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Marathon And Moving On

For the past three years, since we began cruising OLOH between the northeast and the Florida Keys, our winters have been blissfully spent in Key West.  But this was the year for us to try something different.  So we found a private and quiet place to tie up on one of the western keys of Marathon where we could “isolate” along with like-minded, close friends and have a very different experience.  If you have been following our posts on social media since we landed three months ago, you know that no one will accuse us of not enjoying ourselves and making the most of it!

The One Love was the star of the season, putting in a lot of hours with endless cruising and shallow-draft exploring to be done…

The infamous Burdines…we didn’t get to try the often raved about “magic fries” or their “deep-fried key lime pie.” It was just too chaotic for us, and they were so busy they didn’t answer their phone for take-out. Maybe next year – though our own truffle parm, smoked salt fries, and classic key lime pie keep us pretty satisfied!

We don’t know how many hours we put in on the sandbar but we think we could have claimed squatter’s rights.  It was our favorite part of our Marathon winter – and Jasper’s too – as he spent all of his time there chasing fish (and resting very well after)…

Jasper actually sits behind the helm when he boards the Whaler and has to be gently moved over! One of these days we’ll teach him to drive 🙂 We’re still working on the “fetch us an arrival cocktail!”

Would you believe it if we told you Jasper didn’t win?!
Doggone fishin’!

Remember those hats that Tim debuted in this video?  They were put to excellent use…

To the extent we had any routine during our stay, most mornings began by tuning into the Boot Key Harbor Cruisers Net on our marine VHF radio (channel 68 at 9 am).  The Net is on every day, all year, and is kind of like an interactive audio version of a Facebook group (they have one of those too).  Each morning new arrivals and departures announce themselves, harbor rules are reviewed and general announcements are made.  Then there’s a section for comments, questions, and people needing help which can range from praise for a boater who led a kayak mangrove tour to cruisers coming to the aid of someone who just can’t get their outboard motor to run (we love you Stitch).  Then there’s the “buy, sell, trade” section followed by trivia.  It can range from twenty minutes to well over an hour depending on the topics that come up and it can be wildly entertaining as well as very informative.

And you get to know the cast of characters, from the Captain of Queequeg with his near-daily, enthusiastic announcements about what’s going on at the community theater, to the always helpful Carolyn on Barefoot Gal (we love her website) and the always charismatic Diesel Don, a knowledgeable and generous old salt with a booming voice and a hearty laugh who clearly doesn’t suffer fools.  We’ll miss hearing them all when we leave. Click here (Facebook link) to hear Diesel Don in action.

As usual, we ate VERY well thanks to the inspired onboard cooking collaboration of Tim and our friend Carolyn from The Three B’s … and stay tuned, we’ll be doing a separate writeup detailing some of the amazing food we enjoyed!

Jasper had a blast and made some great new friends including his suitor, a Poodle named Irie who would come-a-calling at OLOH and flirt with him but never get too close.  Then there was the Vizsla puppy Zoe and the ever-loving Goose who would keep an eye on things with Jasper when he wasn’t grabbing his face and giving kisses.  And, of course, something we named Coco…

We did a bit of big boat cruising and anchoring with our friends on The Three B’s…

We saw lots of wildlife…
This is a shot of a giant black grouper…in 12 feet of water! It was about 6 feet long!
Meet Large Marge the Manatee and her baby, Little Huge.
Meet Ray. Never stayed in one place too long…always been a floater.
Pelican row. One bark and there goes the neighborhood!
Awe shit, Lem, not again!

We celebrated…

It was great to reconnect with our Key West dockmates and friends on Al Zero.  We made new, socially distanced friends that we look forward  to spending “closer” time with when normalcy returns, including our wonderful hostess and Jasper’s new best friend Annabella (see last picture on this page), plus the crews of Sea Lord, Conundrum, Buckeye, Great Escape, Busy Livin’, Playpen and these two fine vessels, Island Drifter and Endeavor..

And we stopped what we were doing every single day to witness the magic of a Florida Keys sunset…

Then came a tearful goodbye as The Three B’s shoved off with the promise of a reunion back north this summer…

So this season was most certainly an excellent primer for an area that we had previously only passed through.  The experience here was everything we hoped it would be and we look forward to returning when we can roam and socialize freely, truly experiencing all that this beautiful part of the Keys has to offer.  And that day will come.

But now it is time to move on. We’re planning to shove off in the next few days and we look forward to having you join us on our continuing adventures.  For close-to-realtime updates, please be sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram.

See you out there…


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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Safe travels Tim, AJ and Jasper! Thinking about bringing Playpen up the Hudson with The Three B’s this summer for a reunion. Let’s get together and feel alright🥰 Love from Alicia, Armand and Tigger
  2. Excellent post, OLOH! We spent about a month in Boot Key Harbor just before Hurricane Irma, and really came to love Marathon. Too bad you couldn't make it work at Burdine's - those fries truly are amazing. But from the pix you posted, you guys eat pretty well! Great pictures of what looks like a great winter season. Safe travels north.
    1. Thanks Brian. We really look forward to experiencing the area again on the other side of everything. Cheers!
  3. When you stayed on a private dock for an extended period how did you deal with your holding tank? Was there a local pump out service? Same with fresh water and power. Keep the posts and video's coming! They are inspirational! Where are you headed next?
    1. Hey Jim and Karen - thanks so much for the kind words - we really appreciate it. Details coming soon on our travels but we'll be heading north, one way or another. In the case of our recent dockage we had full water and power hookups and took advantage of dockside pumpout service every other week which is more than enough since we haven't been hosting guests this season. Cheers!
  4. I just discovered your YouTube channel and like the education pieces the best. I’ve spent weeks in Marathon every year for 30 years and have never seen a sand bar that pretty. Do you mind sharing the location? Keep up the great work.
    1. Hey Chris - so glad you found us and have been enjoying our videos. There is a string of sand bars on the Atlantic side of the Fat Deer Key part of Marathon just east of Cocoa Plum. Cheers!

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