Saturday, February 13, 2021

Yes, we’re still in Florida…

 

Seven Mile Bridge - where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean

Since my last post about wind and waves we have been snorkeling, sunburned and satisfied in Marathon! First, full disclosure – originally we had reservations in Stock Island (Key West) for the month of February through March 15…we cancelled those plans!!! And will be in Marathon until February 27…happy, happy, happy!!!

Shrimp, Avocado Salsa & Chips...yum!!!!

The Lower Place was due for some underwater maintenance and phase 2 of needed repair we discovered in Fort Myers Beach.  Marathon Marina has a lift and boat yard to accommodate everything we needed AND qualified contractors to get the job done correctly and timely.  So why would we leave??  And BONUS….our friends on the boat Priorities offered their front berth to us! So on Thursday 2/4/2021 we were hauled out and blocked up! Shortly after that, Priorities left Boot Key Harbor mooring field and pulled into our slip.  So we were off our boat but still in our slip…win, win!!

The Lower Place - blocked up for a spa weekend

Friday 2/5/2021

We were allowed to do some work on our boat while it was blocked up – but no sleeping!!  So while Brett with Bottoms & Props and Prop Tec worked his magic under the boat (with Charlie’s help) I made certain there was electricity for the fridge, batteries, etc. to survive until we were splashed back in. Since that didn’t take long (for me) I spent the rest of the day walking, visiting and pool side. 

Sunset Friday 2/5/2021

Saturday 2/6/2021

During my visiting on Friday, Irving and Sara on s/v Doris Emerson invited me to join them for a road trip to Big Pine Key….ummmmm….YEAH!!!!!  A nice stop at Bahia Honda State Park only made me want to stay longer but it was off to Winn Dixie in Big Pine Key…and YES, that was fun too!!

Bahia Honda State Park sand castle!


Sunday 2/7/2021

Super Bowl Sunday was a little quiet around the marina but we still enjoyed pool time!  We were able to watch the game aboard Priorities and even though the outcome was disappointing we were thrilled to have a controlled environment with good friends!!

A quiet Super Bowl Sunday

Monday 2/8/2021

SPLASH DAY!!!  Here comes The Lower Place…dipping her toes back in the water!!  We missed her but so thankful she is running strong!!  Since our friends on Priorities were still working on a couple boat projects and we needed a sea trial (test drive) to confirm repairs/maintenance in good order we headed out to Sombrero Reef, grabbed a mooring ball and snorkeled for a couple hours!!  Salty (Jim and Sherry) and Mona Gee (Scott and Shelly) joined us – the more opinions the better!!

My heart is in my throat...always!!

The Lower Place was smooth, quiet and handled the beam seas like a champ!!  WAHOOO!!! And the snorkeling was fabulous too….and several from the marina were already there.  John and Joanne (No Limits) were there in their dinghy and held the mooring ball for us...thanks guys!!!

Priorities finished their projects and headed back to Boot Key Harbor and soon thereafter The Lower Place slipped back into #88…home again!!

Home again...hello slip #88!!

Tuesday – Saturday 2/9-13/2021

I don’t have a clue where the time went!!!  We have been busy cleaning the boat inside and out…amazing how dirty a boat gets sitting in a dusty yard!! Laundry, major grocery store visit, yoga, pool time…it’s a busy life!!!!   We are so blessed with perfectly HOT, sunny weather that allows us to visit outside, socially distanced or sit in our air conditioned boat.  We are blessed!!

So it’s not lost on me that the majority of readers are sipping warm beverages, letting their faucets drip to avoid frozen pipes and looking forward to above freezing temps in the future.  Hang in there….this too shall pass…it’s only weather!!!

Stay healthy and God bless

 Bonus pic....when you're doing laundry after a day on the water (removed mask for full effect) LOL!!

Clean clothes make me happy!


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Wind, Small Craft Advisory, Gale Warning - YIKES!

 

Greetings from Porky's Bayside

What a difference a day makes!  Since the last post our weather has turned very WINDY!!  We are so very thankful to be tied safely in a slip at Marathon Marina – using most of our dock lines and all of the fenders!!  But wind is weather…it will change; until then we are hanging out close to the boat in order to monitor the rise/fall of the tide coupled with the moon phase.  It’s life on a boat!

 

Great food & amazing parking lot artwork

So this post will be more of a story in pictures…

 

Sunset 1/31/2021 - the cold front looms

Monday 2/1/2021 Gale Warning in effect

 

Tuesday 2/2/2021 Our MSU flag weathered and shredded but the sun is shining!

We are still under a Small Craft Advisory but if the weather forecast holds true better hair days are ahead.  Embrace today, anticipate tomorrow and smile...God has a plan!

Stay healthy and God bless

Friday, January 29, 2021

Beautiful sunsets and city park yoga

 

Yoga in the Park at Marathon City Park
Before the 30+ people showed up! 

As the gorgeous sunset from Sunday faded into the mild weather of Monday, it was time to get busy with Yoga in the Park!  That’s right, Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning at 10:30 a group of (mostly) boaters meet at the Marathon City Park Amphitheater for an hour of OUTDOOR Yoga!!  Oh how I miss my yoga classmates from home so I am completely onboard with this idea!!  Wide open spaces, socially distanced & the opportunity to meet people from the surrounding marinas…what’s not to love!!

The Monday & Wednesday classes were taught by 2 different instructors and that was nice – 2 different approaches, working our muscles in different ways…yay!!  Then Friday rolled around…it was sunny, 62° & breezy…class was cancelled “because of weather”.  Oh well, at least I knew it BEFORE I walked the 1.75 miles to the park!

As a bonus, Charlie walked with me to Publix (2.2 miles) to pick up a few items.  We were very cognizant of each purchase because we had 2.2 miles on the return trip (we aren’t using public transportation).  Several loopers have offered the use of their personal vehicles and we will accept their hospitality closer to the end of our stay here in Marathon when the “big provisioning” trip is necessary but right now we really don’t mind the flat terrain and wide sidewalks. It’s Florida after all!! 

Monday 1/25/2021 Moon Rise (not a sunset)!

We have been busy this week with the usual boat chores and zoom meetings for the Looper Palooza virtual reunion (I miss in-person stuff!), visiting with dock neighbors and greeting new boaters as they come in.  It’s been so nice to be in Marathon with the opportunity to socialize outside, walk wherever we want to go and sit quietly on the aft deck at the end of the day.  Yes, we miss our family and friends but the reality is…we couldn’t comfortably visit at home during this time of year anyway.  Oh well…new normal = new routine but we still long for the good old days of 2019.

Taking a break on Wednesday 

As I scrolled through my random snapshots of the week, I realized that sunsets dominated the camera roll!!  That’s not a bad thing – except it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite.

Sunset Wednesday 1/27/2021 Marathon Key FL
Sunset Thursday 1/28/2021 Marathon Key FL

As I head out this afternoon to “brave the weather” (breezy & 70°)…

Stay healthy and God Bless

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Wow, What a weekend!!

 

Friday afternoon at the pool...

If you’re reading this…at your office or while wearing long sleeves or if you can see your breath outside or perhaps the frost still on your windows…I’m sorry.  Because we have lathered on the sunscreen this weekend!!

Saturday morning brought flat water, no/low winds and absolutely nothing on the repair/replace to do list!  So we hopped in the dinghy and puttered the 5 miles to Sombrero Reef to do a little snorkeling and sightseeing.  Upon our arrival we grabbed a mooring ball then heard “Hey, can we have that ball please?  You are welcome to tie up to our stern.”  Of course we obliged because let’s face it the mooring ball was a little overkill for our dinghy.  And they were great folks from South Carolina!

We made friends with the big boat-note the tower in the background

Once we were settled and I tested the water (brrrr 65°) I decided, the sun felt great but a hard NO on the body parts being submerged!!  Charlie of course never takes a pass on snorkeling…and once he was IN the water his body adjusted.  I was on shark patrol, thank you!  After an hour or so, we thanked them for their fabulous hospitality, untied our dinghy & headed back to the marina.  Five miles is a long journey in a 10’ inflatable boat – but it was a great afternoon.

Yes, center pic is Charlie in the Atlantic

Now he's closer-pic from dinghy

All kinds of fish! Pic taken from above the water!

We stopped by our boat for a minute then back in the dinghy for a late afternoon cruise around Boot Key Harbor.  We saw Irving and Sarah on their dinghy and visited with them for a while.  When the sun started dropping we headed back to our boats.  Just as the sun dipped below the horizon we arrived at The Lower Place.  We were salty, sun tanned and happy to have such a great day.  Soup & sandwiches for dinner onboard…YUM!!

Sunday morning (while doing laundry)

Sunday brought a repeat of the same weather and perhaps a tad warmer! A quick load of laundry (yesterday’s salty clothes) and several phone calls later we were out and about in the marina.  LOTS of loopers (Post Script, Salty, Alcyone) we haven’t met before and then a dinghy reunion tied to our swim platform (Forever Young, Short Vacation & Sunset Delight)!!!  It was a boaters’ version of the old time Sunday afternoon visits we used to do…back in the day!!  It was a wonderful way to spend the day…but it was HOT!  I failed to get a picture of the tie up but it warmed my heart as the sweat rolled down my face…love this crazy chosen family!!

Plans for a sunset viewing party on the fuel dock were postponed but I had the best seat on the back of our boat.  We had popcorn for dinner so I munched on my bowl of the sweet tender kernels as I just sat quietly…drinking in the majestic glory of the changing horizon. There is no better artist than the creator of the heavens and earth, thank you Lord!  Your greatness continues to take my breath away…I am blessed.

Stay healthy and God Bless (continue scrolling for pics)


6:02pm beginning Sunset 1/24/2021

6:25pm The day is done...almost


6:28pm I just can't pick a favorite

Friday, January 22, 2021

Happy Friday the 22nd!

Sunset Marathon Marina 1/19/2021

It’s been a full week of walking, running, swimming, cleaning, cooking and laughter with friends…so about normal for life in the Keys!

Tuesday 1/19/2021

Charlie & I were on foot and land most of the day.  It was nice to explore some familiar sights and a few new pieces of art.

Landmarks are better than billboards

We stopped for a late lunch at Porky’s Bayside and enjoyed the view too!

Wednesday 1/20/2021

While Tuesday was a walking day, Wednesday was a boat day. I walked through, in and around the boat with a pen & paper looking at each detail and noting where the little things needed attention.  And I didn’t take a single picture!  I did discover a section of canvas in need of zipper repair.  A couple miles later I found The Canvas Shop open and willing to do the work.  I dropped off the pieces and Mike said he’d call me the next day.

Late afternoon we met Looper friends (Priorities, Forever Young and the Bles-sing) at Castaway’s for a light snack then the group walked around the corner to Burdines Waterfront!!  Coffee and Fried Key Lime Pie for dessert…who knew!!! And while at Burdines Waterfront Mike from The Canvas Shop called – repair completed!!  Since it was dark, I promised to pick it up on Thursday.

Thursday 1/21/2021

Sunset 1/21/2021 Marathon FL-never gets old

Morning started with laundry and ended with a walk to The Canvas Shop!  I picked up the canvas – repaired expertly and super cost effective – and returned to the boat.  Once the pieces were snapped & zipped back into place, I zipped through the boat for an impromptu cleaning.  Charlie mentioned we might have some visitors - friends we haven’t met yet!!  YAY! Great meeting Irving & Sarah from Vermont!

We had a quiet evening onboard and it felt good to cook a nice meal and not have to walk or dinghy back to the boat…bug free!

Friday 1/22/2021

If you haven't been here - go!

Today is a special day for a special girl!!  Happy 6th Birthday CARG!!!  We love you!!  It’s a beautiful day in Marathon and the pool is calling!  Wish you were here sweet girl!  

Hope you have a super weekend!

Stay healthy and God Bless


Monday, January 18, 2021

Happy Birthday and wearing a swim suit!

 

The Birthday Boy - ready for a swim

Who expected another blog update so soon??  It’s short but hopefully you will find it sweet.

Mr. Wonderful celebrated his birthday today and for the first time since we docked in Marathon Marina we had FULL SUNSHINE, light winds and temps in the 70’s...so very, very thankful.  I skipped out this morning for a 4 mile walk and discovered a few places I missed during our last visit in 2019.

A heated saltwater pool...yes, please

Charlie spent the morning on the phone working out a few boat details and I returned from my walk…actually sweating!!  We decided a day at the pool was in order.   After a quick bite of lunch and a phone call to Priorities (Randy & Sherry) we were settled in poolside for a couple hours.
Sunset 1/18/2021 Marathon Marina-aft deck The Lower Place

Back at the boat we changed into dry clothes just in time for sunset!  It was our FIRST cloud free sunset – and the end of a very relaxing day with good friends.

And that’s all the news for today and I’m completely ok with that!

Stay healthy and God Bless

Priorities headed back to their boat at Boot Key Harbor

Saturday, January 16, 2021

What a week! Good times and a little delay…

 

The Lower Place in the straps at Ft Myers Beach

We departed Fort Myers on Sunday 1/10/2021 for the short journey to Gulf Marine Ways at Fort Myers Beach.  As scheduled on Monday the 11th we were hauled out, the corrected props were installed and by noon we were back in the water – on our way to Marco Island!  The plan was to anchor for 2-3 nights while in route to the Keys.

Bye, Bye Ft Myers Beach cloudy but calm

As the afternoon ticked on we were enjoying the very flat waters of the Gulf of Mexico and looking at the tide table we realized our approach to Marco Island would be at low tide…hmmmm.  Before long we were heading up Big Marco River closely following the very well-marked channel.  As we exited the channel at Green 15 to drop the anchor – nothing happened!!  Long story short, we were able to tie up at Snook Inn, find the anchor/electrical issue (turned out-don’t use wing nuts on the battery connections) then well after dark we enjoyed a great meal at Snook Inn.  We spent the night tied to their dock then not-so-bright and very early the next morning we untied and continued toward Little Shark River.



Dolphins playing along our bow!!


Tuesday 1/12/2021

Another calm, flat day on the Gulf of Mexico – not complaining!  It was a longer day than I expected but without cell/internet service and super flat water perhaps I was bored!  Because the water was so great we opted to anchor in the Gulf – less current than our river experience and NO BUGS!!  It was a win-win…until it wasn’t!

Our view at anchor by 5:20pm 1/12/2021

Just about dusk the water changed and the wind picked up.  Needless to say, wind on the nose and breaking waves (3-5’) on the beam (port side) ALL NIGHT LONG was not the experience we were looking for!! UGH!!!  As stuff was being dumped all over the boat, Charlie & I managed to secure everything inside, skipped dinner, grabbed our life vests and climbed into bed.  I counted 8 crashing waves then a 4 second rest – over and over and over – all night long. 

Sunset at 6:00 note the choppy waves

Charlie kept an eye on the anchor position (via the chart plotter mirrored through his iPad) and our ground tackle held – we never slipped position!!  Our 66 pound anchor and 100’ of 3/8” chain held The Lower Place in position with no hint of foul!!  It was perhaps our worst night ever at anchor but as we have discovered over and over – the boat can handle far more than we can!!  Whew!!!

When dawn broke, the water once again flattened and the winds ceased…amazing how “all things work together…”!!

Wednesday 1/13/2021

Unofficial landmark of the Keys - 7 mile Bridge  Where the Gulf meets the Atlantic!

Tired and thankful we pulled anchor and headed toward Marathon Key.  After the events of the past couple days we were united in the idea of a marina for a couple days.  Plus we wanted to retest and confirm the electrical issue with the windlass and just give The Lower Place a quick review of all systems – preventive maintenance – following the rocking and rolling of Tuesday night.

Once we had cell service Charlie started calling around for slip availability and affordability!  Marathon Marina had all the right answers and budget – so here we are for the next couple weeks!!  In true Looper fashion we were greeted by familiar faces as we docked in a place we’d never been before!  I love it when that happens!!

Tied to the dock - Atlantic Ocean is our backyard


Thursday 1/14/2021

I love #3 - so true

It’s no surprise that today was LAUNDRY DAY!!!  But also a nice walk to Castaway’s to meet Best Mate, Priorities, Forever Young and San Souci (the welcome committee from Wednesday) for an early dinner and LOTS of laughs!!  We felt normal again….LOL!!!!


Sweet manatee!

Of course, you never know what kind of visitors you may have….this was our first opportunity to get this close and personal with a manatee.  He/She was so BIG!!!!  YAY!!!!

Friday 1/15/2021

Our back yard & a perfect day to clean the boat

Of course, we HAD to have a cleaning day and Friday was our lucky day!!!  Charlie and I worked inside and outside The Lower Place.  She needed a deep cleaning and a whole lot of TLC – and she deserved it!!  We each had an unusual amount of phone calls and emails to catch up with and after all the manual labor we opted for a quiet night on the boat – besides, the wind was picking up and the smell of rain was in the air!

And then…Charlie noticed that Jim & Jackie (our super hosts from Palmetto FL) were actually a few slips down the dock from us!!!  On another loopers boat!!  Small world, naturally!  We walked down to Kitumba  (Brian and Michelle) for a visit/reunion!!  So happy we saw everyone again – top notch hospitality!

Saturday 1/16/2021

As predicted, the wind picked up and the rains came overnight.  The waves slapped but the lines held tight as we bounced and pulled a little all night.  Morning came and the rain was gone but the wind wasn’t.  Hey, it’s winter in the Florida Keys…this is what happens!

It's Saturday 1/16/2021 - the rain moved out

So far, it’s a quiet day in the marina and very little foot traffic since it’s a frigid 66°!!!  But it’s not too cold for this fella!!

Iguana on the dock


Now that we’re settled in, I will venture out on foot for more land-based adventures!!

Sunset 1/16/2021 Marathon Marina

Thanks for riding along with us – I’m sorry this post is so long…I really am trying to do better.

Stay healthy and God Bless