Today, Friday, finds TARDIS back in Tarpon Basin, off Key Largo, for a front that passed yesterday that brought 25-30k winds from the north Thursday morning. The photo is what a grassy bottom looks like in calm conditions and what we had when we arrived Wednesday afternoon. Grass bottom is tricky and prone to anchor dragging. Well, it did about 8am when the wind picked up and turned 180 degrees from south to north. We quickly weighed anchor and reset in the same spot. It had a bushel basket worth of mud on it. So far, so good. The anchor has not moved in over 24 hours in strong winds. We've been to Tarpon Basin before. This time we anchored on the north side of the ICW in the basin about 100 yards off the north shore and there's allot of boat traffic. We're in the Everglades National Park.
Last night our neighbor stopped came by. He had to get a photo of TARDIS. His 1st two boats in the 60's were named the same. What fun! His daughter still owns the first one, 1963 26' sloop.
Windley Key - Oceanview Pub
Tuesday TARDIS made a return visit to Oceanview Pub since we liked it so much. They actually welcome cruisers here! Make it easy to dock your dinghy, place to put trash and outside seating with very reasonable prices for really good grub.
Cool boats in the anchorage. This one might look well used but it sports new canvas and rigging and the sailor works on it all day, every day as far as we can tell.
Islamorada - North shore
TARDIS spent two nights off the north shore. This time we anchored at the north end of the anchorage to give us more space and less boat traffic. It's still a runway for seaplanes. That's not a boat at the bar!
We didn't go to Lorelie's this trip but went to Key Brewery instead, two times actually. Their craft beer is good. They use food trucks for variety, and the beer garden is great. Entirely different experience each time we were there. There's a public launch ramp that works well for cruisers, although crowded. Wish we had wheels for Space Patrol to get her off the beach.
Key Brewery has many things interesting things growing in their beer garden.
And scary, too.
The Upper Keys has a 20nm stretch of shallow waters. Sometimes you can only go at high tides. The tide change is under a foot along here. While it doesn't seem much, it makes a huge difference. At the shallowest spot was 5'3" at mid time that we saw. TARDIS draw's 4'8" fully loaded. If there are waves, you can see how difficult it may be, even for us.
We stopped on the north shore of Matecumbe Key for two nights of calm weather. Here we went to shore to go to Mr. Lobster, a fish market. Sure glad we did. So far we've had 4 meals(with 1 to go) of Mahi tuna and shrimp locally caught for $65. Yummy!
The canals here are fun to explore.
On the 2nd evening here, just before sunset, we were enjoying a 'sun downer' with our shrimp looking at the sunset when a somewhat panicked young man approached on a paddleboard asking for help. His girl friend was having a panic attack because she didn't think she could make it back to shore. We could barely see her in the distance, maybe 1/2 mile away. After some thought, Charlie dropped the dinghy and towed the young man to rescue his girl. No way to tow two adults on paddleboards the mile to Mr. Lobster where they rented the boards, so both climbed aboard Space Patrol, Covid-be-damned. Making a long story short, Charlie returned to TARDIS an hour later in the dark after having met a very nice 28 yr old couple. He from Guatemala, she from Miami on what may be a first date. They paddled 2.5m to a small island not knowing about currents. Easy going with the current, about impossible returning against it. After receiving a lecture from Capt'n C they were left on shore at their car. Hopefully, they have learned a lesson.
Marathon - Vaca Key North
We had some great weather the week after leaving the Lower Keys and hanging out in the Middle Keys. TARDIS' crew hung out at Marathon for four days. One day was spent provisioning. We found a spot to tie up in a marina resort that will remain unnamed as we promised the dockmaster not to tell anyone. He does not want a marina full of dinghies.
As always, we seem to find old cars at a roadside repair shop. The one in the foreground is a Mach I, is that an Edsel or Buick inside the garage?
Grocery shopping complete a return trip to Key's Fisheries was up next.
While there, Eileen stayed with the dinghy while Charlie made a BEERRUN and along the way found where crab traps are built by hand. If you look carefully you can see the craftsman busily hammering away under the big white tent.
While at Marathon we walked to City Marina to get our FREE welcome bag of goodies for cruisers. This is where about 300 cruisers live on mooring balls. Interesting place but not our 'cup of tea'.
7 Mile Bridge
The day we crossed from Bahia Honda to Vaca Key along the 7 mile bridge it was a dead calm. Easy to see the crab pots!
Bahia Honda State Park
TARDIS left the Big Spanish Channel on Sunday, January 17th for Bahia Honda State Park. The holding in the anchorage north of the park is 6 inches of sand/mud over coral and not good in any kind of a blow. Fortunately, it was calm but cloudy and we got to spend a few hours in the park exploring. Well worth the time if you ever get the chance to go there.
This is the harbor. I suppose you can take your boat in for the day to tie up but we took the dinghy.
This is the old 7 mile bridge. It was first constructed to carry trains. The highway was built on top of the train tracks for the 7 mile trip to Pine Island to the south. Must have been difficult to build these structures over open water like they did.
TARDIS is off in the distance by the middle pole.
The ocean side...
Old buildings. Too bad they are not open because of Covid. We would have liked to learn more.
Our final nite in the Lower Keys. Sunset at Bahia Honda.