Keys Eco-Tours?  See Captain Sterling – John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Keys Eco-Tours? See Captain Sterling – John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Looking for Keys Eco-Tours? See Captain Sterling at Everglades Eco-Tours Our first stop in the Keys this year was John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, time for another Keys Eco-Tours. This was a new stop for us and we're glad we had the opportunity to check it out. We left Boca Chita while it was still quite windy, but manageable. When we got to where the waterway narrowed down a bit, we passed under the Jew Fish Creek Inlet and Bridge,…

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Safe Harbor Before The Start Of The Keys

Safe Harbor Before the Start of the Keys

Boca Chita Key, an Island Paradise! Kismet is on the wall at Boca Chita Key. Twelve miles south of Key Biscayne sits this beautiful bahamian type island. It is part of Biscayne National Park and consists of 32 acres of land, beach and harbor. It includes a beautiful 65-ft. ornamental lighthouse which sports an observation deck overlooking the beautiful harbor, nearby islands, Key Biscayne Bay, ocean, Miami and Key Biscayne Island. Down below the lighthouse sits an old canon salvaged off a nearby shipwreck. There is a…

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Rim Route To South Bay Cove On Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Rim Route to South Bay Cove on Lake Okeechobee, Florida

"Big Water" – Lake Okeechobee and the Rim Route From our one-night stop in LaBelle, we proceeded toward Lake Okeechobee (or in Seminole Indian language, Big Water), we'll be taking the rim route around the lake instead of going straight across this time. The Okeechobee Waterway, which includes the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River, boasts a 134.3 nautical miles from west to east and is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the United States. You can transit the lake…

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Rendezvouing With Sea Gator In Marathon

Rendezvouing with Sea Gator in Marathon

  When I was in the planning stages of putting together our book, Women On Board Cruising, an acquaintance introduced me via email to Pat Erhman, a long-distance cruiser, along with her husband Rick on their boat, Sea Gator. I was so happy for the introduction because Pat and I corresponded quite a bit over the course of creating the book and I hoped some day our paths would cross on the water. Today it finally came to be. A…

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The Route Less Taken – Key West To Marathon

The Route Less Taken – Key West to Marathon

When leaving Key West by water, heading east to Marathon, there are two Intracoastal Waterways (ICW) route choices. There is the un-obstructed, direct route of Hawk Channel which runs parallel to the Keys and cuts into Florida Bay at Marathon. Hawk Channel is somewhat protected from the coral reefs that separate it from the Atlantic Ocean; this is the most popular route because you don't need to worry about dodging shallow water. We've taken Hawk Channel several times but have…

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Stock Island Stay

Stock Island Stay

We can't say enough good things about Key West Harbour, on Stock Island. Our second stay here, for the month of March, was ideal. Great slip right by the tiki hut on the outer rim, open air showers under the hut and a spot to enjoy happy hour under the other hut. Life is good. We were happy to meet up with the Brenda and Vern, on Trouble II, they were our neighbors at Key West Harbour the winter of…

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Mission Foiled – Uninhabited Marquesas Keys – Islands West Of Key West

Mission Foiled – Uninhabited Marquesas Keys – Islands West of Key West

Just for you Rob! We left Key West Harbour early in the morning – with calmer waters and clear skies forecasted, we thought it was time for a little excursion to the Marquesas Keys. The Marquesas sit 18 nautical miles west of Key West and are uninhabited. Our thoughts were that it would be fun to anchor out and enjoy the serenity of these isolated Keys. Although It was a pleasant enough cruise out, shortly after we had cruised halfway around the…

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Better Than Sex?

Better Than Sex?

On this particular day we had just consumed a huge lunch at our favorite Cuban restaurant, El Caney on Stock Island. Later that afternoon, we drove to downtown Key West to take a long walk and watch the sunset. We really weren't hungry for a dinner, but we thought maybe we'd just get dessert somewhere. That was when we remembered several people telling us about a dessert restaurant named Better Than Sex, they only offer dessert on their menu. "Why not,"…

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Bringing Home The Shrimp – Stock Island, Florida

Bringing Home the Shrimp – Stock Island, Florida

Not only did the fishermen "bring home the shrimp," but we also brought it home, to the boat that is. Freshly caught shrimp for dinner tonight, what could be nicer? Fresh seafood all within a mile of the marina. Fishbusterz usually has a full array of fish and shellfish available. The Lobster Company, closer to the marina, has more including stone crab claws, a new favorite of ours. This is just one of many reasons we love to stay on…

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The Charlevoix Gang Converges On Key West

The Charlevoix Gang Converges on Key West

We're all dock mates from our long-time homeport of Charlevoix, Michigan (the only people missing is our dear harbormaster, Hal and his wife Mary Ann). Although we have not been back to Charlevoix by boat for many years the friendships have endured. Our first get-together this winter was hosted by Jean and Gary on the porch of their downtown Key West rental. Porch dining was a first for us and somewhat of a tradition in this eclectic little town where…

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A Favorite Haunt – Stock Island Lobster Co.

A Favorite Haunt – Stock Island Lobster Co.

One of our favorite haunts this winter was the Stock Island Lobster Co., just a short walk from our marina. Unfortunately the whole month of March was very windy and the boats did not get out to get their catch like they, and we, would have liked. Some days they had nothing to sell and others they could only sell a limited amount to us, but we did get some lobster a couple of times and some snow crab claws…

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Tropical, Eccentric Key West

Tropical, Eccentric Key West

Not only does it boast a colorful, tropical splendor but Key West is a little unconventional with its kooky signs and unusual, creatively painted or put together, bikes and vehicles. Here is something new we saw in Key West this year. Not sure what to call it but doesn't it look like fun? A solar bike with storage to boot. Who would have thought?  Lots of sunshine in the Keys, so why not? One of our favorite signs in Key…

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Dock Fever? – Let’s Visit The Florida “Flats”

Dock Fever? – Let’s Visit the Florida “Flats”

Ever since we arrived for our month-long stay, it's been very windy and this has inhibited our plans to explore the surrounding area of Key West by boat; we were getting itchy to push away from the dock. We're usually not interested in taking random boat rides, so when we do sever the dock lines and head out, we like to have a purpose and a plan. Key West, being the southern most spot in the U.S., is somewhat at…

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Mother Nature’s Tropical Artwork

Mother Nature’s Tropical Artwork

Our first walk in Key West led us to find these beautiful tropical flowers (they had fallen below the tree just as you see them here). Apparently they are from a Pink Bombax, Shaving-Brush Tree, this deciduous tree is native to tropical Mexico. The tree is mostly leafless this time of year, better to see these pink beauties. They start as an brown/yellow banana shaped bud (below-left) which peels down to reveal the pink "shaving brush" flower within. Just one small reason why…

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United States’ Most Southern Destination, Key West, Florida

United States’ Most Southern Destination, Key West, Florida

After three grueling days camping out on Kismet in the boat yard, putting bottom pain on, we arrived at our most southern destination for our winter 2012 boating season, Key West – Stock Island actually, one island up from Key West. We'll be docked for a month at Key West Harbour. Stock Island is close enough to Key West to have fun in the popular tourist town when desired and far enough away to enjoy a relaxed marina setting with beach and…

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Boat Yard Blues – Part Two

Boat Yard Blues – Part Two

I am truly in the swing of things on day two in the boat yard. The good news is the On & Off product helped de-wax the hull, one of the steps needed to properly prepare the hull for bottom paint. Next, and it was probably overkill, I applied acetone to the hull to assure that all wax, from when the hull came out of the mold, was completely gone. After a good washing I taped the hull off an…

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Mah Jongg Crazy

Mah Jongg Crazy

After the AGLCA Sunset Celebration came to a close, Cheryll (above-left) and Jess (above-right) and I decided we still had plenty of evening left to play a few games of Mah Jongg in the boater's lounge while the guys watched TV. I always carry a miniature game on board in hopes of bumping into someone who'd like to play, or learn to play. It's a crazy game with lots of weird procedures and rules but once you get the hang…

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2012 Third Annual Looper “Sunset Celebration”

2012 Third Annual Looper “Sunset Celebration”

The 2012, Third Annual Looper "Sunset Celebration" was a huge success with over 120 in attendance. It was a little windy (not a problem for Loopers) – lots of good food was shared along with a chance to reacquaint ourselves with old friends. Thanks Patricia & George Hospodar for organizing the event and providing Loopers in the area with an opportunity for this fun reunion.

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Tug Nuts Reunite In Marathon

Tug Nuts Reunite in Marathon

Just a few days before our week-long visit at the Harbour Cay Club in Marathon came to an end, Mike and Jess (below-middle), on Illusions (shown above) and Rich and Cheryll (below-right), on Roam (both couples own Ranger Tugs) joined us and before we knew it, we were having a mini Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Marathon. We had all recently met in Fort Myers Beach during the First Annual Ranger Tug Southern Rendezvous. We communicated often as we were traveling different routes down to…

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Bridge Walk – Seven-Mile Bridge

Bridge Walk – Seven-Mile Bridge

We got up early this morning to do a four-mile walk on the Seven-Mile Bridge, two miles out and two back. It's a fun walk, we almost always see some aquatic life in the water below while walking. Today we saw several stingrays. The Seven-Mile Bridge is a famous bridge in the Florida Keys. It connects Knight's Key (part of the city of Marathon, Florida) in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. Among the longest…

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Happy Hour Special – Stone Crabs At Keys Fisheries

Happy Hour Special – Stone Crabs at Keys Fisheries

Amazing as it seems, Jim and I have never tried stone crab claws, so, off we go for the well known happy hour at Keys Fisheries Restaurant in Marathon. This is a good way to try this seafood special at a great price and we love the atmosphere. We've been here before for lobster reubens, another unusual treat for boaters from the Great Lakes. We're glad to report the claws, along with the tuna sashimi we also ordered, were absolutely…

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