Leaving the Keys

After 6 nights in Marathon and 3 in Islamorada today, sadly, we are leaving the Keys and heading to the east coast of Florida.  We really enjoyed our time in the Keys.  Marathon wasn’t all that interesting but we largely spent a week there to spend time with the Wilson family.  Other than when we’ve had visitors this is the first time the girls have had true playmates.  They took advantage of every day and made good use of the time together.

In addition to lots of pool time, time on each other’s boats playing with dolls and meals together we did all go on a tour of the Marathon Coast Guard station and went to the Turtle Hospital. Both were great learning experiences.  The girls talked a lot about those in their blog so I won’t say too much.

I loved the Turtle hospital.  We learned a ton of new information.  I don’t like to swim with the turtles the way Ben does, but I enjoy watching them and was happy to learn so much more about them and how this facility cares for them.  You can sponsor a turtle for a year. The girls may be getting that for an upcoming birthday gift.  You are kept updated on the turtle’s condition and care and get a letter every so often from the turtle.  Anyway, just another really fantastic experiential learning opportunity for the girls.

Saturday our friend Ozzie from our dock in Chicago came to visit.  He spends the winter in Ft. Lauderdale and drove down for the weekend to see us.  He took the girls and Ben fishing out on the rocks at the marina.  They didn’t catch anything but are trying to gain more knowledge to hopefully catch some of our meals in the upcoming months!  It’s always fun to see friends from home and we hope to connect back up with Ozzie and Chris in Ft. Lauderdale.

We left Marathon Tuesday morning in not ideal conditions.  The day before I had asked Wendy Wilson if AnnaMay and Ella might be able to join us.  The girls were so sad to have to say goodbye because we are not sure when or if our paths will cross again on this journey.  My mom and Jim were meeting us in Islamorada so I knew I’d have a car to drive the girls back to Marathon that night.  Wendy and Bobby said that would be just fine.  They may have thought otherwise Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM when they dropped the girls at our boat and helped untie lines in crazy wind and chop, but they let the girls come with us anyway.  It was a not fun very choppy three hour trip.  Waves were not that bad but winds were from the north and we were heading north and out boat is AWFUL heading into waves like that.  So it was just rough. Not rocky.  Not rolly. Just pounding uncomfortable.  But the kids all powered through and in under 3 hours we were in Islamorada. The Postcard Inn was adorable. We happened upon it after calling just about every marina in Key Largo and Islamorada.  We were trying to meet my mom and Jim in Key Largo and nothing there had openings.  And then our Islamorada recommendation wasn’t deep enough.  So, we tried this place.  We knew the marina was undergoing renovations so were prepared.  The resort was great.  Beautiful pool, beach, roped off ocean swimming area, huge hammocks on the beach, big lifesize connect four game, grassy area for gymnastics,  pool bar, tiki hut bar and restaurant, and huge outdoor firepits that they light every night.  My mom and Jim were there when we arrived.  I took the four girls right to the pool while the rest of the adults went and had a great lunch.  The girls enjoyed the day swimming and doing gymnastics.  Grandma Cathy treated the girls to strawberry smoothies from the pool bar.

Back on the boat they tried to squeeze out every last minute together. Dinner, a game of Life, etc. and we finally had to pull the plug and drive them back.  It was a sad goodbye with hopes of seeing each other again.  Due to a family emergency the Wilsons flew home to Ohio the next morning and are flying back next week so we’re hoping on their drive back to their boat they  may be able to stop for a hello again!

In the midst of all of this we got word Tuesday morning that my grandmother had been hospitalized.  My mom was waiting around trying to figure out what was happening and when and where she should fly home.  We enjoyed the time we could all the while waiting for updates.  She has pneumonia in one lung and some issues with her esophagus.  My uncle drove down and was with her and my mom is flying home this afternoon.  She is responding well to antibiotics and hopefully will be discharged tomorrow.  My mom can drive her back to the nursing home and will hopefully be able to return to Florida Monday night.  My littlest sister Emily is flying down to see my grandfather next weekend and my mom was hoping to be back in Florida for her visit.  So many moving parts.

We had a lot of fun lazing around the pool, playing in the hammocks and just  purely relaxing, once school was done.  My mom and Jim took the girls to dinner one night and Ben and I got out for a date night.  Sadly they had to leave yesterday after lunch to drive to Sarasota in preparation for flying today.

Today we raced through school and hit the pool early because we knew we had to leave around high tide at noon.  We only saw a little of Islamorada but I loved it there.  Postcard Inn was one of my favorite stops.

I know we will LOVE the Bahamas and exploring so many amazing places but there’s something to be said for camping out at a nice resort for a couple of days and just chilling.  But today we move along.  We are on our way to Dinner Key right now.  It is near Coral Gables, just south of Miami.

Should be a fine marina for tonight and then we are hoping to maybe boat up to Ft. Lauderdale or Hollywood area tomorrow and anchor.  Sunday we will find a marina we think as our friends the Grammatkes are coming to see us.  They moved to Denver last July and are in Marco Island this weekend visiting parents.  It’s a 2 hour or less drive over to Ft. Lauderdale so they offered to come see us for the day.  It will be great to catch up!  Maybe we’ll even watch some of the Super Bowl.

After Sunday’s visit we plan to spend the time we need to provision and get ready for the Bahamas crossing.  We hope to see Ozzie and Chris as well as my childhood friend Samantha, her husband Yaniv and their kids who all live in that area.  We need to do a big Costco run along with Target and groceries.  Ben has some work on the boat to do, oil change, zincs, etc.  And we’ve sent a number of packages to Ozzie including our Bahamian courtesy flag that we need to fly and our permit to get back into the US.  I’ve been studying up with the help of fellow looper Cathy Rogers and the Bahamas Bound Skipper Bob’s book and have a rough route planned out.  Now we just wait for weather for crossing the Gulf Stream. And wait we will…last Tuesday reminded us again that this boat is great living space, and a terrible choppy water boat.  All a tradeoff but we’ll wait for that glassy water day.

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