We’d met sv Mardi Gras and her crew, Barry and Linda (and cat Pearl) nearly a year ago in Spanish Wells, Eleuthera Bahamas. When we heard they were underway again, heading only to FL this time, we made “cruising plans” to meet up. In other words, tentative plans that could change at any moment.
With a nephew on Summerland Key, guests to drop off and us at Cudjoe, Mardi Gras had ample reason to anchor for a couple of nights in Niles Channel anchorage near the highway.
For them it was an easy dinghy ride around the corner to The Wharf Grill on a canal. So, so many canals in Florida.
You know cruisers always get together and tell their stories. Barry is a pro at this and I could sit and listen all night. When they first contacted us and said they were nearby at Bahia Honda, we thought about the shallow channel entrance and that we usually saw power boats and catamarans in the basin. Oh well, perhaps their boat (which was in charter in an earlier life) needed less than 5 ft.
The channel is now deeper thanks to the path dug by the Mardi Gras keel, because even at high tide the channel doesn’t carry the needed 6 ft! Yes they called ahead, yes the marina said they’d have enough water, yes this made for a good story!
After a quick tour of our land yacht we dropped our friends off ( yes you can squeeze four into the Mini) back at The Wharf, bid them fair winds and calm seas ( oh wait, maybe we forgot to do that!) and promised to find our way to their home; we’ll know it by the 50amp plug outside!
That mandatory Key West sunset at Mallory Square that eluded us before; we got one!
The farewell dinner was had at the Square Grouper on Cudjoe Key. Do you know what a square grouper is? Look it up. This was our second visit and we loved it as much as the first. Hard to read with the light glare, but it says ” My Favorite Joint.”
We had plenty of down time and while Russ read a small library I worked on making jewelry. This started with sea glass and has expanded to include sea beans, shells and other purchased beads. I get lost in it and find it very relaxing.
Finally the day came to venture out of Venture Out for good. All went well, even the fueling up part. When we met Chris and Tracy for a farewell lunch at Sparky’s the day before, we scoped out an RV friendly gas station. Requirements are: sells diesel, relatively flat entrance (FL often has big dips), pumps situated so we pull in parallel to the street (less turning) and wide spaced pumps is nice. We found a Mobil station that looked perfect- I mean we are 51 ft total length with Bonny in tow. Of course we pull in and it’s gridlock, but all goes well and we are back under way in 15 mins.
We subscribe to SiriusXM but they altered the plans and we’d have to pay a premium for stations like Margaritaville, E Street, CNN so we didn’t. Country stations are our new go-to and I got such a kick when Prime Country played Randy Travis singing King of the Road sounding so much like Roger Miller. Our version goes”…. Queen of the Road!” cuz Annie is our queen bee. Don’t tell Bonny.
I prefer not to travel on weekends but we had to leave Jan 31, a Saturday. Most of the traffic heads into the Keys on a weekend morning , giving us an easy, but sad drive out.