Key West 2

Ambler Isle
V and S
Wed 1 Jun 2011 00:25
25 48N
81 28W
May 28-31, 2011
Still in Key West, we met Geoffrey, Jessica, and Patrick Carter at the Turtle Krawls restaurant for lunch.  It was fun meeting Geoff's family and seeing the young man he'd grown to be.  Both in the US Coast, Jessica is the distress call operator.  The voice of the Coast Guard on the VHF in Key West.  Geoff keeps the fleet of boats and ships running.  We walked the streets of Key West, happy to have locals give us the tour.  Geoff's parents Roger and Lisa arrived the following day.  We again went into the city to meet them at the little Cuban restaurant. We also toured the city with them, sharing favorite spots.  We browsed the shops, stopped along the way to have drinks, listened to the entertainment, saw the sights.  As usual, we picked up where we left off the last visit.  We always have a good time with them.  But the weather was turning.  Maybe all the storms in the USA were creating disturbances here.  The winds were getting stronger, and the seas higher.  We would have to cut short our Key West trip and leave out Monday morning. We would not even have time to have a visit with them aboard Amber Isle.  After fond farewells, we went home, took the dinghy out of the water and put it into its cradle for the journey north. 
We awoke early and by 6:30am had weighed anchor and were motoring through the channel north.  As usual, the predicted NE wind direction was wrong.  We would not make Marco Island this trip.  Our first plan was to anchor in Shark River, in the Everglades National Park.  Funny name, since sharks are primarily salt water fish.  But as we neared the river, we decided it was too early to stop.  Better to continue on a few hours to the Indian Key River.  That would bring us closer to Ft. Myers.  Especially good if the winds got stronger.  Sometimes we have to take longer days journeys than we'd like.  The southwest of Florida is very shallow and dotted with thousands of islands.  Much of it is inexcessible to all but the shallowest draft boats.  The water is a sort of pea green, and murky.   A small fishing boat was anchored just off the channel.  Once in the security of Indian Key Pass, we dropped anchor and rinsed the salt off the boat with fresh water, especially the windows and rails.  The sea mist had thrown sea grass all over the bow deck.  Valt suggested we use a lawn mower. A pod of dolphins greeted us.   Flies hovered around the doors and windows, hoping for an opening.   We enjoyed a pork tenderloin medallions dinner and were ready for bed.  This part of the trip finds us rising early, running long hours, then dropping into bed early.  There are few places to stop along the way to break up the trip. 
Morning found us out and about at 6:00am. The flies had stayed overnight, and were joined this morning with mosquitoes.  These were some of the first mosquitoes we've seen since we have been cruising.  Even in Tennessee, mosquitoes are rare.  On the Tennessee River, they raise and lower the water levels with the dams to kill the mosquito larva before they hatch.  The Everglades National Park is very beautiful.  In many parts, going ashore is not allowed at all.  In some parts a camping permit is required.  But how could anyone camp overnight in a tent?