Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Life in Marathon on a Mooring Ball

We've only been in Boot Key Harbor for a few days now, but we can already see why it is so popular. Beautiful weather, protected mooring area, nice dinghy docks, numerous facilities, parks all around, restaurants/bars in easy walking distance and most of all a wonderful friendly community of boaters.

The Cruiser's Net (VHF Channel 68) starts at 9 am each morning. Information, advice, assistance and support are freely offered to everyone in the Harbor. What a neat community. They are currently fundraising for Christmas bikes to be given to local children in need. Last year they gave away 26 brand new bikes. That is a lot of smiling faces on Christmas morning.

Faro Blanco lighthouse

Sharing company on each other's boats for sundowners and snacks is also a regular event. We all share a common interest in boating and many are cruisers just like us. We share stories and look for information on all of our destinations. A cold beer, wine or rum sure goes well with good company.

Dinner aboard Asilomar

We have visited a few of the local restaurants and have found that the frugal cruiser can eat out at a reasonable cost. You just have to be picky in what you order and definitely look for the happy hour specials. Burdines food was reasonable and very tasty. The Stuffed Pig has awesome breakfasts. The Overseas was a little more expensive, but their happy hour specials are pretty good. $2 for a draft beer and $3 for a rail mixed drink. We also ate at the Faro Blanco Marina with our sailing friend Tinsley aboard Salty Abandon. She warned us it was expensive there, but we shared lunch with her in the marina restaurant. Not outrageously expensive, but a bit more than we like to spend. (unless you are paying for one of their slips - $165/night) Good food though. Check out Salty Abandon's video blog on YouTube.

Brenda and Tinsley in front of Salty Abandon.

Brenda met one of her heros, Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley fame. We dinghied over to her boat and purchased a signed copy of her cookbook. I'm not used to seeing Brenda in awe of someone, but Carolyn is someone Brenda really admires.

Now we need to explore the river by dinghy, go fishing and just keep exploring. Heck, that is just what we want to do on this Key. There are a whole bunch more that we haven't even seen yet.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Boot Key Harbor

Tired sailors in Boot Key Harbor

After anchoring outside the channel to Boot Key Harbor we rested for half an hour before getting into our dinghy and putting up the channel. We were graciously invited to Thanksgiving dinner and drinks aboard Bret and Theresa's sailboat Elusive. We hadn't seen these fine people since July and it was good to be back in contact. They have another couple staying aboard, so we had a party of six for a wonderful full Thanksgiving feast. Thank you guys for an awesome night.

Thanksgiving celebration aboard Elusive

We slept fast and hard after our trip in the Gulf and the great dinner.. We are getting too old to stay up round the clock. Brenda woke Mike up at 7:45 am so we could dinghy in to the Boot Key Harbor office to get on the waiting list for a mooring ball. We had called in and found out they were full already and it is first come - first served for the waiting list. You have to physically be in the office to get on the list. We dinghied up the channel and found the dinghy dock for the office. The office normally opens at 8 am, so we were there in time to be first in line. But, since it was the day after Thanksgiving the office hours had been changed to open at noon. Hmmm, now what. BREAKFAST!

The Patio at The Stuffed Pig

We walked hand in hand out of the marina to Highway 1 and looked for the nearest breakfast joint. The Stuffed Pig was almost directly across the street and their parking lot was full of cars which is a good sign they serve good food.

We sat outside with tired grins on our faces as we enjoyed a surprisingly reasonably priced tasty breakfast with lots of coffee for Mike. What a great first spot for our Keys visit. After stuffing ourselves we strolled back to the marina office and parked ourselves on the first bench by the front door. As we waited for the office to open we were treated to our first manatee viewing this year.

We were first in line which put us third on the waiting list. Hey, that isn't too bad. Hopefully we'll have a mooring ball in a day or two.

We dinghied back to Wrinkles expecting to nap the afternoon away, but after just a couple of hours the marina called to tell us we were assigned to ball B-11. Sweet. All we needed to do was dive on the prop and rudder to make sure there weren't any crab pots still attached or any damage. Mike donned his snorkel and mask and went down to check things over. No crab pots and the prop turned freely. We started up the Yanmar and motored into the channel with visions of a quiet night's sleep. Brenda picked up this mooring ball like a pro and suddenly we were Boot Key Harbor tenants. The sun set as we turned off the diesel. Exhausted, happy and excited all at the same time. Goodnight.