La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala

KEY LARGO AND MARATHON

24 January 2017 | shallow water sailing with the keel up - fun!
2ND BLOG POST FOR JANUARY 2017
IMAGE - collage Key Largo & Marathon

Wednesday 11th - it was finally time to leave Miami - we had become very settled here. The stormy northerly weather system has passed through and we had steady easterlies forecasts for the next week of so - perfect sailing wind.

Both our anchors were well in indeed and it took some time to get them up and us moving again. We needed to top up with fuel and water and Miami Beach Marina is the only option in this area. It should have been a short motor - but the main channel was closed to small traffic due to a few cruise ships being in dock - so we had to take the long way round - which involved motoring past 'Downtown' and around to Fisher Island. Now full to overflowing again we set off south via the inside ICW route through Key Biscayne, rather than the ocean side Hawk Channel.

We sailed south of Miami - gliding along with just the genoa in shallow water with the keel up, during the afternoon hours. We arrived at our chosen overnight anchorage at Elliott Key - just 22 miles journey toady by late afternoon. It was a splendid isolation location - and we should have had a great view back to Miami but it was a cloudy and overcast evening.

Thursday 12th - beautiful sailing today through the Biscayne National Park south to Key Largo - 30 miles. Shallow water sailing with the keel up- between 2 and 3 meters in perfect 10 to 18 knots easterly- just under the genoa. The waters were quite with just 1 other yacht and a few sports fishing boats along the route through the labyrinth of mangrove islands. We anchored in the shallows of Tarpon Basin on the sheltered bayside of Key Largo by lunchtime. We both have headcolds - so a quite afternoon onboard. Just a few other yachts in this anchorage - very sheltered and pretty location looking to shore at the wonderful homes and low rise holiday complexes.

Friday 13 -Key Largo. This morning James got the little 2.5hp Mercury outboard engine working - much less hassle than the big dingy engine and fuel tank etc for short distances. We set off to explore ashore and were very pleased with what we found. A safe, secure and sheltered dingy dock with a lovely park - all part of the Munro County Office complex.

It was good to get off and stretch our legs for a walk south towards a shopping complex. The weather is still a little cloudy and not hot at all. At the shopping complex James found some new deck shoes - well needed! We picked up a new IPad charging lead and some fresh milk before heading back to the boat for lunch. The local library was in the shopping complex - very handy indeed for some internet time. After lunch back on-board we headed out again for some internet time. The County Office had Wi-Fi in the foyer area - but not strong and James could not connect to his podcast sites - so we headed back to the Public library. Not good for James, but a faster connection for me to make a skype call to Mum. On our walk back to the dingy dock we passed a busy Fish Restaurant - as it was a Friday we decided to treat ourselves to a fish & chips take-away dinner.

Saturday 14 - after breakfast we motored a little further south through the mangroves just a short distance to another very pleasant Key Largo anchorage. Our late morning entertainment was watching the small boats from the yacht club racing their various classes and courses - looks like a very active club with lots of boats and participants -a great spot for small boat racing on the sheltered bayside waters.

After lunch we went for a walk around Key Largo - a bit sleepy and dated. We walked to the Oceanside to take a look out into the Hawk Channel to Rodriguez Key - it was still blowing 20knots plus from the east so not a good anchorage - we were much better off inside on the calm and quiet bayside. In the tourist canal we came across all the hire sports fishing boats and the historic 1912 wooden African Queen steam driven motor launch. This little boat was used in the famous1951 film starring Katherine Bergman. An enjoyable afternoon walk.

Sunday 15 - after our usual Sunday morning cooked breakfast and a bit of watching the small sailboat racing again on the bay it was time to set off again. In a steady 15 knot easterly we sailed all day with the keel up for another 20 miles to anchor for the night at Lower Matecumbe Key. Splendid isolation again for the night. We had to do a lot of fishing pot dodging today - but nothing like Maine, in northern USA! - that experience will always our pot dodging benchmark for many years to come.

Monday 16 - Under the Channel Five bridge out to the Oceanside today. We had a great sail out into the Hawk Channel for the 20 miles to Marathon in a beautiful 20 knots easterly, warm and sunny day. With the keel up we entered via the Sisters Channel short cut - we entered right on high tide and it was still very shallow off the entrance. It was amazing to see boat tied back to the mangroves in the Channel.

Wow - Boot Key Harbour was FULL of boats on moorings - approx. 250 in total AND boats at anchor! As we arrived we telephone the OCC port officers Harry & Melinda and pulled right onto the dock outside their home - wonderful spot and very convenient indeed. After a swift lunch we headed to West Marine to collect the parts we had pre-ordered - and the system worked well with everything ready and waiting for us.

Next it was off to the City Marina to get the lay of the land and use the internet to skype Mum for her birthday (am OZ time). BUT today was a public holiday - Martin Luther Kings birthday and the marina office was closed as well as all the public offices, banks etc. We parked ourselves outside the marina office and still had a good enough connection to sing Happy Birthday to Mum and collect emails etc - James as happy too - we could access his TV and podcast sights. The B & G display unit that was in Fort Lauderdale for repair has not arrived yet - but all in all a very enjoyable and successful day indeed.

Tuesday 17 - Marathon - food shopping and internet time for me - odd repair jobs on the boat for James. 5pm drinks were on Harry & Melindas porch - a bit of an OCC get together as Kiki & Stefan from Balance we also in Marathon - we had been with them in Green cove Springs. Also Russell & Lyn from Blue Highway now live in Marathon - the last time we saw them was 2000 in Gibraltar! Takeaway Pizza dinner was enjoyed with lots of chatting - a very social and enjoyable night.

Wednesday 18 - Marathon - laundry day for me - internet and chasing our UPS parcel for James.
Thursday 19 - Marathon - 1st thing I headed to the nearby library to check on the UPS delivery - it was on the delivery truck and would come today.... finally at 5pm it arrived! Thankfully Harry & Melinda were very good about this mess-up in the delivery and happy to have us stay on the dock at the front of their home. We had afternoon drinks with Melinda & Harry on their porch.
Melinda had mentioned she enjoyed a good scotch and Talasker was her favourite - we happened to have the same tastes and had a bottle onboard. After a few Talasker, and lots of chat a takeaway Pizza was ordered for dinner.

Friday 20 - decision day - a windy and stormy front was due by Saturday night and then strong westerly winds for the next few days - we wanted to head west to Key West - should we stay here or move on to Key West. M & H agreed we would be safer to stay here on their dock, we were very happy to stay as the anchorage in Key West by all reports can be nasty in westerlies. James reinstalled our electronic display unit - all appears to be OK, but can only really be tested correctly when we are off sailing at sea.

Today was a very social day for us. Russell and Lynn invited us to a weekly cruisers lunch they attend, and M & H invited us to have dinner out with them at a restaurant they attend every Friday night. A lovely day and evening. Boot Key Harbour is home to up to 500 boaters over the winter season - often referred to as 'adult day care' because there are so many boater arranged activities every day and evening to keep the crowds occupied. The city of Marathon runs the harbour and provides excellent moorings and shore-side facilities - on wonder there is always a waiting list for a mooring and when people arrive they never want to leave.

Saturday 21 - Marathon - we headed off to the Marina for a marina boot sale- lots of tat. We spent most of the rest of the day till early afternoon doing internet research for our crossing to Mexico. When we returned to the boat outside Melinda & Harrys home we decided to turn the boat to prepare for the coming weather - to face into the wind rather than the westerly coming right up our tail. Melinda and Harry came onboard for sunset drinks - again enjoyable company indeed.

Sunday 22 - Marathon - the south wind kicked in overnight. After James cooked breakfast, it was time for a walk - 1st to the supermarket and then back to the City Marina for some internet time, and a quick Skype chat with Mum.

Monday 23 - the predicted westerly change came through overnight with an amazing strobe lightning show and 35 knot winds - thankfully we were very safe on the dock. There had been some commotion in the anchorage overnight with 3 boat dragging into the bridge! We were very happy to be able to right out this nasty front safe and sound here with H & M for company - and lots of sailor banter.

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Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti