Day Twenty and Twenty-one

Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Jun 10, 2008

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Where I stayed
Joe and Claudia Hamrick's Home

Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Left the anchorage at Sunset Cove early headed towards Marathon.  We found out a few hours later that my friends Don and Mimi who were on their catamaran headed towards the Bahamas were actually anchored a few minutes from us!  Had we known that we would certainly have gotten together.  Luckily, we did get that chance at lunch today in Islamorada since their trip delayed as they wait for favorable winds. 

As we entered the Keys the water turned a beautiful aquamarine.  We stopped on the way to Joe and Claudia's to top off the tanks, then headed into their "subdivision".  WOW!  It is a beautiful neighborhood with tropical homes including private canals on one side, and a golf course on the other.  We tied Naciente up at their dock and we received a warm welcome from my friends whom I hadn't seen in 10 years.  They haven't changed a bit.  Their home is the epitome of an islander's dream...double decks overlooking the canal, award-winning landscaping complete with dozens of variety of colorful flowers which I'll never remember the name of, palm and mangrove trees, hammock swaying under the palms, etc.  It is the most perfect paradise home I've ever been in.  We caught up on a few things then enjoyed a sunset dinner on their upper veranda.  It feels like you are in the trees as the tops of the palms cover the entire veranda and you are looking out from between the fronds.  It must be how monkeys and birds feel.  They also have a spare little apartment just in front of the boat dock, so I stayed in that while Gene, Maggie and Catharina stayed on Naciente. 

Today we drove into Islamorada, about 40 mins back towards Key Largo to meet up with Don and Mimi.  While waiting for Don and Mimi to arrive, we browsed through "The World Wide Sportsman", a huge fishing store which contains, of all things, Pilar.  Pilar is the 38 foot half-sister ship to Ernest Hemingway's famed Pilar from which he fished and got his artistic inspiration. He went out on this boat and fell in love with the design.  Thus he came back and ordered one just like her.   He paid $7500 for it in 1934 and named it after his wife Pauline who had used the name as a secret nickname during their courtship.   It is a beautiful wooden boat even after all these years.   After his suicide, the original boat was willed to a friend who left it in Cuba, and it still resides there today.  A fun time was had by all at a great restaurant on the water called The Fish Company.  The waters around the restaurant contained nerf sharks, stingrays, giant fish that looked like redfish...lots of activity that we could actually see. I'd forgotten how close to Cuba we are...many coast guard boats on the lookout for speedboats bringing in illegals.   

After touring Marathon and stopping by the West Marine for a few items, we returned to "paradise" and enjoyed another fine afternoon and evening.  I took a nap on the hammock while under the palm tree (25 coconuts on that one...many others with lots more coconuts).  While Claudia is on the board of the Garden Club, Joe actually creates and maintains their tropical garden.  There are many pesky iguanas (though I've yet to see one...).  Naciente got some minor maintenance done and Gene taught me to change out the fuel filter. 

Tomorrow we're going to spend the day in Key West (about an hours drive from Marathon)...will report later.
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