Sunday, February 26, 2012


Marathon, FL 24º42.366N | 81º5.669W

I've rarely lingered in places or jobs where each day passes much the same as the last. One of my favorite things in life is the absolute certainty that I'm uncertain what will happen today.

Today was a great example of how cruising delivers rich and varied themes.

I started the morning by zipping off to a free yoga class taught by a fellow cruiser at the tiki hut on shore.

We then took the dinghy a mile south from our mooring to the beautiful Sombrero Beach.

Where we tried out our new tiny dinghy anchor.

Okay, I see now I need something for scale.
The day was warm, the water too. Perfect for a swim while we kept a wary eye on a sailboat hard aground in the Sister Creek channel.

We watched from the beach as boat after boat stopped and tried to help the poor sailors get free.

(Please don't use that channel. Come in on the west end of Boot Key Harbor near the 7-Mile Bridge, not so deep itself, but well traveled.)

As we were heading back to the boat, we took a dinghy tour of the gorgeous houses along the manmade canals here.

Palaces, really.

As we headed back up Sister Creek, the dinghy engine died. On two pulls, it started right back up and then, phhhbbbbt. Died again. We would go about 100 yards, and the same thing would happen.

The last time, we were within 300 yards of the mooring field but still adrift. A small skiff with a motley crew aboard stopped to offer assistance. We thanked them but declined. They came over anyway to regale us of their recent exploits helping a sailboat off the bottom -- yes, the very one in our photo above.

They threw us a line and insisted on pulling us back to Cara Mia, talking the whole way. The line holder, named Travis, has a small sailboat and hopes to sail south at his first opportunity. In this case, I believe opportunity = $.

Duly delivered, we showered and made cocktails to prepare for our second Boot Key Harbor sunset. As the sun dipped, the requisite conch horns started to sound. (NOTE: Conch blowing at sunset is an island tradition. See what it sounds like on this random youtube video.) But off in the distance, a horn of a different stripe echoed.

I looked at Chip. "Is that a saxophone???"

Indeed it was. Chip got out a harmonica and answered back. Soon we jumped in the dinghy and went in search of the beautiful tenor saxophone wafting through the harbor.

The strains were coming from a boat only two mooring balls to the north of us, and, would you believe it? The boat was a Downeast, just like our last boat Isabella!

We were invited aboard by Captain Marty, the sax player, and Lenny, his Russian crew, and spent a delightful hour listening, well, me and Lenny, to Chip and Marty exchanging solos to Eric Clapton Unplugged and then Sade. Between songs, Lenny and I chatted, discovering quite coincidentally that he had spent a summer docked at tiny Mobjack Bay Marina where we were last summer. Curious.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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