Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mostly Marathon

After five glorious weeks on the dock in Key West, Passage finally set sail for Marathon on Friday, March 8th.  The forecast was for north winds about 10; so once we reached the Hawk Channel, we prepared to raise the main sail.  At that exact moment the wind built and shifted to the northeast.  No sailing for us!  We motored into a building chop, spraying the boat with a liberal coating of salt. We reached Marathon at three in the afternoon and elected to take a dock at the City Marina during our one night wait for a mooring ball. Saturday morning we washed the decks, and early in the afternoon we took a salt free Passage to mooring ball P 3.  That evening we enjoyed our first sunset in the mooring field.

On Monday evening we took a five dollar cab ride to Sunset Grill to listen to, you guessed it, Brian Roberts. We shared the evening with Jim and Bonnie Cleary off SV Dana and their friends Ed and Pamela, who sail a large catamaran.  Brian was very good, and the spring break crowd made the evening more fun.

Another highlight of our time in Marathon was a late lunch at Castaways with Dave and Nancy off a 56 foot power vessel named Stayin Alive.  They were docked behind us in Key West, and we dingied over to Castaways to enjoy more fresh seafood.

Dave and Nancy are a lot of fun, and Katie was pretty entertaining too.

Another highlight was going to Key Colony to hear John Bartus at Sparky's Landing.  We rode in a cab with Jim and Bonnie, and enjoyed another fine meal and excellent music.  Jim liked John Bartus so much he purchased two CDs.

John has a distinctive voice, and sings many original compositions.  A good time was had by all.

On St. Patrick's Day we once again went to Sunset Grill to enjoy Brian Roberts one last time.

Brian was decorated for the holiday by some visiting spring breakers.  We were joined by a solo sailor from the harbor named John, who jumped up to dance with Brian as he strolled around the pool while playing his twelve string guitar.  We bid farewell for the season to Brian, and he gave us both big hugs.

Life in Marathon was not all one big party.  We depend on our dingy and outboard to get ashore, and our outboard was anything but dependable.  After a week of struggling with constant carburetor adjustments, our less than trusty Mercury 2 stroke decided not to run at all.  With only three days left until we left Marathon and would have no further need of the outboard this winter, we decided to head to the dock.  We got the last open space, so we did not have to depend on the dingy to get us to shore. We were immediately greeted by a long time fixture in Marathon, Captain Jack, who was docked right in front of us.

Captain Jack may be getting up there, but he still knows how to sweet talk the ladies.

Wednesday, March 19th, was the last day of winter and our last day in Marathon.  After prepping the boat for our voyage north to Ft. Myers, we met Tammy and Jerel from SV Osprey and Bob and Uta from SV Imagine 43 and headed across US 1 to Keys Fisheries.  We enjoyed happy hour and then ate a meal of fresh fish which was excellent.

We met Tammy and Jerel here in Boot Key Harbor seven years ago, and consider them close cruising friends.  We have so much fun with this upbeat couple.

Canadians Bob and Uta are buddy boat cruising with Tammy and Jerel, and we met them a few weeks ago in Key West.  They are also fun to be around.

Tomorrow, March 20th, is the first day of spring.  We will depart early for the first leg of our sail up the west coast of Florida.

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