The Loop on Hold: Nautical Snow Birds

Days 245-255; February 25 – March 6, 2016

Total Miles Traveled: 2504

We have officially been in the Keys more than a month, which identifies us as nautical snow-birds. Most of the folks and boats down here are not on the Loop but rather make the trip from wherever they are on the east coast or river system to warmer weather for the winter. We have gotten to know many and find them most interesting and helpful – like the folks at Dockside Marina where we spent ten great days. The same group has shown up there for 5-6 years. Some have done the Loop but many have made the trip from home to their favorite haunts in Florida and back multiple times.

IMG_9344From the Ridiculous. . .

IMG_9384. . .to the sublime!

Sadly, we left Dockside Marina but needed to get away from the noseeums in their nearby mangroves and were anxious to have the nice amenities (pool and usable laundry) of Faro Blanco once again. Many boaters pay the lower monthly rate so as they moved on it left space for us once again.  We went out through the Hawk Channel on the Atlantic side, back under the Seven Mile (really 6.63 miles) Bridge and re-entered our same Faro Blanco slip on Tuesday, March 1st.

IMG_9385 Passing under and between the old and new Seven Mile Bridges

To our delight, many of our Looping buddies remain so it has been a week of social gatherings and events. This included a large dinner together at the Steak and Lobster House, an outdoor party hosted by the marina offering free food and drink, a dance/sing-along to oldies at Dockside with Bil Krauss; a birthday celebration for Vicki at the Barracuda Grill (beyond excellent food); boat tours, long walks, and endless conversations about what next?  Now, for those folks continuing the loop up the east coast this spring, it is time to move on. Leave taking began with a beautiful weather window on Thursday, March 3 and continues through this month.

IMG_9378The famous Dockside Grille! (It really does look better at night!)

IMG_9376Ron singing with Bil Krauss

IMG_9370A fun night at The Dockside Grille.  We all danced and mouthed the words but Ron sang with the band to the Eagles, Hotel California!

It is very sad for us as we may or may not see most of these friends again in our travels (Blue Haven, Gemini, California Lady, Friar Tuck, Lydia, Sum Escape, Liquid Asset, Not Sew Easy, Chasin 80, etc). We have decided to leave the boat in Florida this summer and come home finishing the Loop in 2017. Several have stayed with us (Sea to See, Sea Moss, Jammin’ Jane, Corkscrew, Daisy, Chapter III, and friends on our new favorite boat Lauryl Anne, etc.). Of course we will continue to meet new friends but I cannot imagine it will be the same. On the other hand several are coming back down to “do” the Bahamas with us next winter and several will stay a year or so in the Chesapeake so we are likely to catch up and regroup somewhere/sometime.

IMG_9357Our Bestest Boat Buddies

IMG_9359Rita and Jim aboard Daisy

IMG_9367The Steak and Lobster House

IMG_9356Jackie and Dwain aboard Lydia

IMG_9355Jim and Mo aboard Gemini

IMG_9353Alan an Lyla aboard Blue Haven

IMG_9392Vicki’s Birthday Celebration at Barracuda Grille

Two small world stories: Jackie and Dwain on Lydia live about five minutes from my office at MSU so we have MSU hockey games with them in our future; Dave and Trish on Laurel Anne owned a safety systems business and whom Curt knew in his previous professional life.

On the Namaste/boat topic, we glided into our slip at Faro Blanco with a buzzing and useless bow-thruster (the devise installed in the hull that boosts our turning ability). After considerable diagnostic activity it turned out that our batteries were on their way out so another boat thousand$ for three new batteries, installation, stuffing box tightening and all is good again. Many thanks to our electrical guardian angel, Clark on Sea Moss, for his expertise and help in sorting out the systems.

IMG_9389Checking the thruster and zincs

Yesterday we needed to provision (we were out of garbage bags and needed tooth cap glue) and there has been way too much eating and drinking out! With Publix being about two miles up-island, we all climbed into the dinghy and took the 1.5 mile trip by sea to the Banana Bay Marina, tied up and had a swim with Vicki and Ron. Then Jim and Sammy dinghied back to the Namaste while I walked the final half-mile, shopped, and took the “$5.00 anywhere on the island” taxi back. Today Jim is doing taxes and I am blogging. Sammy watches patiently waiting to hear the words “walk or treat”. We are looking forward to a quiet week of sunny but windy weather with our task being to plan the next leg of the trip to Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Quote of the day: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” –Eric Wiesel

Boat Name Theme of the Day: Turn the Page, Act III, Next Chapter, Making the Turn, Gold Watch, Act II, Time Enough

Bad Boat Name of the Day: Beerly Afloat

Happy Birthday to Matt Parks (belated), Katie Littlepage, and Vicki Montgomery

Feel better to Bill and Sally







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