I have an aerial photo of Marathon Boat Yard Marine Center –
The boat yard is the long canal on the left. I have circled our boat. It looks good! I can spot a few vessels in the yard that don’t look good, though.
Flip and I are still in NC with our daughter, Lauren and her husband, Eric and our grandkids, Dash and Sam.
More details to come as we confirm facts.
Lying in bed in Apex, NC, feeling sick to my stomach wanting to cry.
Not for me or Flip, but for Florida. I am speechless and can hardly believe what is happening. To be honest, I don’t feel like writing right now.
Quick update – We left Naples at 1230p. We are in Kingsland, GA for now. More later.
Yesterday, we arrived safely and without incident to Naples about 4pm. Leaving Marathon around 1230p looked like this:
I thought there would be stop and go traffic, but the 70 or so miles from Marathon to the mainland via Route 1, or The Overseas Highway, was pleasantly light.
As I write this, I can’t help but wonder if my post from August 21 is somehow partially to blame for Hurricane Irma. I wanted a new adventure, but not of this magnitude. And weren’t adventures supposed to be fun? This last 5 days has been nothing short of hard manual labor. And worry.
We did have a little fun yesterday on our way out of town. We had lunch with Karen’s employers, Bruce and Sherry Popham and another couple she works with. Apparently, Bruce and Sherry have a long standing- about 13 years- tradition of going to the Cracked Conch Cafe for margueritas when the hurricane prep is done.
This little cafe is famous for its fried conch sandwich. I tried it and was surprised to find it tender, unlike the tough, chewy bits in conch fritters. It reminded me of dense catfish. Bruce and Sherry treated us to the drinks and lunch. We said our goodbyes and hugged everyone and wished all a safe journey.
It only took us 4 hours to drive the 221 miles from Marathon to Naples. It was comforting coming into Elaine and Allyn’s home. We quickly made ourselves at home and ended the day with our usual ritual of our favorite drink – gin.
It’s only 8:30 pm and we are getting into bed, but we have pushed all day – for our jobs and us personally. Finally a chance to just BE. And think. Think if we have remembered everything. Almost ready.
This is how Karen left her office –
Karen and I thank every one for your thoughts and prayers, but we honestly don’t feel unsafe or in harms way. The entire east coast is in OUR thoughts and hope that this monster storm stays clear.
This is Tuesday, September 5, 2017 and Irma is headed directly for the Florida Keys. I have no photograph to go with this post. I was busy all day with my job at Marathon Boat Yard, taking care of the most urgent business, like payroll and implementing our ‘hurricane plan’.
I just read that Irma is the most powerful storm EVER recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. By Saturday or Sunday, the future of our happy, quaint little town will be determined. Will the storm surge or the wind carry every thing away? Will there be bridges or roads left to take us home to see what is left of our homes, boats or businesses?
Everyone in the Keys has developed a hurricane plan. Businesses and families alike have a list of things to do and things to pack – before evacuating. Flip and I each went to work today to be part of the teams of our employers and co-workers to secure our buildings, inventory, office equipment, customer’s assets, lock down tools and equipment, gather necessary documents needed to conduct business remotely and for coming back to carry on. The commitment of employees and employers goes both ways. We are here for each other.
Bruce and Sherry Popham, owners of Marathon Boat Yard , where I, Karen, work, have owned their business for 20 years. This is the first time they will have evacuated. This is dire.
Flip and I have our own hurricane plan. When you have it written out, it doesn’t seem that bad. We have gassed up our vehicles, both of which we will be driving out to the mainland. We have our ‘re-entry stickers’ that residents need. All of our possessions we don’t want to lose will be packed securely in the car and truck. We have jugs of water, a cooler of food, a box of wine and enough gin for 3 weeks. Our boat will be hauled out of the water on Thursday. Insurance companies tend to believe that is the best place for boats during a hurricane. Boats are placed on boat stands, which are then chained together. Some yards will actually secure the boats to anchors in the ground, but they can’t do that here in the Keys. Marathon Boat Yard is actually considered a ‘hurricane hole’ – a somewhat protected area due to surrounding trees and land mass.
We have accommodations starting Thursday night on the east coast AND the west coast of Florida, depending on which way Irma decides to go.
I will post more tomorrow.
No, not me and Flip. A man named Webb Chiles. Six times. Almost – he has one last leg to go in order to finish his 6th circumnavigation. At 75 years old, he still looks great and is very fit and agile.
I was lucky to meet Webb last week when he came by my work to ask if he could dock here for a couple of weeks – in his 24′ ultra-light sailboat. At that time, I did not realize who I was talking to. Nor did I realize that this man had sailed west around the world – from New Zealand to Darwin, Australia to Durban, S. Africa then south around Africa to St. Helena and through the Caribbean to Marathon – alone in his 24′ sailboat.
He has written many books on sailing, contributed many articles to sail magazines and maintains a website of his travels. With all of the nautical miles behind him, he has been a solitary soul for more time than he has spent with and around friends and family. Yet, he is very friendly and sociable. We had him over for drinks the other evening and he asked us just as many questions about our life as we did about his.
He will be here another week, then will take about a 4 month leave of absence from solo sailing to spend some time with his wife, before attempting to sail from Marathon through the Panama Canal to finish his sixth circumnavigation.
For more on this amazing man, visit his website at www.inthepresentsea.com
Flip and I are still in Marathon, Florida – the middle of the Keys.
It has been a while since either of us posted. Do I need to say it is becoming rather boring here? Regardless, we still have our full-time jobs that we are committed to for at least 6 more months. After that, who knows?
I also wanted to inform everyone that our new webpage is now
It used to be .com, but we just purchased .net.
I feel like apologizing for such a boring life. But we are still young – there WILL be more, and better, things to come. ~ Karen