When the idea of cruising America’s Great Loop first appeared on our radar about 18 months ago, I was excited about all there would be to see and do and learn. I was ready for a change of pace….new places, new people, new skills, new challenges – and I have not been disappointed!
In the short time we’ve been in Marathon, midway down the lovely Florida Keys, we’ve experienced a wide variety of firsts.
On February 29 we moved from beautiful Marlin Bay just down the shoreline to Faro Blanco Yacht Club and Marina.
While we were at sea, we decided to cruise out 12 miles to the Sombrero Lighthouse Reef with friends from Indiana who were visiting with us on the boat for a few days. It was the first time we’d been in the Atlantic Ocean on our boat. Awesome! This little cruise also offered an opportunity to snorkel…another first for me! Hoping we’d this chance while we were in the Keys, we’d acquired some basic equipment. We were all set! Rick steered the boat close and Kristin and I were able to pick up and tie to a mooring ball (another first) so the boat was secure while we enjoyed looking at the schools of pretty fish and the plants and coral through the crystal-clear teal blue water. It was the most beautiful water I’d ever seen and although the whole mask and breathing thing was awkward, I think with a little more experience, I will really enjoy snorkeling.
This week at Faro Blanco we hosted our first real “dinner party” on R&R! We invited our Looper friends Joe and Robin on Sea Lord and Pam and Mark on Sea C Rider, who biked over from their marinas to join us. We had chicken and asparagus grilled onboard, rice, salad, bread, key lime pie and Bavarian cream torte for dessert. A real meal on the flybridge with the sunset as a backdrop. Lots of great conversation and an unexpected drop-in visit from Looper friends on Idyll Time, who we had met at Paris Landing, Kentucky early in our trip, made for a delightful evening.
Another food first was grilling lobster tail on the cockpit for a Surf and Turf dinner. We picked up local lobster up at a nearby seafood market and prepared according to You Tube….easy and delicious! Will definitely try again!
And Key Lime Martini…..KeKe’s key lime liquor with vanilla vodka and a splash of pineapple juice. It was a first, but guessing it won’t be a last! Delicious and refreshing!
Last Sunday we took a drive to Big Pine Key just to see if we could spy our first Key Deer…and we saw many! Key Deer look like miniature versions of white-tail deer we see (or hit with our cars) in Indiana and Michigan. They have protected status in the Keys.
And just today, I rode my new electric bike for the first time! What fun! While we’ve been in the Keys, we’ve had our car, which has been quite a luxury. When we resume the Loop later this month, the car is going back to Michigan (thanks, Steve!) and we’ll be on our own for transportation into town from many marinas for sight-seeing and provisioning. E-bikes are quite popular among the Looper community, so we decided to give one a try. Happy early Birthday from the Captain to his grateful First Mate!