Made it to the Keys!
19 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
Mark & Kim Hayes | Sunny with winds ENE 16 mph
Hello. We are currently anchored in Boot Key Harbor at the Marathon City Marina. Waiting for a mooring ball. When we arrived on Thursday, January 14, we were #10 on the wait list. Today we are #6. We hope to be on a mooring ball in about a week (or less!).
We had a three-day trek to Marathon from Ft. Myers Beach. The first day we motor sailed most of the way (trip was nine hours) to anchor near Panther Key in the Ten Thousand Islands. Pretty quiet day. Rarely saw any other boats on the water. Big news that day was the discovery of a tiny lizard that was our stowaway in the cockpit, Mark spotted a loggerhead turtle near the channel into Marco Island, and we saw so many vultures in the Goodland area. I have never, ever seen anything like this. Straight out of the movie The Birds. They were everywhere...rooftops and trees covered. Bizarre.
On our second day we again motor sailed going from Panther Key to anchor in Little Shark River on the western end of Everglades National Park. This trip was about seven hours which gave us time to settle in after anchoring and enjoy the scenery. The day was absolutely beautiful with very calm waters the whole way. We spotted the lizard again before he did his disappearing act! Mark prepared his delicious pancakes with quinoa for dinner as I was complaining of an uneasy stomach. (works every time!) The weather continued to be slightly cool...but much warmer than at home! We had a good bit of rain during the night with some wind. Little affect on our anchorage as we were pretty tucked in.
Our last leg of this journey was eight hours to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. Years ago I thought Marathon was the name of the island. Once we began coastal cruising, I found out that the city of Marathon is spread out over several little islands in the middle of the Florida Keys. This day we managed to turn off the motor and sail for a little while. Really enjoyed the quiet with only the noise of the water lapping. At one point while motor sailing, we had to slow down and go into neutral while a large catamaran crossed right in front of us. What are the chances in this vast Florida Bay that two boats are on a course to run into each other?! Pretty unlikely considering how few boats we have seen out here. The crab pots were thick though. At first, we didn't see too many. We fantasized that this trend would continue. Ha! No such luck. It was a crab pot obstacle course for hours.
We dropped anchor about 3 pm in a nice spot on the northeast side of the mooring field, City Marina, Boot Key Harbor. Some friends on another Gemini are here on a mooring ball and had let us know ahead of time about this good spot. We went into the office expecting to pay for a week's stay to begin with. Found out that weekly packages are no longer offered, so we paid for a month. We don't typically stay in one place for a month, but this is a great area to do just that! Our first night here we took the dinghy in and ran across the street to Upper Crust Pizza. The food is delicious there and very convenient to the marina (we've been three times in the last five days.) We had dessert!! The owner makes a dessert of the week and also key lime pie. We had the oreo cheesecake because she recommended it. Wow. Yummy. It was more like the cream inside of a cannoli and less like a typical cheesecake flavor. It had been one week and one day since our last dessert. We loved every last bite.
On our first full day here Friday, January 15, Mark did our normal boat maintenance routine. I did laundry which is always such a great feeling for me. Pretty sure Mark feels the same way about his maintenance tasks. You have to enjoy the little things in life! We took the dinghy to Burdine's and ate way too much. It's a ritual there to start with a basket of french fries. It's big enough for four people to share. We only had two people. haha In the afternoon we rode our bikes to Publix and restocked a few items. Rounded out our day by taking advantage of the marina showers. aaaah warm water.
That evening got a little crazy to say the least. We awoke at midnight to our anchor watch alarm beeping. Sounded like blaring to me. A rain storm was going through with strong winds from the west. Delilah started dragging anchor. We are anchored fairly close to the edge of the mooring field and have several neighboring boats anchored all around us. I know we aren't actually as close as it appears when onboard. However, it was an extremely stressful night. I was at the helm keeping us in position best I could. Mark was on the bow pulling up the anchor to reset it. The wind, the dark night, the noise of the engine, and the rain all contributed to a near nervous breakdown for me. Any hand signals Mark and I usually have to communicate were not effective in the dark. Yelling to communicate was in order. The crying happened later. It took Mark two attempts and he got the anchor reset. We were up most all of the night monitoring the anchor. We were able to get some rest after Mark dropped a second anchor. Our main anchor is a Delta plow and he set our Danforth fluke anchor for the second one. They each hold in a different way. We finally relaxed a little and got a couple hours of sleep.
Saturday was difficult. We were both exhausted. Still very windy day so we didn't feel comfortable leaving the boat. I called Marathon Marina to see if we could get a slip for a couple of nights. They were full. I cried. A lot. My dad's oldest brother used to call it the Houchin waterfalls. Apparently this is a hereditary condition. ;) Mark spoke to our friends on Links (the other Gemini) and they discussed anchoring in the Keys. Speculation is that the anchor got clogged in the grassy bottom and with the violent shift of wind from the west, the anchor then began to drag. It was a drag all right. Much later that afternoon, the wind settled down and we were able to leave the boat to eat at Upper Crust Pizza. We both had pasta instead of pizza. We weren't disappointed. That evening while playing Rummy, we discussed my level of stress while cruising. It helps me to talk it out. Mark is very patient with me - he's heard it all before. We were feeling pretty comfortable with the two anchors. Especially since Mark and our friend moved the second anchor to a better location. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to calm down enough to sleep without taking taking something.
It's now Sunday. A good night's sleep really makes a difference! We filled out day with lots of activities. We went to Marathon Community Park next door and played Bocce ball (Mark was victorious). They have two courts there, along with lots of other amenities. We rode our bikes to the 7 Mile Bridge which I think is about five miles from the marina. Lunch was at Keys Fisheries where we saw a manatee. We stopped in at the Turtle Hospital. It was pretty crowded so we plan to book a tour another day. We went to bed early and both rested well.
On Monday, January 18, Mark got up early and put in three hours on his computer job. I lazed around waiting for our lunch break! We went to Stuffed Pig and had breakfast for lunch. When we returned to the boat, we prepped for another big blow coming our way. Our friend came over in his dinghy with another Danforth anchor. Yes, we decided to put down a third anchor. We haven't used more than one anchor before this trip. Quite a new experience for us. This wind is supposed to stick around for a few days. It will be such a relief to be on a mooring ball. That can't happen soon enough!
We will stay in touch. Probably next blog post will be after we're secured to a mooring ball. WooHoo!
Stay happy, friends!
Heading to the Keys...
12 January 2021
Mark & Kim Hayes
On a quiet morning sprinkled with rain, we set out for warmer temperatures. We have spent the last six nights at Ft. Myers Beach mooring field. Today we are making our way south down the coast to Marathon in the Middle Keys. With luck we might be able to pick up a mooring ball at Boot Key Harbor. There is usually a fairly long waiting list this time of year. I called a few days ago and only six boats in our size range were waiting. Fingers crossed that number hasn't gotten too much higher!
We were in Pelican Bay on our last blog post. We left there Wednesday morning, January 6. The day was cool with enough breeze to motor sail. On our way, we saw lots of wildlife. Always such a pleasure. There was a large fleet of brown pelicans diving for breakfast and later a really big pod of white pelicans lazing on a sandbar. I actually looked up what a group of pelicans are called. There are many names such as pod and squadron and if diving for food together, they are called a fleet. So there you go, you're welcome. ;) We got a kick out of an osprey carrying an enormous stick to his nest above a channel marker. Best of all, we saw four dolphins putting on a show. We passed a double-decker tour boat and the dolphins were playing in front of the bow of the boat. They were so graceful and seemed to really be enjoying themselves! I got a couple of photos. A little fuzzy but still able to see the beauty of the dolphins. We continued to see dolphins on our five-hour trip but nothing quite as impressive as the show for the tour boat!
When we arrived at Ft. Myers Beach, we were assigned mooring ball #6. Wow! We couldn't believe our luck to be up front so close to the dinghy dock and amenities. Picking up the mooring ball was very smooth this time. Wind and current were in sync as were Mark and I. He scoops up the pennant for the mooring ball with me driving the boat. We prefer to use hand signals instead of attempting to communicate by yelling. I'm sure our neighbors in the mooring field appreciate this. Although on second thought, some people enjoy watching an uncomfortable exchange. Yikes.
Next we put Delilah back in order and then took the dinghy in to take advantage of the showers. WooHoo! Dinner was lovely at Parrot Key (Salty Sam's Marina) and we splurged on dessert. Fried banana cheesecake with pelican poop ice cream was so delicious. We made a pact to only have dessert once a week. So far so good. Well, so far so depressing. ha ha
The next day (Thursday, January 7) Mark cleaned up our folding bikes and took them ashore. We rode bikes to Bowditch Point and checked out the beach. Didn't do much walking as Mark is struggling with a sore right knee. Hopped back on the bikes and went a couple miles south for lunch at The Charros Brothers. Then we walked on the boardwalk trails at Matanzas Pass Preserve. Last time we were here, the Preserve was closed. Apparently they were improving the trails because this boardwalk looked very new. When we returned to the boat, we called the office and requested to move further out into the east mooring field. Crazy. But Mark was getting a very poor computer connection and at times would even lose connection altogether. We thought it might be because we were so close to the bridge and various other interferences. We've never had connection trouble in past years moored back in the east field. Moving was necessary as Mark had a project at work that was a priority.
Friday was fairly quiet for us. Dock-master was able to get Delilah's holding tank pumped out before the projected strong winds. Mark worked a full day at his computer job. I worked on our grocery list. Seems I'm constantly doing an inventory of our provisions. Some might say I've got a bit of OCD. We got off the boat for lunch and to stretch our legs. We were both dragging a bit. The night before was as much awake time as sleep time. Delilah was fighting a losing battle to keep away from our mooring ball. Instead of the wind keeping us a nice distance from the ball, the current was much stronger in the opposite direction. This caused the mooring ball to constantly bang along the sides of Delilah. Not being prejudiced, the ball would bang on one side and the other. Also the line from the ball to the cleats on the boat would rub along our front stays. Sometimes even the little mast on top of the mooring ball would get hooked up in the spinnaker track stays and make a strange clang when released. These noises aren't bothersome in the cockpit or on deck, but believe me, they sound pretty mean when trying to sleep inside the boat right near the entire mooring ball set up. Grrrrr. We played Scrabble (instead of Rummy). Mark had an excellent game. He had two bingos! Reminiscing I'm getting some nice feelings about his skill and luck with the tiles. That night while I was getting tromped, not so much.
The next day we went to shore again for lunch off the boat. Sat up on the top deck at The Whale. Very, very breezy but such a great view! Since it was so windy, we decided to stay on Delilah the rest of the day. Mark had gotten up really early to get in his work hours so he did some maintenance work around the boat. Then we sat together and looked over the charts. Talked about where we wanted to go and when. The weather looked to consistently be about 10 degrees warmer at night down in the Keys. No brainer. That evening we played 6-card Golf. We prepared for a really cold evening. Mark got out his sleeping bag and I doubled up on blankets!
On Sunday, we woke up to 53 degrees inside Delilah. Think the temp was about 46 outside. Pretty darn cold. We took the dinghy in fairly early so I could get started on laundry. Mark returned to the the boat and continued working his day job. I am always so happy to have the laundry done. Everything feels fresh again! We picked up our groceries in the early afternoon. Been using Instacart. Groceries get delivered to us in the parking lot of Matanzas Inn office and we dinghy them back to the boat. This system has worked really well for us. The absolute convenience of this costs a little bit more than if we took the shuttle bus to Publix. Thank goodness Mark is able to work part-time from wherever we are! Sunday night is pasta night at Island View Restaurant - top of Lani Kai hotel. We arrived a little early, so hungry. Our server had been so busy that day, she didn't even realize it was time for the special menu. I think we surprised her! We sat right by the window which afforded us a fantastic view of the sunset. We could see a large sand sculpture of a mermaid on the beach below. So many people were stopping to take photos with the mermaid. It was fun people watching! The evening would have been perfect, except two couples were yelling their conversation loud enough to be disturbing. We've done really well with staying outside to eat or being very far away other diners. In this case, they were in the booth behind us with the tall plastic partition above the booth backs. Too close for comfort in many ways.
Our last day ashore on Monday, we decided to lunch again at The Charros Bros. Their food is so fresh and delicious. Our new favorite is vegetarian tostados. Yum yum yummy! We walked again around Matanzas Pass Preserve. We spent most of the day preparing for travel. I cleaned the boat while Mark completed a long to do list getting Delilah ready. I rationalized that since we would be eating all meals on the boat for the next few days, we should also eat dinner out. Went to Original Shrimp Dock Bar & Grill at Salty Sam's. Food there has been hit or miss for us over the years. That night was a definite hit! We both ordered portobello mushroom tacos at the suggestion of our server. She was adorable and oh so right about the tacos! Played Rummy as we do most nights. Went to bed way early. Knew we wanted to get an early start heading south the next day.
So here we are. It's Tuesday and we dropped the mooring ball at 6:40 this morning. Dolphins were eating in groups of two all along our way out of the channel from Ft. Myers Beach out to the Gulf. We've been underway for a few hours. Very little wind so we are motoring. The weather continues to be a light drizzle. Hopefully we'll go all the way to Panther Key to anchor this evening. Then on to Little Shark River the next day and Boot Key Harbor the following day, Thursday, 14th.
Stay safe, friends!
And so it begins... Season 6
05 January 2021 | Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa, Florida
Mark & Kim Hayes
Just like that we're floating again. Doesn't seem possible. Last season we came home four weeks early due to the pandemic. Things were closing fast behind us as we were racing to get back to the boatyard and eventually home to be safe. After nine months of uncertainty and a lot of isolation, we decided to practice social distancing while cruising on Delilah!
This season we tried out a new pre-launch schedule. Mark spent two weeks in the boatyard during November. I joined him for one week along with our daughter and granddaughter visiting from London. We had made the decision not to gather with all of our daughters and their families for Thanksgiving. Therefore, I had a great need to get out of town. We completed as much boat prep as possible with plans to return after Christmas and do a quick finish to be ready to launch. This was a great success! Delilah was the first boat to go into the water Monday morning when Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage staff returned from holiday break!
Our experience through the self-operated lock into Charlotte Harbor was easy breezy. Whew! Always a bit nerve racking. The anticipation is much worse than the execution. Speaking of anticipation, Mark was so excited to get out into the "big" water that we blew right past the step to close the lock on the harbor side. Going through the lock, Mark is at the helm and I operate the gate controls at the lock. So after many hand motions and much yelling on my part, Mark finally realized what I was saying and we backed up. Off to a great start!!
We had a favorable wind and sailed for a bit heading to Pelican Bay. Lunch was kale slaw and leftover pizza. This is actually the first time I have ever eaten cold pizza. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to dining outside of my comfort zone. haha
It was a truly beautiful day - we took advantage of our auto pilot and ate out on the front deck. Just about anything would have tasted good. We arrived mid-afternoon, anchored, and took a big, relaxing breath. It's so quiet and peaceful here. Not as many boats anchored as we usually see. Maybe because this is about two weeks earlier than our typical schedule. Mark took a test drive in the dinghy while I prepared spaghetti and salad for dinner. After playing a few rounds of rummy, we were asleep shortly after 9 pm. The first day is exhausting.
The air this morning was crisp and clear. I baked cinnamon rolls. Very yummy. Then we rushed around to dinghy in to shore and walk to the beach off of Cayo Costa State Park. When we first arrived at the beach, not another person to be found. I can't really describe how calming it is for us to see the vast gulf off an island that has no vehicle access and few inhabitants. We are blessed and grateful for these opportunities. We walked about a mile south down the beach to a pretty inlet. I'm sure Mark will post photos showing the inlet and our treasures found along the way. We initially agreed that on this walk gathering shells was not necessary. Easier said than done. Besides, a perfectly good white bucket washed ashore right in front of us. Serendipitous. We used the bucket to carry our priceless treasures (shells, coral, smooth sand dollars). The return walk was peppered with fellow beach worshipers who got a later start than us. Once back on Delilah, we shared a smorgasbord lunch consisting of apples with peanut butter, cottage cheese and tomato, broccoli and carrots with hummus, and also avocado with chips.
Now Mark is catching up on computer work for his day job (he usually averages 10 hours of work a week while cruising). And I am recording our very first blog post for 2021! More to come as we venture along.
Stay healthy, friends.
The 5th Season aboard Delilah ends
06 April 2020
Mark & Kim Hayes
The "world" has changed since we started season 5 on Delilah as you all well know. The COVID-19 related restrictions in SW Florida made the decision for us to head back to the boat yard 4 weeks earlier than normal. Also we were feeling the need to get back home to be near family. We are back home now and sheltering in place like most. It is very difficult to be home and not visiting with our children and grandchildren.
Our season started a little later than normal as we flew to London, England for the birth of Sloane our 12th grandchild on January 2nd! Then the COVID-19 virus caused us to leave early. Although it was a shortened season we still did a lot, had some new experiences, spent some time with friends and family, and even squeezed in some great sailing. Our confidence aboard Delilah increases every year and now we seem to be at the point where we don't hesitate to try new things.
Here are some of the highlights of this season ...
* enjoying quiet time in Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa State Park
* crossing Florida via the Okeechobee Waterway and spending time in Stuart Florida, Peck Lake, and Jupiter Island beach
* hosting game night with friends from the boatyard while moored at Fort Myers Beach (game we hadn't played before called Tenzi)
* getting to know two couples aboard Links and Sea Quest, Delilah's sister ships (taught them 6 card golf card game)
* spending quality time with family at Marco Island
* a close encounter with a loggerhead turtle who didn't hear Delilah approaching under sail
* watching two dolphins playfully swimming around Delilah moored at Naples City Dock
* spending time in the 10,000 Islands south of Marco Island, especially White Horse Key
* several days of perfect weather for our return sail to the boat yard
It was little scary and sad to see our close friend's season aboard Osprey shortened due to serious health issues. Hopefully next year will be better for Osprey. It was also sad to say goodbye to several "seasoned" couples this year in the boatyard deciding it was time to sell their boats. At the same time I witnessed a younger man's excitement as he purchased an older model of our boat that has been sitting unused for over 5 years two boats down from Delilah. The boat will take a lot of TLC to get back to cruising shape. He asked if I thought he could sail it to the Bahamas and I said definitely! :)
best wishes to everyone during this difficult time ... until next season,
Mark & Kim
Back at Fort Myers Beach
29 February 2020
Mark & Kim Hayes
In our last post on February 15th Delilah was tied to mooring ball #10 at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart on the east coast of Florida. The next day we headed back to Fort Myers Beach on the west coast via the Okeechobee Water Way (OWW). We motored away from the marina's fuel dock at 10:30am after pumping out the holding tank. It's best to start a passage with an empty holding tank! We went through St. Lucie lock without an issue. It was a pretty day and we motor sailed with the genoa unfurled. We averaged 5.7 knots per hour. Not bad for Delilah, but it is early in the season and her hulls were still clean. We saw several horses next to the shore standing in the canal. One appeared to be kicking the water back onto himself. As we neared the Port Myaka lock on the east side of Lake Okeechobee there was a large boat already in the spot where we planned to anchor for the night. I was afraid there wasn't enough room for two boats. The downside of the OWW is the limited number or anchorages. We continued on and motored through the open Port Myaka lock in a short rain shower. We looked back and saw a bright, full rainbow. We motored south down the shore of the lake and anchored for the night. The weather forecast was good and we decided to take a chance even though what we read said it gets pretty choppy so don't do it. Kim made salmon patties for supper and every thing looked great. Our luck didn't last long the wind shifted to the south and the waves picked up. It was a lumpy night and we didn't get much sleep, but the anchor held. They were right, we were wrong, another lesson learned the hard way. :)
Finally at 5am we decided give up trying to sleep, got the boat ready and headed across the lake. Note - there was nothing to run into and we use a Garmin GPS chart plotter to keep us pointed in the right direction. We used red lights inside the boat to avoid messing up our night vision. There was some moonlight and the eastern sky soon lightened behind us. The wind and waves slowed to almost nothing leaving us with a smooth trip across the lake. What a difference from the previous night and also from our previous lake crossing heading east. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we saw several white pelicans. It took us 3 1/2 hours to cross the lake. On the other side we turned north headed up the canal toward Moore Haven. We saw lots of alligators, most seemed smallish probably under 6 feet. There was not much traffic and we went through the Moore Haven lock (2 foot drop) and tied up at an empty Moore Haven city dock at noon. It was a little early to stop, but we didn't want to push our luck with little sleep from the previous night. We cleaned up and walked a mile to Joey's and devoured a salad and pizza. Back at the boat I siphoned diesel from 2 yellow 5 gallon plastic jugs into Delilah's two 18 gallon tanks using a shaker siphon hose. I use a funnel that has fine screen and it also designed to catch any water before it goes into the tanks. We cleaned the cockpit and put on the screen enclosure to keep out the bugs. I hooked up to shore power, charged everything up and then put it away, for a fast get away the next morning. We took showers, ate a light supper, and played rummy so we wouldn't go to bed before 8pm!
Up early we left the dock at 6:30am with just enough light to see. There were some patches of fog at first, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. We used the genoa when possible. Thankfully the genoa sail is easily rolled out when needed and then back in. A lady standing at edge of the Ortana Lock videoed Delilah. Kim yelled to her our phone number and she texted Kim the videos. It is fun to be able to see what it looks like from her view. Kim made waldorf salad with chickpeas for lunch. The day warmed up and Kim wore her bikini and worked on her tan. She is only willing to do this with no one around! We made good time, mostly above 5.5 knots. When we arrived at the north Fort Myers anchorage between the power plant and I75 bridge we saw another boat had the same idea and got there first ... grrrr. This is a very small spot to anchor. So we kept on going deciding to anchor at Glover Bight. I could not get the anchor to hold at Glover Bight, must be mud. Thought about switching to a different anchor known for its holding in mud, but I was running out of energy. Kim called Matanzas Inn and they had balls open in the mooring field at Fort Myers Beach. We decided to head to FMB. Arriving after dark, we picked up ball #36 without an issue at 7:50pm. We were lucky that there was no boat traffic and little wind and current. After 13 hours of motoring we were exhausted. We had a bowl of cereal and went to bed.
We spent the next few days relaxing and catching up with friends at FMB, including our Kokomo, IN friends from Osprey who were staying at their friend's Cape Coral condo while he continued to build strength after his emergency head surgery. The majority of our boating friends are from Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage (CHBS) where we store our boats. The friendships built at CHBS are close and supportive at all times, but especially when one of us is sick. Everyone in position to help did willing and happily. For instance some who were still in the boatyard drove Osprey's car down to Fort Myers so they could use it. Our friend's boating season is over, he needs to get back to Indiana to meet with doctors. He was feeling well enough to take Osprey back to the boatyard from FMB. He asked if I would go with him on this 8 hour trip. We shared time at the wheel and had a nice sail north anchoring outside the South Gulf Cove lock. We got up at 2am and had no issues getting through the lock at a rising high tide. In fact we didn't bump the bottom the whole way back to the CHBS dock. You have to consider this when your boat's draft is 6 feet. Kim and I stayed with our friends for a couple days helping with some of the heavy lifting chores. Soon they will be done putting Osprey up and driving home. Hopefully next season will be better for Osprey.
Kim and I are back on Delilah at FMB on ball #36. We considered heading south, before she flew back home for her week with Brynn attending ISBVI, but decided against it. She moved her flight to an earlier date so that she could attend the state gymnastics meet for another one our granddaughters. We are back to a more normal swing of things in the mooring field ... pun intended! The next big plans are for me to sail Delilah south to Marco Island to be close our oldest daughter's family who will be spending a week there on spring break. Kim will be flying down with them when they come.
Fair winds and following seas,
Mark & Kim aboard S/V Delilah
A walk on the beach ...
15 February 2020
Mark & Kim Hayes
A lot has happened since our last post just a week ago. On the 9th we rented a car and drove to Fort Myers to visit our close boating friends from Kokomo in the hospital. He had 4 holes drilled into his skull, but was recovering nicely and as of this writing has already been released from the hospital. We had a nice visit and took her with us to Bahama Breeze for supper for a quick break from the hospital grind. The trip to Fort Myers took us around Lake Okeechobee and roughly along the same path we came over in the boat. We even had to wait at the Ft. Denaud swing bridge and watched a sailboat motor through. It was an interesting drive through central Florida with lots to see. We wish he gets well soon and has a full recovery. We took a different route back to Stuart via Naples, Alligator Alley and Ft. Lauderdale. It was definitely longer, but interstate all the way. We took advantage of the rental car and went to the grocery store and Stuart beach before returning it the next day.
Back on Delilah tied to mooring ball #10 in the Sunset Bay Marina mooring field in Stuart on the St. Lucie river. We continued to enjoy our time in Stuart. Eating out more than necessary of course and trying without much success to avoid the dessert menu! In the evenings we usually play scrabble, rummy, or 6 card golf. Lately Kim is winning at scrabble and I am winning at cards. We don't have TV on our boat and don't seem to miss it. We rarely get to bed later than 9pm. The Sunset Bay Marina is by far the nicest and best run marina we have encountered. We stayed about 8 days waiting for the winds to die down a little before continuing our trip.
On Tuesday morning February 11th we took our last nice "Marina" shower for a while, waited for the boat's holding tank to be pumped out, and motored away from ball #10. It was a short trip only about 2 1/2 hours down the St. Lucie River and then south on ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) to Peck Lake where we anchored for the next 4 days. There were several boats already there, but it is a large anchorage, and we anchored on the north end where it gets down below 4 feet at low tide. Peck Lake is in the Hobe Sound Nature Preserve next to Jupiter Island. I quickly got the dinghy down and we dinghied over, beached the dinghy, and walked a short path across Jupiter Island to the beach on the Atlantic coast. It was a beautiful sunny day and the ocean was blue and the waves were crashing in on the windy day. We walked down the beach and thought how this was possible by taking Delilah across Florida on the Okachoobee waterway (OWW). It seems like no matter how stressed you are a walk on the beach cures it.
The next three days we watched boats come and go from the anchorage and we just relaxed and enjoyed. We had some strong wind, but our trusty delta anchor held (knock on wood). We got on the beach early to get sunrise pictures. There were clouds on the horizon which delayed things a bit, but made for pretty pictures of sun rays through the clouds. Check out the photo gallery on the blog for the results. I started collecting shells with a hole in them. My idea is that our multitude of grandkids (12) will be able to make shell mobiles hung by string from drift wood I also collected. I made one for our boat and gets lots of compliments! The nights at anchor were great we could hear the roar of the surf. Kim made great meals and we used the grill for the first time this season.
All good things must come to an end, Yesterday morning before sunrise we raised anchor and motored back in a light fog to ball #10 at Sunset Bay Marina. Yes it was still open ... do mooring balls miss you ... probably not. We saw several dolphins on the trip, but they won't hold still long enough to be photographed. The first thing we did on return was to hit the showers! Back to civilization and restaurants. Yesterday and today we are preparing for our return trip to Fort Myers across the OWW. If things go as planned we will be tied to a FMB mooring ball Wednesday the 19th. We are notorious for changing our plans. For example we planned on staying longer over here on the East coast but just felt it is time to head back. In the next post you will read what really happened!
Fair winds and following seas,
Mark & Kim aboard SV Delilah