The Route South

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Escape to the Keys

We've been in Stuart too long!  
Its not that Stuart isn't a nice town, because it is.  The marina is great, there are plenty of services and just about every kind of store for supplies and provisioning and lots of great restaurants.  There is a huge Krogen presence there too, both because Krogen's home office is in Stuart and a lot of Krogens spend the winter there.  We regularly had 30+ people at the weekly Krogen Cruisers breakfast.  So its not Stuart's fault.  We just need to get moving again.  
We had been talking about heading to either the Bahamas or the Keys in the spring and the Keys won.  So, at the end of February, we unplugged the power cord and untied the dock lines and headed out.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012
We pulled out of the slip at 0900 and went all the way to the fuel dock, where we could side-tie and do a couple of quick chores - clean the dinghy, check out both outboard motors, wash the side of the boat ( we haven't been able to get to the side of the boat for a good cleaning in over three months).  Finally at 1115 we were able to get under way.  There was rain to the east and sure enough, but by slowing down and dilly-dallying a bit, the worst of it passed and we barely got the windshield wet.  By 1300 we were at the "Crossroads", so named because the ICW, St. Lucie Inlet and the Okechobee Waterway all converge at one spot.  Forty five minutes later we had the anchor down and set at Peck Lake, not really a lake at all - rather, a wide sort in the ICW.  Its a popular place to anchor and we stopped there in 1977, on our way to the Bahamas in our little sailboat.  We put the motor on the dinghy, went ashore and walked across the island to the Atlantic Ocean.
17 miles

Anchored in Peck Lake.

Ocean beach - Peck Lake.

Shell fish for dinner tonight?!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Today is Sharie's birthday.  Since she is a Leap Year baby she's trying to convince everyone that today is her 15th birthday.  While that might be technically true, she is still 60 years old!  Happy Birthday Old Girl!
The engine was started and warmed up before 0900.  Before we had the anchor up, we saw Perry and Karen go chugging by in "Morse Code", the Krogen 48 we helped Mike deliver last spring.
0900 Anchor up and under way in the ICW.  We passed through Jupiter Inlet at 1045 and by noon we were at North Lake Worth, a usual stopping point for us.  But its too early to stop so we continued on, stopping for the night in Delray Beach.  We anchored out in a little basin with two other boats, in a residential area.
52 miles

Thursday March 1, 2012
Early start today!  Engine started before 7 AM.  The anchor is aboard by 0700 and five minutes later we are back in the ICW.  We passed through busy Port Everglades at Ft. Lauderdale before lunch and by 1330 had the anchor down and set in an anchorage known as University Cove.  We like it because it is bordered on one side by Florida International University and the other by Oleta State Park.  It is located just north of Miami, opposite the inlet known as Baker's Haulover.
38 miles

Mega-Yachts the size of cruise ships in Ft. Lauderdale.

Commercial traffic in Ft. Lauderdale.

Cruise ships in Ft. Lauderdale.  They are having a life boat drill - I hope!

More Mega-yachts in Ft. Lauderdale.  This one is owned by the founder of Enterprise Car Rental.

Friday March 2, 2012
Cindy and I have a love/hate relationship with Miami.  By land, in the car we hate it.  But we love passing through it in the boat.  From the water, the architecture is spectacular.  There is a certain energy as you pass of all sorts coming and going down the ICW, up the Miami River or out Government Cut.  Like Port Everglades, there are big commercial ships, yachts and pleasure boats of all sizes and cruise ships coming and going.
We had a lazy start today.  The anchor wasn't up until 0730.  We made the 0900 opening of the Venetian Causeway.  Twenty minutes later, with Miami "in the rear-view mirror", we have Biscayne Bay and the Keys in view ahead.  It was great to travel along that familiar route with names and places we have known from trips past.  Its been since 2007 since we have been here but Feather Bed Bank; Card, Barnes and Blackwater Sounds; Dusenbury and Jewfish Creeks are like old familiar friends.  By 1600 we are anchored in Tarpon Basin.  Finally...back in the Keys, where the water is clear enough to see the bottom.  I went for a swim to celebrate!
60 miles

Miami architecture seems focused on the water.

Miami River
Finally - clean, clear water!
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Well, wouldn't you know it, the weather, which has been perfect until now, is supposed to turn snotty tomorrow.  We have a reservation at Marathon Marina but it doesn't start until the 5th.  The Grand Plan was to take a few days poking along, anchoring up in a few of our favorite old places.  But with the weather threatening, we need to get to Marathon today.  So by 0700 the engine is started and the anchor is aboard.  I called and talked to the marina office.  They don't have any room for us since some folks who were schedule to leave didn't, because of the forecast.  We are going to have to pick up a mooring for a couple of days.  But as we listen to the marine radio, other people are going to Boot Key Harbor to duck in out of the weather and they are almost out of moorings!  Fortunately, our friend Rob Mancini talked to Judy, the marina manager and convinced her that there was room for us.  We add Ramshorn Cut and Peterson Key Bank to yesterday's list of old favorite landmarks, passing by Islamorada (Oh, the Lorelei beckons!), Lignum Vitae Key and Fat Deer Key as we make our way under the Seven-mile Bridge at Moser Channel and the entrance to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon.  Our friend Tim Posten is there with Rob to help us tie up.  No sooner is the last line ashore and the power plugged in when Rob tells us to be showered and dressed and in the parking lot by 4:30 for a trip to Key West for a concert.  Why Not!
62 miles

The view out our back door!

In addition to making music, Tropic-rocker Howard Livingston makes Margueriteas in his outboard motor/blender.
Only in the Keys!