After the very rough 3-hour ride yesterday from Fort Myers Beach to Marco Island, I made Sam promise that the ride to Key West today would be better.
If we didn’t leave today, we would have to wait 3 days until the next better weather window.
So, off we went.
We left the Marina at Factory Bay around 9:45 a.m. when the tide was high.
As we headed down the channel, I really thought we were supposed to be seeing a blue, sunny sky.
Where is it?
There was a bit of traffic in the channel but nothing too bad.
It is Saturday, after all.
I was starting to see some blue sky so my mood was happy, my hopes were high.
I was ready for this eight and a half hour day.
Stay in the Channel
As we were leaving the inland channel of Marco Island, Sam followed the breadcrumbs out and hugged the red markers just as he had coming in.
We soon saw the waves crashing over the shoals on each side of the channel.
The Gulf looks mad.
But I am still optimistic.
Excruciating Long, Rough Ride
It didn’t matter that I was optimistic.
The Gulf does what it wants.
So for six long hours we were pounded by the water.
It came at us from all sides.
We got hit from the front.
From the right.
From the left.
And from the back.
It was miserable.
FOR SIX LONG HOURS.
Now, I want to be honest with you.
Sam handled the boat beautifully.
The Here’s To Us!! is a beast and handled the trip with ease.
Me, on the other hand, I was a wreck!
I was afraid.
I was scared.
I was terrified.
I let my mind get the better of me.
I didn’t want to die!
Was I close?
Did I feel like it?
Every one of the minutes that we were out there.
I was so scared that I wanted to Google and find out if there was an airport on Key West.
I wanted to go home!
And I’m serious.
I wanted to be far, far away from this mess.
At one point Sam told me to take a couple of Tylenol and go take a nap.
I just about came unglued!
More than I already was, if you can imagine that!
How could I sleep when all of our belongings that weren’t tied down, were flying around and crashing down in the Lido Deck and downstairs in the salon, galley, heads and staterooms?
I took the Tylenol.
Had little effect.
As we started getting close to Key West, we started seeing shrimp boats through our salt water covered windows.
There was some strange comfort in knowing that we weren’t the only crazies out there.
Then, We Saw It
After an eternity, there it was.
The marker we had been longing to see – G1.
I have about 27 pictures of G1 just because I knew we were finally getting into the channel heading toward Key West.
I didn’t die.
I was going to live.
I was still mildly curious, though, as to where exactly the Key West Airport is located.
Damage Down Below
So just to give you an example of what I mean.
Here you go.
The trash can has never left it’s spot before.
And the picture below is the third time that it came crashing down.
I have already cleaned up the mess below.
The first time the trash can decided to throw all of it’s contents around the room including grimy wrappers and wet coffee grounds.
Now I know that trying to restore order prematurely was a mistake.
Cruising with the Big Boys
As we continued to go down the channel toward Key West, we started running into cruise ships.
It was around 4 p.m. when two giant cruise ships started to leave going on to their next destinations.
We were right there in the big water with the big boats.
We docked at the Boca Chica Naval Air Station.
Because of Sam’s service, we are able to stay at military marinas.
We pulled in at around 5:30 p.m. and boy, was I exhausted.
Fear really takes it’s toll.
One bright spot of the day was our friends from Archimedes that we had done the crossing with, were docked right next to us.
It was soothing seeing familiar faces.
They helped us tie up and then we later went to the marina restaurant.
At the end of the day, there was the most incredible moon.
Not just any moon.
A super moon.
It’s really good to be here.
Downtown Key West
I don’t know if you’ve heard but there is a lot of craziness that happens in downtown Key West.
We have been here a couple times before.
Once on a cruise ship and once for a week of vacation.
I’m not going to show a lot of that.
You’ll just have to come down here and experience it for yourself. LOL.
There are some incredible sights that are family friendly and this tree is one of them.
This is the end of the line for U.S. 1.
And check out this tree.
Have you ever seen anything so confused about which way to grow?
There are a lot of feral roosters and chickens walking everywhere like they own the place.
And they do.
Southern Most Point
Then, we decided to do something very tourist-y.
Get our picture taken in front of the Southern Most Point marker.
We walked for about 20 minutes and then saw this line.
I really didn’t want to wait 15-20 minutes.
So I marched myself up to the front to tried to take a selfie between family shots.
Oh come on!
I gave up and went back to the line.
But while I was looking for a shortcut, Sam made friends with a couple in line.
We ended up taking their picture and they took ours.
The money shot.
After that, we tried to take a selfie together.
We really aren’t good at taking selfies.
But we did have a good time.
Somewhere Under the Rainbow
As we were making our way back to the downtown area, we were blessed with a little shower.
And then, one of the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen.
What a gift.
Time for a Refreshing Drink
We decided to stop at a happy hour that was having a buy one, get one deal.
So, we ordered two “Zombies” and expected to pay for one.
Just as a side note, you might want to read the fine print.
Because there were two of us, we couldn’t share the deal.
Turned into this…
Key Lime Pie Heaven
You know those pies come from here.
If you have ever had Key Lime Pie and it wasn’t from down here, I seriously doubt that it tasted legit.
Put this on your bucket list.
As a bonus, we were able to meet up with Sean and Louise on Vector.
We met at the Sunset Deck at the Margaritaville Resort where they were docked.
We had planned to have a drink and watch the sunset and then go for dinner.
And what a sunset it was.
This big boy wanted to get out there to get a better look.
Sunsets in Key West are incredible entertainment.
An event that everyone in the area comes out to share.
We all watch as the sun goes down.
Yes, it happens every night but here it is a joyous, meaningful, you-better-stop-and-watch event.
And we did.
As the sun goes down, several spectators blow the conch shell to celebrate the end of the day.
What a fantastic evening!
We will soon leave Boca Chica and head on over to Marathon for a couple of weeks.
Island life has really slowed us down.
And that is a good thing.
Wow Rev. Great story and your pictures make it really come alive. It sounds like you’re having a ball! Thanks for the wonderful posts so that wannabes like me can participate in a virtual loop!
Well we are thrilled that you are coming along with us! It won’t be long until we will be pulling into Cutter once again. We’ll have to have a big party!
As the saying goes, all’s well that ends well. The rough ride was far overshadowed by your great time in Key West!
True. As the days went by the memory faded. LOL
Great Blog and Greater Video! You two are always discovering new adventures as you travel along along America’s Great Loop. You are becoming “old salts”!
Thanks! We have certainly experienced a lot out there on the water and the sights we are seeing are really incredible. I’m not sure about the “old salts” because some days I still feel like a beginner. 🙂
I wish I was so living your life right now. I’ve got a lot to learn over the next 3 years. Enjoy everyday.
You’ll get here before you know it! In 3 years you’ll know a lot more that we did when we got started. In the meantime, thanks for going along with us!
I love your posts and your honesty! I love that you tell it like it is! It can be scary out there and people should see that. Of course, it’s good you wait to share until you are safe! (Lol) Miss you both. Thinking of you and praying for safe travels!
Right?!? I totally agree that folks should know what they are getting themselves into! You know that Jeff isn’t going to let you rest until you do the loop with him. Or maybe our videos/blog are convincing him NOT to do it! LOL Miss you, too!
You could have stayed in Naples and seen the same sunset. We also had many a glass of champagne with sunsets in Duncan, Okla., across the prairie. Key West has been one of our favorite destinations, except we usually dock at A & B or Galleon. From Gordon Pass, it is exactly 100 miles to be inside Key West channel. I somehow thought you were passing the island by, and the reason I recommended Mosier Channel at Boot key. Thats how we go when going to The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.
Hi Jerry! The sunsets down here in Florida are really something. We have really enjoyed this part of our trip. When is your next trip to Key West?
I’m so proud of you and Sam! It was scary for me to read of your extreme fear during that trip, but you both handled it and shared the experience with honesty for others to be aware of possibilities on the water. ???
Sorry about scaring you, Mom. I should put a warning on there for you! LOL