Posted by: catamarantwooceans | December 7, 2015

Florida Keys–December 2015

3.12.15 – Thursday – We dinghied  to a marina we spotted ashore opposite our anchorage. We found out that two marinas shared West Bight, one with that same name and the other A&B marina. A lot of traditional vessels as well as modern one cater to the many tourists coming to Key West.

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The first thing on our agenda was Customs and Border Protection check-in. They have an office in town but it was closed due to the arrival of a cruise ship. We had to take a taxi to the airport. Memories of a similar situation in Cozumel came into my mind but of course the U.S authorities operate in a totally different manner and everything was concluded satisfactorily. Next we went to a mall in search of lunch, a supermarket and a place that would sell a local SIM card. That last item was surprisingly difficult and was postponed for the next day. Finding a place with WiFi internet also was unsuccessful, can you believe it?

4.12.15 – Friday – The marina is situated in the Historic downtown of the island which is full of pretty wooden buildings surrounded by trees.

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Again,this is tourist land and one of the things tourists do is DRINK so the place is overflowing with pubs, bars and the like. Another feature of this town is the abundance of chickens running free around the place; this is a mystery I have yet to unfold.

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We walked around town, finally finding an internet café, where I could download the weather. After a long search we found a prepaid SIM in a CVS store but back at the boat I saw I needed to activate it on line or by phone, neither of which I had on board (my Israeli SIM was not working properly). Back to town and the CVS store; “Help, I need to activate”, “we only sell them” said the guy at the till. I went back to a store which we visited during our search; I asked the young girl in there whether she could do it for me, saying I’d pay for the service. She was not very busy and did it refusing any payment; I succeeded in overcoming her reluctance and finally had a local number and a data pack.

5.12.15 – Saturday – With a good forecast for the few days ahead we started out for Marathon Key about 40 miles away. One could sail there close to shore in what is called Hawk channel, with depths of 10 meters and less, sometimes 4 meters deep. We, however chose to go to deeper waters, hoping to ride the gulfstream. In reality we got a counter-current and choppy sea and decided to go back to the channel, where the current was less and the water calm.  On the way the view was that of some keys and the bridges between them, on which the road all the way to the mainland passes.

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At 1600 we anchored in the lee of Boot Key, which is connected to the southwestern part of Marathon.

In the evening we spoke to Juda Tzinder, who has a yacht management company and with whom I was in touch ever since he helped me when I bought “Two Oceans” in 2007. He described the entrance to Miami port and the way to a dock near his place. We planned to sail there Sunday overnight and arrive at our final destination on noon Monday. We were both a bit tired and after dinner of chicken fajitas with guacamole accompanied by Margaritas we went to bed.

6.12.15 – Sunday – As I woke up I had a nice idea; instead of going out at midday to reach Miami in the morning, we could depart in the morning, stop in the evening in some Key on the way, have a rest and dinner and continue. Danny liked the idea too and we decided to leave and have breakfast on the way. But first – download the forecast – SURPRISE! The one we saw yesterday showed light winds from the east northeast; the new one gave northeasterly of 20 knots for the next two days, right on the nose and against the stream! We tuned the V.H.F to the weather channel and had the forecast confirmed plus the information that the waves would be 5-8 feet high. Our plan simply crashed. What now? The deciding factor is that Danny flies out of Miami on Tuesday afternoon.

There was only one solution; we took the dinghy to the Marathon marina, next to our anchorage and asked at the office about ground transportation to the airport. The ladies in the office were really nice, downloaded and printed for us the schedule of the Key West Airport Shuttle service. We called them and reserved a seat for Danny. I thought about spending Monday in the marina and inquired about the availability and cost of a berth. It came up to 137.97$ for a night so the idea was abandoned.

During the afternoon I perused the charts for a plan by which I would day-sail the 100 miles to Miami. It may take four days…

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