Yet again, I’ve been slow and slack in my posts here. The truth is, there’s simply not too many things going on that might make for interesting updates. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say, that nothing particularly exciting is going on for us. Lisa and I are adjusted to life in the Keys, quite well, I should add. We are enjoying ourselves immensely and we look forward to the next year or so we have remaining here.
Conch Ceviche and stone crab claws - it's what's for dinner
We have been getting out to new restaurants on occasion, but often find ourselves gravitating back to certain ones. As those who follow us on FaceBook know, one of our favorite meals is stone crab claws and conch ceviche. Stone crab season ends on May 15, so I expect we’ll be spending lots of time at Keys Fisheries in the coming days. Grouper and dolphin season come on the heels of stone crab season. For the seafood lover in us, there’s always something to look forward to. And for the uninitiated, ‘dolphin’ in this case refers to the fish called dorado in the Caribbean and is most likely known to most of you as mahi-mahi, it’s Pacific region name.
We’ve also found a few little Cuban treasures too, roadside hole in the wall sort of places where the pork roast is marinated in delicious potions of citrus and garlic then slow roasted for hours until it is melt in your mouth tender. Then, of course, there are the black beans and rice and if that wasn't enough, there are the sweet and sticky fried plantains. Yum!
Unfortunately, JO BETH has not left the slip since we arrived in February. We’ve had lovely sunny and warm weather, accompanied by weeks and weeks of howling winds. Remember our deck awning, which I wrote about in the last post? We took it down in advance of some squally weather a week or so after we put it up, and it’s been stowed away since.
Spring squall over Hawk Channel
Lisa and I are both working as well which occupies most of our weekdays. We have had friends pass through Marathon on their way to the Bahamas and islands south who’ve been stuck here for days. Our friends Ken and Carrie aboard GRIFFIN, also a Pacific Seacraft, arrived in Marathon after a rough ten day crossing of the Gulf of Mexico from Port Aransas, TX. They were here for nearly a month, making minor repairs to sails, etc., but primarily waiting for a weather window to continue on. That window finally came for them last Tuesday and they left on a favorable wind for South Bimini in the Bahamas. They arrived Wednesday afternoon and are now very likely pinned down once again by the same winds which are keeping us in place. Things will ease as summer approaches, and Lisa and I are planning some early summer cruises around the Keys.
S/V GRIFFIN, now sailing in the central Bahamas
Part of the sailing life is meeting and saying goodbye to friends. Bruce and Rhonda, aboard their catamaran LILA JANE left Marathon yesterday and are working their way north for the summer. We went to dinner and spent a few hours in their cockpit Thursday evening, discussing how the departure of friends is one part of this life many people can’t relate to, and how it not only affects the people staying put, but the people leaving. Most of us don’t live in a situation where our home moves with us, wherever we may be. And after you’ve been in one place for months or longer, leaving that place can be a bit odd. For me, the odd bit is experiencing the realization we won’t be coming back this way again, or at least not for a while. I remember that when we left Brunswick, GA bound for the Keys, the reality that we were indeed leaving didn’t sink in until the next morning when we left our first anchorage behind Cumberland Island and didn’t turn back north, but continued heading south.
The cruising population of Marathon is dwindling, as boats move north for the coming summer and hurricane season. It’s easy to forget that Marathon is a small town when the snowbirds are here. There’s one McDonald’s, a Burger King and a couple of other fast food places. Shopping is limited to Beall’s and the strangest K-Mart we’ve ever been inside of. There are two grocery stores, a Winn-Dixie and Publix, both miniature versions of their cousins in Miami. The nearest Starbucks are 35 miles east in Islamorada and 45 miles west in Key West. Marathon does have a great little coffee loft, situated on the upper floors over a potter’s and glass arts studio. Amazon has become a major resource for our shopping, even for groceries.
Tiller, cat left and Rudder, cat right live aboard S/V WIND SPIRIT but spend time aboard JO BETH on occasion - particularly if that occasion involves food
Boat life is boat life. Lisa and I are quite content aboard our little home. We’ve been pseudo adopted by our neighbor’s cats, Tiller and Rudder. And even dockside, boat things still break. We’ve spent time replacing cracked or broken fittings on tanks and repairing various hinges, cleaning strainers, etc. We’re continually resolving stowage issues and still removing little-used gear from the boat. In the evenings, we're entertained by tarpon hunting mullet in the marina basin, and on a few early mornings, have awakened to find a manatee scratching it's back on our hull.
Sunset over the Atlantic
All in all, boat life is dock life, and together they make up our water life – and that’s a good life!