The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On to Marathon

After our abrupt departure from Marco Island, our crossing to Marathon, expected to take around ten hours, was a beautiful ride.  It was a sunny day, and we were travelling with the slight wind at our back, so on our fly bridge we were in shorts and tee shirts.  The seas were 2-3 feet, and my First Mate and I were enjoying some Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney tunes to get us in the mood for the Keys.  We had been looking forward to this for months.
Algonquin on the Gulf crossing to Marathon
We weren’t sure just exactly where the heck we were going to stay that night, because we hadn’t planned to go to Marathon at all.  We began trying to reach marinas in Marathon as we left Marco Island, but were soon out of cell range.  Oh well, something would turn up.  If not, we had an ace in the hole.  We had met a generous fellow boater in Fort Myers who it seems has a small house in Marathon with a 50 foot dock in his back yard.  He had drawn a map to it on our charts and told us to use it if all else failed.
About two thirds through the crossing, Algonquin radioed to tell us they were going to kick the speed up to their maximum to blow their engines out for a few minutes.  This is good practice for diesels, so we told them we would do the same.  About two minutes into this, Algonquin slowed and radioed again that they had lost power on their port side completely.  We idled around for about an hour while Garth determined it was actually his transmission.  He had had it repaired twice in the past few months, and it was blown again. 
Garth secured the port shaft and got back under way using only the starboard engine.  He could only manage about seven knots, so he would be getting to Marathon well after dark.  He told us to go on ahead.  We agreed, but first we made a boat hook pass of our night vision camera from Once Around to Algonquin, a move that was more difficult than we expected, but which went off without a hitch.  They were happy to have the night vision aid. 
Once Around scooted on ahead at about fourteen knots, arriving at the seven mile bridge in Marathon about an hour before sunset.  It took another half hour to get into Sombrero Marina where we had finally secured a slip for the night. 
The Seven Mile Bridge across the Keys at Marathon was a welcome sight

The harbor at Marathon was an even a better sight
We passed Tropical Breeze on a mooring on the way in, and Doug was on the radio immediately welcoming us in.  He and Barb had been in Marathon for quite some time, and we hadn’t seen them since Canada or maybe Michigan last summer.  We promised to get together with them before leaving Marathon.
At our slip we were met by Fred and Julaine from Boreas and John and Rita from Brandy IV, who had arrived in Marathon that day as well.  We were beat and hungry, but the day would not be over until Algonquin was safely in port.  We stayed in radio contact as a local fisherman guided them through the winding harbor in the dark.  Garth managed a spectacularly executed back-in to his slip using one engine and his bow thruster which drew applause from the fishermen and those of us on the dock.  Maneuvering a 53’ Hatteras backwards on one engine is no small feat!
We all took a deep sigh of relief and headed immediately to the Dockside Bar for much needed cocktails and a late dinner.  I think everyone slept well that night.
Friday morning my First Mate and I decided to try and stay the weekend in Marathon.  Our original reservations in Key West were for Monday anyway, and there were lots of folks here to hang with.  Sombrero Marina said we could stay right where we were for the next few nights, which sounded good to us.  The weather here is high 70’s with about a 5-10 mph breeze.  In other words, it’s perfect.  We’re just going to hang loose for awhile…
On our walk to the market on Sunday, a couple of bikers waved as if they knew us as they passed.  I jokingly said to Carrie, "Friends of yours?"  We figured they had mistaken us for someone else, but as they slowed and turned to come back to us we were really confused.  As the first one pulled up close with a big grin on his face, we recognized Sid from Something Special.  He and his brother-in-law had rented Harleys for the day and were headed to Key West to meet up with Evelyn and her sister.  Sid has a way of showing up at the strangest times, but this one really caught us off guard!
Sid the biker
Saturday evening we met up with Barb and Doug from Tropical Breeze at the local watering hole, the Dockside Bar.  "Dinner" consisted of appetizer plates of conch fritters and nachos, along with several rounds of drinks.  We were joined by the crews from Boreas, Brandy IV and Brown Eyed Girl.  We compared Loop experiences and laughed most of the night away.
left to right:  Carrie, Barb (Tropical Breeze), Julaine & Fred (Boreas) and Doug (Tropical Breeze)

The other end of the table, Craig and Jinny (Brown Eyed Girl) and John (Brandy IV)...and Carrie agian!
Once Around will be moving on to Key West on Monday if the current weather report holds.  We plan to stay there about three weeks.  We are looking forward to two separate sets of great friends from home who plan to join us there during our stay.
Once Around in Marathon, FL

No comments:

Post a Comment