Friday, December 15, 2017

Chasin 80 @ N 24_33.897 W 081_44.281

The crew of Viridian decided to stay an extra day at Faro Blanco marina in Marathon and let another cold front pass.  With the passing of the cold front came a persistent 25 mph wind from the north, no rain or clouds, just wind and waves.  We didn't need much of an excuse to stay an extra day at Marathon with our new found friends, one of the couples was from Birmingham, AL and kept their boat in Guntersville, AL.  They also had a rental car that we all piled into to make a run a Publix and stop by Key Fishery to get their famous Lobster Reuben sandwich. Later that evening the crew of Viridian and three other couples met onboard the vessel "Morning Star II" to share finger food, laughs and route navigation information for future cruising destinations.

Thursday morning rolled up with flat seas, cool air and bright sunshine.  Viridian was untied from her slip at 9:00 AM and set sail for our final winter destination of Key West, FL.  We were a day early for our reservations on the 15th so we called Stock Island Marina and asked if we could come in today and they graciously gave us the green light.  Back out on the AICW and heading west Viridian passed under the Seven Mile Bridge Overseas Highway and entered into the waters of the Atlantic.  Today we would run about 2 miles off shore pretty much due west to get to our home port at Stock Island Marina.

The seas were as flat as they can get in this part of the world and with the exception of a couple of crab boats we were the only vessel pushing through the viridian waters this morning.  Our route took us along the Seven Mile Bridge past Bahia Honda KeyBig Pine KeyRamrod KeyWest Summerland KeyCudjoe KeySugarloaf KeySaddlebunch KeysGeiger KeyNaval Air Station West Key, and finally Stock Island and Key West.  The waters were filled with crab pots and that kept us on our toes as we wove our way over the 42 mile passage to Key West.

Our slip at Stock Island Marina, C-01, was waiting our arrival and Viridian spun into the slip stern first, tied up with the help of a friendly dock master and powered down.  The crew walked over to the marina office and got signed in and picked up some good information on the area.  There is a shuttle bus that runs 7 times a day over to Key West and bike and scooter rentals for exploring the Islands.  Lots of stuff to absorb.

Since the Viridian's engine was warm it was a good time to change the oil and get that task off our list of boat stuff.  The electric pump I used on the last oil change passed away after only one use back at Dog River, AL.  Fortunately, West Marine was only .25 miles away so we walked over and purchased a hand operated oil vacuum  pump, hooked it up, and in a few minutes we had all the oil removed, new filters installed and fresh oil back in the crankcase.  I love it when things work as advertised.

BTW, the title of this blog refers to our quest for 80 deg air.  Haven't found it so far but it looks like we  might see it in a few days.  80 deg in December!  Oh I love warm weather.

We will be staying here for at least a month which includes Christmas and New Years on the Keys.  Stay tuned!

That's the news and here are some views:

 Today's Passage

Bird's Eye

 The Famous Lobster Reuben at Key Fishery Restaurant, Marathon, FL

 Mountains of Crab Traps

 Wind!  Our flags are turning into rags.

Finally Calm.  Time to go

Oil Changing Time

Viridian rests at Stock Island Marina Village, FL

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