START OF GREAT LOOP #2 - PUNTA GORDA FL, DOWN TO MARATHON KEY & BACK UP EAST COAST
ICW – FL, GA & SC
Last week we drove 5 hours each way to bring our van to Marathon Key (so we would be able to explore all of the Keys during
our month there), and came back in a rental car. As we cruised down with the boat, we made stops at Ft
Myers Beach, Marco Island, and Everglades City where we stayed at the old Florida “Rod and Gun Club Marina”. Had a delightful lunch
there, & also visited the “Museum of the Everglades”. Last stop was an anchorage in the Everglades
at Little Shark River (no cell phone service there!)
March 2009 in MARATHON KEY
We stayed at the “Boat House Marina” where we met up with many old friends, and made several new ones during our month here. We called ourselves the Marathon Navy! It was a lovely, laid back time with beautiful sunny weather in the upper 80’s. We all had many plans, but found ourselves affected by “Key’s disease” aka laziness! Manatees (see picture), dolphins, and lizards (see picture) visit the marina. Most days we spent some time in the beautiful 86° pool (see picture). One night most of us from the dock went out for a three hour sunset and full moon sail aboard Jake & Mike’s catamaran “Kikeko”.
Many of us also enjoyed exploring the area in our dinghy’s (see picture), going to arts & crafts shows (see picture), flea markets (all the guys at the marina were buying the terrific Bimini Bay shorts & shirts), shopping, and visiting galleries. Lots of cool restaurants in Marathon (see picture), but the Marathon Navy especially liked Happy Hour at “Sparky’s” with 25 cent wings and shrimp! At the dock, we also had many happy hours (see picture), several pot luck dinners, and enjoyed freshly caught swordfish cooked on the grill (out of this world good!).
We drove down to Key West (see pictures) about once a week, where I found some great new artwork for the boat (see home page under main category “Boat Pictures”).
Another day was spent at the “Marathon Turtle Hospital” - rescue, rehab & release (see picture). Chris, who works there, has the same boat as us (Krogen 36 Manatee), but his boat is hull #1.
We also drove up to Islamorada Key a few times to shop and visit galleries.
My sister Carolyn and Rick (see picture) flew down to visit us. They especially enjoyed the Sunset Celebration in Mallory Square, Key West (see picture)!
We had a great time at the 33rd annual “Marathon Seafood Festival” with friends Rolf and Kathy (see picture) visiting from WI.
Another day, we drove up to Key Largo to met friends from CT (George, JoAnn, Gerry & Lynn) that were vacationing in Ft Lauderdale. We all spent the afternoon at “The Big Chill” - a great new restaurant and tiki bar with pool in Key Largo (see pictures).
As March drew to a close, we drove our van back to Punta Gorda area, and put it back in storage until next December when we return to FL. It’s back to courtesy cars again when we can get them, otherwise we use our bikes or walk.
4/4/09 – we left Marathon with Steve
& Jean on “Suncat”, stopping at an anchorage in Islamorada Key. We took the dinghy ashore and had a delightful dinner at the popular restaurant
“Lor-E-Lei’s” (see picture). Next day both boats went on to the beautiful
national park Boca Chita Key (see picture), where the mosquitoes were thick as thieves
even during the day! (We’ve been here before when they weren’t bad,
this was exceptional!) We unrolled the cockpit screens on SUMMERTIME (they roll up out of the way when we don’t
need them) making it bug proof, and enjoyed happy hour with Steve & Jean.
EAST COAST of FLORIDA
There are many low bridges that we must go under along the east coast of FL ICW, so
we lowered the mast on SUMMERTIME for a few days, bringing our height down to about 15 feet. This way we’ll have
fewer bridges where we must request an opening. Waiting for openings of low bridges can really slow you down.
4/6/09 – We passed through Miami (see picture), and stopped in Hollywood at the municipal marina where we had one of the best Italians dinners ever at “Mama Mia’s”. It was a record high of 92° today!
Next two stops were anchorages in Lantana and Manatee Pocket, followed by a visit to Ft Pierce city marina. Friends Mickey and Doug live in Ft Pierce, and are kind enough to lend us their car so we can provision. That night we all went to “Archie’s Seabreeze Restaurant” where we enjoyed a great local band and burgers!
4/10/09 – stopped in Vero Beach (see picture) for a few days, meeting up with “Sun Cat” & “Sue Sea Q” (see picture), then on to Cocoa where we had a visit from friends Sue and Terry (see picture), and also had quite a scare from a tornado that landed 1.5 miles from us!
4/15/09 – stopped in Port Orange with “Sun Cat” & “Sue Sea Q”at the Seven Seas Marina, then on to St Augustine the following day. Next port was Fernandina Beach (on Amelia Island), a charming town with a lovely historic district. We found lots of galleries and cute shops, a Farmer’s Market and an Arts & Craft Fair – I had a ball!
GEORGIA – 7 to 9 foot tides, winding marshlands and mud
flats along the ICW.
4/18/09 – stopped in St Marys, another charming town.
Enjoyed the “Submarine Museum”, and “Cumberland Island Museum with War of 1812 Exhibit”, and had a lovely dinner at “Pauly’s”.
4/19/09 - called my relatives in CT to wish everyone Happy (Greek) Easter! We passed Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island, and stopped at St Simons Island, Golden Isles Marina. It was a 3 mile bike ride to the Village Pier section of town. Cute shops and restaurants, and we found an outdoor Antiques Show where I found four more antique pins for my jewelry collection J.
Next day, we stopped for diesel at “Ocean Petroleum” in Brunswick. We bought 195 gallons at $1.84 a gallon - half the price of a year ago! As we left the fuel dock, the owner called us on the radio and complimented Ray on his excellent docking skills, especially with the 20 knot winds! Later, we stopped for the night at New Teakettle Creek anchorage. The next night we anchored at Herb River.
4/22/09 – arrived in Savannah and stayed on the River Street Market Dock. We’ve been to Savannah several times, but this time, I was finally able to get a reservation at Paula Deen’s restaurant “the Lady and Sons”. After we ordered, I wandered out into the retail shop to get a postcard, and who do I see but the “Sons” - Bobby and Jamie! I rushed back into the dining room and got my camera (see picture)!
We also visited many nice shops in Savannah, and got to tour the 273 foot long Army LSV (logistics support vessel) ship (see picture) that stopped in Savannah to provision.
SOUTH CAROLINA – lovely low country marshlands (see
picture), and lots of golf courses!
4/23/09 we entered SC and stopped in Port Royal at the marina. Borrowed the courtesy and went to Walmart to provision.
Next day we stopped at Tom Point Creek, a beautiful anchorage with lots of dolphins swimming around.
4/26/09 arrived in Charleston. The stores are filled with seersucker suits, and the architecture is gorgeous. Beautiful, lacey ironwork is everywhere (see picture). I especially admire the “Charleston Single House” – one room wide, and 2 to 3 rooms deep, with the door from the street leading to piazza on the side rather than directly into the house (see picture). Gas lights and fragrant jasmine are everywhere. Charleston has a very strong Preservation Society, nothing old can be destroyed, and everything new must look old. At the City Market, I found a wonderful print of sweet grass baskets and Rainbow Row homes. Charlestonians are still fiercely patriotic to the South - some still call the Civil War, the War of Northern Aggression! We also learned that a white picket (instead of ironwork) fence around a house was a badge of honor during the Civil War. It meant that their ironwork was donated to help fight the war. The following day we visited Patriot’s Point to see the Naval and Maritime Museum. We toured the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (see picture), the coast guard cutter USS Ingham, and submarine USS Clamogore.
Next stop was an anchorage at Butler Island, then on to Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach.
4/30/09 – stopped at Barefoot Landing Marina in North Myrtle Beach. What fun I had – there are 100 shops and 16 restaurants right on the waterway! I even got Ray to buy some new Topsiders!
Our last night in SC was spent at Pipeline Canal anchorage.
We’ve traveled 8717 miles since 6/6/07, plus the previous 1000 miles when we brought SUMMERTIME up the Intracoastal
Waterway from Charleston SC to Old Saybrook CT in 2005.
We look forward to hearing from friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming!