By Friday morning we were approaching Miami where we had contemplated stopping, but decided instead to continue on to the island of Key Biscayne, where there is a nice quiet anchorage called “No name harbor” in Bill Baggs State Park. When we pulled in we were the only sailboat anchored, and it was peaceful. That soon changed. In comes a 40’ sport fishermen with three young Hispanic couples, blasting their music for all to hear. They pulled up to the bulkhead near the restaurant, got off the boat and started dancing. We were 200 yards away, but could barely hear each other talk over their music. This went on for a while, then they cut down the music and all disappeared down a trail for a while. Peace again, for a moment. In comes a 100’ sleek motor yacht, with at least a dozen bikini clad girls, some of which waved to me. They pulled up behind the first boat, turned up their music and started dancing. We may as well have stopped in Miami. After a while, both boats left and we turned up our music and had an enjoyable evening.
We decided to break up the last 76 miles to Marathon into two days so we would have more time to relax and enjoy. We are no longer following the ICW, but sailing down the Hawk Channel on the east side of the keys. This is a shallow area between the Florida Reef and the Keys and takes great concentration to stay on course. Karen, chief navigator for the entire voyage, has done an excellent job of telling me where to go. We have not hit anything or run aground once the entire trip, which I have read is unusual. She embraces and enjoys the process immensely.
We anchored off Rodríguez Key, near Key Largo, in 8 feet of the clearest water we have seen. I immediately dove in and checked the anchor, which I read you are supposed to do, and seeing it was set properly, got out our masks and snorkels and proceeded to checkout the bottom. We saw a school of blue tropical fish with a yellow tail that would come right up to your hand. I suspected someone had been hand feeding them, so I got Karen a handful of granola to feed them. They swarmed it, but didn’t really seem to like it. This was the most peaceful anchorage so far.