March 13, 2016 – Sunday – Banana Bay Resort and Marina to Shell Key near Islamorada – 30.7 statute miles traveled

We pulled out of Banana Bay Marina at 0850, later than intended. The sky was totally overcast and there was a wind from the south at about 10 mph. About a half hour out it began to rain and did so for the next two hours, sometimes heavy. The wave height was about a foot as we were about three miles out from a lee shore.

As we were on the Gulf side of the Keys we were, once again, traveling in very shallow water. Most of the time there was less than four feet of water under our keel and often only two feet. And this was in the channel. Straying out of the channel would have been instant grounding most of the way.

It was our goal to make it to Islamorada for an anchorage. We had picked out three possible anchorages and found that anchorage number two next to Shell Key, a State nature preserve was going to work well. We found they had one mooring ball in place and it was empty so we took it. We had the entire anchorage to ourselves for quite awhile and then eventually a sailboat arrived to anchor a long ways from us so we had all the solitude we wanted.

It was nice to be alone again after six weeks of being moored close to all of the other boats at Banana Bay. We could sneeze, cough, sing and whatever other sounds we wanted to make with no one to hear but the pelicans. We didn’t even have to pull the curtains at night but could enjoy the twilight, stars, moon on the water and the lights along the far shore. Even though we were at least three miles away from the Overseas Highway we could still hear the trucks.

It was an idealic afternoon, evening and night. The wind died down till it was gentle and even though the moon was only a happy face it was still bright. The temperatures had been in the 80s during the day but they cooled off into the 70s at night and with the light breeze we were very comfortable sleeping on top the covers.

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