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Anchored at Coon Key near Marco Island, FL

Setting off across the Gulf of Mexico

The 7 Mile Bridge in the distance

Crossing under the 7 Mile Bridge

The Atlantic Ocean!

Boot Key Harbour, Marathon

Takiung the bikes to shore

One of two bookshelves at the book exchange at Marathon City Marina

The dingy dock

The Weather Gods blessed us once again with a beautiful, calm day to cross the 97 mile stretch across the Gulf of Mexico from our anchorage at Coon Key near Marco Island to Marathon in middle of the Florida Keys. We have made this trip previously in rough seas and it was not pleasant! Fortunately this trip was smooth sailing and we arrived in Boot Key Harbour just before dark and set 3 anchors. It is a very crowded anchorage and last year a noreaster ripped through and dragged our one anchor so we learned to play it safe.

We stopped for fuel before anchoring and within minutes were approached by a couple who remembered the boat from last year. It is so nice to be remembered and feel a part of a community like this.

We dingied to shore and walked across Hwy #1 to our favourite little spot, the Overseas Bar and Grill to see if anyone we met from last winter was still there. There were some familiar faces, including John the bartender and we enjoyed $1.75 tacos, happy hour beer and live entertainment. I even managed to get the Captain up on the dance floor, not once but twice. An addition to the Overseas this year is a webcam. I will write down the address next time we are there, probably tonight for the 25 cent wing night so anyone who is interested can keep an eye on us!

This morning we listened to the Cruiser's Net on our VHF radio which is on every morning at 9 and introduced ourselves as a new boat to the harbour. The Cruiser's Net is very informative. There is a new arrival section, followed by boats planning to depart in the next couple of days, weather, announcements (such as the lunch special at the Overseas - today is Roy's homemade meat loaf with gravy, mashed potatoes and vegetables), trivia with free lunch at the Overseas for the winner, buy, sell, trade and give-away and other business. John knew the answer to the trivia question but another boater beat us to it - almost had a free lunch!

We will watch for a suitable weather window to head for the Bahamas and try to get away. It isn't easy - last year we planned to stay a few weeks and ended up here for 2 months. Our goal this year is to get away shortly, as soon as weather permits but in the meantime it's a wonderful place to be.

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