returning to Key West, Marathon & Miami
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
IMAGE – images
After a bit on an on/off sailing from Mexico we arrived into Key West on Tuesday 20th just as the forecast northerlies really started to kickin – these dam northerlies have been unusual and really persistent so far this season.
As we had visited Key West on our way south in January 2017 we knew that the town anchorage was very open and really only a good weather anchorage. Due to the strong northerlies forecast for the next few days we decided to anchor off Stock Island for some good land protection – this proved to be a very good decision.
Again, knowing the island layout and the bus transport system from our last visit made our check-in day on Wednesday 21st easy and hassle free. The strong northerlies made the day temperature comfortable for walking around to the various bus stops, customs and immigration office, shops etc – but the nights were chilly and we needed blankets!
Now back in the USA we could get our various boat purchases arranged as we still had lots of jobs on our list to be completed. Getting parts etc was impossible in Guatemala and also difficult and expensive in Mexico. We also had a few days to get ourselves and the boat ready for Vibeke arrival on Sunday.
Just by chance on the morning of Friday 23rd Russell and Lynne on Blue Highway came past - how amazing to see them HERE of all places – we had intended to look them up when we were further along the Keys in Marathon – where they now live. We last met up in January 2017 – but 1st met these guys in Gibraltar in 2000. There were here in Stock Island to haul the boat and do some maintenance jobs. Friday afternoon we all met for a good old catch-up and chat, and met up again at the local seafood restaurant for dinner on Saturday 24th evening.
Due to poor communication and bad planning Vibeke arrived to us in Key West at 2am on Sunday 25th. Thankfully by Sunday the cold weather and the northerlies had passed and we were able to sailing around to the main anchorage off Key West town. We had 5 enjoyable days in Key West showing Vibeke the sights, bars and restaurants and enjoying the beautiful sunsets. A fun outing for us 2 girls was attended a Cuban/Key West Mojito Masterclass. I love the feel of Key West – and now Vibeke does to.
By Friday 30th is was time to move further along the Keys, and we enjoyed a lovely daysail along the coast to anchor for the night off the hurricane damaged resort at Palm Island Key. The past hurricane season had been brutal for some areas of the Keys – and the damage here on these Lower Keys was stark to see.
I enjoyed a lovely swim around the boat here in Palm Island – my first (and to be my last) here in the USA.
In hot, still weather we arrived in Marathon mid afternoon on Saturday 31st – thankfully on the way into Boot Key Harbour we were able to fill with water and fuel. Just having an extra person onboard makes a big different to our water usage for showers etc.
On our last visit to Marathon in January 2017 we met Harry and Melinda our Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Port Officers and pulled alongside on the concrete dock outside their home. The hurricane had damaged their home and the canalside dock where they usually kept their boat, and they have spent the last few months getting everything back in some sort of liveable order. Thankfully they were able to allow us once again to have La Aventura alongside and enjoy their wonderful hospitality. Having the landside access made it so much easier for us all. We could get on with boat jobs and Vibeke enjoyed her days at the nearby beach resort.
On our arrival in Marathon we were able to make contact with Selin and Dennis from Nice Tri whom we had been with in both Guatemala and Mexico. We arranged a met-up at Sombrero Beach for Sunday afternoon. They also invited a few other sailors – so everyone enjoyed a lovely afternoon together. Sombrero Beach is such a lovely spot we went back again on Tuesday 3rd April for an early evening BBQ – Vibeke was the bartender and could show off her Mojito making skills learnt at the Mojito Masterclass we had attended together in Key West.
Sunsets over the bayside in Marathon are beautiful – so on Thursday afternoon we enjoyed a local seafood dinner and sunset drinks there with Harry & Melinda.
Friday 6th was a girls day out – Melinda, Vibeke and I went to Key West for the day. We made an early 8am start to ensure that we could combine our day with Melindas early medical appointment and then made a visit to the amazing Key West butterfly conservatory before enjoying lunch together. I have never visited such a conservatory - I could have stayed watching the various butterflies, birds and enjoying the planting for hours.
Saturday 7th we departed Marathon for an overnight sail to Miami. We needed to clear the shallows off Marathon before dark before we could set sail to Miami. Unfortunately motoring through this nasty chop made Vibeke unwell – its never a good thing to make your guest seasick!
We had a lovely overnight trip in light winds with the amazing gulf stream to push us to Miami. Unfortunately Vibeke was unwell and resting in the cockpit so could not share the lovely moonrise and night sail with me on my watches.
We arrived off Miami early on Sunday 8th morning – too early actually, as the 3 knot current in the inlet was still running out. We anchored, had breakfast and looked out across Biscayne Bay at the Miami highrise skyline whilst waiting for the incoming tide.
I love Miami – and to be there in our own boat again is very special indeed – we were last here for New Years Eve 2017. Our arrival up via the cruise ship terminal and into our anchorage spot near the Venetian islands was busy with all sizes of water vessels - boating in Miami means serious money here. Our anchoring spot is very handy for dingy access to the South Beach area.
We only now had a few days before Vibekes departure on Wednesday 11th to enjoy our time together. With James computer a major priority to arrange a repair and both our watches needed repair too - Monday 9th Vibeke went off to explore the beautiful art deco areas of South Beach and we spent a hot day trying to get our stuff sorted.
On Tuesday 10th Vibeke and I enjoyed a day out exploring via public transport around ‘townside’ Miami. We caught a little local trolley bus through Coral Gables, did the Coco Walk, and enjoyed a lovely relaxing lunch in Coconut Gove. The people watching here in Miami is very interesting indeed. A McLaren sports car (worth a mere $U2millon) drove by and stopped long enough for me to get a photo for James – but I don’t know who was driving! For afternoon drinks we headed to Little Havana – the sights, sounds, cigar smells and old guys playing cards and dominos took we right back to Cuba again….. loved it.
It was just on dark as we were getting back to the boat and James was starting to send concerned texts to us, as our return was later than expected. A big thunderstorm had raged through the area in the mid-afternoon and the bay was a little messy and choppy – thankfully James was onboard and all was safe and sound with La Aventura.
After a big and somewhat anxious day – we all showered and got ‘dress up’ for our last night together meal out at a nearby resort restaurant.
Vibeke departed on Wednesday 11th – R & R mission achieved. She was refreshed, had a lovely tan, had enjoyed the beautiful Florida Keys environment of Key West and Marathon and experienced South Beach and Miami.