Boot Key Harbor

The best welcome - smiling friends!

The best welcome – smiling friends!

We departed Stock Island Village Marina and headed north…geesh, north!  Up to Marathon Florida, a nice easy five hour sail…but pretty much nose into the wind, so we once again motor sailed.  For those of you who are non-sailors, this means we had the sails up, but also ran the iron genny, or engine, to assist us in our travels.

We entered the channel, and as we passed Burdines, a great hamburger restaurant on the north side of the channel, we drew closer to the old bridge, which has a section removed to provide for boat access, but there is still a set of cables crossing above the old bridge.  As we drew closer, it appeared to me that the cable was a little on the “low” side for us to get under.  Sure enough, when we were within reading range of the signs on the old bridge, one of the signs posted read…..cable height 65 feet at 25 foot water level…oh oh!  Put on the brakes, turn Moorahme around, and get away from that cable!  Our mast height is 65 feet plus 3 feet of instruments…so a no go!
We then tried to dock at Burdines.  The dock hand…well, the dock hands elevator certainly did not quite make it to the top.  This guy wouldn’t tie the spring line to the cleat on the pole, because the cleat was loose…so I repeatedly told him to wrap the springline around the pole which was telephone pole sized.  He just couldn’t grasp this idea…..and then let Moorahme hit the dock rather hard instead of at least trying to fend us off.  That did not sit well with me….and for some reason, unknown to me<grin>, he threw the springline back at the boat and said he didn’t work when he was being cursed at…..he’s lucky I just cussed after he let the boat hit the dock.  I was not a happy camper at that moment in time.
So, with our friends Jim and Rhonda who are from Enekema Michigan leading the way in their dinghy, we headed off to the outside anchorage until we could plan our next step.  We successfully anchored there, welcomed Jim and Rhonda aboard, and caught up on old times.
There is a “controlled net” in Boot Key, which means that every morning at 9 a.m. on vhf radio channel 68 there is a radio broadcast for the sailors in the area.  The broadcast includes information on new arrivals, those departing, local announcements, buy, sell, trade, help needed, and a trivia portion.  We introduced ourselves to the boating community, and then awaited the help needed section.  When the time arrived, I asked the boaters about the cable, and if we could get into the harbour.  We were told that we could get in at low tide, which we had missed for that day.  So, we spent another rolly night at anchor, and prepped to enter the harbour. See http://www.ci.marathon.fl.us/government/departments/marina-and-ports/
Row U - in Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

Row U – in Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

We fired up the engine, and headed back into the channel, timing our arrival at the cable section to coincide with the low tide.  Perfect timing, and all kinds of help from other boaters.  Some watched with binoculars to ensure we would clear, others came in their dinghy’s, and one fellow whom we have come to know even jumped ashore from his dinghy, and climbed the embankment to the old bridge to get a close up view to ensure we would be clear.  And, clear we were!  A good 4 feet of air space between the top of our instruments and the cable.  We were in!

Grabbed that mooring ball first time. Yeah us!

Grabbed that mooring ball first time. Yeah us!

The fellow on the bridge is a base jumper, wingsuit flyer, Cliff Ryder!  What an awesome guy, with some great stories and a heart as big as a Island Packet 35…which he happens to own.  See here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlK_y2rTwI4   Pretty awesome!  He and his friend Susan, who is from Alberta and does dressage horse competitions representing Canada visited us one morning and we had a really fun time with them, discussing sailing plans, life plans….all the good things!  We’re hoping to hook up with them in the Bahamas and enjoy more time with them.

Oh oh - how do we get that back on?  Dean to the rescue

Oh oh – how do we get that back on?
Dean to the rescue

The local restaurants here…yes, here we go about food again….are just unreal!  The local Canadian owned Steak and Lobster place right across the street from the marina has happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day….appetizers grin…..are cheap and so delicious!  A half pound of very nicely sized shrimp, hot or cold, $5, tuna takata…..$5, buffalo shrimp $5, sushi for $5, beer for $1.50, well drinks $3.50…what a great place to go for a cheap and “juicy” meal….and still within staggering distance back to the boat!  Yeeeehaw!
To the guys at the Salt mine who are following the blog…..I attempted to get in to the mine while we were home at Christmas to say hello and have a visit with everyone, but I was denied access to the minesite by the mine manager……quite unfortunate, it would have been really nice to say hi to everyone.  Quite unfortunate in that the mine manager’s former secretary and her new baby were allowed access to the minesite just the week before….I guess the two sets of rules that exist there will just not ever go away.  OK, enough of that place!
We have sold our Rutland wind generator and the two Shell solar panels.  Alex, a young fellow with more knowledge than a person his age should have, talked us into ridding ourselves of the old technology and replacing it with new…as in new Kyocera 345 solar panels.  These two panels will give us 690 watts of available power on a good day, and we will rid ourselves of the wind generator which was creating a lot of noise in the boat, right above our heads, and causing enough vibration that I was concerned about the long term effects on the arch and boat itself.  We have already sold the panels and wind generator, in fact, there were at least 7 interested parties in this equipment.  The money we received from them will help to reduce the cost of the new solar panels and controller.  We hope this is a positive move, and Alex is quite sure that it is.  Here’s a pic of Alex doing what he does best…and me too…that’s my arm in the picture<grin>, watching Alex!
Alex and the wiring

Alex and the wiring

At least eight boats departed for the Bahamas yesterday, the weather conditions were very good to make the passage.  We have ordered some parts for Moorahme, and our now having new, updated solar panels installed, so our departure will have to wait probably another week.  The long range weather forecast is looking good for us to make our crossing in the near future.
So, enough for now!
The mooring field at night - so peaceful

The mooring field at night – so peaceful

Keep your stick on the ice.
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5 thoughts on “Boot Key Harbor

  1. Such adventures! Maybe trim your mast to 64,? lol. Gotta love the sailing community (and some awesome powerboaters out there too!)
    We hit bottom and picked up a crab pot last week; chewed up both props (did you know they weight those things down with concrete??) – now sitting in Sarasota while they get fixed. Great city! Great people! But hope to be underway again Tuesday.
    New lesson: Keep your butt off the bottom.
    Have fun fun fun in the Bahamas!

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  2. Another great read..thanks for the update. Love the you write and the dock hand didn’t sound like he was too ” handy”.
    Stay in touch, have fun

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  3. Bummer about hitting the dock and lack of handy deck hands. Glad it was nothing serious.
    So awesome for all the eyes on the mast going under the bridge. Hope you’re staying toasty warm down there. It was 37 here this morning-brrr!
    Be safe and above all have a great time!!!!!!!

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