Sunrise in Marathon
12 April 2012 | Now in Cayo Costa
EVS: Various but Glorious
As we predicted in our last blog (notice how planning helps), we did go to No Name Harbor from Fort Lauderdale and there met a couple (Imke and Uli) from Bremen, Germany who have been sailing since the early 1990’s in the Baltic, along the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal, through the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, and now up and down the east coast of the USA. Because Van’s family emigrated from the Bremen region, we introduced ourselves and spent several days cruising and dining together. We parted ways in Marathon because (a) they could not comfortably get into and out of the harbor with a 7’ draft and (b) they were going on to Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
While in Marathon, we accomplished lots – all the exterior varnish got three coats, we did laundry, some modest reprovisioning, got haircuts, and we did other odd-jobs on Gratitude. We stayed longer than our custom both to get work done and to be someplace to celebrate Easter. We like the little United Methodist Church near the marina and so we stayed put for the holidays/holy days. Lauren tried to join the choir to sing the Cantata being performed, but we got there too late and they simply could not fit in a new soprano. We enjoyed it from the audience anyway. While in Marathon, we also saw Once Upon A Mattress, a favorite of Carol Burnett fans. Our friend Bill R. is one of the stage directors at the Marathon Community Theater and that was the play he was involved in. Nice theatre and fun productions with local talent. During our entire stay, we only got to see Bill for a brief moment during the intermission of the play as he had company the rest of the time we were there, so we promised him we would visit on our next trip through.
From Marathon, we sailed north, hoping to get to Indian Key, but the winds died so we motored to Plover Key and anchored out. The winds were not forecast to, but came from the west, so we were in the open, but they were light and that kept the bugs at bay. (The Everglades are very buggy at times, which is too bad because there are literally thousands of islands, creeks, and bayous to explore by dinghy.) The next morning, we picked up anchor and headed to Naples, where we anchored in the Port Royale area. One of the smaller homes (a lovely white brick house with an expansive lawn to the water) is in the process of being replaced with a lot-line to lot-line mansion. We wonder whether there will come a time when the current lots and huge houses will be combined and replaced with even bigger places. It is hard to imagine needing more than 10-15,000 square feet! The final leg of our trip north was to Cayo Costa, a state park just inside the Boca Grande Pass. It is one of our favorite places and always the first and last stops on our voyages. It is unspoiled, undeveloped, with lovely walking trails, miles of beaches, wildlife, and quiet. This morning, after sanding and varnishing the interior frames for the four deck hatches, we took a dinghy ride and then went ashore, went to the Gulf side, walked the beaches, and just sat and relaxed.
Just as our trip is winding down, so too are our stores. Lauren does an excellent job of planning ahead, provisioning for all occasions (even to corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day), but the one thing that messes up the plans is freshly caught fish. While we have not caught any lately (we do not have FL licenses), we still have fish in the freezer from the Bahamas. Tonight, we celebrated with Mahi Mahi courtesy of Annie at Sampson’s Cay (see blog for March 14). We doubt we will be down to franks and beans, but they are available should the need arise.
Tomorrow, Friday, we intend to get under way by about 10:00 am, go to Burnt Store to fill our fuel tanks, and then head to the lock to enter the canal system to the boat storage yard. We hope to be there by about 4:00, in time for the evening festivities. While it is sad to end the trip, going back to Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage is special and eases the pain. The folks there (boaters, owners, and workers alike) are terrific and worth a visit on their own. After several days decommissioning and laying out the work needed to prepare Gratitude for our next cruise, we will start the drive home visiting family and friends en route and gradually reclaiming our shore life. Whether this will be our last post of the trip, we do not know, but we send our best wishes and hopes for Spring to each and all just in case.