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Marathon was a mixture of work, pool time and walking.  We were docked at Marlin Bay Marina, which had an awesome large pool where we spent most afternoons.  The marina is situated almost right in the middle of Marathon so we had a one mile walk to the grocery store north and a one mile walk to the marine store south.  Our water heater broke while we were there so having a marine store local was a plus as was the Home Depot right by us.  Getting the old water heater out was a bit frustrating since it was buried behind the batteries and engine exhaust back under the settee.  Nordic Tug gets an F minus for not putting an access door in the settee.  After some salty sailor language, Gary fixed that little design flaw and cut his own.  Luckily the swabby was able to hold the vacuum cleaner hose up against the saw so the fiberglass dust didn’t fly all over the cabin causing an even bigger mess.

After one and a half days we finally go to that sucker. That is a thin layer of fiberglass over plywood.

While he had his head in there he found fittings on two water pumps were leaking. Another trip to Home Depot!

But it wasn’t all work and no play.  We took a seven mile round trip walk to Sombrero Beach.  It was a long hot walk and most people would think that is work but having a picnic lunch with the cool breeze off the ocean was worth it.  Key West is not known for its’ beaches as it is too shallow so I guess that is one reason people choose Marathon over Key West.  Another would be the lack of cruise ships in Marathon.

Beautiful Sombrero Beach, Marathon, Florida Keys

The cruisers anchored at Boot Key Harbor can dinghy over to Sombrero Beach through Sisters Creek.

The Gulf of Mexico was right off the bow of the boat.  When the winds were blowing from the north, it was a wild ride in the marina despite the retaining wall.  Luckily that only happened for three days but we were gifted with some beautiful sunsets.

We also had some nice sunrises

Marlin Bay Marina, our ‘backyard’ off the boat

Circular stairs lead up top for a great sunset view

Well as they say all good things must come to an end.  We had planned to stay in Marathon until February 1st, but Mother Nature had other plans.  With north winds predicted for that day, our best window was to depart on Gary’s birthday, January 28th so we could make it through the bay side of the keys and to the top of Key Biscayne before the winds arrived.  Except for the many crab pots we had to dodge, it was a beautiful passage through the chain of keys up to Key Largo where we celebrated Gary’s birthday and our last official day in the Florida Keys.

Celebrating 62 years and our last day in the Florida Keys at the Black Siren, Key Largo

Sunset in Key Largo with a quarter moon

The next day we had calm water (and no crab pots!) for our passage to the top of Key Biscayne where we dropped our little mast so that our height went from 22 ft down to 12 ft.  This was in preparation for the many bridges we will pass under from Miami up to Ft Pierce.  At only 12 ft, we can pass under quite a few without requesting or waiting for an opening.  

We arrived in Hollywood, Florida on January 30th with the Captain docking with the flu and winds which combined with crappy docks, added some drama.  The only casualty was a broken solar light when the wind pushed us into a piling.  No boats or marine life were harmed in the process!   

We are hanging here through Super Bowl weekend waiting for the winds to die down and Gary to recover from the flu.  There is a Margaritaville in town so hopefully tomorrow we can add number 13 to our list.

A Manatee right off the back of the boat