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Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo


Our next anchorage was a little further south in Blackwater Sound, very near where the ICW makes a cut through Key Largo via Dusenbury Creek. Nancy and Sandy are anchored past the cut in Tarpon Basin. The Pennekamp State Park is on Key Largo in between our two anchorages. Since they could dinghy to shore and walk to the park and we could dinghy through another shallow cut close to where we were anchored and go to the park via water, we made plans to meet them.

Cheryl and Ed relaxed on Lady Bug while we took our dinghy through a narrow cut through the Key to get to where Sandy and Nancy were awaiting us at Pennekamp State Park. The water was choppy in Largo Sound and we got wet going through the sound to get to our destination. Not having a GPS on the dinghy, and navigating by Sandy’s verbal directions given to us from his perspective from land, which is totally different from what is seen by sea, made it challenging to find them. After crossing Largo Sound , we made our way through a maze of mangroves and finally saw them waving to us from shore. Finding them was a combination of luck and a little navigational common sense.

We had a great time walking around Pennekamp State Park and then we walked approximately one mile to a restaurant Sandy and Nancy had found earlier in the day. After lunch, we parted ways at the park entrance and Gary and I went into the park where our dinghy was moored, while they continued walking another half mile or so to get to their dinghy which was tied up on the shore close to where Lily Pad was anchored.

When we went to the park, the wind was behind us and at times we rode the waves, giving us a smooth ride until our bow would lose the crest of the wave and dip down into the trough, which then allowed the water to come pouring over the bow into the dinghy. We knew the wind would be right on our bow going back to White Swan, and if it had stayed as strong as it was during our trip over, we would have had a very rough crossing for our return. Anticipating, a choppy, wet ride back to our boat, I’d worn a swimsuit underneath my clothes, so I took my outer garments off before slipping on a life jacket. If our ride back had been more bouncy than the ride to the park, I thought it would present a very real possibility of bouncing me off the bow of the dinghy and I wanted to be prepared for such an incident. Turns out, the wind calmed down, delivering an uneventful ride back to our boat. “Uneventful” is good…We don’t always need excitement in our lives.


Great Egret at Key Largo

Brown Pelican at Key Largo

On the ride through the cut, we saw lots of brown pelicans and great egrets.  This is the first area we have seen the tall white great egrets.  We’ve only seen the smaller snowy egrets thus far down the ICW.  The main differences between the two are, the great egrets are approximately 15 inches taller than the snowy egrets, and their bills are yellow where the snowy egrets are black.  Both have black legs, but the snowy has yellow feet while the great’s remain black.

We picked up our ice chest and a big bad of trash from the boat and went to a nearby marina for ice, gasoline for the dingy, and trash disposal. It’s a good thing White Swan didn’t need fuel, as the marina did not offer diesel. We noted two restaurants were near the marina, for future visits.

After dinner, Gary took a nap (a rarity) while I sat in the cockpit and read. The serenade of loud music from a tour boat, or the wake from all the power boats, didn’t seem to disturb Gary, and the activity provided entertained for me…beats staring at mangroves for two days.



Our travel today brought us to Mile 1150 on the ICW. We are anchored in Community Harbor, Key Largo. The three sister ships are once again reunited. Sandy and Nancy’s Lily Pad was already anchored in the small harbor when Lady Bug and White Swan arrived. Only boats with very shallow drafts can anchor in the shallowness of Community Harbor. “Draft” is the distance from the bottom of the boat to the water’s surface. Gemini catamarans have a draft of 20 inches. Pat and Tom Dennis’ boat, Swan, has a draft of six feet. Therefore, they would not be able to go into a lot of anchorages we have been in with White Swan. On the other hand, they could have been across the Gulf Stream by now, because their heavier boat can handle the stronger winds. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of boats. The important thing is to know the capabilities of your boat and sail her accordingly, respecting both the boat and Mother Nature.

Ed and Cheryl invited all of us over to their boat to watch a movie tonight. We always enjoy movie night, especially since there is no TV aboard White Swan. It took me five years to convince the captain of this boat, we needed a barbeque grill, so the way I figure it, in four more years we’ll have a TV on White Swan. As with all things we have to wait for, it will be appreciated that much more when it happens.

One Comment

  1. Ralph Lapham says:

    Could you tell me anything about the “White Swan” and who owns it, etc.

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