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We came for a week to wait for a weather window and stayed for the season in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida! This is a marvelous place! We highly recommend a visit to this area of the Florida Keys.


Links to logs:

Captain's Log from February through March, 2008

Captain's Log April, 2008

Captain's Log May, 2008

Captain's Log June, 2008


Captain's Log from February through March, 2008

We spent a very laid back and restful winter in Boot Key Harbor. There were side trips to the Dry Tortugas, Bahia Honda State Park on Bahia Key, and several snorkeling excursions off Sombrero Key south of Boot Key Harbor.

This is a very nice place to winter with friendly cruisers, "Meet and Greet" parties each Wednesday evening at the Boot Key City Marina building, excellent mooring field, friendly restaurants, Sunday morning breakfast at the American Legion, etc. It is easy to stay in this location. The Boot Key Harbor Marina provides a pump-out boat that comes to your boat weekly. If an additional pump-out is needed you take the boat to the marina wall and they pump the boat for free. It is all part of the fee for the mooring ball.

The boat projects seemed to take second place to reading good books. What that means is many boat projects just did not get done. Safety items were taken care of when needed. We cleaned the dinghy bottom several times. Even though the dinghy was used most every day to go ashore at the Boot Key Harbor City Marina, it grew a healthy crop of barnacles and other marine growth, including long strands of sea moss. We took it to Sombrero Beach by traveling through Sisters Creek and set it upside down on the beach to clean the marine growth off using a putty knife and muriatic acid which softens the barnacles.

I spent time working on Sextant usage by studying a book I found in a used book store in Colorado Springs the winter of 2006. It is called "Mariner's Celestial Navigation" by William P. Crawford. I have actually taken star shots and attempted to plot lines of position (LOP). The LOPs did not come out very good since it is impossible to get a good horizon while on a mooring buoy in Boot Key Harbor. However, the exercise allowed me to actually find "navigation stars" using Publication 249, Volume 1, of the "Sight Reduction Tables for Air Navigation" along with the "2008 Nautical Almanac" to determine Greenwich Hour Angle (GHA) of Aries.

Somehow I found a little time to work on the web site. Now there are pictures for everyone to see. There could be more pictures but somehow the camera does not seem to be available when there are good shots available.

Some of our favorite places to eat out were:

The Crane Point Museum and Nature Center is a wonderful place which has preserved 63 acres of the original keys habitat. The butterflies are absolutely marvelous. The walk through the trees along multiple trails is really nice.The Turtle Hospital is another nice place to visit and see how the volunteers rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles. We also explored by dinghy several times in Sister Creek and into the various waterways in the mangroves on Boot Key.

A major high light was getting to listen to the US Air Force Field Band at the Marathon High School. The buildings were new and this was the first public use of the large theater with excellent sound engineering. If you have never heard the US Air Force Field Band, take time out of your busy schedule if they are in your area. The musicians are very professional and talented.

Every morning at 9 AM the Marathon Cruiser's Net is on VHF Channel 68 where new cruisers are welcomed to the harbor and departing vessels are bid farewell. Marty Brown would give a daily weather report if she had not worked the night shift at the hospital. It is also a place for cruisers to ask for help with problems, buy, sell, or trade items from the bilge. And just to test trivia knowledge, there is always the daily trivia questions. Jean is hooked on listening to this each morning.

On the big grocery runs we used the Marathon Taxi Company to get all the stuff from either Winn-Dixie or Publix back to the dinghy dock where we loaded the dinghy from the trunk of the taxi. Then there was the ride back to the boat and unload the dinghy and put everything on the deck of Samana. Then Jean inventoried the groceries while storing them away in various locations on the boat. The taxi was used because the walk to the grocery store is over 1 mile away.

The Marathon Post Office was visited every few weeks to pick up mail from General Delivery. My wonderful sister, Janet, sends our mail when we request it.

Marathon Discount Books was another favorite place to find new and used books.

Jean's all time favorite is the Salvation Army Thrift Store. She was always going there to find new bargains of quality, very little use or actually sometimes new stuff, and brings her finds back to the boat.

On very windy days we used the Smorgasboat, the harbor water taxi. We called them on VHF Channel 17 and they came to the boat to pick us up and deliver us to various spots ashore next to the harbor. If Jean needed "alone time," she would take the water taxi to shore.

Eric at Inflatable Boats of the Florida Keys provides an excellent spot to order dinghy motor parts and few other things. If he did not have the part he would order it and have it the following day. This included carburetor parts and zincs for the dinghy motor, parts for a rebuild of the diesel raw water pump, and other various items. I replaced a worn key in the raw water pump in 2007. The key on the shaft of the raw water pump failed in Boot Key Harbor during the daily run of the diesel to recharge the batteries. The old key was iron and literally disintegrated in just a few months in salt water. I had inspected the key while we were still on the Mississippi River in late fall and it was in excellent condition then. The new key is stainless steel. I learned a valuable lesson about quality parts regarding salt water and iron parts!

We stayed too long and had to get Barnacle Benny's to clean the bottom and prop on Samana before we left! It shows that sitting to long in one spot allows moss and other sea life to grow. A moving boat gathers no moss! It's time to move on and explore new places.


Back to Links to Logs


Captains Log April, 2008

Captains Log

April , 2008

This will contain the entries for April, 2008


Back to Links to Logs


Captains Log May, 2008

Captains Log

Thursday, May 01, 2007

This will contain the entries for May, 2008


Back to Links to Logs


Captains Log June, 2008

Captains Log

Sunday, June 1, 2008

This will contain the entries for June, 2008


Back to Links to Logs


Stay tuned for updates!


Revised: 31 March 2008

© 2008 Arthur L. Howard