28 March 2020 | BOOT KEY HARBOUR
02 January 2020 | Dinghy Dock area
30 November 2019 | Boot Key Harbour
29 November 2019 | Crossing Florida Bay
28 November 2019 | Entering Big Marco Pass
25 November 2019 | Sunset in Cayo Costa
25 November 2019 | Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage
14 June 2018 | Ninette, Manitoba
15 December 2017 | OLD PHOTO 2013 TAKEN BY STEVE PATERSON
04 December 2017 | Mooring Field, Fort Myers Beach
02 December 2017 | Photo of Punta Rassa bridge with Fort Myers Beach skyline in the background
25 November 2017 | South of Pine Island
24 November 2017 | Cayo Costa State Park, Pelican Bay
18 November 2017 | Charlotte Harbour Boat Storage
25 March 2017 | Charlotte Harbour Boat Storage
22 March 2017 | INDIAN KEY
SEASON 12 MARCH 2020
28 March 2020 | BOOT KEY HARBOUR
Lynn Bamberger | Sunny & Warm
We have been listening to NPR (National Public Radio) every morning and hearing about the new Corona Virus. Typically, we head back after the Seafood Festival which is still scheduled for March 14 and 15 although many public events are being cancelled further north. There is a lot of “chatter” on the daily VHF Cruisers’ Net. The grocery stores are running out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. We start watching for a weather window, but another northerly front is forecast for March 7 & 8.
In the first week of March, we hosted a Happy Hour on MIDORI with new Canadian friends Jim & Linda from sv GYPSEA and Colin and Catherine. Dinghy races were held in the harbour on March 3rd. You can see the beautiful photos of the colourful umbrellas in the album. On March 6th, Jim & Linda treat us to a fish fry on their boat just as the next front was brewing.
I am starting to worry……thinking that there is no hospital in Marathon anymore. What if one of us gets sick? When I hear that our Prime Minister has requested that all Canadians should come home as quickly as possible, I realize how serious this is. I WANT TO GO HOME!
We attend the Seafood Festival and try to maintain social distancing. There are hand washing stations set up all over the grounds and hand sanitizer at most of the kiosks. We can tell that attendance is way down. I think we were lucky that the virus had not reached The Keys yet! In retrospect, it was not the wisest thing to do.
Many marinas are starting to take the pandemic seriously and are not accepting new bookings. The Boot Key City Marina is going to be closing the lounge and setting up hand washing stations. The grocery store shelves are getting more bare each day. We start preparing for a departure by topping up our water & fuel supply and running our motors. Others are doing the same - especially the Canadians who need to take their boats to their summer boat yards……..some up the east coast and others, like us, up the west coast of Florida.
A weather window starts to appear. ESE winds are forecast for the upcoming week.
At 7:00 a.m. (dawn) on March 17th, we departed Boot Key Harbour and travelled all the way to Duck Rock off the Ten Thousand Islands. We anchored at 8:00 p.m. (dusk). At dawn on March 18th, we travelled through the Big Marco River out into the Gulf and sailed past Naples and Fort Myers Beach, and anchored at dusk off of Ding Darling National Park. At dawn on March 19th, we travelled from Ding Darling to Charlotte Harbour Boat Storage arriving around suppertime. WE MADE IT IN THREE DAYS! On March 20th MIDORI was hauled out before noon. We then proceeded to put her away for the season in a record four and a half days!
There were very few people in the boatyard and social distancing was recommended so the central gathering place (The Hut) was not the usual happy place to be. Old boat buddies, Steve and Mary Ann arrived on LIVING WELL, but, sadly, we could not do our usual “go out for dinner”. And, we were on a mission to get home.
We left the boatyard at 8:30 p.m. on March 24th and stayed at the Sleep Inn in Port Charlotte. We managed to find decent accommodation following the new protocols (sanitized rooms, bagged breakfast) for the next three nights along the way. Travel during the day was strange as most restaurants were closed. Macdonald’s offered food and bathrooms, but Wendy’s closed their bathrooms. (We had lots of food from the boat anyway.) That left Service Stations and, luckily, Rest Stops were still open, until we got further north.
When we stopped at the border, we were asked to state verbally, i.e. “repeat after me” that we would be going straight home with no stops and self isolating for 14 days.
We arrived in Ninette at 3:00 p.m. on March 28th.
Self isolation was not a problem because WE WERE EXHAUSTED!
In follow up to my Facebook post, friends Erich and Barb offered to pick up and drop off groceries to us. We gratefully accepted their kind offer.
SEASON 12 FEBRUARY 2020 (BOOT KEY HARBOUR)
29 February 2020
Lynn Bamberger | Northerly fronts bring rain & cloud and cooler weather
The month of February was as busy as January, starting with February 2nd when we attended a play at the Marathon Playhouse, titled Four Old Broads. It was a hoot! We walked back to the marina and were just in time for the Super Bowl. (We had stashed some snacks and beverages in our dinghy for the event.)
On Wednesday, February 5th we walked a mile and a half to the Yamaha Dealership in order to book an appointment for MIDORI's annual engine service. We then walked across the street to check out Barnacle Baileys for lunch. We were heading back when Brian tripped on some broken sidewalk and sprained his ankle. Ouch! He limped back to the marina where we were able to purchase a bag of ice. We headed back to MIDORI and started the healing process of ice, rest, elevation and ibuprofen. I found some small gel pacs in my first aid supplies which I was able to freeze. I also found a really good ankle brace (from a previous sprain.) This definitely put a damper on Brian's walks and some yoga moves for a couple of weeks!
Friends, Gene & Charlene , sold their boat while in Boot Key. This was a good thing and a bad thing. Nice to "hand over the keys" while in the water and not have to worry about returning to the boatyard, but they needed to remove all their personal belongings and rent a vehicle to take them and their stuff back to their car at the boatyard on the West coast of Florida. Their last season on the boat was cut short, but they were pleased to have good buyers. We wish them well in their new adventures! We helped dinghy their belongings to the marina dock and waved goodbye on February 15th.
We attended The CoralHead Music Festival at the City Park on Feb. 15th.
On Feb. 19th we left the mooring ball at 8:00 a.m. and drove MIDORI up the canal to the Marathon Boat Yard where she was hauled out for engine service. In the past, when MIDORI was in the Charlotte Harbour Boat Yard, we had to take the motors off and transport them to a certified Yamaha dealership. Over the past few years, we have determined that it is easier for us to have the boat hauled out of the water and have the service provided in Marathon. We were back on the mooring ball by 5:00 p.m.
On Feb. 22nd we attended the Hemp and Arts Festival in City Park.
Canadian sailing friends from our boatyard, Catherine and Colin arrived in the second last week of February on sv FLYING SAUCER . Sundowners were enjoyed on our trampoline. A few days later we were invited to their boat for dinner. Their plan is to attend the big Nautical Flea Market in Islamorada on Feb. 22nd, before heading up the Keys for a possible jump over to the Bahamas. But first, they will have to wait out a northerly front coming through February 27 - 29.
It has been another month of memorable moments.
SEASON 12 JANUARY IN BOOT KEY HARBOUR
01 February 2020
Lynn Bamberger | SUNNY & WARM
My monthly calendar is filled with events, routines, get togethers and boat chores:
For the third year in a row, Brian participated in the Polar Bear Plunge on January 1st and later on that day we enjoyed tasting chilli at the Chilli Cook Off. We are so lucky to be located next to the City Park where we have gone to the Conch Records Music Festival and the Celtic Festival this month. We caught a performance by "Lady A" at Dockside, but were disappointed not to get to see "Fiddle Rock". We love going to the Marathon Theatre to see the latest movies. It's air-conditioned, and we can have cold draft beer with our popcorn! We enjoyed being able to participate in the Nautical Flea Market organized by the boaters in the Harbour where we exchanged some DVD's and found some boat hardware. We walked to the Marathon Garden Club for their Open House and enjoyed the creations by Artisans and Crafters. Happy Hours with pot luck appetizers at the Tiki Hut have been most enjoyable this year with jazz entertainment by a husband and wife who have a boat in the harbour. Sunday breakfasts at the Legion are a must!
We are doing Yoga in the Park two days per week and walking three miles a day. Most days, the walk includes our favourite salad lunch at Wendy's. We are feeling more fit and losing weight.
We are enjoying the company of friends Gene & Charlene on motor vessel TWOCAN who arrived on January 1st. Happy Hours, walks, Bocce, meals out, meals aboard and quite a few games of FARKLE. We were pleased to meet their daughter and her boyfriend who came from the "north" to Florida for a week's holiday!
We have also made some new friends, like Bill from sailing vessel CYBELE, Sheila & Jeff on SV NAUTILUS and Donna & David on a Gemini Catamaran OFF DUTY.
At the end of January, friends Vernon and Pam cruised down to Marathon for a week's stay at the BlackFin Resort. We enjoyed a couple of meals out with them, including fresh peel & eat shrimp at the new Sparky's location. (The old Sparky's was destroyed during the last Hurricane).
I enjoyed playing Bocce because I was able to play fairly well. Brian and I also enjoyed some happy hour meals at Overseas Bar and Grill. The happy hour appetizers and drinks make for an economical and enjoyable supper.
So far I've listed all the nice stuff, but living on a boat on a mooring ball has some downsides: We are at the mercy of the weather and there have been quite a few northern fronts pass through here in the past few weeks. Wind, rain and cooler temperatures make for an uncomfortable ride in the dinghy. So there have been quite a few days spent aboard reading; listening to the radio; lashing down covers and sails and loose items and checking mooring lines for chafe; monitoring our solar power and battery power; running the back up generator if necessary.
Like owning a home, we can never get away from chores and we never go ashore without having to pack an assortment of things in the dinghy like trash bags and recyclables, water jugs, yoga mats, gasoline containers, shower bags, the grocery cart, laundry bags. And always, we have to be prepared for moisture - either from a sudden rain shower or choppy water.
In review, it has been a very busy month filled with many memorable moments.