The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Very Special Delivery-Air Freight

Remember the seaplane photo in one of my recent blogs?  He was delivering passengers to Little Palm and a little light bulb went on in my head.  Shortly thereafter I had arranged for the pilot to surprise our son, Leo, who flew in Friday from Sacramento to Miami.  Leo was expecting a shuttle van, or at best a car, to deliver him last the hundred miles or so from Miami International to Hawk’s Cay on Duck Key.  Instead Leo got to be delivered in the seaplane and land right beside the marina.  The Admiral (his mother) and I scooted out in our dinghy and retrieved him.  It was all quite spectacular and the marina crowd thought it was pretty cool, as did our son.
Our very special delivery arrives

Hawk's Cay Marina from our slip
So, what does a 23 year old guy do when he gets to the Florida Keys for the first time?  Well, he does what any normal 23 year old guy does on vacation.  He parties, and he sleeps.  Leo does both well!
It was a holiday weekend and all the rental car companies were booked up.  So after only a couple of nights there, we were ready to head for our next stop at Key Largo.  We had a beautiful day to ride up Hawk’s Channel on Sunday, so we took off around ten o’clock for the four hour run. 
A view from our fly bridge of the beautiful blue water of the Keys

Leo continues his sleeping vacation!

Once Around entering Key Largo Inlet.  Leo took this following us in on the dinghy
By 2:30 PM we were tying off in a slip at Marina Del Mar in Key Largo.  Our friends from Boreas and Brandy IV were there already.
Once Around in Key Largo

Leo's sharp eye caught this little fella swimming by in the harbor
Monday, a holiday, was a rather downer day for me especially.  Julaine from Boreas was kind enough to run me down the ten miles or so to the emergency room.  The good news was that my foot was not broken, only sprained.  The bad news was yes, it was probably strep throat, so back on the antibiotics I had been on only two months earlier.  All in all, I was pretty happy as I had imagined finishing my last two months of the Loop up in one of those stylish boots Carrie had gotten to wear a year ago when she broke her toe.  Hey folks, don’t blame me, this Looping is rough business!
Tuesday I was especially glad Leo was there.  Although I was already feeling much better, he fit marginally better than I did under the forward bilge area where our shower sump had decided to fail.  The Bilge (you know what) was all over it, and four or five hours later, Leo had replaced the pump, float switch and cleaned out the clogged backflow preventer that had probably caused the burned up pump.  My First Mate scrubbed the bilge area as clean as a kitchen floor and life returned to normal on Once Around.  We wandered over to the local watering hole and had lunch. 
Leo in the bilge
A Tight Spot
On the way, we came upon “The African Queen” from the Bogart/Hepburn classic movie.  It is being restored here in Key Largo.  Since that is one of the Admiral’s favorite movies of all time, she was surprised to see the boat as it had been blown up in the final scene!  I had to remind her that was Hollywood, remember…she is blonde you know.  Anyway, it was pretty neat to see the African Queen up close.
Tuesday night we caught up with our old buddies Captain Ron and Jan from Jolly Tolly, who are staying in a marina a mile or so from us.  The five of us had dinner at The Fish House in Key Largo.  Leo heard some stories from the Loop (from someone besides his parents), and enjoyed a huge plate of stone crabs.  He also ate about half of Jan’s scallops and finished it off like the rest of us with a slice of excellent key lime pie.  We bid farewell to Jan and Ron as they are driving up to Tampa Wednesday and we may not see them again before we head north.  They are staying in Key Largo for a few more weeks and then heading for the Bahamas.  We wish we were going with them, but not this year…

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