As we prepared for our departure from Marathon, we did so with very mixed emotions. It took us a good while to get used to being in one place after we first cruised into Boot Key Harbor. We had been moving from one place to another just about every other day until we arrived there. But after being there for a while, we truly enjoyed the feeling of community among the other boaters and the small town of Marathon. It was also a great place to have friends from home join us for a while, exploring the Keys, and getting some relief from winter weather.

We will miss our mooring field neighbors, the numerous activities that are organized for the boaters, the church that we have been attending, and of course, the unbelievably beautiful weather of warm days, cool breezy nights, and no bugs. We got up this morning, March 2nd, and had a simple breakfast celebration of Stel’s birthday up on the bridge of Estrellita. It was a beautiful warm and sunny morning to enjoy some time looking over the harbor full of boats before we departed. We spent some time thanking God for the wonderful years that he has given my wife and then got into the dinghy for a final cruise through the neighborhood to say our goodbyes. I promised I would take her on a cruise for her birthday, and of course I always keep those special promises. We pulled out of the harbor early this afternoon and headed north along the Florida Bay side of the Keys. It will take us a few days to get to Miami and then we will follow the Intracoastal Waterway route that leads us up the eastern coast of Florida, into Georgia and then finally to our home near Charleston, SC.

It felt great to be underway again. As we spent the afternoon cruising through these clear turquoise waters, the joy and rhythm of this Loop adventure suddenly returned to us. We had really missed being on the move. It will take us about a month to travel the final 600 miles of the Great American Loop, which will put us home during the first week of April, Lord willing. In the meantime….happy birthday to my wonderful first mate!!!