Latitude 24 degrees 57 minutes (Islamorada, FL) January 2, 2011
What a difference 1100 miles can make. Fortunately the roads cleared off well enough for us to head south on December 29 and we pulled in to the marina on January 1, 2011. That's where the first problem popped up. The sign on the dock master door said “Closed Jan 1”. I guess they forgot about our reservation. No problem - I figured that I'd launch and tie up to an open slip and move where they wanted me the next day. Problem – they parked a large truck across the boat launch. No problem – the MacGregor works just as well as a camper – we'll just park in the trailer area and stay on the boat overnight. Problem – one of the people in one of the mega yachts said they patrol the area at night and we would probably be arrested. Dilemma – spend $100 to stay one night at a motel or risk incarceration? Most of you have probably guessed - we stayed on the boat. Fortunately the security here was somewhat overrated.
There are a lot of things to do when transitioning from trailering the boat to launching the boat. I remembered all of them but one. After we launched, I started the engine and backed off the trailer. When I turned the wheel so I could go forward I noticed that the boat was not turning no matter how hard I tried – well, I had forgotten to connect the rudder steering to the motor! Fortunately the boat I was backing toward didn't look too expensive and was motoring. After a lot of hand waving he realized that he should take evasive action. I backed all the way through the marina turning the motor by hand. When I had a lot of space I put it in forward and headed for our slip. It was difficult to steer this way but I only bounced off one piling and the end of our slip in a slow completely under control crash (I've got to make that checklist I've been talking about).
The marina is in a really nice city park with tennis courts, an olympic heated pool, a beach, dog park, botanical park, amphitheater and biking/hiking trails.Here's a birdseye view of the park and marina. If you put 87000 Overseas Highway, 33036 in Google Earth you can see the park and surrounding areas.
It didn't take Brenda long to relax.
Here's a shot of the moon rising over our stern.
The second day we were here brought an official welcome from the resident manatee.
He swam right over to our boat.
A family lowered a hose to him and he sucked it into his mouth drinking large quantities of fresh water.
However this should not be done (it's illegal) because it attracts them to marinas which is where they run the greatest risk of getting injured or killed by boat propellers.
We've gone to Anne's beach several times (MM 73.5). It's nice if you go at low tide when there's actually a beach. When you wake up from your nap and you are surrounded by water you know it's time to leave.