Happy Wife would be making her debut in the Keys today! We were thrilled to come with our home this time around. We have visited almost every year since living in the States, but this would be a first for us. We left at 8 am sharp and excitedly took photos as we entered through 7 mile bridge to be anchored in Boot Key Harbor on Marathon as they had no mooring balls for us, despite the calls ahead. Winds had picked up and the mooring field of 160 filled to capacity in an instant. We would wait to get onto the ball the next day.
The winds were so strong that on approach at 7 knots, the wind alone took us down to 5 knots. We anchored twice to get into place and went up to the office to get sorted out.
By now, we were both ravenous, so we took the dinghy to the closest waterfront dining at Burdine's at the entrance to the marina. It was a great choice with delicious fresh food.
Because we ate so late we stayed in and organized a car for the weekend and so on. In the morning, we Uber'd to the airport and collected our car. Shaun was quite pleased because they upgraded us to a Mustang Convertible. We were meant to have our dinghy repaired while here which is why we got the car, but we decided to do it in Key West rather where we will have more time. We went into Kmart for some missing things, and by that I mean...a fly swatter! It is one thing we do not have on board and boy when you need one, you wish you had that simple tool! Our last anchorage was infested with flies and we tried every conceivable item to swat the ones that made indoors without much luck. The next day we laughed that our new pets were still traveling with us.
By mid morning, we found ourselves at the Dolphin Research Center on Marathon. Swimming with the dolphins is on my vision board, but I did not want to swim with them in a "Disney" setting where they are mauled all day. This was the first time I felt it was the right place and time. It certainly was one of the best moments in my life. Being able to connect with a whole different species like that was just remarkable and I will never forget it, in fact it will stay with me forever.
We came back to Happy Wife to move onto our ball, had a glass of wine on the helm and went out to dinner at Island Fish Company. It is a wonderful restaurant on the water with spectacular sunset views and food. We had a waterside table just to add to it, so it was perfect!
On Sunday, we drove to the Bass Pro shop and picked up some fishing stuff that was needed. I always say the fish catch you, not the other way around when you realize how much you spend to catch an occasional dinner! But Shaun loves it and I love that it makes him happy.
On the way there I spotted a little coffee Shop in the fork of two roads called Midway Cafe. I had to stop and have coffee. It's so cute a colorful. They had delicious gluten free muffins too. We were intending to stop at Robbie's for lunch but it was so crazily busy that chose to find another place on the island.
We settled on the Pickled Pelican and fish market. It was such a great choice. You order you food at a window and when ready, you can choose where to eat. Upstairs or down, it was lovely and quaint and we were happy that found another little hangout, just as love them; casual and on the water...a must!
On the way back to the boat, we stopped to admire some of the driftwood tree art that a local artist carves from trees and logs.
We took the dinghy to Sombrero beach up the channel for an hour or so and then I got Happy Wife ready to leave while Shaun returned the rental car. We literally had tea and went to bed early. Even though we were on the ball in a marina here, it was actually pleasant.