April 12, 2009: Lucky Heads North

We left Boot Key Harbor for the final time this year on March 28. Before that, while waiting for Elizabethann to come, we took a short trip up the Spanish Channel, and tucked in behind Porpoise Key for a few days.
We picked up a lobster pot on the way, and I was on the wheel when we realized why we were going so slowly. But another day, it was Richard who picked up a pot, so we were even. He gets upset because he has to go under the boat to get the float off the prop, and the water is only in the low 70s.
Our chosen key was quiet and protected from the wind, and we explored the area in our dinghy. Porpoise Key is surrounded by mangroves and inaccessible by foot, as we suspect most of the little keys in sight were.
We found a little fishing port on Big Pine Key, and a landing at the end of a road, where permanent live-aboards keep their bicycles and go ashore with their dinghies. But it is miles from anywhere by foot, so we went back to our boat, and watched the birds and fish go by. We saw a dozen dolphins herding fish into the shallows for their supper some nights.
Back in Marathon, we waited for the wind to die down so Elizabethann could come sailing with us. I read a murder mystery to Richard to take his mind off his sore back.
A potential buyer for My Detour offered to wire me money for my boat, but backed off when I offered to drive over to his place in Ocala to get the money instead of sending him the detailed information about my account that he requested.
On March 27, Elizabethann arrived, and sister Sandy called to tell me Dad had broken his leg and I should fly home right away. I stalled, and now, two weeks later, he seems to be doing fine, and is getting good care at our little local hospital. He says I can make up for neglecting him now when I get home. Sandy is terse and hangs up.
The southeast wind was still high on March 28, and we sailed through five-foot waves to get over to Moser Channel, and surfed under the Seven Mile Bridge. After that, we flew up the inside of the Keys on just the genoa. We picked up a free mooring off Shell Key the first night. Richard was tired, having steered all day through the floats from pots, and two ounces of rum put him first into a jovial talkative mood, then into a sound sleep after supper.
The next two days were easier – less pots with the end of lobster season.
EA ands I found a place to go ashore in Tarpon Basin, and had it approved by the county commissioner, who was eating lunch in the little park behind the county building when we tied up. She even showed us where the washrooms were and told us all about the artwork in the lobby. She told us about the python problem in southern Florida too. Peoples’ pet pythons have escaped and multiplied, and can hide very well in the Everglades.
It gives Tarpon Basin a whole new feel.
We anchored in the cove past Jewfish Creek. This time, instead of being empty, it had five big trawlers lined up in it. Richard says I told too many people about it, but I say anyone can look at a chart.
We than anchored off Sands Key, which has beautiful clear water, and a little keyhole lake to dinghy to. Tiffany Rose followed us in, much to our delight, and had Richard’s crêpe breakfast with us the next morning. We visited Boca Chita, but were attacked by very aggressive mosquitoes. The crew of Tiffany Rose was driven off the shore of the keyhole lake by the bloodsuckers too, and at dusk we had to have screens and netting up. It was almost the only time this winter it was warm enough for mosquitoes. Other than that, the anchorage was lovely. We saw rays, turtles, dolphins, many water birds, and, in one spot, dozens of lobsters peering out at us, taunting us, I thought, because lobster season was over.
We sailed to Dinner Key to anchor among the wrecks (both boat and human) there. Elizabethann left us in Coconut Grove to take the Metrorail /bus back to Key West, after we saw Dave and Christopher on shore. Christopher ran full-tilt into our arms to welcome us.
Then back to Hurricane Hole with Tiffany Rose, where we swam, and taught them to play Farkle.
Going back into No Name Sunday evening, we went around the shoal, which must have had 200 boats on it. Music played, kids splashed around in the water, and the really cool people stood around in groups in the water, drinking and visiting. It’s a party that happens there every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Kika, on Different Drummer, hailed us on our way in to NO Name. Dennis and Kika, Richard’s friends from Alaska, were anchored out by Stiltsville. Later, we all went for dinner at the Sailors’Grill, overlooking the harbour. It was a chance meeting, they going south and we north.
That night, the wind let up for a while, and I woke up at midnight, breathing the fumes and listening to the noise of three generators being run all night upwind of us. I decided that, instead of just lying there being annoyed, I would do what I could to improve the situation.
I crept out without waking Richard, dressed, and paddled to the first boat, a large sailboat. I knocked on the hull and when the skipper, a young man came out, I explained the problem and asked him to turn the generator off. He did. I repeated the procedure at the next boat, a very large new powerboat. A young couple came out, and the man was not apologetic. He said he had to run his generator all night so his motor would start in the morning. I suggested he should go to a dock or a larger anchorage with a setup like that, and he hustled his apologetic wife inside and shut the door.
The third boat was a very large sailboat, Therapy, tied to the dock. Her owner said no one had ever complained to him before, and suggested I had a problem, if I couldn’t tolerate the noise and CO fumes from his boat. He had been tied to the dock for several nights, which is not permitted, and the next morning police kicked him off the dock. His wife gave us a very dirty look when they motored by us to anchor, and they didn’t wave good-bye when we left later.
In the morning, Richard thought I was telling him about one of my dreams.
Now we are in Lake Oleta, at Baker’s Haulover, between Miami ant Fort Lauderdale, and will stay here for two weeks, before going north to Indiantown and driving home.
Potluck tonight on Tiffany Rose, with Newfoundlanders Marilyn and Victor from Whisper.
Happy Easter!

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