Back in the Keys
01 December 2018
Since we have been back in Marathon for a month now I thought I should probably update the blog.
We left LA at the end of October to head back to Stuart to put Lilliputian back in the water after a summer on land. We drove from LA to Jacksonville and stopped to visiit with Pat and Joan (Lodestar). They were gracious enough to let us spend the night. Was good to see them again but unfortunately out stay was short. We left the next day and made it to Stuart. We were anxious to see how the boat made it through the summer. Fortunately everything looked good. Inside looked good, no bugs and minimal mildew. The outside just needed a good wash to remove all the boatyard dust. The only casualty was the dinghy cover, it had self destructed from the sun and wind. We spent the next few days doing chores to get the boat ready to launch and unloading the van full of stuff we brought back with us. On Tuesday October 31st we were back in the water. All in all everything went well with leaving the boat for the summer except for the logistics of it being so far from home. Normally we do projects on it during the summer and reprovision for the winter. Now we are having to do all that here in Marathon where things are more expensive and we are without a car. I guess we will have to decide this winter what our plans are for next summer.
After relaunch we went 7 miles downriver and stayed at Sunset Bay Marina for one night then headed south. Since the weather was not ok to go offshore we spent 3 days in the intercoastal waterway. The ICW on the east coast can be very crowded on weekends so wanted to be through it by Friday afternoon. It also has very many bridges, the majority which we cannot go under without opening. The opening schedules are pretty complicated. Some open on demand, some on the hour and half hour, some on the quarter hour, some every 20 minutes. You have to time your arrival carefully or you might have long waits. We went through 14 on day 1, 19 on day 2 and only 9 on day 3. Fortunately there was not much traffic until we reached Ft Lauderdale. Unbeknownst to us the Ft Lauderdale boat show was going on and there were lots of mega yachts taking up half of the ICW as well as water taxis and spectators in all sorts of boats. It was crazy. We had originally planned to anchor near there but decided to keep going to get away from the chaos so we ended up anchoring in Hollywood. That left us with only a short day on Friday. We achored at Key Biscayne by noon and had a nice relaxing afternoon. On Saturday the weather was good for us to head offshore to Rodriguez Key and on to Marathon on Sunday.
Our friends on Vagabond had arrived a few weeks ahead of us and had been keeping us up to date on the mooring ball situation. There are over 100 balls in the harbor but only 15 are for boats over 45 feet. When they arrived there were only 4 mooriing left for our size. Thats one of the reasons we made a fast trip down here. Luckily there were still 3 left when we got here. Thanks Brian and Kelly for the info.
Since we have been here we (mostly David) have been doing lots of projects. The dinghy steering was having an issue, we had to replace a bilge pump, one of our toilet pumps quit working and needed a new impeller, the smaller generator needed a new part, and on and on. There's always something to be done on a boat.
But it has not been all work. We have been catching up with friends. Doing a lot of happy hours and various other activities and a month has flown by since we got here. We plan to stay through Christmas as Nick is coming down for a visit.