Wow, it’s hard to believe we have been in Marathon for almost two months. The time has gone quickly. Our original plan was to stay for only one month. The brisk winds have been nonstop making travel to the Bahamas almost impossible. We were just happy to have a secure dock to hide out. Others were not so fortunate. When we arrived, the harbor had a 50 boat waiting list for the moorings. We made reservations for our slip here at Marathon Marina almost one year ago. Our time here has been very enjoyable. From the first day we pulled in, both the staff and other boaters have warmly welcomed us. Most of these folks are return customers year after year. It seems almost like a family here. Judy, the manager, does a great job. There is some sort of get together for the boaters every few weeks. As an added bonus, the view of sunsets from our stern could not be more magnificent. Many mornings we were visited by a family of Manatee. There is also an active Krogen contingent here in Marathon. Each Wednesday morning the group gets together for breakfast at the Sunset Grill. Some are current Krogen owners but many have sold their boats and are now land based here in Marathon for the winters. When you own a Krogen you become part of the family. It will be kind of sad to leave Marathon but we already have reservations to come back next year.
It did not take us long to settle into the Keys routine. Most mornings would start with a 5 mile walk across the old seven mile bridge followed by a trip to La Niña Mexican Café for a Cuban coffee and Café con Leche. We have yet to find anything equal to the coffee at La Niña and we have tried. During our stay, Jeff was on a mission to find the best fish sandwich in the keys while Susie was searching for the best Key Lime pie. Dave and Tricia, owner of the Krogen Laurel Ann, joined us many days as we sampled just about every restaurant in Marathon. The unanimous consensus was that Burdines has the best blackened fish sandwich not to mention their awesome humongous baskets of homemade fries. After consuming 5 whole key lime pies, Savannah Sweets, a local bakery, was the winner of best Key Lime pie in Marathon.
Eating was not our only pass time. One enjoyable afternoon was spent at the Dolphin Research Center watching the trainers put the dolphins through their paces. They also gave a thoroughly enjoyable educational program about dolphins and their habits. You could spend an entire day here watching the Dolphins interact with humans. Along with Dave and Tricia, we attended a fishing seminar given by a local fishing guide at Marathon Boat Yard. A few days later the four of us traveled down to Cudjoe Key for a day of fishing with him. We learned quite a bit about reef fishing. Dave and Jeff reeled in some nice size mackerel to go along with the yellow tail snapper and small grouper that we managed to snag during the day. All in all it was a good day.
The few times when the wind didn’t blow, Idyll Time was eased out of her slip for some overnights at anchor. We tried our luck at fishing but without much success. Since the sea conditions were flat calm one evening, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to spend the night on the mooring ball out on Sombrero Reef. There are 12 moorings used mainly for snorkeling and diving the reef. Rarely, do you get calm enough seas to stay overnight, as the moorings are five miles offshore with no wind protection. It was a magnificent evening with only one other sailboat sharing the moorings.
During one of our shakedown cruises with the boat, we discovered that our 6 week old FLIR was no longer working properly. Scotty, our electronics guru, worked his magic with FLIR and drove the 4 hours from Stuart to Marathon with a new FLIR to switch out.
Next we discovered that our water maker was not producing enough water and was operating at too high a pressure. We will defiantly need this valuable piece of equipment in the Bahamas. Water there is 50 cents a gallon if you can find it. Scotty had already made one trip to Marathon so there is no way we can ask him to come back. A call to the manufacturer is made and we determine that our two membranes need to be replaced. The local water maker dealer is called and they overnight two new membranes to Marathon. Things are never easy with a boat. Turns out the membranes needed to be modified with a special drill bit. The closest one to be found was in Pompano Beach. We are in the car the next morning making the six hour round trip to pick it up. After another four hours of re installing the water maker, everything is again good to go.
A few days prior to our departure date, we make a 4 hour trip to Stuart taking Nate, our parrot to Bird Camp. The U.S. makes it almost impossible for us to take him with us to the Bahamas (see previous log). We know he will be in good hands but it is still hard to part with him for almost two months. We can hear him calling us as we walk out the door. It breaks our heart to leave him.
Looks like we have a small weather window tomorrow to make the jump across the Gulf Stream to Bimini.