Friday, February 5, 2016

Goodbye Marathon

As we left Boot Key Harbor this morning, I couldn't help but feel like we were saying goodbye to family. It was a tough one. We were only there for two months but we made some amazing new friends and reconnected with some from our first trip two years ago. It's crazy how you could spend such a short time with people but feel like you have known them for years. I'm not sure if it's a cruiser's bond or if we've just been lucky enough to meet the right people. Probably a little of both. Needless to say, goodbyes were weepy for me this morning.

Sandy & Herman s/v Bonita

Michele & Sid s/v El Camino
Even as we passed one of our favorite fishing holes my eyes welled up. Not that I'm comparing our friendships to a fishing hole, but Bud and I spent many, many hours bobbing around in the dinghy trying to catch dinner. Most of the time we were successful, but most of all, it was just our favorite time together. 

We really did enjoy our time in Marathon. There was always stuff going on in the Harbor community. We got out on the softball field quite a few times and even with me pulling a quad muscle the first day, and Bud throwing like a T-Rex (due to his frozen shoulder), we still ran around and had a lot of fun. I also enjoyed a few pine needle basket weaving classes with friends and am working on my second basket!

My first basket!
We kept busy for our last few weeks, and we also had another visitor! Our friend Jeannie came for four days. The weather was not the best but it was good to see her and we had a blast. There was no swimming or snorkeling, but we did get out fishing one day. We both had long johns and three layers on, but we caught a few fish and we definitely had a great time catching up. 

Jeannie and I with our catch!
Right now we are motor sailing up the Florida Bay with our buddy boat Links to explore the gulf coast for a few months. There's no telling when we will be back to Marathon but we will certainly treasure the memories and the friendships from this trip. Although leaving was very difficult today, it feels really good to be sailing again and moving on. 

Well, I was hoping to post this before we entered the Everglades and lost our signal and contact with the rest of the world, but I couldn't, so here's what we've been up to for the past four days. 
Exploring the 10,000 Islands....which should be called 10,000 mosquitoes! We spent the first night in a Little Shark River. This was a place where we stayed on our first trip, so we knew the skeeters were going to be bad. Apparently these little bloodsuckers have spent the last two years multiplying! Even though we have screens for all of our windows and hatches, somehow they were getting in. I became slightly obsessed with smooshing as many of the little buggers as I could and I spent a lot of time cleaning all the ceilings with my Clorox wipes. Definitely one of the ickier sides of cruising. The next morning, even though it was a bit drizzly, we decided to move on. The day turned out nice and we had a beautiful sail to New Turkey Key. The water was so flat most of the day we would have never known we were sailing on the Gulf of Mexico. We had never stopped at New Turkey Key before, but we hit the nature lovers jackpot! So many islands to explore, nature to take in and no people, with the exception a few campers. The island we were anchored closest to was the perfect spot for an afternoon cookout where we enjoyed hot dogs and a little bit of freshly caught fish.
Our fire pit and grill

We headed back to the boats and just when we thought the day couldn't get any better, three dolphins came speeding by jumping out of the water over and over again. The evening was topped off with a gorgeous sunset and a pink flamingo flying overhead. The skeeters were beginning to swarm, so we moved our little party aboard Links for a card game and some dessert.  Places like New Turkey Key are the reason we cruise.

The next day we moved on to another spot, Panther Key. We had a perfect sail complete with dolphins swimming on our bow!

 Now we are finished exploring the 10,000 Islands and are currently in Marco Island where we will be staying for a few days because of weather. We are looking forward to the rest of our trip, but the past four days are going to be hard to beat!

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