We awoke to an absolutely beautiful, sunny day on Conch Key. While I got coffee brewed, Barry wasted no time taking off on one of the available single-speed cruiser bikes at the cottage. Eventually, I joined him, though it took me awhile to get used to the coaster brakes and very low seat on the bike that fit me best. We had fun cruising around and around the very short loop that encompasses tiny Conch Key, looking at the cute cottages painted Bahamian-style in pastel colors, and waving at passers-by.
Nice balcony where we ate many meals
And drank morning coffee!
Emily riding the "kids" cruiser bike
Checking out the local charts before taking off for a sail
After breakfast, Mark took us out on the Com-pac 23 sailboat that came with our cottage. Since the water is very shallow in places in Florida Bay, he gave us the local knowledge needed to successfully pilot the boat between the flats without bumping the bottom.
After returning to the dock with Mark, we headed out on our own to sail. What fun it was! With gentle 10-knot winds and a shoal-draft, responsive little boat with brand-new sails, we went out on a beam reach and got a feel for the boat. We hadn't had to deal with a tiller, a hanked-on jib, an outboard motor, or winches that weren't self-tailing for awhile, so it took awhile for everything to come back to us, but we gained confidence as we went along, and in the light winds, even jibing was a breeze.
A brief shower with a couple stronger wind gusts came through at one point, and I kicked myself for leaving my rain jacket in the car. It can rain at any time in Florida, and I should have remembered that. I ducked into the cabin to wait out the rain while Barry (the intrepid captain!) didn't seem to mind getting drenched as he steered. Fortunately, the rain stopped almost as quickly as it started, and we warmed right up again in the Florida sunshine. It was so nice to sail in warm conditions again, in shorts instead of layers! The high temperature today was in the low 80s.
I took this picture from the companionway, staying dry!
After bringing Captain's Lady safely back to dock, we made a delicious lunch of fish sandwiches from leftovers we'd brought home from The Wreck and ate out on our balcony, savoring the lunch and balmy Keys breezes. Late afternoon, we decided to take kayaks out on a short jaunt. The water is so clear, we could see all sorts of fish beneath us, along with sea grasses. I could tell I hadn't paddled in awhile as my left shoulder started feeling it quickly.
Great White Heron in the mangroves
Our boat for the week, Captain's Lady, a Com-pac 23
The two sailboats and one large trawler are docked where we stayed; the Treetop Cottage is hidden behind the palm fronds!
Before sunset we decided to head down to Boot Key Harbor marina in Marathon and look at all the cruising sailboats in the large mooring field, which was very quiet and nice.
Boat decorated for Christmas along docks at Boot Key Harbor - the bear's head moved!
We found a casual, open-air restaurant on the water for dinner, Burdine's, and had delicious chicken sandwiches with all kinds of fixings and cold Coronas. I brought home enough for lunch tomorrow yet again.