Key West was fun, but it is always a bit of a relief to get the wind in the sails again. We had payed for the mooring field through April 20th and we were determined not to stay a day later. leavingKW2.jpg

The trip started out with a bang, literally. On April 19th Jeremy and I docked the boat at the transient dock at Key West Bight Marina in order to get supplies for the trip and fill up on water. Everything went as planned and we pulled away with the intention of spending the last night on the mooring ball saying goodbye to those we befriended there. We barely made it outside the wall before we heard a strange banging noise coming from the engine. We tried not to panic, but when it occurred three times we radioed the marina and informed them of our need to return. They were very understanding and agreed to allow us to spend the night at the transient dock. They even supplied us with phone numbers of various diesel mechanics.

The Yanmar diesel mechanic was thankfully nearby. He came over to the boat in less than 15 minutes and surely decided we were crazy in even less than that! No matter what was done to the engine we could not reproduce the noise we heard. We even duplicated the trip out past the wall. Diagnosis was impossible given there were no symptoms, but it was theorized that we had something catch on our propeller temporarily.

Well, we simply sucked up the dockage and mechanic fees and made the best of the situation. We took our dinghy over to the mooring field to say our goodbyes and attempted to get to bed early. We woke early in the morning to grab last minutes supplies and coffee(for me of course). As we finished preparing the boat to leave a squall blew in making us apprehensive about leaving. We debated the options as we closed the hatches against the rain and finally decided to go for it.

It turned out to be a wise decision. modernsailor2.jpg We left Key West at 10am and used the amazing winds from the squall to fly up the Intercoastal Waterway at 7-8 knots. The trip was amazing. Jeremy and I took 3 hour shifts so that Jeremy could get some work in. We flew 3 sails most of the time with the occasional switch to 2 sails for comfort sake.(we averaged a heel of 10-20 degrees throughout the trip)

During Jeremy's time at wheel he accidentally swung across the path of another sailboat while adjusting his fishing pole. We were hailed within minutes and I expected a reprimand. We were surprised by the captain of the Island Chariot who complimented us on the beauty of our boat and asked us about our intended destination. They too were heading to Marathon and we followed behind them most of the final leg of the trip.arrivedentry2.jpg They contacted us again as we neared the channel that would take us into the mooring field at Boot Key Harbor and warned us to stay to the left side of the channel. We were very grateful for this advice as it was clear we might have run aground without it.

Marathonmooring2.jpg This little bit of kindness would be only the start of the amazing social network at Boot Key Harbor. Once we were settled on the mooring ball, we decided to explore in the dinghy. We stopped by one of our neighbors to get some advice on which direction was best to go. The couple not only advised us of their opinion on things to do, they also informed us that there is a radio broadcast every morning for Boot Harbor on channel 68. During the announcements they ask for new-commers and formally welcome them. They also arrange for new boats to receive bags filled with coupons and local information.

The next morning Jeremy and I turned our VHF to 68 shortly before 9am. The program was great. BHCM.jpg They welcomed new boats, said goodbye to those leaving, discussed the local weather, had a buy and sell time, made announcements about local events(which includes yoga/softball in the community park and meet & greets every Wednesday), and played a stump the harbor trivia game.

laundry.jpgOn Wednesday Jeremy and I attended the meet and greet. We were pleasantly surprised by the set up at the Marina. resources.jpgWhat looked like an old warehouse contained a nice laundry section, two cubicles set up with for TV and movies, a book exchange, dockmaster office, and several tables for people to sit at while cruising the free internet.

At the meet and greet we met many nice couples.relaxing.jpg We traded information and stories and one couple offered us the use of some special tape to fix our leaking waste pipes. Afterward, we headed over Hurricanes for dinner. We picked Hurricanes because the only couple close to our age at the meeting invited us to watch Chuck perform at the open mic. The dinner was nothing special, but we did enjoy Chuck's performance.

Prior to leaving we stopped by their table to talk. Chuck and Michelle were there with another couple they were traveling with. The couple had rented a sailboat and were currently on their honeymoon. The girls encouraged me to attend the Thursday yoga, which I did and enjoyed very much.

outsidepavillion.jpgWe are currently set to stay in Marathon for one week due to the high eastern winds. We are glad that we are at least stuck in a place with nice amenities. newboat2.jpgWe have purchased our new tender and are getting accustomed to it. So far, so good.