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Florida Keys, “The Bahamas of the States”

4-11-10

Sandy and Nancy decided to stay in Key Biscayne, FL and pick up a mooring ball at Crandon Marina for a couple of nights and then join us in the Keys, since the rest of us decided to go on.  After filling one of our fuel tanks and both water tanks (and buying ice and Klon Dike ice cream bars) we sailed over Biscayne Bay to Elliott Key, which only took us two and a half hours.  Gary and I were excited to finally be sailing on clear emerald green water.  Sometimes the water looked blue, but mostly it looked a pretty clear emerald green.  Since we were in clear water, we used our water maker when the engine was running.

Gary snorkeling at Elliott Key

When we got to our anchorage at Elliott Key, I knew it wouldn’t take Gary long to get in the water.  We have been doctoring an infected place on his neck for the last week, and I knew no matter how much I pleaded, he would get in that water.  And he did.  However, as soon as he got back onto the boat, he showered and I put peroxide and Neosporin on the infected site.  Fish feces can be very damaging to an open wound, and we know to be very careful.

Gary and I took a leisurely dinghy ride around the anchorage.  Ed had told us about making a glass bottom bucket so we could use it to check our anchor set.  We took this bucket with us in the dinghy and had fun using it to look at the soft coral as we floated along.  Ed and Cheryl got in their dinghy with their dog ,Molly, and headed toward shore, so we met them at the beach.  There were a lot of power boaters partying on the beach, with loud music coming from one boat in particular.  I was appalled at the trash strewn over what should have been a lovely beach.  Obviously, the partying crowds gave no regard to our fragile eco-system and thoughtlessly left their trash behind.  The sight left me with a sense of melancholy as I pondered the question, “Why do people contribute to the demise of our world with such mindless acts of carelessness?”

We were aware a storm front was suppose to come our way, and indeed it did, with gusts of wind up to 30 miles an hour.  Both Lily Pad and White Swan drug their anchors a little way before grabbing tightly again.  Fortunately, both of us were able to respond to the situation quickly and it was soon under control.  We were thankful we were not in a crowded anchor, such as the one in Miami.  Sandy and Nancy should have been fine where they were as well, since they were secured to a mooring ball.  Our anchor held tight during the night, as did Lily Pad’s.  We contemplated going to a different anchorage, as the front was to continue yet another day; but after both our anchors dug in so tightly and held fast, we decided to stay where we were.

4-12-10

The front lingered around us all day, with lots of rain and gusty winds.  Gary and I decided to take advantage of the rain and we put buckets out to catch the rainwater and I did laundry by hand.  I washed the clothing and then hung them over the lifelines, pinned on with clothes pins, and let the rain rinse them.  After the rain stopped, Gary rung the clothing out and pinned them back on the lines to dry.  Worked like a charm.  And it was fun to be so creative with God’s gift of rain.  We also took advantage of the rain and used it to wash the top of the boat.  I used a scrub brush and Roll-Off and scrubbed the non-skid surfaces while Gary followed behind me with a sponge and cleaned the smooth surfaces.  And the rain did the rinsing.  It was much easier than having to mess around with a water hose to do the job.  Afterward, Gary said, “I bet it’s been a long time since you played in the rain.”  Yep!  Too long.  We enjoyed it so much, we intend to do more of it.  It’s truly wonderful being married to your best friend and play mate.

After playing in the rain, I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking.  We invited Ed and Cheryl over for dinner.  I was going to make a lemon meringue pie, put after fussing with the oven and trying to accomplish a baked pie crust with minimal burned edges, I gave up the notion of trying to bake meringue in the boat’s oven.  So, I just made the lemon pie filling using the ripest of the lemons we had.  After hearing my dilemma, Cheryl contributed fresh strawberries and whipped cream for the topping–delicious.

Making a meringue pie and noodles goes hand-in-hand in my kitchen.  Meringue requires just the whites of the eggs, so I use the yolks to make noodles.  Since, I gave up on the meringue before it was brought to fruition, I refrigerated the egg whites to be used later in an omelet, and used the yolks to make noodles for chicken and noodles.  Mashed potatoes, and green beans finished the menu and when dinner came and went, there was little left in the serving bowls–interpreted as a compliment to the galley slave.

While I was busy in the galley, Gary studied charts to familiarize himself with tomorrow‘s journey.  He also kept his attention focused on the chart plotter and Sirius weather radio, tracking the front that was going through.  As luck would have it, there was a break in the weather long enough for Ed, Cheryl, and Molly to come for dinner and a short visit.

 4-13-10

We left Elliott Key after a leisurely time with latte, coffee and devotions.  Motor-sailing allowed us to charge our boat’s batteries, run our water maker, run our refrigerator off the inverter, and charge our laptop computer.

We were anchored up a small creek called Linderman Creek by 11:30 AM.  The wind and current is strong but our anchor dug in well and there are no wakes slapping up onto the hull of the boat, so inside the boat seems quiet.  The last two nights brought with them, choppy water slapping the underneath of the boat, creating a lot of bothersome noise.  I use earplugs during such times, but Gary chooses not to because one of us needs to hear what is going on in case of an emergency.  He said the noise awakened him a couple of times during the night last night.  It had to have gotten pretty loud to have awakened him, because he usually sleeps soundly.  With calmer waters where we are anchored for tonight, sleep rebound should come easily for him.

Sandy and Nancy arrived around 1:30 this afternoon.  It’s very remote where our three Gemini’s are anchored.  Gary and I would not have chosen such an isolated spot if we had been traveling alone.  We’ve never had a problem in the past, but we also have been selective in our anchorages.  We feel there is safety in numbers, so we are comfortable here.

Mangroves at Linderman Creek

The little islands in this area consist predominately of mangroves.  Mangroves are found in the tropics and they are noted for their interlacing roots that can be seen above ground.  We went on a dingy ride through the serpentine creek,  and to me,  the mangroves cast an eeriness onto the ambiance of the waterway.  I’d much rather see a sandy beach.

Cheryl didn’t feel well so she and Ed passed on a social evening, so Gary and I taught Sandy and Nancy how to play Parcheesi.  Tomorrow night, all of us are planning on a pitch-in dinner and watching a movie aboard Lady Bug.  We are enjoying our new boating friends tremendously.  The commonality of loving being on the water unites us.

 

 

 

 

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