Friday, May 30, 2014

Elliott Key

N25°28.713’, W080°11.708’

It was time to go.  The excitement and pleasure of discovering a new place, in all it’s beauty and uniqueness, can quickly mellow leaving me wanting to move on.  The contentment we have found in the solitude of our Barnes Sound Hideaway has left us sated… but with hearts stirring and eyes looking towards more exciting times.  

We had not intended to leave this morning.  We sipped coffee on the foredeck and contemplated life.  We caught up on our reading… we piddled…. Then we decided.  Let’s go to Elliott Key!

I made ready down below while Bruce prepared the boat above decks.  Jezabelle was in denial.  She likes “staying”.  I’m surprised at how quickly we can go from zero to “ready” nowadays.  It doesn’t take much when you aren’t going offshore.  A quick hop from one anchorage to the next doesn’t require much…  Jezabelle held on to the very end.  Bruce raised the anchor and we began motoring out of our lazy cove before she finally gave up her napping spot and retired below for the duration of our trip.  

Bruce held off raising sails until we made our way beneath the bridge, then he was “all hands on deck” as he got both main and jib up and proceeded to trim for speed…  

Well, we didn’t have much speed with light winds, but we were confidently sailing along.  All of the “iffy” stuff was behind us.  Nothing but smooth seas ahead today.  

No engine was needed as we sailed across the two Card Sounds, and through a narrow pass across a shallow bank.  It’s funny how these passes don’t look like I would expect from seeing them on the chart…  You wouldn’t know there was an obstacle here if it weren’t for the chart!

With all the heavy work now done, we spilled out into the stunning waters of lower Biscayne Bay.  You can bet that it if enjoys "National Park” status… it’s going to be lovely.  

I felt a little flurry of excitement as I spotted the Miami Skyline in the distance for the first time.  That is THE Miami.  You know… the one that I could never see myself sailing up to and saying hello!  Yet, here we are on our own boat… just Bruce and li’l ole me….  It’s one of those “small-town-girl-from-Texas” thangs…

All too soon, our sail was at an end as we spotted our anchorage.  Elliott Key is a long barrier island between lower Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  Just over the tops of those trees is the way to the Bahamas.  Our decision not to go there this season was wavering as we imagined ourselves just chucking it and GOING!  But we reined in the impulse and settled back onto our current choice, more immediately, to enjoy Elliot Key.  

We approached the Key as depths declined.  We dropped the anchor in about 7 ft. in a sandy patch just outside of the “slow speed” buoys.  Further in would take us to a thin layer of sand over rock, which is not conducive to a peaceful night’s sleep at anchor.  We found a perfect sandy spot to hold us securely on the first try.  Our early arrival left us plenty of time to explore the small sandy beach nearby. 

Clear clean water and tiny critters 
More critters exposed by low tide
We motored into the shallows and left the dinghy to explore our own little paradise.  These moments are the reason we came out here.  These are the special treasures that will rise to the top of my life’s memories when I’m old and grey.  I will remember the school of tiny fish that surrounded me, darting to and fro.  I will remember my deep belly-laughs that rang across the flat waters as my silly husband stripped and bathed in the clear water, almost losing his shampoo as it tried to float away.  I will remember the feeling of swishing my hair back and forth to free it of the bubbles that didn’t seem to bother the little fishes at ALL!

Our whole world

The tiny shells and baby coral made tinkling sounds when you walk

A desserted paradise

Toes in the water... Ass in the sand

A tiny coral branch

No need to waste precious fresh water when we can wash our hair here

The little fishes surrounded us, darting beneath my legs

Gotta keep a good hold on your shampoo or it will escape

This is it folks!  This is why you should go cruising!

The remainder of our time here at Elliott Key is a blur.  We had some weather come over and our entire second day was spent lazing around on the boat, reading and napping.  Bruce worked on cleaning the bottom once again, in the clear waters surrounding our boat.  He could see that we had about two feet beneath our keel and that there was some kind of big fish lurking there in the shadow….

Showers in the distance

A new dawn

Next thing we knew, there was yet another day dawning here in Paradise.  We hadn’t made it over to the shore to explore that other little sandy beach.  We hadn’t made the dinghy ride to the pass between Elliott Key and Sand Key…  But there will be a “Next Time”.  We will return to this place when we come back South in the Fall.

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