Moving on: Key Largo – Marathon – Key West

Friday night we headed into Skippers after dinner on board to listen to Scott play – and were given more complimentary drinks by the manager.   Thanks very much.


Saturday morning Richard went off to pick up his diving regulators from the servicing shop and took my new octopus with him so that they could put the old instruments onto it. In the meantime I was in the hairdressers trying out my basic Spanish on the Cuban-born stylist.

New regulators

We then returned to Morphie, checked the weather again for the final time, and went into the office to pay our marina dues. Then I took myself off to the laundry while Richard did some security enhancements meaning that we now have remote controllers so that we can turn the alarm on from our bed….  Very clever!!!  Saturday night we were planning to go out again but decided against it and had an early night.

Sunday morning we were up very early and slipped away down the Key Largo canal – into the Hawk Channel – in time for the sunrise.

Heading out the canal Sunrise at sea

We had a lovely downwind sail all the way to Marathon – bit of a gloomy day though.   On arrival we found out that the City mooring field was full and we had to anchor outside. We were surprised as there are over 200 moorings in there but, hey, never mind.   We had our anchor down off Boot Key at 15.30 after a thoroughly enjoyable 49 mile run.

Downwind sailing

The anchorage was pretty quiet and we enjoyed the view of the seven mile bridge as we sat in the cockpit eating dinner and watching the sun go down before turning in.

Seven mile bridge Good night

Monday morning and we awoke to a horrible morning – what happened to the forecast of 10-15 knot winds and a hot sunny day eh???  We saw 30 knots sustained in the rain and a white out….with some pretty significant gusts.  Oh well, time for a lazy morning then.

Stormy wet morning

We rode out this storm and, by noon, it had passed so we got dink off his davits and headed in….   As we came around the green marker we were welcomed by a couple of cormorants who were trying to dry themselves out….and then we spotted dolphins.

Showing us the way in

We slowed right down to a crawl and were really surprised when they came alongside us, under us, towards us and generally played with us for about five minutes.   What a magical moment!

Dolphins 1 Dolphins 2 Dolphins 3 Dolphins 4

We then entered inside the harbour and were surprised that it was full of quite old and almost derelict boats with only the occasional decent one amongst them.   Clearly this is a place that people live on boats most of the year…

Heading into Marathon Mooring field

We went into the City Marina town dock and, abiding by the notices, we went into the office to register.   We knew that we would have to pay to use the dinghy dock but was a little shocked when she charged us $24.   This is the daily mooring ball fee and comes with dinghy dock / laundry / showers / wifi / TVs etc etc but all we wanted to do was tie up dink and go shopping.  Even on questioning she said no that this was the daily rate for using the dock – and the receipt says daily dinghy docking too – what a rip off!!!

We then went for a long walk…..along US Highway 1…..and almost gave up by the time we got to Publix.   We got some fresh provisions and then came back to the marina via Home Depot as Richard had to get a jigsaw.

Time to go shopping

Heavily laden like pack donkeys we walked back to the marina and collected dink – pretty tired after that six mile round trip.   We was going to go to a waterfront bar – and the sun had come out by now – for a restorative beer but the outboard was playing up – so decided instead to go straight back to Morphie.

Morphie at anchor

Richard then fixed the outboard before we settled into the cockpit for a cold one.   Later on we did the passage plan for the run to Key West and checked out the weather….before having another early night.

Sun going down

Sun going down Marathon

Tuesday morning we picked up anchor and headed out into the Hawk Channel for the 42 mile run to Key West….enjoying another lovely sunrise at sea.

Sunrise at sea Marathon

Again we had another downwind run on genoa alone and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves…..even having another dolphin encounter. Fantastic.

Downwind sailing to KW

As we neared Key West we encountered boat traffic and had another yacht overtake us under motor – and then a cruise ship emerged.

Nearing Key West

We waited for it to cross before heading straight across the shipping lane into the shallower waters the other side – and were bothered by loads of tourist boats showing the remaining cruise ship passengers a good time.

Nearing Key West 2

Coming through the shipping lane

We motored alongside Trunk Island avoiding the large motorboats anchored off – and pulled into the preferred anchorage alongside Wisteria Island.

Nice boatThis anchorage is full of derelict boats too and seems to be a feature of Florida anchorages.   But these boats are being lived on…..

Derelict boats 1 Derelict boats 2

We found a sweet spot in about 10 feet of water and got a good set.   We had a quiet evening on board watching the sun going down and enjoying being on the hook before deploying all our security measures and turning in.

Key West sunset

Wednesday morning and we headed into town – a long and wet dinghy ride made cumbersome by the coastguard requirements to carry flares; whistle; lifejackets; hand-held radio etc etc…plus we had a couple of bags of rubbish to get rid off too.   We found the dinghy dock and went into the office to pay our dues – a positive bargain at $6 a day even if the dock is absolutely rammed with boats and we had to push and pull our way through them all to get a spot.  We then wandered the boardwalk and popped into all the marina offices watching the pelican feeding time along the way.

Walking the docks Feeding the pelicans

We have decided that we would like to spend a couple of evenings out in town in Key West and really don’t fancy that long dinghy ride (across the shipping lane) back in the dark – so the mission for the day is to secure a marina place for a couple of nights.   Well – this is their busiest season – and we were turned away from three marinas… Spotted this monster called Tiny along the way – what a beast!

Tiny 1 Tiny 2

Our final visiting place was the fanciest place – The Galleon – with lovely full-length floating docks – and yes they can fit us in for Saturday and Sunday. Only $140 a night….groan…..but we decided it was worth it so that we could walk out and about and see the famous sunset celebrations in Mallory Square as well as have access to fuel and a pump out.   So as our valentine day’s present to each other we booked in for Saturday and Sunday night – how romantic LOL.

Galleon Marina

Job done we carried on wandering and Richard found the zero mile marker….

Zero mile marker

We then headed into West Marine where we picked up more two-stroke oil and wax – and then went on a mini pub crawl down Duval Street. First stop was Sloppy Joe’s where we enjoyed people watching all the cruise ship passengers and listening to the Robert Plant look-alike.

Sloppy Joes Sloppy Joes 2 Sloppy Joes singer

After that we went to The Bull and listened to Dora – who was rubbish!!!   But it was good to see all the wall art depicting some history from Key West, although some of it was clearly imaginary…

Dora at the Bull Wall Art Wall Art 2 Wall Art 3

Then we moved on to Willie T’s where we had a bite to eat and quickly moved on as the singer fancied himself as a comedian and he couldn’t sing either……   Check out the notice on the wall in the heads….not sure I would have eaten here if I had read that first LOL.

Willie T's signage

We love the quirky nature of Key West – check out this cool looking dude in his shades….

Looking cool

Next stop was a waterfront bar looking over the dinghy dock before we headed back for the long ride – stopping to admire the mast and rigging sticking up from the sunken boat….

Dead boat

Then we sat in the cockpit and watched the daily sailings of the cutter-rigged sloops and more conventional catamarans taking out the tourists for their sunset trip.   Quite stunning….

Sunset cruise boats

This morning – Thursday – and I’m blogging while Richard is chilling.  We’ll go ashore later and revisit the marina as we haven’t had our reservation e-mail as promised – and we want to check out the documents we need for customs – which is a taxi ride away at the airport.  Apparently there is a form that we need to get notarised so want to make sure we have time to do this before the weekend – as we hope to be leaving on Monday for Havana if the current weather forecast sticks….

Bye for now