Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Like coming home.

We left Miami early in hopes of catching favorable currents that would put us at the mouth of Boot Key Harbor before closing time. And, we made it. At exactly 5:00 PM we were greeting Dennis, Marathon Marina's manager, and tying up. They gave us a great slip.

I'd finished washing the salt from Istaboa and we'd walked the boys, just in time to catch a famous Marathon sunset. We've forgotten how pretty this spot is.

Kicked back, watching this sunset, recalling old memories that haven't been pulled up in a long time.

Over the years we've spent much time here. Old Marathon's Faro Blanco Oceanside Marina was shelter in our early days, it's long gone now. Nothing left but the bones of what was once a fairly functional offbeat hideout in the Keys. 

Oceanside was homeport to some of the most interesting eccentrics we've ever met. Live-aboards and castaways from all walks of life and different parts of the world occupied this weathered old marina year round. We felt fortunate to know them. Their attitudes and philosophies enriched our lives and inspired us in many ways; their tales still amuse us to this day.

The official Happy Hour on the dock started everyday at 4:30 and ended when the sun disappeared behind 7 Mile Bridge.  -BYOB-  It made no difference if you were rich or poor; or your boat was big or little. If you cared to sit and drink and sincerely get along you were made to feel welcome.

The conversations would range from sailing to exotic places around the globe to smuggling marijuana in and out of the Keys back in the 70s. Almost always ending with a discussion about the mythical Green Flash and "Happy Days" was the final toast as the gathering dispersed.

I think it was Hurricane Wilma back in 2005 that destroyed much of the marina and finally led to it's closing. By chance, we happened to be there in the final days as many of the long time live-aboards were woefully moving on.
Unlike our other layovers at Oceanside, this was a sad time, the end of an era, not, "Happy Days".

But not all has changed.

The skeletal remains of an old wreck still lies in the shallows just to the west of the marina; it's the gathering place for the many Cormorants, Gulls, and Pelicans who, like the diverse cast of characters of that bygone marina, seem to casually and effortlessly coexist.

We're, once again, TCB and enjoying our surroundings while we do. The Keys are fairly sleepy this time of year. The large groups of boaters have all migrated back up north leaving The Keys quieter and friendlier. Local folks aren't so busy, they have time to breath and enjoy the Keys themselves so the vibe is definitely more laid back.

Though it's mighty hot, we find much pleasure in the peaceful summertime at Marathon.

We think we'll drop the dink and motor over to Burdine's for a burger.

Key West is up next — So much for peaceful.

Happy days,

p.s. An old post, circa 2007 http://istaboa2007.blogspot.com/2007/03/marathon.html