Sunday, 3 March 2013

February 24, 2013

We have been enjoying our time here in Marathon.  It is quite different, going to the pool and relaxing on our boat, from sailing Time 2 Go to different destinations everyday.  We still have things that we want to see and do in this area, one of those being John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.  We arranged to do that on Wednesday.  

We rented a car for Wednesday morning and drove, about an hour north to Key Largo.  Dave had hoped to snorkel on the reefs and the wreck at the Park.  When we arrived, the weather did not co-operate, being cloudy, cool, windy and a 2 foot chop on the reef.  So we decided to do the Glass bottom boat tour out on one of the reefs.  This turned out to be a good choice, as our 2 tour guides narrating were extremely knowledgeable about the different kinds of coral, sponges, and different reef fish.  They also were able to point out the not so common sites, such as Spiny lobsters and a Hawksbill turtle.  It was an enjoyable trip.  

When we returned to shore from the Glass bottom boat tour, we had hoped to snorkel on a 16th century shipwreck that was right off the beach.  We were unable to find the location so we spoke to a Park ranger, and found out that it wasn’t a shipwreck, but an “authentic replica” of a 16th century shipwreck.  They had dropped some cannons and a few boards in the water, in the swimming area, so we didn’t bother putting on our new wetsuits and snorkeling out to see them.  However, overall, it was a fun day.  

When we were planning this trip south, we joined an association called ‘The America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association’.  They are group of people who travel all, or parts of the circle route, down the Mississippi, around Florida, up the eastern seaboard, back to the Great Lakes, Trent-Severn Waterways and North Channel.  Their website and web forum are a help in planning a trip our’s on any part of this route.  This association had a Sunset Celebration planned for Thursday night in Marathon at the Banana Bay Resort and we were going!  This was a potluck supper, with a band (boaters from the marina who had some kind of musical instrument, that they thought they could play).  We went with a friend of ours from our marina, who also belonged to the Association, and met a lot of fellow cruisers.  One of the first we met, had done the loop 3 or 4 times and now was sailing the canals of France, who turned out to be from Guelph.  Yes, in Ontario, it is a small world.  

The Upper Keys Rotary Club holds an annual Nautical Flea Market every year in Islamorada.  It was being held this weekend, so we arranged for a rental car with a friend at the Marina.  We went early Sunday morning and toured around the different booths - it was huge!  Although it was the second day and things were picked over, the final score was Dave - one shirt, Anne - 2 dresses.  This event is a really great fundraiser.  We headed back to the Marina around lunch and had agreed to help our friend, Dave, take his powerboat for fuel.  When we arrived back, another friend Jay was taking his catamaran to Coffin Patch Reef for an afternoon of snorkeling.  Our friend, Dave thought we should go snorkeling on our way to get the fuel, we never made it for fuel.  We had a great afternoon snorkeling on the reef and seeing many of the fish and coral, that we had seen on the Glass bottom boat tour, earlier in the week.  
Glass Bottom Boat at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Aquarium at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Lion fish at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
AGLCA Sunset Celebration. Dave & Cruiser from Guelph
Snorkeling at Coffin Patch reef

Cotton Patch Reef

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