It is official; winter has arrived in the Keys

Not winter as we know it, but still, MB brought winter with her when she arrived.  Every few days, a cold front comes down from the North (darn Canada), and with it comes high winds, and cold weather.  By cold, I mean the temperature drops to the 60’s, and 70’s during the day.  A couple of nights it actually got down to the 50’s.  It is still sunny during the day, but the winds and sun have created their own issues.

Too much sun on the solar panel together with too much wind for the wind generator together burnt out my charge controller for the battery bank.  Very critical here, as we are not plugged into electric on the balls, so I purchased a new, larger and better controller.  It is doing a wonderful job, so far.

I have done some maintenance on the boat to prepare her for the journey home.  We have come to the conclusion that we are not going to the Bahamas, this year, anyway, instead we are going to venture to the Dry Tortugas.  It is a reef with a few small islands, and an old fort not completely finished in the 1800’s.  There is absolutely nothing in the way of supplies there, so we will stop for a few days in Key West to do the Duval Street thing, and then sail off into the sunset.  In the Tortugas (named by Ponce de Leon for the turtles, called Dry because there is no fresh water available), we will anchor inside the reef, we can dingy ashore to search for shells, swim, snorkel, and visit the ships sunken around the reef, as they (some, anyway) are still there.  We’ll search for Pirate Booty!

Alas, first we wait until the North Winds stop blowing.  We’re told that when January is over the cold fronts slow, so we are expecting to be off around the middle of Feb., but we’ll have to see, we’re not in a rush.  No person or thing is in a rush here, except to get in line for the shower.  There are three showers for 260 boats.

To keep busy we go to get togethers at night, or visit folks on their boat, or go to seminars to learn new things.

We gave a surprise visit to my Uncle Joe and Aunt Harriet who were vacationing in Marathon, and stayed about a mile from us.  We didn’t find out they were here until a day before they left, we had a fun visit.

There were several Superbowl parties on the go, we chose the one at Dockside, we take our dingy over to a lounge on the water with live entertainment, and for Superbowl, they had a chili cook-off.  Fifteen people made the hottest and best chili they could, and we had about an ounce of each to judge them.  That’s a pound of hot chili each we ate, and of course had to be flushed down with margaritas and beer.  We left the windows to the boat open that night!

A lady from the “Green Parrot” in Key West came to the party, and brought her mascot with her, check out the pictures.  For entertainment, the backup band played for several singers (mostly Jimmy Buffet tunes, of course), and this picture is a 91 year old, still telling jokes and singing.  It’s a tough life down here.  MB wants to take a bus to Key West and visit all the tourist shops, but we’re waiting for the weather to get back in the 80’s, hopefully next week.

We put a call out on the radio for other Loopers in the area (that’s the folks like us doing the Great Loop) and we expected about 8 people to show under the Tiki hut at the marina, and there were 68 people show up representing 34 boats.  Turns out we know a lot of them from the Rivers up North.  Everyone is just waiting out the winter in this area, those that didn’t get to the Bahamas on time.

Good news from the Porthole Magazine, they are going to continue running our story for at least 2 more issues, so I am still an author (as opposed to a has been author).  Anyone not a member of the Canadian Power Squadron can get the magazine; it is inserted into Canadian Yachting Magazine.

That’s our update for February, the next one will come when the weather is improved, and we have provisioned, and are on our way to the Dry Tortugas (even the name sounds exotic).

We read about the snow home on PEI, and have decided we don’t miss it.
Love to everyone,

Joe & MaryBeth
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

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