Marathon: First Impressions

I’ve now spent three days and nights moored in Boot Key Harbor. My first impressions? Pretty nice! It’s a very large mooring field/anchorage (over 200 mooring balls) with lots of boats. The facilities in the marina are basic, but adequate. The dinghy docks are nice, accommodating a steady stream of dinghies in and out of the marina throughout the day. There is one big large open room (maybe 40′ x 80′) with picnic tables, power outlets, wifi, and a couple of televisions. The only place you can get wifi is in this room at the marina.

Sunset view from the cockpit

Sunset view from the cockpit

My neighbors on nearby mooring balls are nice enough (see my previous post about three of them coming out to help me pick up my ball). The harbor is large, but well protected and comfortable. Boats are packed in here pretty tightly, but all swing together. Actually, there hasn’t been a lot of swinging. There has been a pretty steady 15 knot easterly wind which has kept us all pointing to the east since my arrival. This breeze is most welcome and actually makes the heat tolerable, even comfortable.

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I’ve been out diving (surprise!) twice since arriving. This will likely be the extent of my Marathon diving. The first trip was out to the reef where we dove Boom Ledge and Sombrero Reef. The second trip was to the Thunderbolt, a 188 foot long wreck sitting in 120 feet of water. The Thunderbolt, originally the Randolph, was a cable-layer that later served as a research vessel to attract and study lightning (Hence, the name-change.) It was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in 1986. I could tell it had been in the water a lot longer than the wrecks I dove in Key West due to the 28 years of marine growth on its hull. Since it’s difficult for me to dive without photos or video, there is a 7+ minute video of the four dives (That’s 3 hours of diving compressed to less than eight minutes). You’ll see many of the fish documented on previous dives. But, new in this video is a close encounter with a porcupine fish (doesn’t really look much like a porcupine) and with several beautiful filefish (which don’t look a lot like files). You’ll also see a yellow stingray (which is very yellow) close-up. You’ll see several species of the beautifully colored parrotfishes, one accompanied by a small wrasse, a cleaner fish. There is also an encounter with a hogfish (doesn’t look much like a hog, either.) In the portion of the video taken at the Thunderbolt, you’ll see a large Goliath Grouper swim by (>500 lbs.)

Only three days until Cindy arrives. I’ve reserved the car to drive to Miami to pick her up in the afternoon. No great food reports from Marathon yet. Tonight, I’m trying out Keys Fisheries.

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Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky

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