Sitting here in the bright sunshine and warm temperatures that are common here in the Florida Keys, it doesn’t seem possible that Christmas is just around the corner. Michael made me a playlist of my Christmas music which has helped. This year has flown by with lots of changes. Since this time last year, I finished working at Willow Creek. We successfully moved aboard Sea Change since selling our home and we have navigated from Mobile, Alabama along the Gulf Coast until we reached our current hang out, Marathon, Florida in the Keys.
Whew! We summered in the Tampa Bay area and discovered lots of interesting people and places in St Pete. We made new friends and dodged severe weather for hurricane season. We spent July 4th anchored off Gulfport, Florida and enjoyed all the fireworks from the beaches surrounding us. What a glorious experience! This was followed by Mother Nature’s fireworks and a soaking in the rain at 2 am closing up the boat.
We traveled in Sea Change down the western coast of Florida and back with our friends, Jimmie and Sue, on Soul Serenade in June discovering anchorages with peacocks( Longboat Key) and awesome shells ( Gasparilla Key) and peace and beautiful sunsets ( Cayo Costa State Park at Pelican Bay). Cruising the Gulf Coast was a marvelous treat with plenty of interesting sites and lots of learning experiences! ( It was really amazing to discover that lots of the Florida coast is less than 5 1/2 feet deep! Who knew?)
I have decided that manatees are cool and iguanas are scary! Dolphins are elusive if you want to take their picture. Sea turtles are cute and endangered. Florida is hot in the summer and the Keys have very little in the way of beaches but everywhere is this mesmerizing blue green water in all kinds of moods and conditions.
Michael has worked hard to keep things running aboard Sea Change. He has embraced his inner pressure cooker chef. I have gotten comfortable with flying to work which up until now has been in Arkansas. We are still working on our plan for the New Year which we hope involves cruising up the east coast of the United States. I hope to continue to work enough to fund our cruising and keep my license to practice medicine. Michael is looking for the next interesting recipe, the next interesting story someone has to share and the next port. Our plan is to be living on the water for the next year. After that, who knows?
Especially at this time of the year, we miss each of you and hope that the holidays find you happy and healthy and surrounded by love. We are happy, healthy and surrounded by love and blue green salty water.
One of the pleasures and surprises of living on a sailboat is having the opportunity to meet other people that love being on the water. Since arriving at Marathon, Florida and making ourselves at home at Marathon marina, we have gotten to know plenty of folks that meet that requirement. One of these people is Craig, who sails a beautiful catamaran, Sognare. His cat is from Colorado but Craig is from the upper east coast where it is much colder right now than it is here. He kindly invited Michael and I and Jimmie and Sue out for an afternoon sail this week.
As with most boat adventures, there was some mechanical issues to be dealt with since one of Sognare’s two engines didn’t want to start when we were preparing to leave the dock. Michael, Jimmie and Craig all spent time with their head and upper body stuck in the port engine poking, prodding and banging on things until finally she started. Craig’s cat is very beamy measuring 26 ft wide which gives him a lot of room on his boat but makes it more challenging to turn it around in the fairway between boats. Having two engines makes it easier to accomplish. He eased Sognare out and we headed west out of Marathon. The winds were out of the south for the afternoon which put us sailing alongside the Seven Mile Bridge. The sun was bright and the water a lovely aqua color. Riding the waves from the trampoline on the bow of a catamaran is a lovely experience.The sunshine keeps you warm and the wind gently cools you. I must confess it is a great place to nap. We sailed west by Ohio and Missouri keys. Finally after reaching Bahia Honda, we turned around to head back in to Marathon. With the sun now behind us, the water from the bow is an emerald green. Michael and I saw these little packages in the water that looked like tiny clear balloons with blue streamers; they are apparently a type of jellyfish nicknamed Sailor jellyfish( Velella velella or By the wind sailors)
The draft of a catamaran is much less than that of Sea Change and because of that we sailed in what looked like very shallow water. I could see the sea floor as we sailed, the patches of sandy bottom and much darker sea grass were hypnotic as we rode along above them. We approached the channel to Boot Key Harbor just as the sun was setting behind us. What a marvelous afternoon on the water!
Here is a selection of some of our best photographs over the past 2 months from various places along our trip southward from South Pasadena to Marathon.
Cessna Plane at Sanibel Marina
Sunset at Cayo Costa State Park
Dolphin Sculpture at Sanibel Marina
Dolphin Antics, Naples/Marco Area
“Old Seven” Marathon, FL
Our First Sunset in the Keys, Marathon
Palm Detail, Crane Point Preserve Marathon FL
Yellow Submarine Project, Inner Boot Key, Florida
Iguana, Inner Boot Key