January 31, 2018: Goodbye, Marathon

After staying a month and a half in Boot Key Harbor, we were simultaneously eager to move on to new sights but sad to leave a place where we felt so at home.  The morning Cruisers’ nets, Tuesday afternoon dominos in the common room, the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s Friday lunches at the Hurricane, the potluck brunches, sundowners and dinners with friends—all of these things provided a social dimension to cruising that we don’t normally have as we aren’t in any one place for very long.

Front after front had been moving through Marathon for weeks, and a weather window was opening at the end of January.  It seemed like half of BKH was clearing out, mostly for Bimini.  That was going to be us as well, but the stars aligned to steer us toward an unexpected adventure before we head to the Bahamas:  Cuba.

We tried to go to Cuba last year, but the weather simply never worked out when we were in the right place to make the passage.  We still had an interest in going.  By some weird twist of fate, Addison Chan, author of the Waterway Guide: Cuba, and his wife Pat were on a mooring ball near us.  Addison and Pat go to Cuba each year and have what we consider an unmatched knowledge of pretty much every important issue, all from a full-time cruising perspective.  Addison did an hour-long netcast on traveling by boat to Cuba, and he was generous enough to answer all of our questions.

So with renewed confidence, we applied for our Coast Guard 3300 permit.  It was granted for February 1 through February 16.  We left Marathon on February 1 for an overnight passage to Varadero, Cuba.  But more on that later!

Here are some fun memories of our time in Marathon.


This truck is parked outside of the combination Public Defender’s/Prosecutor’s Office.  It is there every day, so it must belong to an employee.  The bumper sticker, if you can’t read it, says, “I do whatever my Rice Krispies tell me to.”  There’s so much to say about this truck that I don’t know where to start.


Boot Key Harbor has a number of resident iguanas.  In this case, I’d call it an iguana-zilla.  Thank god these things are vegetarians, or they’d be eating small dogs as appetizers.


This couple recently got a kitten and has rigged self-rescue devices for him if he falls overboard.  There is a fender on each side, wrapped with line; if the cat falls in, he can crawl up the fenders and back into the boat.  That was one pissed off cat on the day they taught him how it works.


We were having lunch at La Nina one day when the cooks brought out this whole roasted pig.  Party at someone’s house!


This mini-sub sits by the side of the road across from BKH marina.  I think it’s supposed to be a portrait of Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame.  Personally, I think it’s a perfect example of the Uncanny Valley because it’s creepy as hell.