Part 2 of our Florida Mini Loop starts as we pull anchor and head away from Boot Key Harbor. We said goodbye to the old and new friend we left behind in Marathon, knowing we would see many of them again.
Traveling up the inside of the keys takes routes through many shallow areas we could not have attempted in our sailboat. The advantage is small secluded anchorages and sandy beaches for DeeO'gee. Small towns add to the draw, Islamorada has a dog park near the anchorage and Key Largo had much needed shopping. A few nights spent at John Pennekamp yielded lobster dinners on the grill. Biscay National Park introduced us to Gold Loopers, meaning they has already completed the Great Loop and were flying the gold colored flag.
We enjoyed the views the stilt houses off Key Biscayne, Cape Florida Lighthouse and the bright lights of Miami at night.
In Ft Lauderdale we tied to a dock and took a flight to Cuba. That is a separate blog entry I hope to start soon. Just let me say it was an experience I wanted to complete before changes make travel there more difficult again.
Before we left Ft Lauderdale we had lunch with the previous owner to show off our hard work, receiving gracious compliments from him. It was a great chance to see this very nice man again and thank him for selling us his boat.
The lovely town of West Palm Beach might be one of my favorite city stops. A town dingy dock, free trolly and great casual dining along the waterfront. Reminds me a bit of St Petersburg, my home for a few years and another favorite city stop.
Just as we were arriving back in Stuart a text message revealed that Milwaukee friends were in the area and out boating for the day with relatives. We had anchored off a wide spot on the intracoastal and a party ensued! An unexpected treat with Fritz and Elsa. They visited us again once we reached St Lucie Lock docks.
Not only do we not travel fast but we also do not travel far! Setting our sights on a maximum 2 to 4 hour day, we managed to stretch the 590 miles into a three month journey. A few stats for the trip: 139 engine hours, 267 gallons of fuel, shortest day 1.2 miles and longest day 90 miles (Crossing the Gulf of Mexico from Marco Island to Key West).
Since we have been at the docks at St Lucie Lock we have had several visitors. Childhood friend Phyllis and her husband Kim spent 2 nights with us, Christine and Bruce stopped by for visits and Brenda and Andy got a chance to see our boat while still in the water.
It has been just over 5 months since we splashed and we have a scheduled haul out on the 17th. The time flew by. We expect to be back to splash again in fall and will most likely be on the boat for 10 months or so, or when weather turns cold wherever we are at that time.
People have asked if I enjoyed the sail boat more or the motorhome and now they add the trawler into the equation. I say they are all wonderful, that I wouldn't have missed sailing the Caribbean and anchoring off lovely remote sandy beaches. But I add that the national parks we have visited are no less dramatic and awe inspiring. Lastly or adventures on the Great American Loop will be another unforgettable adventure.
We are so very fortunate!