Key West

A very interesting week (may have been a little longer). We left Fort Myers to begin our run south along the Gulf coast. The first day out we went as far as Gordon Pass near Naples. We anchored near marker 12. This was a good anchorage even though there was quite a bit of boat traffic at the end of the day passing and making waves and then the next morning as the early leaving fishing boats also would make waves. The neighborhood is full of beautiful residences.

Pictures from top to bottom: sunset over residences, sunrise over the mangrove, looking easterly with pelicans.

We pulled anchor and left continuing our trip south. This was a long day. At the end of our day we had traveled through many crab pot fishing areas. You must zigzag to miss the crab pot floats (it is absolutely necessary-we don’t want the ropes wrapped in the propellers or around the prop shafts).

Tonight we anchored on the Gulf near Ponce de Leon Bay and the entrance to the Little Shark River. The Everglades were to our east.

Sunset over the Gulf

Dawn and sunrise over the Everglades

Today we will end our day in Marathon at Boot Key Harbor. More crab pot dodging, otherwise a good run with good seas and nice temperatures. In Boot Key Harbor we have another new experience. Here we did our first connection to a mooring ball. Fortunately for us another boater helped. We made use of the dingy docks.

The residents of the Florida Keys are still working to recover from the hurricanes of 2017. As with most storms some areas are more damaged than others. While here we took the shuttle bus to Key West twice. This was another adventure. Our first trip we didn’t know what to expect – we waited for over an hour for the bus and then had a two hour ride. This left us with only about two hours in Key West to explore before having to get to the bus stop for our 2 hour ride back. You don’t want to miss the last bus – it might cost you $$$ to get back to Marathon by another transportation method if you are lucky enough to find one.

Our second trip down to Key West we were more knowledgeable of how to get there and did more exploring.

Pictures: Seven Mile Bridge, Sunset in Boot Key Harbor, chickens in Key West, Flagler Station – Flagler constructed the first bridge connecting the Keys, self explanatory-Al wanted to get here – bucket list item, this guy was about 3 feet long and found in Marathon at the City Marina, on our way back to Tortuga at sunset in Boot Key Harbor.

We were never definitive about our travels north – originally we were going to cross to the east coast of Florida by way of Lake Okeechobee, then we decided to boat to the Keys and go around the tip of the state and up the coast; well guess what? We are going back up the Gulf and across Lake Okeechobee. Now we get to back track. Going back up there are less of the crab pot issues. Apparently crabbing has seasons and this one is about over.

A very different trip. Our anchorage at the Little Shark was just as safe even though not quite as comfortable as the first time. Second day out we saw smoke from the wildfires. As we traveled north we saw more and more smoke. The smoke definitely changed the atmosphere. Following are some photos of sunset and sun reflection on the water and our Gordon Pass anchorage after a night of the smoke settling in-it looks like fog, but definitely doesn’t smell like fog. We had smoke most of the way back to Fort Myers.

We returned to the Fort Myers Yacht Basin for two nights. More later.