The further south that we go the more catamarans we are seeing as we enter what I would call Catamaran Cruising Waters. There are lots of sailing catamarans along with a few power catamarans. Our next stop was Marco Island, which is past Naples. We noticed a definite uptick in the number of boats that we are seeing especially fishing boats. This is our route to the Florida Keys.
One thing that we enjoyed during our stay at Marco Island is that we took the dinghy to the grocery store and farmer’s market. They have a Winn Dixie with a very long dinghy dock so they do cater to boaters. There is just something about grocery shopping by dinghy that makes it fun! We stayed 3 days and the weather was nice.
A special stop that we made was a little bit out of our way and that was Everglades City. This is well worth it the 7 mile trip up the river to get there. I have known about this place for years. This is part of “Old Florida” where a living was made by hunting and fishing. The marina there is called the Rod and Gun Club. It was built in the late 1800’s and is definitely a step back in time. It is perfectly restored and maintained. There are lots of mounted fish and game on the walls, a pool table room, an intimate bar and white cloth dining room.
A major purpose for going there was to buy stone crab, our favorite food. This area is known for bringing in some nice stone crab. We learned that due to Hurricane Irma a lot of the crab pots got moved and that has affected their haul. However, we definitely did eat and buy some stone crab, but they were mediums. Another reason that people come to this area is to take an airboat ride and we definitely heard them! We never saw the town, but walked along the water where they have many local fish restaurants. In there morning we were ready to go early, but the tide wasn’t ready for us. It was too low to leave for several hours so we just kicked back and relaxed.
We really wanted to get to the Keys even though we knew the lower Keys experienced heavy damage due to Hurricane Irma. We also know that the resort at Faro Blanco in Marathon was up and running so we set our sights on their marina for New Years. That was actually a great decision. They had a New Year’s Eve celebration with an “anchor” drop from their lighthouse.
Faro Blanco was fun as there were at least 5 other Loopers there so that meant Docktails. That was short lived because for 7 days the winds picked up to over 20 mph. We were on a dock that directly got both the north and the east winds. We also experienced all the waves in the bay. There were 2 days that I actually took Bonine because we were really rocking and rolling! Getting off the boat for dog walks and making that long walk down the dock was no fun at all. When we get bad weather we tend to do nothing! We hole up in the boat and watch movies. A must stop for us in Marathon is Keys Fisheries which is another great seafood market. They also are a large supplier of stone crab so once again we had to get it!
We found that the we could take a local bus to Key West for $1 each way. We talked another Looper couple into going with us. Our intent was to return on the 7:30 pm bus, but you know how that goes in Key West!! We took our Loopers to some of our favorites bars and met up with other Loopers, too. Needless to say, we missed the 7:30 bus while I was searching for Key Lime Pie on a Stick. The last bus was 9:30 and that happened to be late so we needed to go to one more bar, of course. Looper midnight was truly midnight that night when we returned to Faro Blanco!
Since we had made our Key West trip by bus we decided that we would go back north to Key Largo. We have a favorite restaurant that makes a Key Largo Fish Sandwich. We anchored off of Sundowner’s and enjoyed a great memory with a beautiful setting. It was a perfect day and perfect ride to our next anchorage past the beautiful skyline of downtown Miami.
Gypsies Palace is getting so close to Crossing her Wake and closing our Loop. We started in Boca Raton last April, but we planned on starting the Loop with a trip to the Bahamas in March. That did not happen due to high winds for weeks. So, even though we will be in Boca with Gypsies Palace we are taking a Looper Side Trip to the Bahamas and will cross our wake when we return.
“How ’bout lunch in Key Largo? There’s a fish sandwich place down the road. They goin conky tonkin’. Cruisin down U.S. 1. They’ll be conky tonkin’. Trying to catch up with the sun.”