Hello from the Keys. A little late this week in posting but have been cleaning the boat and change the oil. Trying to get the maintenance out of the way before we head north.
The weather has been pretty good. It just seems strange in the morning to take Candy out for a walk before 7:00 and the temp is 74. There has been a lot of wind and talking to some of the other boaters this does not appear to be normal. We have been here 3 weeks and there have been maybe 4 days where the winds were light, less than 10 mph for the day.
We had a Bluegrass Festival at the Park/Marina the weekend before last and it was pretty good. It was open to all the boaters for free and the music was not loud or overpowering and we could not hear it on the boat.
This last weekend they had a fund raising event for the local hospital in Tavernier. They spent 5 days putting up a 18,000 sf tent structure complete with floor, lights and HVAC for the inside. It was a black tie event at $250 per plate unless you wanted to sponsor a table for anywhere from $12k to $20k. They had a live band that we could hear at the boat so it really must have been loud in the tent. They took 3 days to take the tent down. All gone as of this afternoon. Lenore and I did not go because we left our special event clothes at home.
Went to Marathon yesterday and saw the 2 marinas we tried to get into before coming to Plantation Yacht Harbor. I think we ended up in a pretty good place. We also visited with Bob and Missy Carter and their dog Harley. We met them at Trearuer Island and saw them again at Palm Island Marina. They spent last winter with Bill and Debbie Carver in Marathon at the Black Fin Resort. Really nice people that we will get together with again before we head north. Candy had a great time with Harley.
We had our first taste of Cuban Food the other night. We went to Habanos south and west of here. We went on the recommendation of one of the harbor masters and it was very good and I am sure we will go back again.
The pictures in this post include an unusual pontoon with a tuna tower, really strange. Also took some pictures yesterday when we were at the Black Fin Resort. Very nice area out at the entrance from the Gulf of Mexico.
Well the first week has been a great week. Candy and I have taken some good long walks and she has had the opportunity to meet a lot of other dogs at the marina. There has not been a lot of play time with the other dogs but she still has gotten a chance to meet and greet and sniff.
We have been down to Marathon once and up to Key Largo twice. Getting to know the Keys a little better with where the shopping is, Publix and Winn Dixies. We are going back to Marathon again to look at some of the marinas we considered down there. We went to lunch at Key Fisheries in Marathon when we were there. Lunch was good but I am glad we did not decide to stay at the there. A fish market, a restaurant, a Tiki Bar and marina. The marina looked small and lacking in any kind of amenities. There is something to be said about doing investigation beforehand.
The drive down to Marathon was great with lots of great views of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. This last week has been real windy with many days 15 to 25 mph winds and lots of whitecaps on the water. Today is a little less wind and it should calm in the next several days. There have been a few boats come in. I think they were traveling on the Gulf Side and the intercoastal is a able to handle a litle more wind before getting real choppy.
Looking thru some guides we picked up at the Visitors Center, we will have a Pop Concert and a Bluegrass Festival here (Founders Paek/Plantation Yacht Harbor) in the next couple of weeks. That should be interesting as we are maybe 500′ (as the crow flies) from the bandshell so we should be able to hear the music very well.
The pictures include sunset at the harbor, picture of the harbor and boats, pictures of the marina beach and a couple of pictures of Key Fisheries in Marathon.
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Hello from Plantation Yacht Harbor. We were going to stay at the Rod & Gun Club for 2 nights but we had a problem. About 3:30 am the fishing boats started leaving for their day on the water. They have no respect for the “no wake signs” and it took about 30 to 45 minutes for the 9 boats to leave. Every time one went by we were pushed hard into the seawall and that is no way to sleep.
I tried to talk to the dockmaster in the morning, 8:00, but he does not get in until 10:30 or so. Lenore and I decided to leave. We called back later and requested a refund on the dockage for the 2nd night and they said they would send a check. They were sorry about what happened but they also knew that it happens.
The ride was uneventful other than the crab pot markers. In Florida Bay near East Cape, they were lined up and not real easy to see, especially the darker ones. Fortunately the chop was less than a foot and that helped. In the intercoastel Waterway (ICW) near the Keys they were everywhere with no rhyme or reason that we could tell how they were placed. They were in the channel, out of the channel, everywhere. We were on plane so we could get to Plantation Yacht Harbor before the end of the day, it was like a slalom course .
There also were a lot of boats in the ICW moving both east and west. We slowed for most of them so we did not rock them and a few came on the radio and thanked us. The ICW is pretty interesting from the standpoint that it appears to be large bays that are connected by channels thru the reefs. The waves on the water are stopped by the reefs so there is no opportunity for larger waves, but then again the water is only about 8′ to 10′ deep so not much chance for large waves anyway.
We arrived at Plantation Yacht Harbor around 3:30 and got situated. I had called earlier in the day to make sure they would have a slip available because we were 3 days ahead of what I told them early last week. The staff here is really great. The harbor was just rebuilt a few years ago after hurricane damage. The harbor is attached to Founders Park which is an Islamarada City Park. Lots of activities, tennis, pool ball fields, soccer fields, swimming pool, bath house, laundry, dog park and a beach. The City does a nice job of maintaining the park. We are located on the Florida Bay side of the keys (west).
The only issue is that the access to shopping is somewhat difficult because it is not close so we solved that by renting a car for the 1st month. We will be at Plantation Yacht Harbor for 2 months and if the car works out the 1st month, we will probably extend it for the second month.
I will try and post a minimum of once a week while we are here so stay tuned and if anyone is near, call and stop by.
Left Naples for Everglades City. Only a short delay in the morning due to fog. Traffic on the river was pretty light and mostly fisherman. Saw a large commercial fishing boat that was buying fish from the smaller recreational fishing boats and doing a pretty brisk business.
We went on the outside from Gordon Pass to Marco Island and with the wind from the east we decided to go inside to avoid Ramono Reef. On the outside we would have needed to go 10 miles south of the last land mass to avoid Ramano Reef and then we would have been into the wind for the last 40 miles.oThe inside was fairly interesting and not as developed as I had envisioned. Plenty of places where the water was pretty shallow. Pretty hard to get used to seeing low numbers on the depth sounder. A lot of the inside route is through what appears to be part of the Everglades National Park. Most of the channel areas are marked well and with the chartplotter there is no trouble knowing where to go.
The sun was out for most of the day and once we were past Marco Island the sky was pretty clear. the river traffic was pretty light after Marco Island. Almost all the boats are runabouts with some of them rentals from the marinas. The inside route leads to Florida Bay where we headed southeast toward Indian Key Pass that leads into Everglades City. Once we made the turn it was another 5 miles into the Rod & Gun Club.
Several large tour boats, pontoon style, along with kayakers, canoes and airboats in addtion to the runabouts. Channel was not to wide in spots but marked well. Lots of birds with the Osprey nested on top of a lot of the larger markers.
The Rod & Gun Club is an old boys club established in 1869 and from what I heard, several US Presidents visited the club thru the years. The building is one of the largest in Everglades City but then again Everglades City is not very large. We tied along the wall and the outgoing tide made that quite a challange. The tide must have been going out at 3 or 4 miles an hour, at least it seemed like it was.
Candy had some challanges with the changes in tide. We had a lower dock area at the back of the boat so we could walk off the swim platform and then 2 steps up to the regular dock level on the seawall. Candy would jump to the dock and up thru the rail onto the seawall intead of using the stairs. She did not like to go down to the platform to get on the swim platfor so she would jump up onto the boat. The incoming tide started in mid-afternoon and by the time we were going for our last walk for the night we were close to high tide. Our lower dock platform was an inch or two under water and the boat jumping point for Candy was about 5′ above the seawall. Candy declined the opportunity to go for a walk and we waited to the next morning.
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Felt good to be back on the water and moving south. A little foggy this morning but it burned off quickly as we made preparations to leave. We said good bye to Ken & Peggy and JJ & Theresa (other live-aboards) our friends at the marina.
Our friends, Ken & Peggy, are getting ready to leave this weekend for 3 months in the Bahamas. It should be a great trip. THey are traveling with another boat.
The trip to Naples was only about 4.5 hours and the water was flat for the first half. After that there was some wind that came up out of the Southeast but the water was still good. Leaving early was great because there was not much boat traffic until we got close to Naples.
The coast is populated with many high rise buildings. I am sure most of these buildings are condominiums for all the people/snow birds in the area. Most of the high rises stop a mile or two north of Naples because all the residential is mostly homes from Naples south to the entrance.
The way into Naples is thru Gordon Pass and then about 3.5 miles north up the channel. The boat traffic reminded me of the Clinton River on a hot Saturday afternoon except that half of the boats were up on plane. We found that lack of courtesy is not limited to the Clinton River. Pretty crazy scene and it changed our mind about going the inside route to Everglades City. While it would be more scenic, the traffic would have made it a challange and somewhat frustrating. We will be going on the outside, in the Gulf, down around Romano Reef.
There is a lot of building going on along the water. All of it is residential and none of is is small. Lots of money in the Naples area and that is evident on the way into Naples. Naples Boat Club is very nice and far enough up the river that we did not have a problem with the wake from the crazies. The slip we have is tucked in along a fairway with the brockerage boats. It is pretty quite here after the private jets landing at the Naples airport quit for the night. There is a water taxi we can use to visit the restaurants on the water and a 2 block walk to the Naples Trolley.
The pictures are from early in todays trip as we left Port Sanibel Marina and went under the Sanibel Causeway bridge. One of my crew members did not take long to settle into a nap.