Marathon, Florida - March, 2008

We finally left Coral Lagoon Boat House marina at Marathon on March 23 rd (Easter Sunday) with m/v Gold Watch . Several other "looper" boats were also starting to make tracks to head north; m/v JJ's Odyssey had left the day before and m/v KAOS a day earlier. With any luck, we'll meet them again somewhere along the waterway.

We took the outside route along the Hawk Channel for the first part of the day, then crossed over at Channel 5 to the inside route along the Intracoastal Waterway. It was a beautiful day, so we had a great run from Marathon to our first anchorage at Tarpon Basin. While we had skinny water for most of the way, there were mercifully few fast boats on the water to create large wakes (they must have either been in church or on Easter egg hunts on shore!). Tarpon Basin proved to be a nice secure anchorage.


Marathon, March 2008
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Barbara, Chuck and Olga trying to beat Andre at RUMMIKUB
Fellow dockmates at Sparky's pub in Marathon
A gathering of old friends at Tranquility Bay
Barbara and Olga waiting for a ride
Art nouveau
With Dorothy and Virgil at Braza Lena Restaurant

Boca Chita Key to Miami, Florida - March 24, 2008

On the 24 th , we made our way to Boca Chita Key, a National Park in Biscayne Bay with a great dock for transients. We arrived on a Monday so the weekend crowd had gone home and we had only seven other boats with us. The park is on a beautiful tropical island with lots of walking trails and excellent protection so we spent two days there waiting out a strong north wind.

Of course, Misty kept us entertained and for the first time she decided to jump ship to the dock. Unfortunately, the park does not allow animals and every time the Park Rangers would come in sight, we had to hide her in the aft head. She did not like that at all as she wanted to go and explore the dock and shrubs nearby at every opportunity. We'll have to keep an eye on that cat from now on.

Before departure, we heard from m/v JJ's Odyssey . They left Marathon a day before us but had very poor conditions and a rough passage with their anchor dragging at night. To top it off, they were hit broadside by a boat towing a barge while waiting for a bridge opening north of Miami. That is not what cruising is about! Luckily, the damage didn't incapacitate them or the boat so they can make it to a repair yard under their own steam. Our hearts go out to Judy and Jack for their misadventures and we thank them for the heads-up about the congestion ahead.

We made our way through Miami and ogled all the mega-mansions and mega-yachts along the way. Then came Fort Lauderdale with even bigger houses and boats. It is quite amazing the money some people have. On the other hand, there were quite a few properties for sale, more than we would normally see - a sign of the times.

We anchored in Lake Sylvia in a nice quiet anchorage with a half dozen other boats. That night at nine o'clock, in full darkness, we heard engines started within a couple of feet of Mystic Bond. The trawler behind us had swung around and dragged to our stern; they were about to hit us, but managed to react in a timely fashion to get out of harm's way. Phew, close call!


Boca Chita - Miami, March 2008
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Boca Chita's unfinished Lighthouse
Part of the original buildings in the park
From sandy beaches...
to rocky shores at Boca Chita
Mystic Bond at Boca Chita's park dock
Some of the birds tantalized Misty to get off the boat
Boca Chita sunset
... offered unbelievable peace
Miami skyline
Boy's toys in Miami
Some are bigger than others
There are even 150 foot sailboats
Some park close to home
Others prefer to show their boat not their house
And then there are those who like to show-off everything
Yacht transport ship at Port Everglade
Beautiful bridge work in Fort Lauderdale
...and more of it, money does not seem to be an object here

West Palm Beach, Florida - March 27, 2008

On March 27, 2008, after many bridge openings and a nice slow ride to Lake Worth, we crossed our wake to complete the Great Circle Loop some 21 months and 10,000 nautical miles after we left Halifax on June 27, 2006. We had a great celebration on board m/v Gold Watch . We opened a bottle of bubbly, Barbara and Chuck cooked a terrific meal and even Misty got some filet mignon as a treat. Needless to say, Misty was the designated driver back to the boat. The next morning, we had a late departure for Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach. We are staying here until tomorrow when we will start making our way north again.

Completing our Great Circle Loop is an accomplishment that we are both proud of. It's has been a terrific experience and allowed us to meet great people along the way. We've made many new friendships, seen the east coast, the Bahamas and the heartland of America, our own Maritime Provinces, Quebec and Ontario. Visiting the many villages along the waterways is a very different experience than driving the highways and staying at hotels. People are friendlier, proud of their maritime heritage and their communities. Just about everywhere we've stopped, we've been welcomed as fellow "water people" which is so much better than being just another tourist. We've had many great meals and some not so great. We did bump the boat a few times on old docks. We even managed to hit a big Red navigation buoy in the middle of nowhere . just pure inattention on our part. We've plowed through mud and sand, hit a few logs and even had a collision with a big Asian Carp on the Mississippi river. Every day has been an adventure and time has gone much faster than we would have liked even though we are no longer living in the fast lane like so many of our friends.

The next leg of the journey will, in some ways be familiar since we passed through this area last year but there are so places that we have yet to explore that we will surely not be bored. The adventure continues!

Olga and André on board m/v Mystic Bond.


West Palm Beach, March-April 2008
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Anchored in Lake Worth where we started our Loop
Mystic Bond after 10,000 nautical miles, still going strong
Going to m/v Gold Watch for a celebration
Even Misty was invited
A bit of champagne
and a cork for Misty's collection
West Palm Beach church
The Biltmore Hotel in Palm Beach

And for Misty's fan club, here are a few pictures of the cat who is always looking for trouble:


I enjoyed babysitting Molly even if I scare her
...and play hide and seek to mess with her mind
When bored, it's nice to chase one's the sink
but I need a rest sometime
and, of course, I love jewelry...
and drinking out of Mom's glass
I also mind the compass while underway,
... and check the dinghy once we've stopped
"Put a Lime in the Coconut" is my favorite song



Copyright M/V Mystic Bond 2008