As we move up the Florida Keys, life is becoming more & more laid back.
We left Marathon and the beautiful Faro Blanco Marina 1 day early on Sunday, to avoid high winds projected for Monday. The 6 day stay at Marathon was wonderful.
We arrived at the Florida Keys island of Islamorada about 2pm on Sunday.
Our new port is called Plantation Yacht Harbor, a very nice quiet marina with; a large olympic pool, tennis courts, amphitheatre & beach. The entire marina is also attached to a large sports complex with several ball diamonds.
The marina is also in a beautiful setting on the Bay Side of Islamorada in Cotton Key Basin.
Here’s another one of those “Can’t Believe It” events we have encountered on The Loop several times.
As I was backing into the slip at Plantation Yacht Harbor, I noticed 3 guys helping to get us tied up.
Two of the guys were from the marina staff.
The 3rd guy helping was from the boat in the slip right next to us.
The 3rd guy helping was Dave Sylver, the guy we bought our 43 Viking boat from 3 years ago !
It was quiet the amazing coincidence again.
We did not know that Dave & Michele Sylver were at Plantation Harbor, they did not know we were coming, nobody asked the marina harbormaster to put us in slips next to each other, it was another pleasantly magical event on The Loop.
Dave & Michele are our Great Loop God-Parents who have given us so much tutelage / coaching & a very fine vessel.
Many of you readers know that Dave/Michele sold us their 43 Viking, sold their home in Harrison Township Michigan, and purchased a 50ft Viking that they are now living on.
Both Dave & I took the photo opportunity with the 2 boats side by side.
Shortly after we arrived & socialized with Dave & Michele, Rick hosed the boat off, we ordered Dominos Pizza, watched the Winter Olympics, and had an early bed night.
Monday – Feb 19
Monday morning we gave the boat a good 3 hour wash down of the salt water coating.
After washing the boat, we went for more socializing with Dave & Michele.
Dave also gave Rick/Linda a tour of the 50 foot Viking named “Just Us”.
After touring Just Us, we also went further down the marina boardwalk to catch up with Looper Pals Rula Bula (Mike & JoAnne Feeney), who had arrived one day earlier than us. They were also with us at Faro Blanco on Marathon.
For dinner Monday night, we went with Rula Bula to a Mexican place called Puerto Vallarta. To get to the restaurant, we had to walk about 15 minutes thru the large Plantation Harbor Complex, and passed by a very large Spiny Lobster, which we now know is Big Betsy. Modeled in eerily life-like detail, Betsy is huge spiny lobster that was originally created in the 1980s to celebrate the species which is native to the Florida Keys. It is now said to guard the Artists Village immediately behind the lobster.
A short walk later we arrived at the Mexican restaurant, Puerto Vallarta.
As we arrived, I received a surprise call from one of my pals of 40 years Dave Hinman, so the gang checked in , and I caught up with Dave for a few minutes.
During dinner, the table next to us had a birthday celebration complete with tequila shots, and the Bday boy had a candle in his shot. The entire restaurant/bar, including our boater gang, sang happy birthday very Loudly !
After dinner, during the walk back to the marina, we saw a high school baseball game at the sports complex. It was a nice ending to a fun day. The Key West team in red beat the local Islamorada team in blue. The game made me think of my nephews Jake & Brad.
On Tuesday Feb 20th, we had a great boater education experience.
All the boys (Mike, Rick, & Dave Sylver) went down to try to help Rula Bula diagnose a problem with their rear head (toilet).
The issue = The rear head system would not flush because there was no vacuum in the vacu-flush tank system. Luckily, the front head worked and provided parts swap capability.
After about an hour confirming that the issue was not the wiring, relay, or motor – we confirmed that the issue was the vacuum sensor module on the vacuum tank.
Above is the tank pressure sensor module.
The sensor has all the wires going to it, and is fed by a spring loaded pressure device attached to the tank.
Dave Sylver had an extra pressure sensor (top piece with the wires), so we started to swap the sensors. On the bottom of the sensor is a white button. We were in process of changing the sensor and inadvertently pushed the little white button on the bottom of the old sensor & the vacuum pump came on.
Then Dave Sylver had the idea that brass colored disc holding the spring load could have loosened over time due to vibration, he had seen or heard of this before. I turned the brass disc 180 degrees to create more engagement into the button. The vacuum pump came on, the system now had vacume, the toilet flushed multiple times, and continues to work.
Mike Feeney from Rula Bula was very grateful & treated us to a Rula Bula Yeti Juice (Vodka, Orange, & 7up) at 10am.
Mike also took the entire gang out for dinner that night.
After the very fun diagnostic project, we all got ready and went off to the pristine and very small/hidden beach at Plantation Harbor.
After Beach Day, we had the gang over for Pre-Dinner Drinks on Gettin’ Looped.
Rick & Linda made Cinnamon Toast Crunch shots for all.
As Mike Feeney had promised earlier, Mike & Joanne took the entire group to dinner !
The setting was a place called The Oceanview Inn & Sports Pub.
The ambiance was great, the food was great, the music was great, and a good time was had by all. We ate indoors, and then had a fun night on the outdoor patio, which was packed with folks listening to a very good rock band.
Wednesday was a little work & more fun.
The morning was filled with work, with the girls going grocery shopping to restock the boat, and Mike & Rick cleaning the isinglass on the flybridge and washing the lower starboard hull of Gettin’ Looped from the dinghy.
While washing the hull, we were treated to some manatee seeking the delicious fresh water we were using to wash the boat. They actually come right up to you with their mouths open. But it is illegal to feed them the fresh water candy they seek.
The afternoon was filled with a very ambitious dinghy ride to a place called The Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar.
The ride was ambitious due to the 25mph winds in the bay.
We thought that we could hug the shore and have a decent ride to Lorelei’s , about 6 miles away. Dave Sylver lead the 3 boat flotilla.
The ride to Lorelei’s was pretty bumpy, but we all arrived relatively dry.
Lorelei’s is quite the famous place on Islamorada, and is linked to the Legend of Lorelei, complete with a giant mermaid Lorelei at the entrance on Hwy US-1.
The tale of “Lorelei” which means “murmuring rock” dates back to the beginning of the 1800’s. The myth begins with a beautiful woman named Lorelei who waited on a rock in the narrow point of the Rhine River for her lover to return from the sea. When he never returned Lorelei felt scorned and jumped from the rocks to her death. The tale of Lorelei says that her spirit remains in the area to seek revenge against her unfaithful lover. As sailors return from the sea to the mouth of the Rhine River they become mesmerized by her beauty which distracts the sailors causing them to crash into the rocks or run aground in the shallow waters surrounding the rocks.
The original owners chose the name Lorelei because it reminded them of the early days in the Keys when “Wreckers” built fires on the beaches to lure vessels into dangerous waters where they would sink and be open for pillage/scavenge of their cargo.
The lunch at Lorelei’s was great.
The ride home was very rough & very WET !
Upon getting back to the boat, we ran some fresh water thru the Yamaha outboard, washed the dinghy, and reloaded her on the bow of Gettin’ Looped.
After a few welcome home drinks, we all turned in relatively early.
Mike worked on the blog & Jonell/Rick/Linda watch the DVD – La La Land.
A few chocolates candies & cookies later, it was bed time.
Next Stop = Tomorrow we will move from The Plantation Yacht Harbor on Islamorada to Mangrove Marina on the island of Tavernier, only a short 7 miles away.