Going Native in the Keys

Yesterday we awoke in the Everglades to an eerie stillness and fired up all sorts of noise with a generator to cook breakfast and then twin diesels to get underway.

Raising the anchor was a simple job compared to the last time we did this in the black mud of the Ten Saw River. I had prepared for the worst and had the washdown hose ready for another mess but it came up easy and clean from a rocky bottom. The current was super fast but Jan was at the helm and kept her steady as I directed her with hand signals from the bow. Once up we immediately turned and headed out following our track this time so as not to make another mistake.

All but one of the other boats anchored closer to the Gulf had already departed. Here is the last one left.

The ride to the Keys was mostly easy now that we have learned to run both engines in gear. Here you can laugh if you read the last blog. Ken from 20BUCK$ sent an email saying that he runs on one engine all the time but the trick is to turn the other one off! Now why didn’t we think of that? In truth of fact we were lucky it was running because it kept the coolant flowing through the transmission which would have otherwise overheated due to the freewheeling prop plus the dripless shaft seal was being lubricated and cooled by water being sucked up the shaft.

We radioed a large sailboat named Cowabunga. What time is it kids? Its Howdy Doody time! Anyway they had been at Little Shark River and were coincidentally going to Burdine’s on Marathon so we fell in behind. Following a sailboat is not something I will do again if it can be avoided. Not an exercise for an impatient man. Plus when we went under the famous Seven Mile Bridge he just kept going further out into the Atlantic Ocean! And I followed like a sheep following a Judas Goat. For the uninitiated a Judas Goat is used to lead sheep to the slaughter. A line of sheep will follow the old goat into the chute and at the last minute the goat turns aside and let’s the sheep go in to become lamb chops. I always try to pass on my useless trivia whenever possible. Anyway, the wind was howling out there and the seas were becoming constant 3 footers and an occasional 4 which were the worst we had ever encountered. Plus we had to turn north and take it on the beam which meant rolling pretty good. So I made a decision to cut short the turn and get inside the sailboat so that he could block some wind and break up those waves. He went from being our pilot boat to being our wave break. It worked and we made Marathon Harbor entrance.

Unfortunately the wind was worse inside the harbor because it channels in there, but at least the waves were gone. Jan took over the helm and brought us safely to our new home where we should spent at least 3 nights. Rinsed the boat to get salt off and went to dinner at Burdine’s.

If I get a chance tonight I may write a bonus telling you about exploring by bikes the island and meeting some interesting new friends.