 months, it has cost me over $2400.00 and I never even spent one night at a dock. That averages out to only about $15,000.00 a year, but considering that I anchor almost always, that is a lot of money. In the Bahamas I usually spend $2,000-3,000 for 6 months of beautiful cruising. Spend a few nights here and there tied to a pier, eat out way too much, swim, dive, and fish all the time, and am I surrounded by friendly people that want me there and are happy to see me. Great weather and very clear water everywhere. And I never see or have to worry about the authorities messing with me.
This year in Florida, I have met so many other cruisers that swear they will never come to Florida again. They all have bad stories to tell about their time in Florida. I've been hearing that from so many different sources for several years now, and I wanted to give it a look for myself to see if its true.
Next year, I will sail from Jacksonville down to Lake Worth on the ocean, and then cross over to the Bahamas.