Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Okeechobee to Boot Key Harbor near Marathon

Rick and I left Lake Okeechobee and continued on to the icw and east coast.  A soon as you hit the east coast the traffic increases tremendously. .We made our way south and anchored in Hobe Sound.  The boats and houses along this stretch are some of the finest in this country.
one of many nice boats

We found our spot to anchor in the sound and enjoyed the breeze and the view of the neighbors homes.  On Saturday we got up and went south to Tavenier and filled up with fuel at Palm Beach Marina.  Rick had a friend pick him up and off he went to rent a car and head back to Tampa.  Buddy and I left the dock with a strong wind trying to push us against the surrounding boats.  We headed south trying to find a nice protected anchorage.  We tried a small lake on the west side of the icw and couldn't get the anchor to hold in the soft mud.  At Boca Raton there is an indentation , in the icw, to the east that they call lake Boca Raton.  There were a couple hundred boats anchored there and everyone was partying.  Some spent the night and a lot went home at dark.  In the morning the weather reports promised 50 mph winds and rain storms with winds switching to the north. I pulled anchor and went to the north end of the lake and waited it out with a sailboat and two water cops. 

anchored in Boca Raton
Bill and I walked over to the beach in Boca -- windy and rough -- 7-9 foot waves out there

I stayed in Boca until Wednesday and brother Bill showed up.  He drove down from Pensacola and left his car next to a car rental in Boca and joined Buddy and I.

Yep-- that's brother Bill..He knows how to handle Daddy's Farm

We worked on the brace for the bow pulpit with some aluminum strap that Bill brought.  We  built a good strong brace.  Now I need to reinforce the deck where the windlass attaches.  That will be next.
The storms let up in a couple days and we headed south.. I wanted to just get out of the cities.. Our first anchorage was no name harbor in Key Biscayne.. It was Friday night and once again the anchorage was full of young people rafted together and having fun.  There were some kids on boats easily worth $700,000.  There were others waiting for a decent weather window to head to the Bahamas.  By now I am deciding to just head into the Keys on the icw (west) side and see some areas I missed last trip. Sunday we went south to Key Largo and passed through jewfish creek and anchored off of Gilbert's motel and restaurant.

Looking at Gilbert's from our anchorage.. (Bet they have some of those little umbrellas!)

Our neighbors in the anchorage
On Monday we went to Tavernier Creek and anchored outside the cove in about 7 foot of water.  it is still blustery. We took the dinghy to shore and gave Buddy some shore time.  We went back out to the boat and watched the topless gal paddle around the bay on her paddle board.  We decided to go back in and walked to the Cuban restaurant and got some great pressed cuban sandwiches.

they must have paddled for miles on these things

It is time to find Bill a rental car to drive back to Boca and get his car so he can get back to work.  I needed to reinforce the front deck for the windlass.  So we headed to Manatee Bay Marina to get the plates cut and drilled.  I put in to Manatee Bay marine and they ordered the plates -- 24" x 24" 3/8 thick aluminum plates.  If you are a cruiser and reading this I would suggest that their work is ok and they will gouge you on the Price if they can.  I was there several days and learned that the attitude is that you are transient and they can charge what they want. They more that doubled the price of the aluminum and inflated the hours worked.  I did the removal of the windlass and install of the plates.  They gave me a helper for install to hold the nut on the topside.. Oh well the outcome is great.. I have a very sturdy windlass and bow pulpit now and can anchor with confidence.

Good job -- well done

tight quarters in Manatee Bay Marine

Buddy on the swim platform

interesting 26' boat made in Norway.  Owner -Patrick taking her to Cape Coral

Daddy's Farm with the marine office in background

The office is on a barge -- beautiful inside

I met a nice group of guys at manatee bay.  The first night there Bill, Bill, Bill, Patrick, Al, Buddy and I went to dinner at the Pilot House Restaurant.. Neat place built on a dock and has a glass floor, with small grates that people put fish food through.  The area beneath is lit up and a lot of fish hang out looking for a free meal.  We had to give the Bills nicknames.  The guys help each other out and have become good friends.. It was fun going places with them and working together on our projects.

Bill got a car and left on the 13th.  Randy came on Saturday the 17th and joined up. We are going through the keys and looking for grass roofs indicating the possibility of some little umbrellas. We are in Boot Key Harbor and I will post again later on how we got here......  More to come.

Yep that's Randy aka bono

Randy Keene -- hard at work--

our neighbor anchored off Islamorada
Boot key harbor --hundreds of boats anchored here

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