Key West, Florida, USA To Miami, Florida, USA, April, 2011
Sailing from Key West to Miami.
PPSE = Passage Princess Scale of Excellence (1 = never again; 10 = sublime)
On Friday, April 15th, we left Key West. The trip started out a bit rough, as the tide was going out, and the wind was blowing against the tide. Once we got around the corner and started heading up the Hawk Channel, we were able to motor-sail. Eventually, we were able to be totally under sail. The Hawk Channel is the deep water channel that cuts between the barrier reef and the actual Florida Keys.
We sailed up to the entrance of New Found Harbor. We turned into the wind, dropped the sails, and motored up the New Found Harbor Channel. We dropped the anchor just before Day Marker #3. We had a lovely dinner, with wine, and went to be bed fairly early. PPSE6
On Saturday, April 16th, we upped the anchor and got under way to Boot Key Harbor, in Marathon. We were able to sail all the way into the Boot Key Harbor entrance channel. We dropped the sails and motored into the channel, passing Pancho's Fuel Stop and Burdine's Restaurant. Then we passed under the bridge and into the City Marina mooring field. We were assigned mooring V-6. We picked up the mooring, and started all of the necessary settling in projects. PPSE8
We opened all of the ports and hatches, and put on the sail covers. We got the ladder and fenders over the side of DREAM AWAY, and then we got the tender into the water. We got all of our “official” papers together, and headed over the marina office.
City Marina now has some very nice floating docks for dinghies. These have several ladders affixed, and we pulled up to one of those. Unfortunately, Kitty did not realize that it was a sliding ladder specifically designed to aid someone in the water to get out of it easily. When she stepped on the ladder, the top rung sunk about two feet, which culminated in some very wet feet, and some very colorful language.
We checked-in with the marina office, and signed up for a week’s stay. The $105.00 fee included the mooring, one pump out, trash disposal, and use of the dinghy dock, showers and restrooms, and laundry facilities.
We stayed pretty busy for the next five or six days. We visited with friends whom we had met when we lived in Marathon during the spring, summer, and fall of 2005. It was really great catching up with them. We also marveled at the changes in the town and some of the facilities around the marina. The marina at which we had stayed for about five months, Faro Blanco, is closed, and a complete wreck. It seems it was purchased as a basis for a condo-with-slips development, but it got no farther than the purchase. That’s a shame as it was a nice property, and we enjoyed our time there.
We also went grocery shopping at the local Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarkets, which were something of a marvel after the limited goods available in the Rio Dulce. There were so many kinds of products, and so many choices in each category. We spent several hours on our first grocery shopping expedition, just looking at and enjoying all that is available.
We got a wonderful treat at the end of the week as Stacy and Tina decided to come down to Marathon, and visit for the weekend. They flew into Miami on the 22nd of April, and then drove down to Marathon, arriving in the afternoon. They stayed at a local hotel, Banana Bay Resort. Before their arrival, we prepared snacks, dips, and other foods, so that we could just stay in the room and visit or read, and enjoy low key breakfasts and lunches. We went out to dinner each night, and were able to introduce them to some of the gastronomic delights of the Keys, in Marathon.
Stacy came out to DREAM AWAY a couple of times to check out progress on the iPad enclosure we are developing. Things are looking good, and we are moving forward with ideas, research on the Internet, and suggestions from our friend, Jim.
The weekend ended all too quickly, and Stacy and Tina had to drive back to Miami to return home to Atlanta. We had a great farewell lunch at Porky's BBQ and Seafood Restaurant before they took off. Then they dropped us off at the City Marina dinghy dock, and headed on up the road to Miami. We went out to DREAM AWAY and started preparations for our anticipated departure to Miami, scheduled for the 26th of April.
We hauled up and secured the dinghy. We also took down the awnings, and secured them below. We generally got the boat ready for a passage.
On Tuesday, April 26th we dropped the mooring line and headed down the channel to fuel up at Burdine's Fuel Dock. We put 40 gallons of diesel ($4.40/gal.) into the port tank, and got three big plastic bags full of crushed ice, which were free with the fill up. Then we left Burdine's and headed out to the Hawk Channel.
It was about a 40 mile trip to Rodriguez Key where we planned to anchor for the night. The wind was pretty fluky. We went from a sailboat to a motor-sailor to a motorboat and back again a couple of times during the day.
Overall, the day was very nice and uneventful. We arrived at Rodriguez Key in the late afternoon, and anchored. There were nine other boats anchored at Rodriguez Key by the time the sun went down. PPSE7
On Wednesday, April 27th, we started early. We got the anchor up, and were under way by 0730. This day was much the same as the previous day. A very pretty day, but the winds were again fluky. We did the sailboat to a motor-sailor to a motorboat and back again a couple of times this day, too. By the time we went between Cape Florida on Key Biscayne and Stiltsville, in Biscayne Bay, i we had all the sails down, and were only a motor boat. PPSE7
As we headed to the ICW, we passed the entrance to No Name Harbor. After entering the ICW, we went under the Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge to Key Biscayne, then went past the entrance to the Miami River. Then we went under the bridge to Watson Island, which has the MacArthur Causeway on it. Immediately after passing under the bridge to Watson Island, we hung a right to get up in-between Hibiscus Island and Palm Island, where we anchored so as to be near the home of our good friends, Mike and Marilyn.
We got the anchor down, and then got the dinghy into the water. Mike and Marilyn do not have direct access to the water, but they had made arrangements for us to tie up our dinghy at a neighbor's dock, which we did. It was great to finally get in to see Mike and Marilyn. There had been so many delays in our getting together, but we were finally there. That was the good news. The bad news was that Marilyn was wheelchair bound! She had broken her leg in two places, about a month before we arrived. They were nasty breaks, and she still cannot put any weight on the leg. She is getting better, and hopefully in six months or so, she will be well enough to go cruising on their boat, the ROGUE DOG.
I actually took some pictures during this trip, so please enjoy the photos!!