A sleigh ride it was today. We pulled anchors around 10 this morning headed out of the anchorage at lignumVitae; the wind was still cranking 20ish out of the east/northeast and gusting. The waves werent bad but the gusting wind made me want to try the ocean side for the trip to marathon. I should have know what kind of day it was going to b because we passed a barge carying a huge tree. I can’t really explain it, it was just a barge pushed by a tug boat; and on the barge was a huge tree. It must have been planted in the largest flower pot in the world because the tree was (for the third time) HUGE! (pictures will be posted soon). We continued to Channel 5 bridge and passed to the ocean side of the keys. In Hawkes Channel the wind was much more stable and so were the waves. The only issue was the wind was stronger and the waves were bigger. The wind was easily 20+ and the waves were 3-5ft. The boat did great, surfing down the wave fronts and holding a steady speed of 6+ by the gps. We entered Sisters Creek and Marathon right at 3pm. I would classify it as one hell of a ride. What really impresed me was how well the boat handeled the conditions; we never took water over the deck, no extreme or uncontrolled broaching, just a nice (but very bumpy) ride. Remember the boat is only 26 ft long, 8 ft wide. After sliding into Boot key harbor we grabbed one of the thousand mooring setup by the county to keep out the riff-raff and headed to Dockside for dinner. The place is really nice now. And yes, I say that with a certain amount of sadness. Dockside was where the real boat people hung out. No mega rich dudes and their fake girlfriends (notice I didnt say wives); No, Dockside was always a place where sailor jim could get a beer all coated with suntan lotion and smelling of sweat and drink and eat in the company of friends. There were some local boaters belly up to the bar, but the clientel they are catering to is now the yacht club types; all prim and proper. In fairness I have to say, the food was great and Lesa had 3 rum runners and is a BAD GIRL!
It looks like we will be stuck here for a couple of days because the wind is picking up even more (27 at Sombrero Reef) and will be increasing or steady at that for the next few days. This is good though; we need to do laundry, eat at the Cracked Conch Cafe and get Kaelin to the Turtle Hosspital. I will post pictures and video tomorrow on the Flickr page, so click on the link on the right side to see those. 3bje, 3rrlb.