Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dinner Key to Marathon in the Florida Keys


When Kim got home we stocked up the boat and watched the weather. We needed a weather window to get from Dinner Key to Marathon. The night before Kim went to visit her family, we happened to see a kid dinghy over to a 18 foot sailboat that was anchored out. As we watched him we noticed that there was a kitten onboard and it looked like he was feeding him. He was there for a few minutes and then left. He dinghed back to a bigger sailboat that was about 500 yards away. We had a really bad feeling about it and Kim asked Mike to check on the kitten while she was gone and make sure that it was okay. Well Mike found out that the kitten was living all alone on the boat, and that the kid taking care of him, left him on the boat and just left him piles of dry food and a 5 gallon bucket of sand to go to the bathroom in. Mike found the kid's parents and asked if we could have the kitten, they said they would talk to their son and Mike agreed to come back when Kim returned. The day I came home we went over and asked to have the kitten. We said it should not be left alone or treated like that and needed a good home. The kid finally agreed and the father brought her over to our boat. The kitten was 6 months old and had been living alone on the boat for some time and only left dry food. When we went to see the kitten, there was poop all over the boat - it was horrible. He was left alone with the boat open in storms and high winds. We only had intentions of saving the kitten and trying to find her a good land based home. We didn't have any luck in Dinner Key and so we prepared her for the trip to Marathon. She was used to being on a boat but she had never actually traveled on a boat. She was bit tense at first, but she found her safe spots and seemed to settle in. We called the kitten - kitty - trying our best not to get attached, but of course we knew we would. We did finally give her a name - after we found out she was in heat and became very, very friendly - as cats in heat usually do - all she wanted was nookie - so yah we called her Nookie :)))

After we provisioned the boat, got fuel and water we headed over to Key Biscayne and anchored out for a few days. Key Biscayne is closer to the ocean so when we were ready to head you to Marathon is was a shorter distance. We would have to leave at first light if we wanted to overnight at Rodriquez Key which is an anchorage on the ocean side of the keys. So the weather and tides had to be right for our leaving and overnight stay. While we waited we explored the island - to the left is a lighthouse off the main beach. We got lucky one day and found it to be open - so we climbed to the top and got a wonderful view. Unfortunately, we didn't know that it would be open and were just out for a walk and did not bring the camera that day. But we got this shot of the outside another day.

The island was also full of raccoons looking for some handouts.

We had a good trip the first day, however, after leaving Rodriquez Key we had another days sail
to get to Marathon. The first couple

hours were great and then we hit thick, thick pea soup fog, which is very unusual here. You may wonder why we don't have any pictures of the fog - well it's the same reason we don't have any pictures of the storms we've been caught in. Your only concerned with the current situation and your safety. The fog was very unsettling, one of us was on the bow looking for crab pots and boats and also listening. The other was steering the boat while the one on the bow gave directions, like HARD TO PORT, HARD TO STARBOARD, OH SHIT :) We would take turns on the bow and at the wheel. As we approached the inlet to Boot Key Harbour, Marathon we had to pass the outside anchorage and find the channel markers to enter the channel. We did not see any boats in the anchorage (although they were there) and only had our GPS chart plotter and about 40 feet of visibility. We finally found the first marker and asked a passing fishing boat for some local knowledge of the inlet. The said to hug the greens starboard markers because the port side of the channel (the side we were supposed to be on) was VERY shallow. They offered to slow down and let us follow them until we got inside. We were very grateful, but we still had to go under a bridge. Actually, we had to request the bridge to open and then pass under it but we couldn't even see it. We called the bridge on the radio, and the bridge tender said that he could not see us yet and to call when we got closer. HELLO - FOG - NOBODY CAN SEE ANYTHING. I cannot tell you our relief when we got a few yards up and the fog started to lift. It seems that the whole harbour was clear - it was such a RELIEF, we could see the bridge!! So in we go, get our mooring assignment and safely get on the mooring. It's only then that you say - dang we should of got a picture :)

More to come in Marathon, with Nookie the cat, Mom and lots of living in Paradise.

Cheers from Margaritaville of sorts, Mike and Kim blissfully on Ka'imi

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