Now into 2019!
We left Marathon on New Year’s Day heading north along the “outside” (ocean side) of the Keys with the plan to then use the next day to cross over to the Bahamas. The seas however were not great. OK, they were great for a sailboat, uncomfortably rolly for a motor boat our size. Kent was OK (but then again he can boat in any condition), I was a bit grumpy, Penny dog was downright miserable. So after 3 hours of rolly we cut “inside” (Gulf side) and dropped the anchor. This meant that we would not be able to cross over the Bahamas the following day. In the end this ended up being OK because the seas were not likely to better the next day.
One of the cardinal rules of cruising is to not have a schedule. We know the rule, are reminded of the rule often, and yet still want to break the rule. We are ready to get to the Bahamas but with this mode of traveling the only schedule we can have is one that is dictated by the weather.
On a positive note, while waiting for the right weather we have been able to see more of the Florida Keys that we originally thought we would. It is fairly interesting to see how sections have recovered (and not recovered) from hurricane Irma which came through just over a year ago.
We ended up spending 3 nights anchored off Islamorada (in the middle Keys), enjoying some live music and explored a few sunset bars.
From Islamorada we headed further north along the “inside” to the Key Largo area (northern Keys).
In Key Largo area we stayed 2 nights at a marina in order to receive a package (stabilization bar for the dingy davits) but despite paying for next day air it did not arrive as scheduled. Grr. Most of the time you can plan to be in a place for a package, this time it just did not work out so we may need to see if another Looper boat can pick it up for us and meet us somewhere in the Bahamas.
Our perception is that there are 2 sides to the Keys, first there are the locals and second there are those on vacation/snowbirds. We’ve been fortunate enough to have met some of both and had some great conversations. It’s always wonderful to have a discussion that starts with “what brings you here?” instead of “what do you do for work”. The friendly and laid back attitude throughout the Keys is very refreshing.
Another great thing about The Keys – key lime pie. We made sure to partake in tasting a few different slices (see summary picture for the winner). Good thing our refrigerator is on the small size and there is not room for a whole pie in there. Wait, maybe that is a bad thing.
From Key Largo we made the short ~15 mi trip north and dropped the anchor at Linderman Key for the evening. This location sets us up for quickly exiting the Keys through Angelfish Creek at first light and being in the the Atlantic Ocean.
As for our crossing to the Bahamas, neither one of us are weather experts (nor want to be) so we subscribed to Chis Parker’s weather service. He provides daily input on the crossing to/from the Bahamas, daily weather for the Bahama region and East Coast. For us it is money well spent.
Next post should come after we cross over to the Bahamas. While not technically a part of The Great Loop we see nothing wrong with a little side trip to clear water and white sandy beaches. The crossing is only ~50 miles which we can travel in daylight. Because we pass through the Gulf Stream it require the correct combination of wind direction, wind speed and sea conditions.
The boat is stocked, passports are located and Penny dog has her pet health certificate. We are as ready as we will ever be!