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We realize now we are not going to have enough time to go to the Bahamas.  When planning this trip, we read in the cruising guide a minimum of one month is necessary to go to the Bahamas because of dealing with the weather.  We had the month of April to make the trip, but more than half our time has passed while we have been waiting for the proper weather conditions to make the passage.  The extended forecast indicates there will be no break in the weather any time soon.  Hopefully, there will be another time when White Swan can venture to the Bahamas.

Since our reality check, we have decided to enjoy the Florida Keys the rest of April.  Our travel today brought us to the city harbor in Marathon on Vaca Key.  We are now in the Middle Keys.  We picked up a mooring ball in this busy harbor.  I always enjoy being hooked to a mooring ball, as we don’t have to worry about our anchor dragging during the night.  And just as important, we don’t have to worry about others’ anchors dragging in the night.   For those of you who don’t know what a mooring ball is, it’s a large ball-shaped float permanently anchored to the bottom.  It has a rope attached to it, that you pick up with your boat hook and then secure it over a cleat on your boat.  Most busy harbors have a mooring field because  1. More boats can stay in the harbor., and  2. The city or whomever owns the mooring field makes revenue from the rented mooring balls.   And as previously mentioned, for the boat owner it’s safer.

That evening, Sandy, Nancy, Gary and I rode in our dinghies to Burdine’s restaurant and had a lovely dinner.  We enjoyed having our meal on the waterfront deck until dusk came and the No-See-Ums attacked us.  We quickly paid our tabs and enjoyed the breezy ride in our dinghies back to our boats, leaving the No-See-Ums behind us in the still air.  From now on, we”ll probably try to be on our boat, with the screens in the hatches, before dusk arrives at this anchorage, to avoid another encounter with the No-See-Ums.

The next day, we loaded our marine bikes onto the dinghy and rode them to the nearby grocery store.  Afterward, we met Sandy and Nancy at the Stuffed Pig restaurant for lunch and then we went to the fresh seafood market.  With each couple parting ways, Gary and I chose to ride around and see what else we could find close to the marina.  We found a turtle hospital that gives educational tours.  Remember the saying, “If you want to revisit a place, don’t see everything there is to see.”  We want to come back to the Florida Keys again, and we’ll hopefully tour the turtle hospital at another time.

By the time we got back to our boat, Ed, Cheryl and Molly had made it to Marathon to reunite with us.  The three sister ships were on mooring balls all in a row.  It’s always impressive to see a group of the same model of boat in a harbor.  We are often asked if we are traveling together.  A few times, there have been one or two other Gemini catamarans in the same harbor along with the three of ours.  Usually, we meet the owners before leaving port.

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