The last half of our Key West stay passed quickly and at this writing, we are focused on the weather, filling the cupboard and getting things tied down. The larder is full and all systems are checked out, including the dinghy outboard motor that needed a major overhaul. As, this will be our taxi for the time in the Bahamas, a careful tune-up was in order. After Mary departed for parts west, Jean and Bill settled into the comfortable routine of the Boca Chica Marina. This period, before the holidays sees lots of parties as people arrive for the season. There will be an exodus the week before Christmas to return north to family, so the activity is heaviest the first two weeks of December. For our part the middle of the month marks the end of our monthly transient lease and the time to begin inching toward the Bahamas and the Wright Family Christmas.
But, first to the topic that has occupied our every waking moment these weeks. The Lavinder twins are due on the day before our departure..15 December. Needless to say, Jean has burned up the cell minutes in an attempt to be fully up to date. They delivered on time and were some 14 pounds combined...healthy, big, boys and their mom and dad are doing well, also. So, now we can head off across the gulf stream to the land of little phone and spotty internet connectivity, with a clear head.
Another event that highlighted our stay at Key West was the Christmas Boat Parade. Old friend John Smittle had been an annual player with his sloop-ketch "Independence". The lighting and audio scripting of these entries is a work of art and usually takes most of the year to get right. John and four neighbors had won the competition last year so this was to be a repeat. Bill had the chance to transit with John to the Schooner Wharf staging area and we all returned for the light show on Sunday. Thirty some craft maneuvered around a restricted harbor with lights ablaze and stereos blaring. It was a wonder there wasn't a major maritime incident.
The social activities of this very special marina deserve mention. There are scheduled gatherings...potlucks, Navigator sponsored holiday parties and also dinners/drinks aboard the boats of our neighbors. We even had a sumptuous breakfast hosted by sailboat friends on their beautiful boat. Between, we took the time to visit the Hogs Breath Saloon and take the dinghy out for a sunset cruise. In the latter case the engine stopped on the way back, testing Bill's rowing skill and his resolve to get the damn thing overhauled.
Departure Boca Chica was preceeded by a quick trip to the local shrimp wharf at Stock Island for some of their cheap diesel. Our friends Terry and Cindy from the A Dock team provided linehandling service for the trip. We returned for a final night on the marina wharf and were underway at the crack of dawn.