Thursday, December 7, 2017

Swimming in Paradise

History of Islamorada, FL

Still full from last night's supper, we waited for the tide to rise and slipped away from Key Largo toward our next anchorage at Islamorada, FL.  Instead of large open water cruising like yesterday, we meandered through quiet channels among mangrove islands and sailed through water so clear it was hard to look down because it looked like we should run aground at any moment.  Today's passage took us South from Key Largo, FL in Blackwater Sound, through mangrove islands into Tarpon Basin, through another mangrove lined channel into Buttonwood Sound, through a narrow cut between islands and into Upper Cross Bank where we turned off the AICW to the East and dropped the hook about 1/2 mile off the coast in front of Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina in Islamorada, FL.  Tomorrow morning we will slide into our slip and spend two days here to wait for the cold front with its wind and rain to pass.  Also, some laundry and some exploring will be on the agenda.

And now, here's something you'll really like!

Yesterday at Key Largo, we anchored in a spot that was close to a restaurant and also a short walk from a Winn Dixie.  I, for one, was ready to get off the boat for a while and walk around.  We found a dock to tie our dinghy to and were ready with both of our back packs to carry our groceries home in.  We began our 1.9 mile walk to the store and there was a really nice breeze blowing on us as we went, but it was hot outside.  There was a nice wide sidewalk along Highway 1 for walkers and bikes.  All was good, but....I started feeling kind of queasy and I was fussing at myself for eating those cookies and shortly after, George said he felt a little queasy, too.  We both felt like the ground was moving ever so slightly under us.  This happens to us after we have been on the boat awhile, then go ashore.  So we decided we must be experiencing land sickness since we've been on the boat almost 24/7 for the last 4 or 5 days.  On top of being hot and feeling queasy, it occurred to us that it was around 4:30 and would be getting dark soon and we didn't spray ourselves for bugs.  We have experienced no see "ums at dusk that sent us running inside and closing all the windows!  So we decided even though we didn't feel too great and we were really looking forward to a leisurely time in the air conditioned Winn Dixie, we felt we better get a move on to get there.  We got our groceries, paid for them, packed them in our backpacks and headed back for a 1.9 mile walk hoping that the mosquitos and no see 'ums wouldn't notice us.  Good news!  We didn't see a single one!  Happy dance!!!

We were planning to dinghy our groceries back to Viridian then freshen up and go to Sundowners for a nice outdoor supper.  Instead, we decided to go straight to the restaurant and hoped our yogurt would be ok.  We sat outside and had a  sweet waitress who had moved to Key Largo from New York.  She gave us great suggestions from the menu which we took.  I thought about having Conch marinated in coconut milk, then lightly breaded and fried for an appetizer because we've never tried Conch but then I remembered my octopus experience.  George and I decided not to try that but had a thai spicy shrimp instead for our appetizer.  It was kind of like Bang Bang Shrimp from bonefish.  They served a homemade Coconut Honey Loaf of bread with whipped honey butter to go with our meal.  It was very good.  Next we had a garden salad that had everything in the garden and then some in it..  It had fresh crisp romaine, kale, niblet corn, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, real chopped bacon,  perfectly cooked diced eggs, croutons and homemade blue cheese dressing.  
The main course was parmesan encrusted grouper with crab topping.  The crab was so sweet and buttery and the grouper was crisp on the outside and moist inside.  We had key lime buttered asparagus, too.

We were both so full but our waitress told us they had The Best Key Lime Pie in the keys and she had not let us down with her suggestions so far so we had a piece and asked her to bring a to go box because we knew we could not possibly eat it all.  The pie had a homemade graham cracker crust with condensed milk filling and a beautiful, thick meringue topping with pretty wispy swirls. Then they lightly drizzled fresh squeezed lime juice over the slice. This was a tasty addition we've never had before.  Well, we waddled back to our dinghy with our warm yogurt and other groceries and headed to Viridian which had no lights turned on but we got aboard safely, put away our provisions turned on the generator and the air conditioner and basked in the coolness.  

This morning we ate a bite and got underway to Plantation Key.  We went through open waters and some pretty shallow waters and several passageways through the mangroves.  We were talking about how this looked like a perfect place for crocodiles and pythons.  You can see right through the water to the bottom so I was looking to see what might be swimming around us and saw a manatee!  It's so exciting to see one when you've seen so many signs about going slow and watching for them. 

Well, we are anchored at Plantation Key now and the water is a beautiful, clear light green.  George couldn't wait to put on his snorkel and fins and go for a swim.  The water was very refreshing (I know because I took a 5 second dip).  George saw what he thought was a sponge on the bottom and dove down to find there was a lobster hiding under it.  He got closer and found it was a piece of coral and there were several lobsters under it.  No, we aren't having lobster for supper :-(  It has been a very pleasant afternoon.  George is now fishing but has had 3 plastic worms bitten in half.  That's why I'm not jumping in the water out here!

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

Today's Passage from Key Largo to Islamorada, FL

Bird's Eye

  Morning at Key Largo Anchorage

 Entering the Mangrove canals

More channels

George's new snorkel and fins

I was finally able to verify exactly what Viridian's water draft is by taking a tape measure under the boat with my snorkel on and physically measure it.  Turns out it is 4.0 feet, not 4.5 feet.  I'll take it!

1 comment:

  1. Am I seeing a writing pattern? If it's in black, George is writing,; if it's in purple, it's Meg? Good plan, as I enjoy reading both. After this one I felt like I gained a few pounds. I didn't realize what a culinary expedition this would be. That water looks dreamy and relaxing. Here it's cold and gray. We saw Steven at Taziki's last Friday evening. Had a nice chat with him. Somewhere you and George went right with those boys.