January 26-30 update
After doing some shopping and picking up Elaine at the airport, we returned to the boat, to show her the 5 star accommodations for the next three weeks. With unfavourable weather in the Bahamas, we made the decision to go down to the Keys, as far as Marathon and then head north to Fort Myers and then cross Florida through Lake Okeechobee ( rim- route) and come back to Miami while Elaine is with us.
On Wednesday morning, we left Bayshore Marina at 10:40 and headed back out into Biscayne Bay in southern direction. Once again we had to dodge sail boats, as the international regatta was continuing. A small dinghy, having seen our Canadian Flag, drove by us, as they also were flying the Maple leaf.
There was some wind and there was a light chop as we got away from land. We passed the Turkey Point nuclear plant about 1:00, and had a little more shelter from some of the smaller uninhabited “Keys”. We entered Card Sound and anchored in angel fish Creek, near Grayvik, in North Key Largo. Between the tidal current and winds and a thunderstorm , we somehow turned around during the evening and our anchor indicator (milk jug with a string; that I try to tie off at about 3 X the depth) was caught under the boat (we could hear it scraping). Not a good thing, as it could get caught in the props or rudder. Andy said that we may have to swim under the boat in the morning and cut the rope. Well guess who didn’t sleep after that- me being the better swimmer I would have been assigned that task and the thought of swimming in waters that may be jelly fish, shark or alligator infested scared me. The water here, is a lovely aqua blue, not black and murky like Lake Winnipeg. Once it was light, at 7:00, Andy moved the rudders and then stared the boat, the milk jug popped out- with the rope cut. Thank goodness for that- no swim for me!
Seeing as how we were up, and there was another storm predicted to blow through the area, we chose to moved on . We followed the ICW through Barnes Sound, passed Key Largo,
Tavernier and Islmorada (Purple Island) , which is located on the Upper Matecumbe Key. With bad weather still looming we tried to make as much distance as possible going through steam boat channel- (the shallowest part of the loop so far) while at high tide. We were being followed by dolphins yet again.
We found a complimentary mooring ball on the west side of Lignumvitae Key and tied up at 2:00—there were crab pots everywhere that had to be zigzagged around. Being the first mooring ball that we had used- I was not sure of the process and I managed to drop the boat hook in the water—thank goodness it floats. On the third attempt we managed to get the rope through the loop and tied off to the Captain’s satisfaction.
A weather system with rain and winds passed though in the afternoon and evening, rocking us around, but we were more secure on the mooring ball than we would have been with an anchor out. We started calling Marina’s in Marathon to get a slip for the next day—but all were booked up and some didn’t have openings until late March. We finally found one that we could get into on Sunday. We have stayed attached to the mooring ball, reading and playing cards in the evening. There is another Looper boat- Phaze II at the next mooring ball, which made contact with us Friday morning.
Friday was a sunny day and Elaine and I read our books on the back deck and got some sun- a little too much in places. Elaine is a great crew mate! Here’s a picture of the McKendry siblings, having decktails.
Early Saturday morning the wind picked up slightly, and we are once again bouncing a little.