As Christmas is approaching, the first of December we find ourselves tucked into a great marina in Marathon, Bonefish Marina. The slips here are owned and we were able to be connected to Michelle who hooked us up with a slip and a great place for us to provision, prepare for our Bahamas crossing, and leave Journey for Christmas. Dee practiced flying the drone and got these great shots of the Marina. Of course, my favorite part of the marina were the daily Pelican visitors. Coco Plum Drive and the Pelicans will be something I will miss. Pelicans are such interesting birds. Check the one checking us out! The other visitors at the marina are the manatees. These two found us one night. Yes, you are not suppose to give them water but what do you do when they come out of the water after it. Such gentle giants.
Dan and Karen, Friends from Port of the Islands were taking a trip through the Florida Keys and we could not wait to catch up with them. We joined them in Islamorada for some Happy Hour at Zane Grey and Islamorada Brewing. The next night they anchored at Coco Plum and joined us for dinner on Journey before heading off to Key West. Safe Travels friends.
After installing our new Lithium Batteries, were still felt something was off on the boat, so while in Marathon we had SALT (Sea Air Land Technology) have a look at our solar panels. Diagnosis our panels were taking on moisture. So we made the big decision to replace four 110 watts panels for two 370 watts panels. This should give us not only more solar production but better technology onboard Journey. To save some money Dee got started taking the old ones off so we did not have to pay for that labor, and we got to give her a good top cleaning before the installation began. Stu was busy on top of Journey getting the panels installed and wired. Jamie was below installing our new solar controller from Victron We are ready to go!
Time to fly home for Christmas and catch up with Family and Friends. We will not discuss the flight home or back as both were challenging but we survived. Bill and Angie our friends from the Summer Cruising Video opened their home and invited some friends over for a little Christmas party so we could catch up and have some fun with everyone before Christmas.
Next stop Kinston to see our girls, so we filled up a rental car and headed east to our daughters Hannah’s home for Christmas. First up We enjoyed building gingerbread houses and drinking wine, matching PJs for the week, Jesus Birthday Cake - but we couldn’t wait until Christmas Day to have Jesses’ famous pound cake. Christmas meal brought Dee’s grandmothers sweet potato pudding to the table, And my grandmother’s apple cake and cookies. Oh how I remember those cookies on the back porch as a child just waiting for me to grab one.
Dee brought the drone and now it was time to fly it. He got some great shots of Hannah and Aldo’s home and the surrounding Kinston area. Before heading home we caught up with our friends Eddie and Joan from February Crusing video. It was great to get to spend some time with them before we headed back to Journey. Finally, Back in the Keys and headed to Key West to bring in 2020!
November comes and we finish up our last few weeks in Key West. Halloween has just limped by in Key West after Fantasy Fest, but we have recovered and are ready for the Championship Boat Races. Our final Key West visitors arrive , Mark and Lisa, right at the end of the boat races. and We enjoy the finals and I enjoy my first Oyster shot. Yummy!!! They also arrive just in time to celebrate Dee’s Birthday, but first Lisa had a list of things that they wanted to see and do in Key West so the adventure began. From Key Lime Pie at Blue Heaven and Bloody Marys at Rams Head Southernmost both located in the Bohemian Village area of Key West. We even watched the navy practice their parachute exercise from the boat. During their stay, Pete and Ann also arrive from NC in Key West to celebrate their honeymoon and we enjoyed celebrating at Hogsbreath their arrival. The next day was Dee’s Birthday so we made sure everyone could captain the boat. And took Journey out for day at the Sand Key Lighthouse where we picked up a mooring ball and enjoyed some snorkeling, swimming, sunning, and fishing for the day. Sadly especially for Mark, we were unable to catch any fish this trip. Their trip seem to quickly come to an end and we watched our last sunset together at Mallory Square before they headed home. Right before we left, Dee and I enjoyed a birthday gift for Dee from Jack and Mindy at the Better Than Sex Dessert Bar in Key West. The wine and desserts were to die for! My wine was rimmed with chocolate and my bread pudding melted in my mouth. Dee chose a caramel sweet beer to compliment his Key Lime Pie masterpiece. It was a perfect delicious evening. It was time to say good bye to our neighbors especially Snuggles who we will miss. Snuggles reminded us of our first dog after we were married. His name was BJ. Snuggles loved getting a love each time we went by on the dock. Good Bye Snuggles, It was time to move on ……
Headed to Marathon
After leaving the harbor and reaching deeper water, we dropped the line and filled the cooler with Supper. we headed up to Grassy Key. WE pulled into a beautiful anchorage with clear glass water and first greeting was from a sea turtle. I grabbed my snorkel gear and jumped in and followed him until he was able to lose me. Dee on the other hand spotted an anchor and chain and went diving for it and pulled up this Delta anchor with 20 fee t of stainless steel chain. What a find! We were so excited to catch up with some friends at the Jolly Roger we did not heed the weather and the winds and spent a rough 12 hours at anchor before given a window to move and seek more protection up to what we called Bird Island. At Bird Island Tim and Lisa caught up with us whom we met in Key West and joined us on Journey to watch the sunset and have dinner. Which did leave to shots of Patron. Fun times out of the wind. The next morning we found a bald eagle perched in the mangroves of bird island. A beautiful sight. We said our good byes and each headed our separate ways. They are towing their sailboat back to Indiana!
The week of Thanksgiving is here and so is our visit from Harley and Jesse. Jesse enjoyed her time on the boat especially fishing. She kept hauling them in, and the best for her was fresh fish on the table for dinner. We headed down to Little Torch to prepare for some snorkeling at Looe Key and enjoyed some beautiful sunsets and even better snorkeling with lots of sharks. We could not have ordered better for Jesse. Two trips out to Looe Key before heading back toward Marathon and catching more fish and a great anchorage off Coco Plum right before Thanksgiving. Now it was finally time for Dee to play with his birthday present. After lots of researching, watching videos, and reading he was ready to fly his drone. ON Thanksgiving day we finally got our friends Nelson and Dani out on the boat and headed out to Coffin Patch to snorkel. It was a little rough but we got in a few snorkels before a huge barracuda kept us on the boat. We headed in to fix Thanksgiving dinner. First Jesse got in a little Kayaking around Coco Plum. We had a typical boat thanksgiving with fresh fish and watched the sun go down for the last time with Jesse. It was time for Jesse and Harley to leave the boat. We are super sad to let them go but know we will see them soon for Christmas. The long drive back to Ft Lauderdale to put them on the plane and say good bye. Christmas is coming and we will all be headed to NC .
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