Harbour Cay Club, Marathon, FL
Position: 24 42.631N, 81 06.590W
Posted by Bill
I know…it has been awhile since I posted. Since leaving Vero Beach we have been in bust ass mode and I haven’t had time to post. Also, there hasn’t been anything significant for the most part in our passages…except what you will find below.
The last couple of days at Vero, our really good friends, Kurt and Sharon on Byrd Ketcher, finally caught up to us. They had some mechanical problems that delayed their arrival in Vero, but they made it on the day after Thanksgiving. They also had some friends in town who were visiting relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday…Cheryl and Bill, one of Sharon’s best friends in high school whom she has kept up with. They stayed on the boat for a few days and we did some epic partying with all 4 of them around town. On the last full day in Vero, Kurt and I made a provisioning run in Cheryl and Bill’s car and we prepped to leave.
We were happy to be reunited with the Byrd Ketchers and we decided to travel with them to the Florida Keys. We left on November 30 and made our first stop in Hobe Sound, Jupiter, FL…right across from Tiger Wood’s house, where we anchored on the way north in the spring. Position: 27 00.242N. 080 5.712W. Poor Kurt had some anchoring issues during the night as the wind kicked up, but otherwise it was a good stop.
From there we transited the Lake Worth/Palm Beach/North Palm Beach area. If you remember from last year’s posts, this is an area of extreme wealth and mega-yachts. Here are some pics:
We ended the day in Lantana, FL. Position: 26 34.953N, 080 02.889W. We had never been there before because it is on the “inside” route going south, meaning it is on the ICW south of Lake Worth. We usually go “outside” in the Atlantic Ocean from Lake Worth to Fort Lauderdale, but we decided to try the “inside” since we never did it before. Lantana was a good stop. There is a cool Tiki bar right where we anchored at the Lantana bridge and it is a short walk to the beach if you are so inclined. At the end of the day, we had traveled through 10 draw bridges…a major pain in the ass. Pics:
The Tiki bar:
The Lantana Bridge:
From there we traveled to Fort Lauderdale on the “inside”. 14 bridges and a path through the land of opulence. Dozens of miles of expensive homes lining the ICW with yachts to boot. Where do they get all of the money??? Many were decorated for Christmas already, which is strange here because it is 85 degrees and green, with palm trees and swimming pools! Pics:
Iguanas (Caribbean squirrel) on the bridge (for our grand kids…lol):
This display of flags cracked me up:
One of the bridges started to close on us as we were going through…a mistake by the bridge tender. Thank goodness Kurt was listening to the radio and cautioned the bridge tender that we were still in the bridge…major ass puckering!!!
Yesterday, we tried to reserve a slip for the night in Fort Lauderdale to no avail. The only open slips were over $3/foot or were up the New River. We took a slip up the New River last year and I swore I would never go up there again. It borders the main road in Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Blvd and has lots of stuff to do, but the river is very narrow, has a major current running through it, and has mega yacht traffic…all of which add up to a not-so-fun experience. Many boats crash or get messed up dealing with this river. All of the usual anchorages were full and this ended up being the only option for a slip…did I tell you how much I hate this place?? We get 2 slips right in front of the first bridge that we encounter (so at least we didn’t have to negotiate the 3-4 bridges with all of the other crap. We ended up getting into our slips without any incident and we made it in time for happy hour…thank god because I really needed a few drinks after a day like this one.
All night I worried about how we were going to get off this slip. There is less than one boat length to turn around, and we are bordered by a bridge on one side, with large yachts on the river banks. I need 2 boat lengths to turn the boat, and we had a 2 knot current to boot. After much contemplation and after consulting some boats that have been there for some time, we decided to wait for slack tide at 9:15 AM. We were able to get the boats off of the wall, turned around and on our way out into the ocean to Miami/Key Biscayne. I hate Fort Lauderdale!!!!
Thankfully we had a really calm day on the ocean and we pushed past Miami to Key Biscayne and anchored in No Name Harbour, position: 25 40.579N, 080 09.741W. This was a really nice and protected anchorage in a state park. It has a nice beach on the ocean side and a Cuban restaurant. The weather started to turn and we opted to stay in the boat, not able to enjoy the area because of pouring rain. Pics:
Byrd Ketcher with Miami Beach in the background:
The lighthouse at No Name Harbor:
Another view of Miami Beach and South Beach:
The next day, we contemplated waiting out a day of pouring rain that was in the forecast, but decided to push on into the Florida Keys. There are two routes, one inside the Keys that is very shallow…less than 4.5 feet at low tide in some spots…and one that is outside, on the ocean side called the Hawk Channel. We took the Hawk last year, worried about the depths of the inside route, as we need just over 5 feet of water for our boat. After much research and consultation, we thought we could do the inside route and we went for it. The first night we made it to an anchorage at Cowpens Cut, off of Key Largo; position: 25 00.049N, 080 33.990W. We had the tide working for us giving us depth and we went until dark. Many times we had less than 6 inches of water under us, adding a little bit of stress!! It rained for a good part of the trip, but we have full foul weather gear that kept us dry, and there was little to no wind. Looking back, it was a good decision to leave No Name Harbor.
Today we left early again and used the tide to get through the last of the really shallow areas, and thankfully got in to deeper water as we passed the Channel Five bridge. The winds were increasing and it got a little rough on parts of the passage, but we also got to sail…a good trade off. We pulled into our slip at Harbour Cay Club in Marathon around 2:30 PM. It is good to be back here. We made our goal of getting to Marathon in the first week of December. We will be here for six to eight weeks and then start looking for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. In the mean time, there is a long list of boat projects that need to be tended to.
The trip from Key Biscayne to Marathon via the inside route is do-able for our boat, but I think I would only use it again if it was too rough to transit the ocean side. Most of the time we had 1.5 to 2 feet of water under us, and if we didn’t use the tide we would not have been able to go through a large portion of the route. Pics:
It looked like these birds were trying to figure out how to get their boat off of the shoal: