Part of sailing is waiting for a window in time where the weather is supposedly going to cooperate and be favorable for sailing to the next location. It was really nice and warm and in the 80’s all the way through Christmas and around New Year’s Eve in southwest Florida. Then a couple of cold fronts came through from the north. We are now in a consistent frontal activity weather pattern that doesn’t want to let up. It’s cold here in Marathon on the water when it’s in the 50’s! According to the locals, we are now in the 10 -14 day period they call winter.
Our plans are to go to Bimini, but to do that from here you have to cross the Gulf Stream. That requires that there be no wind coming from the northern quadrant as you would be bucking the Gulf Stream, and the winds and waves get a little too wild for my taste to handle.
So, we wait. Marathon is really a cool place and I keep thinking to myself, “only in Marathon”. There are over 225 sailboats in the city marina on mooring buoys, and another 50+ at anchor as well, many waiting on a mooring buoy to free up. This sailing community includes a bohemian culture where many people live aboard and never leave. There is a little bit of something for all tastes. The Harbor Hillbilly restaurant is a take out affair, a dinghy drive-thru so to speak. The average price in Marathon to stay at a 3 star hotel/motel is over $200 per night. Many of the locals that work in the service industry live on boats because it is so exorbitantly expensive to live and stay here.
We are in the city marina at anchor, and it’s not costing us anything as long as we don’t use the city dinghy dock. It’s another $22 dollars a day to use the city dinghy dock, but that includes services, such as the ability to do laundry, buy water, take showers and such. Now that we have our water maker up and running (yes, believe it or not, the water is clear in the city marina so we can turn on the reverse osmosis desalination device), we have no need to buy water or take showers ashore. We can also dinghy in at various other locations they don’t charge anything. There is a cab service called Bob Narley’s that will take you, your friends and dogs anywhere you want for $5 total, and they only require about a 10 minute lead time. Dogs are permitted almost anywhere, and you see them everywhere. I think 95% of the people here have a dog or a cat companion.
The sunsets here are very dramatic; a combination of the sun setting in the west dotted almost every night with brilliant light combinations and clouds. Every morning at 9:00 am there is a “Cruiser’s Net” on VHF channel 68 where the local news; announcements (i.e. new arrivals, folks leaving, potlucks, yoga, classes for weaving rugs from rags and t-shirt remnants and classes for basket weaving); buy, sell & trade; and trivia happen with an unconventional flair.
There are beautiful beaches close by, coral reefs for snorkeling, restaurants with amazing happy hours (including $2 for 6 shrimp), a turtle hospital, excellent services, and many other things to do to bide our time. I’m not too much in a hurry to leave if you want to know the truth.
Only in Marathon.