February 15/21, 2016 – Banana Bay Marina – No travel

Monday – 15th

We were up before daylight because we had to drive to Key West in order to board the Yankee Freedom III by 7:30 am. Again we were driving when it was dark so this was the second time Vonni had been on this road without being able to see the sea on both sides. In anticipation of slow traffic we had left earlier than necessary but found the traffic was moving at the speed limit all of the way so we arrived early. Even so we were not long there before the orientation for the days experience was started.

The wind had decided to blow quite strong even though the forecast when we purchased the tickets was for nice weather. As it turned out it was totally overcast all day as well. The seas were two to three feet so the boat rolled somewhat but the ride wasn’t too bad. The boat was nearly full and there wasn’t much room to walk around this catamaran so everyone pretty much stayed put.

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Fort Jefferson Harbor in the Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson is a totally brick made fort built in the mid 1800’s. It was never totally completed but was to serve as a defense of the Gulf of Mexico approach to the US mainland. There is a reef surrounding about 80% of the harbor with good anchoring depth inside. While a shot was never fired from the fort boats were stationed there that patrolled the area. Later it was used as a coal fueling station for military ships. The fort was also used for a time as a prison and the inmates were used to do some of the construction. This fort is located in the “Dry Tortugas”, a continuation of the Florida Keys and about 70 miles west of Key West. It is part of the U. S. National Park System

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Anchorage at Fort Jefferson.  This is 115 miles from Banana Bay so we elected to leave Sea To See at BB and take a fast ferry to the Dry Tortugas.  These boats were really rocking at anchorage.  

We enjoyed walking around the fort in a selfguided tour and learning the history. We had intended to snorkel in the surrounding waters but it was so windy, cloudy and cold that we decided not to. Others who did try it said there was nothing to see as the wind had created turbulence reducing the visibility.

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Vonni

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Vonni and Vicki touring Fort Jefferson

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Ron and Vicki atop the fort.  With maybe 150 visitors a day it is probably the least visited of the National Parks.  Yup – the wind was blowing up here!

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Fort Jefferson moat with Yankee Freedom III and anchorage in the background

The ride back to Key West was very rough causing some aboard to lose their lunch. I suspect the majority of passengers were happy to finally make the landing back in Key West.

We walked the waterfront, had chart hour at Schooners Wharf and then went to Christine’s for a very nice dinner of jambalaya.

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Vonni and Vicki at Christine’s for dinner in Key West

Tuesday – 16th

Vicki and Vonni made their way to the pool while I spent time working on the bridge canvas issue from the Mei Wenti that was torn during an 80 mph wind storm in Bellingham a week ago Friday.

We headed to Burdines Cheeky Tiki for dinner hoping to see the sunset from there. The sunset was nonexistent due to clouds but the afterglow was very nice high in the sky. We finished the day having Key Lime Pie at the Lighthouse Grille and visiting with some loopers at Faro Blanco.

Wednesday – 17th

Today we had to take Vonni back to Key West for her flight back to Seattle. We were sad to see her head into the security area but were certainly glad she had made the effort to come see her parents on the opposite side of the country.

We drove to Islamorada to check out Coral Bay Marina as we were contemplating making that our first run after leaving Marathon and were wondering what the marina was like. It is small and well protected but may or may not have space available when we head that direction.

Thursday – 18th

Just a lazy day on the boat and around the pool

Friday – 19th

We ran around getting our shopping done before we had to return the rental car. After the car was returned it was another lazy day. Vicki struggled most of the day with her back and a severe headache so she took it as easy as she could.

Saturday – 20th

It was another day of chores and making sure the pool was still there.

Sunday – 21st

The only thing out of the ordinary was the “Sunset Celebration” hosted for loopers here at Banana Bay Resort and Marina by a gold looper couple. They had arranged for two different yacht brokers to come and make presentations about selling a boat and these were not only interesting but appropriate for our future plans. The yacht brokers sponsored live music and drinks and the participants brought finger food. The host couple indicated that there were about 170 people who had indicated they were coming so it was a successful event. It was fun to see some people we had not seen for some time and to hear about their ongoing plans.

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