Cruising Cortado and Christmas. Marathon/Key West

2014-12-22 17.03.09
We left Islamorada and cruised to Marathon in need of food and supplies.  We lost two pocket knives overboard this week, which is a necessary boat tool.  Marathon is a small stretch of land in the middle of the Florida Keys, but does have a full sized Home Depot… need I say more?
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Celebrating the holidays with friends in Marathon.  Geri and Bill have a dreamy setup and it was a pleasure to be able to spend time with them. 
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Leaving Banana Bay Harbor for Key West with a full crew. The calm before the storm!
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We cruised the inside route to Key West, in a bit of a rush to beat an on-coming weather system we had known about for several days. Nasty storms were headed our way and vulnerable does not adequately describe our little boat in big water. After a full day of dodging crab pots and shallow water, it hit. A wall of fog, lightning, waves, rain squalls… it was equal parts the most beautiful sight I have ever seen and also one of the scariest. I am, to this day, in awe of my husband who navigated us with expert calm and professional skill through the waves and into safe harbor. Once the storm passed, the sun came out, and we pulled in to Conch Harbor Marina in Key West.  The docks were full of people and it was as if nothing had ever happened. Mother nature at her finest!  WOW.

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We arrived in Key West on Christmas Eve after our first big (albeit passing) storm at sea.

Wildlife (manatees, giant tarpon) and thankfully, cocktails awaited us. 

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Back in October, I thought hard about how to provision the boat for the holidays – not  easy!
 I found a great Christmas blog post on the website of a friend: www.sailingtotem.com.  I loved seeing how other cruising families kept the holiday spirit and so I was bound  and determined to follow suit.  
 We nailed it. We brought a tiny travel tree with us, even though we were longing for the  pine scent of a real one.  Milk and cookies were set out for Santa under our tree. Tony read “Twas the Night before Christmas..” to the kids on the engine boxes. Oliver and Sophia wake up Christmas morning ready to go!
Christmas Eve was as un-conventional as they come, and yet.  
We grilled dinner on the boat and had a cozy evening, just us and Cortado.  It rained during the night which made for some adventure, but Christmas morning came with a glow of sun, warmth and lots of presents!
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The presents filled the main salon. Santa brought us R-E-Y Code Flags which were promptly hung.    Lynne’s look of surprise to see that Santa had actually found us in Key West!

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Playing off a small island near Key West.

 

 

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Water time was our main holiday activity, and always Tony cleaning the bottom of the boat.
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Sydney and Dan at Pepe’s and lounging under the drying laundry.
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The days that followed included walking about Key West, taking Cortado out to paddle-board/fish. Boxing day was spent deep-sea fishing with Mo on the Lucky Dream.  It was a spectacular, yet kinda rough sea day, way out beyond the reef in deep waters South and East of Florida.
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Dan and Sydney left for NYC and we missed them immediately. The boat seemed a little empty without them!  We spent the remainder of 2014 visiting some dear friends and making new ones.  On the 30th we started to make our way north to Hawk’s Key Resort in Marathon for a break from the action in Key West and a quiet New Year’s Eve.

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Sophia at the wheel en route North to Marathon and Hawk’s Cay in deep, calm ocean water.

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