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Robin & Jim


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Posted By Robin & Jim

We arrived safely in Marathon on December 1.  A nice welcome back to the Keys comes in the form of wildlife - lots of it!  There are sanderlings and herons on the dock, ospreys chirping overhead, pelicans, egrets, and cormorants.  My first job was to give the boat a good bath since she hadn't been washed in a long time and she was pretty salty, but this manatee kept coming over to drink the fresh rinse water from my boat washing. 


They really are pretty ugly, and they have the weirdest mouth!  Everytime I heard the loud slurping I'd have to stop washing the boat until the manatee went away.  It's illegal to give them fresh water because it encourages them to hang around marinas and humans - which increases the chance that they could be hit by a boat.  It's fun to see these creatures up close, but not when it puts them at risk.  It makes washing the boat take much much longer than usual, but that's a good reminder of the slower pace here in the Keys.

It was wonderful to see old friends on the dock - some who live here year-round, and other snowbirds who were just arriving for the winter season.  This is our fifth year here, and it's the closest thing we have to call "home". 

Christmas in the Keys is always a bit different...  we particularly like the holiday greetings that the Aquaduct Authority puts up, and the lighted boat parade is small but spirited.

keys christmas humor

It has been quite a year for us - lots of ups and downs.  The holidays were difficult (emotionally and logistically), with a long road trip that included stops in Virginia, Maryland and then briefly to NJ to see my brother and wrap up some estate issues.  He's head of the detective bureau in the town where we grew up, and I'm pretty proud of him. 

bob and robin

Thankfully the holidays are now behind us, we're back in our beloved Florida Keys, and now we're working on winter projects and boat maintenance.

We covered a lot of water miles this year, and we had more than our share of car miles too, but we'll focus on just the water miles - they are the best kind.  We left the Keys on March 7 and returned on 1 December, traveling a total of 5215 nautical miles from here all the way to the northern part of Nova Scotia, and then back down the Eastern Seaboard to the Keys.  (A nautical mile is 6760 feet and a statute miles is 5280). 

In that time we bought 4,124 gallons of diesel fuel.

While we're on the topic of statistics, since we retired in the summer of 2007 we've traveled 17,754 nautical miles.  We put an additional 4000-5000 miles on the boat before we retired, before we got the chartplotter system that tracks our miles traveled.  Since we bought ADVENTURES in November of 2002 we've made 11 trips up and down the ICW between Florida and the Chesapeake (or beyond). 

So far, we have lived aboard ADVENTURES full-time for 7 years, which has been wonderful, and we have no desire to live on dirt again!

Posted By Robin & Jim

I apologize for not blogging more often, but our days have been very full.  We were running long days to get to the Keys, our winter home, and we've been busy since we arrived.  Yes, we are now in Marathon after 5214 nautical miles over the last 9 months. 

It's wonderful to be back in our beloved Keys, but the last leg of the journey through south Florida is worthy of a blog entry.  The wind continued to be strong and conditions for ocean travel were not good, so we ran the south Florida segment on the inside (in the ICW). 

lake worth palms at sunrise

From Jupiter down through Miami and Key Biscayne it's striking to see the incredible amount of wealth concentrated in a relatively small area.  I think we found where most of the 1% live, between all the amazing mansions and the huge yachts!  The homes are just breathtaking, and the landscaping is really gorgeous.  The only sad thing is that we rarely saw people out enjoying their property.

small mansion

We made the run from Lake Worth (N. Palm Beach) to Key Biscayne (below Miami) in one long day.  We have 24 bridges that have to open for us, and most are on a strict schedule.  Jim is a wizard at setting up waypoints so we can pace our travel from one bridge to the next in rapid fashion. 

Although the homes are impressive (like the small mansion in the photo above), the yachts, mega-yachts, and super-yachts are mind-blowing.  We start with some 80-125' yachts in a "small" marina...

100 footers

Then the 100' yachts dwarfed by the 150-200 footers at Pier 66 Marina...


There is the 280' yacht that makes the 150-200 footers look dinky...

And finally the Uber Super Yacht - this one in lower Miami is 438' long!  Who are these people?

uber yacht

There is just so much to see mile after mile  - our heads were on swivels all day.  There sure seems to be a lot of 1%ers, but I wouldn't trade our lives for these people who seem too busy working to enjoy their pleasures.

miami skyline

We arrived in Marathon on December 1, leaving our anchorage off Key Biscayne at 0420 for the 90 mile run.  We had a fair current, great conditions, turquoise water, dolphins, manatee, turtles, and the beautiful chain of islands... a perfect welcome back.

Posted By Robin & Jim

We had a nice little pause in Morehead City, NC and then went back to pushing the miles pretty hard to get south.  Leaving Morehead City we had the only nice day to travel out in the ocean for the southern part of the trip, and it was great to be out in the deep blue for a while!  In Myrtle Beach, SC we ran into Dick and Elle Lassman on SUMMER WIND and had a great evening catching up and laughing until the restaurant closed.  It's these little unexpected treats that makes the trip so much fun.

Jim kept reporting that the weather for outside running was not good, so we decided to aim for the commercial fuel dock in Brunswick, GA to take on another 500 gallons.  They're closed on weekends, so we had a bit of a schedule to get there on a weekday, and then to time the tides to get through several areas with very shallow water.  We saw a lot of these (sunrises) since daylight is short this time of the year!

sc sunrise

But the truth is that often the most beautiful light and color is in the short time just before dawn or after sunset, so there is a reward for the long running days and getting up on chilly mornings to pull the anchor in the dark.  As we travel the type of terrain and scenery changes constantly, and each kind is beautiful in its own way.  These SC marshes don't offer much protection from strong winds, but they are vast and they teem with life - birds, alligators, dolphins, even otters. 

Besides all the wildlife, humans also provide some interesting sights along the way - we've seen bright purple houses, giant giraffe statues, mannikins standing on docks... I don't know what this is, but it made us laugh!

smiley face

We had two days of fog going through Charleston, SC and beyond so the radio was busy with safety calls.  We heard our old Power Squadron friend Ben Fulton on the radio, one bridge behind us, so we had the chance to catch up with him a little. 

Passing just below Savannah, GA is a boat yard that specializes in mega-yacht repairs.  Their basin had about 7 yachts 100' or bigger, and an enormous sailboat that had to be almost 150' long with a mast probably closer to 200' tall.  The wealth along the waterway is impressive many places, but there are also some tiny, scruffy old homes and even some trailer parks sitting on some prime real estate. 

Georgia waters means that we see a lot more shrimp boats, and they like to run with their outriggers almost horizontal even when they're not dragging their nets. I think it helps to stabilize their boats for a better ride, but it makes things a bit more exciting when we're trying to pass them in narrow waters.

shrimp boat

We made our schedule to get to the commercial fuel dock and we got lucky with high tide coming at convenient times for us when we really needed deep water. We finally got into Florida waters (yippee!) even though there's still a long way to go to the Keys.  We decided to pause in Palm Coast for a little break, and to see friends.  We were invited to an "orphan's Thanksgiving" dinner with old and new friends, and it was just lovely - our hosts couldn't have been more fun. Plus, it's good to be in FL and wearing SHORT SLEEVES!