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Sick at Sea

1-25-11 to 1-31-11
During the night of the 24th, I awakened ill, with a fever, excruciating stomach cramps, violent diarrhea, and my whole body reeked with pain. My first thought was the MRSA had gotten into my bloodstream, although the MRSA site on my leg had almost completely healed. Then, Gary and I wondered if I was suffering from food poisoning from the previous night’s dinner, but we both had eaten the same thing and he felt fine. Regardless, he realized I needed immediate medical care. He tried to find an urgent care clinic but instead found a doctor on Key Biscayne who would see me.
We managed to move White Swan to a mooring ball in Crandon Park Marina and Gary called a taxi to get us to the doctor’s office, which turned out to be by the Winn Dixie where we have shopped. The doctor’s initial diagnosis, without confirmation of pending lab results, was Salmonella, and he treated me accordingly, with an injection of penicillin and a prescription for antibiotic pills, Xifaxan, that I was to take for three days. These pills were to kill the bad bacteria in my gut. However, in so doing, they also killed the good bacteria in my gut. I was on a rigid diet and lots and lots of Pedialyte with electrolytes so I wouldn’t dehydrate.
I lost a couple day’s activity and Gary did most everything to sustain us, including cooking and laundry. After two days at Crandon Park Marina, we moved the boat down to No Name Harbor where Gary could get off the boat and get some exercise at Bill Baggs State Park. Then, we motored up to Hurricane Harbor to anchor for the night.

The next day, we motored the short distance back to No Name Harbor so we could tie up to the bulkhead and ride our bikes to the doctor’s office for my follow-up appointment. Feeling a little stronger, I felt I could ride the bike if we took our time. The doctor was pleased that I was better but concerned that I was not well. He wanted to wait until the lab results came back before any further treatment, which was a wise decision.

After spending the rest of the day at No Name Harbor, we motored back to Hurricane Harbor to once again spend a quiet night anchored there. The back and forth between the two anchorages became our routine for the next three days while we awaited lab results.

No Name (Busy Little) Harbor, on weekend

No Name Harbor's bulkhead on the weekend

On Saturday, the 29th, we decided to make the short trip to No Name Harbor early in the morning, thinking the bulkhead availability would be slim on the weekend. We were right, beyond our expectations. When we arrived there, the bulkhead was wide open and we got to choose our mooring spot. By the afternoon the small anchorage and the bulkhead was packed with boats. We counted 25 anchored boats and 25 boats moored to the bulkhead with more coming and going through the busy little harbor. It was fun and entertaining watching all the families and groups of people partying in a carnival type atmosphere.

Gary riding bike on wonderful bike trail at Bill Baggs State Park

I felt well enough to go on a bike ride with Gary, so we rode to the beach and sat for awhile before going back to the boat to motor back to our overnight anchorage. On the way back to Hurricane Harbor, Gary and I had a spat after I warned him about getting too close to a shallow area. After anchoring, I retreated to our berth, leaving a cold chill in my wake. I guess we were both on edge due to my illness and not knowing really what was wrong with me. We just needed a little space between us for awhile, which is an important issue with cruising couples. As personal as this entry is, we felt it important for people to realize the cruising lifestyle is not always as glamorous as it appears. There are good days and bad days for those of us who choose the cruising lifestyle, just as there is for landlubbers.

The next day the chill was still in the air as we motored back to No Name Harbor. I wanted to get off the boat for awhile myself, and decided I should walk a little to help build some strength back into my body. When we arrived, we found at least ten boats still moored to the bulkhead, having spent the night, despite the park’s regulation of no overnight mooring to the seawall. There was an open spot with easy access and we slipped into it.

No Name Harbor, just when we thought there was no more room...

No Name Harbor, pinned in at the seawall

I was unable to get away from the “head” long enough to go for a walk, but I enjoyed watching the boats and people. Gary walked, rode his bike to Winn Dixie, filled a water jug from the harbor’s restaurant (not a common practice for boaters), and also enjoyed the Latino families and friends having a great time visiting with each other, eating, and playing loud Latino music. We felt like we were in another country. The only English spoken were from the few transient boaters and greetings from the Hispanics as they passed by. Our impression was this: there are a lot of rich Hispanics in Miami and Key Biscayne with big power boats and they all go to No Name Harbor to party on the weekends. About the time we thought another boat couldn’t possibly moor to the bulkhead, another one would inch it’s way up to it and find a way to tie up. Gary counted over 50 boats and at one time there was a traffic jam. What a zoo! At 5:00 PM we were still blocked in at the bulkhead, but at 5:30 the boats started to clear out and we were able to push White Swan away from the seawall and motor back to our nice, quiet anchorage at Hurricane Harbor.


We motored to No Name Harbor, finding an empty bulkhead with the partiers gone, leaving the small harbor to it normalcy once again. We tied up for the day, allowing easy access to the land.

Our long awaited call from the doctor revealed a negative test for Salmonella. Concerned, because I was still not well, we decided to head for home the next day. Many of our friends at our home port of Telemar Bay Marina and Melbourne, offered to come and get me to drive me back home, and help Gary get the boat back, but due to the type of illness and not being able to leave the security of a nearby “head”, we choose to take White Swan home ourselves.

Our last night at Key Biscayne we anchored outside Hurricane Harbor, north of the entrance, since the wind was calm and the shallows gave protection from power boat wakes. The forecast for the next day was conducive to going outside, the ocean route, to head north. We had never gone out the Florida Channel around Key Biscayne before so we decided to follow that route instead of going through Government Cut to get to the ocean.

1-31-11 Our last sunset over Key Biscayne before heading home












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