We reluctantly left our five star marina and motored (you notice we have yet to say we sailed with our guests) south for twenty miles and set the hook in a nice fat anchorage at Indian Key Pass. While we really wanted to continue south in order to get our guests to Key West we also hated to miss the chance to see Everglades City. So the next morning we weighed anchor, motored up the river, and tied up at the sea wall of the historical Rod and Gun Club.
If you look closely you'll see who was not invited to lunch
I love historical buildings and this one didn't disappoint. It really reminded me of a southern version of the Riverside Inn in Pennsylvania where I was a waitress for over ten years. We had lunch at the club and let me tell you they do a booming business. Dave and Kathy went off in search of an Airboat ride (it didn't happen) and I went off in search of ice (I'm glad to report, that did happen). Dave did however return with frozen shrimp bait and on that note we departed the dock an hour earlier than we'd intended which ended up being a good thing as we found ourselves motoring straight into a dense fog. We were so concentrated on finding our markers that we nearly motored past the anchorage and had to double back. And then just like that the fog lifted. Dave put his shrimp bait to the test and caught several small catfish which were immediately released, and we spent the remainder of the evening playing Hearts. I'm not a huge fan of card games but Hearts became our regular evening entertainment and I found myself looking forward to it every night. Now that Kathy and Dave are gone, I miss those games.
We think Dave caught this very same fish several times.
We intended to leave Indian Key in the morning with New Turkey Key as our next destination. And then JR, one of the hosts during our dream pit stop sent us a message that he'd like to raft up with us there. So off we went with visions of another mini reunion. We'd been motoring (again, not sailing) for a good bit when all of a sudden we found ourselves enveloped in pea soup. It was so thick we could see it rolling into our cockpit so we closed up the hatches in a effort to keep things dry. Hans turned on the radar and figured out it was indeed working as it should and since it appeared there was not another soul on the water (and it was as calm as could be) I decided to try not to be scared to death.
We were actually making such good time we decided to skip New Turkey and head for Little Shark River instead. In the meantime we were surprised to find despite the fog JR was on our trail. This pleased Hans no end especially when, via our VHF radios, they could relay their coordinants to each other. This went on for some time and then Hans announced our radar had picked them up and they were closing in on our stern.
All of a sudden out of the fog burst JR and his wife on their power boat and just like that the fog lifted. It was so magical I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd been surrounded by rainbows and unicorns. They stayed parallel with us for a while but since Little Shark River was much further away from home than Turkey Key they opted to go back. We had hoped they could raft up and invited them to stay aboard for the night but they passed on that. And it's a good thing they did because our next hosts, who also warmly greeted us, turned out to be the biggest and hungriest mosquitoes we've ever met. Little Shark River is surrounded by mangroves ("worst anchorage ever! we were eaten alive!", "best anchorage ever! No bugs until April!" were the ambiguous claims from Active Captain), and as soon as the sun set they were on us in droves. We spent a very stuffy evening playing Hearts and squishing very well fed skeeters. The next morning it looked like a massacre had taken place on board it was that bad.
Just a few of the bloody smears in the cockpit. Inside the boat was just as bad.
The next morning it was obvious that heading south would be uncomfortable no matter what and Dave asked if couldn't we just sail around for awhile so we did. Back to our buggy anchorage we went only this time we closed up before the welcoming committee, this time with a contingent of no-see-ums (obviously word got out about us), could descend upon us.
It was a relief the next morning to be able to leave the jungle and we then motored (sail? what's that?) to Marathon and tied up to a marina. This was the last stop for Kathy and Dave and we felt badly that we didn't get them to Key West as we'd hoped. They were able to rent a car and drive over for there for a couple of days before flying home to some serious minus temperatures up north.
Mother Nature and Poseidon ruled our trip and perhaps they have a wicked sense of humor because a couple of days later Hans and I sailed a full 32 miles to Hawk Channel.