Boot Key Harbor – Week 2

We spent a total of two weeks in BKH (Boot Key Harbor). While there, a go-fast boat poker run paraded by.









We got to see a manatee even if the video evidence is quite brief.



We spent time at the Sunset Grille which is at the start of the famous Seven Mile Bridge



One of the best things about being a cruiser in BKH is the “BKH Cruiser’s Net” that is broadcast every 9AM on VHF channel 68. This communications link (along with their FB page) ties the live-aboard boater community together in a way I wish landlubbers did. Communicating with your boating neighbors everyday in just the two weeks connected us with more neighbors than our 13 years in our previous land-based home.

There is a format to “the net” that starts by allowing new cruisers to introduce themselves and departing cruisers to say goodbye. They then do announcements about rules of the harbor, weather, meet-ups, Charity work, etc. They allow boaters to ask questions of the group (ex. Can anyone help me program my Raymarine autopilot?) The amount of boating knowledge in the community is impressive. They hold a buy/sell/trade/give-away/ask-for different items cruisers want/don’t want. They do a trivia section and end with different boaters contacting each other on other channels to discuss business of sorts.

Through the Net, I learned of a cruiser, Capt. David of S/V Expectations who was offering to share his knowledge of the NW Caribbean.


David shared a book and his notes about sailing in the NE Caribbean. A popular route from Key West is to sail along Cuba’s coast to Cozumel, MX then down to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Roatán and Honduras. I and many other captains jumped at the opportunity to talk with this life-long boater to pick his brain about navigating these areas as well as his fishing tips. Below are two lures David was suggesting as well a pneumatic spear gun in lieu of a gaff.



David spent many years in Rio Dulce, Guatemala where it cost him $125/month for a slip. Not a bad deal to live in paradise.


Living on a boat we often spend time staring at the night sky. When you look around boat the sailboat anchor lights sway to and fro like dancing stars.




On one particular night I was staring up at the stars when I saw a meteorite or possibly a piece of “space junk” come flaming down to Earth. It only lasted about 2-3 seconds but it was an amazing sight to see. I was moved enough that I submitted an online “Fireball Report” at

While we were in the harbor there was a salvage operation going on that included an old sport-fisher with a bar and block on it’s bow being used to raise up a sunken vessel (possible Hurricane Irma victim).



Yes, that is an outboard mounted to the back of that sport fisher. You’ll see all kinds of things like this moment where boaters just dropped a full-size fridge on the bow of their runabout to deliver to a larger boat in the harbor. The community here donates items to fellow boaters in need. Many of the boaters here live life on a shoestring budget and donations are used when the budget is dry.

While listening to the net you’ll hear requests like the one from a family of 4 living aboard a 28’ sailboat bound for Guatemala that were looking for play dates for their children as well as home-school lesson plan swapping. I look up to these cruisers for their self-sufficient life style.

Each night we join in blowing our conch horn to announce that the sun has set.


We enjoyed dinking around the harbor with the dogs





We motored through Sister’s Creek and found many great sights of birds, boats and one spectacular tree.







But best of all were the sunsets in BKH




Boot Key Harbor – FL

Boot Key Harbor Florida
0 BKH Map

This last week we have been in BKH – (Boot Key Harbor). The week was made extra fun due to Susan’s visit. Right off the bat, Susan & I decided to do some snorkeling out at Sombrero Reef. We took the dinghy out via Sister’s Creek. Here are a few photos of the homes along Sister’s Creek.

As you exit the mouth of Sister’s Creek, off to port you’ll find Sombrero Beach.
Sombrero Beach is both dog & dinghy friendly.

2 Sombrero Beach

Sombrero Reef is marked by a tower approximately 4 miles offshore.


The dinghy ride out to the reef was a bit wavy but the water was nice and clear.

Upon arrival we tied to one of the free buoys provided by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Buoy Program  . Anchoring is prohibited due to possible damage of the living coral below.

While Susan has snorkeling and SCUBA experience,  it all new to me. It’s not easy getting into all that gear in a small dinghy.  Once suited up we snapped a quick pic.

The only underwater camera I had was an actual Kodak disposable film camera (not digital). So much for being a tech-guy. The film says it expired in 2006 but it was still in the packaging. Anyone know where to find a fotomat booth in the Keys 😉

Kodak Film Camera
Film inside expired in 2006 but the best I had to go underwater

I was amazed that the fish completely surrounded me. Attempting to swim,  I had to avoid touching the fish. Below us we could see two scuba divers and their bubbles racing to the surface.

[ Insert snorkeling photos once developed ]

Back at the BKH dinghy dock (one of the largest dinghy docks I’ve ever used). They have some great dinghy dock rules that separate the hard dinghys from the soft (inflatable) dinghys. Dinghy etiquette demands that you leave your engine down and tie with a long enough painter line that when other dinghys approach the dock for offloading persons and gear they can push your dinghy out of the way and contact the dock directly.
Once offloaded you simply tie your dinghy with a long line and push it back off the dock. I wish everyone knew to do this. I can’t tell you how many times I have landed in Block Island’s Boat Basin at the Oar restaurant and had to climb over many dinks that were “short tied”.

7 Dingy Dock
Dinghy Dock at Boot Key Harbor

Now it was off for a drive to Key West. Our drive down Rte. 1 was lined with colorful water and dark ominous clouds.

We saw many of these lizards that I’ll call it a Bearded Dragon.  Reptilian experts chime in please. 9 Bearded Dragon

We arrived at Key West for some shopping for the kids back home and a few drinks. We started our walk at the Harbor Walk end of Duval St.

10 Harbor Walk

10 Duval St

Walking Duval you see many great sights. 11 Parrot 1

11 Roosters 1

11 Sloppy's Joe's Bar

We stopped in Irish Kevin’s for a little music and an IPA. Check out their webcam

We also grabbed some food & drinks at Willie T’s which is an interesting bar as the walls are covered in money with written quirky sayings on them like “Show me your pinnapples”.


12 Willie Ts
Susan & I enjoying apps and drinks at Willie T’s

Lastly, it was time for some dinner & drinks at Lazy Days South.

13 Lazy Days South
Kelly & I enjoying happy hour at Lazy Days South bar
13 Cheers



Key Largo South

We awoke early in the AM and took one last look at downtown Miami before departing from our anchorage off Key Biscayne.

Downtown Miami 1

This fine yacht was next to us when we left.

Key Biscayne Hatteras

The Border and Customs Patrol boat passed us like a bullet.

3 Customs and Border Patrol

We passed through narrow cuts in the mangroves.

There were many hazzards to watch out for. This broken daymarker piling was snapped off at the waterline. Someone attached a green pole to make it a bit more visible. I can only imagine what it must be like to slam into one of these pilings so hard that you shear it off. Ouch!.

5 Piling Broken

The bigger challenge in the Keys is water depth. It’s so shallow that you have to vigilant about staying out of the ‘skinny’ or shallow water. At times we saw depths in the 5′ range just inches below our full keel.


I think a captain wiser than I would say… “Thou’s  Speed Over Ground shall not exceed a water’s depth”.

As we arrived into Key Largo we past the Anchorage Yacht Club to port

6 Anchorage Yacht Club Key Largo

and a bar to starboard.

7 Key Largo Bar

As we continued.. the water was an amazing shade of bright green.

Kelly enjoyed the breeze as the temp was somewhere in the 80s. Just a great day.

9 Kelly

We originally thought we’d stop and anchor somewhere mid Key Largo but we  instead did almost 10 hours South. The wind was blowing hard and we needed to find somewhere to anchor that would offer us some protection from the wind and waves. We picked a little shallow cove that we found a good spot to drop the hook. It was so shallow that as I backed down on the anchor @800 RPM and the sandy bottom was being kicked up by our thrust.

11 Set Anchor Shallow

Tonight as we await the moon’s rising we are making plans for Boot Key tomorrow.

Miami and Key Biscayne

We enjoyed Fort Lauderdale and especially having family come to visit.EdDoKellyMarty

We hit some of the local restaurants like…


One night while on anchor a fellow cruiser from another boat came to visit and him and I chatted about the Bahamas and where to go. At 80 years old he and his wife had crossed over to the Bahamas countless times and he was nice enough to give me a map of interesting places to visit. I enjoyed that time and had a great selfie of the two of us to post here but unfortunately, I locked myself out of my phone and had to wipe and restore it losing the pics 😦

Our anchorage in Lake Sylvia had some amazing homes to look out at.

Occasionally we would see a floating tiki bar go by…


Next we anchored in Maule Lake in North Miami Beach.

We were enjoying the 80 degree days and cool breeze at night. We took the dink out to find more fun restaurants like Duffy’s.


There was a great abandoned park where I was able to land the dinghy. Time to do some re-provisioning.


Dingy full of required stuff, it was time to get back to the mother ship.



We keep waking up every morning and deciding to stay a bit longer till we realized that we need to be halfway down the keys in a few days so it was time to weigh anchor and get underway. The trip down the ICW took us past Haulover Sandbar.

Haulover Sandbar is a popular party spot in Miami and with it being Spring Break down here it is sure to come alive. We’ll have to stop on our way back from the Keys.

Random Haulover Sandbar Youtube Video


Tonight, we anchored in Key Biscayne Bight just as the sun was setting


The full moon made for a great night sitting in the aft cockpit and enjoying a few drinks.



Boca to Fort Lauderdale

We had so much fun on Lake Boca Raton watching the “Boca Sunday Funday” that we decided to stay for 3 nights. Some weird Boca facts by (Disclaimer: I have no idea if they are true). Just a few listed below.

#11. Boca Raton is home to the Boca Bash, one day a year when party-goers wake up early, throw on their bathing suits, and grab whatever boat, float, or paddle board they have for an all-day, music-blaring, police-tolerated massive party on the Boca Inlet.

#12. Boca Raton is a homestead for the rich and famous. Just a couple of major names that have or had homes in Boca include John Henry, who owns the Red Sox, Donald Trump, Sheryl Sandberg, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Bon Jovi, Marilyn Manson, Maury Povich and Connie Chung.

#16. The IBM computer was invented, not in Silicon Valley, but in Boca Raton.

#20. The beloved novel and recent film adaptation “Marley and Me” takes place in Boca Raton.

#33. The highest point in all of Boca Raton is 24 feet above sea level, and it’s located in the guard shack at Camino Gardens

We arrived in Lake Boca Raton on Friday night and found the anchorage almost empty. early Saturday morning the boats started to parade in and anchor pretty much anywhere they could find space. Up North there would have been blood spilled if people anchored so close to you but alas the crowd here was very friendly and I did not see a single argument.

anchor Close
Peak out the side window to see how close boats anchor to each other

In Lake Boca we got to see the Fire & Rescue boat testing their pump.

Fire Dept1
I just washed the boat where did all this salt spray come from?

Lake Boca is the party spot on the weekends. We had lots of fun dinking around the anchorage and people watching.

At one point there was a guy flying around our boat in what I call an Iron Man suit but maybe you might call it a jet-pack or aqua-pack or fly board?


See videos here:

We were also surprised when the boat next to us starting playing “Here comes the bride”. We got to invited to a wedding!

But alas it was time to return to Simple Life and get a refill.


The next morning we were underway/making way South down the ICW. It was all beautiful homes, bridges.

The first boat named “Gallant Lady” is Jim Moran‘s. We stopped at Lighthouse Point Marina for some fuel, pumpout, water and ice and chatted for a bit. The dockhand mentioned that Jim had a boat in their marina and pointed to a $159M mansion just across the ICW which was Florida’s most expensive real estate.

Le Palais Royal mansion in Hillsboro Beach

We passed several watering holes but we wanted to arrive in Lake Silvia in Fort Lauderdale while there was still space to drop anchor.

We finally arrived at our anchorage in Lake Silvia in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s nice here I think we’ll stay a bit.


Boca Mocha

We left Palm Beach in the morning and continued South down the ICW. I had plotted a short leg and that turned out to be a good thing as we were getting a late start and would encounter many ‘restricted’ bascule bridges that only open at set times after the hour.


We past several bars that looked like fun places to tie up for a bit.


There was lots of traffic on the ICW and we watched many boats pass us.


We also saw many boats just tied up in front of amazing homes.


And I could have snapped 100 pictures of just amazing homes and beautiful architecture.

Then there was this.. Hey Mom & Dad can I have a water slide setup in the back yard for my 8th birthday?

Umm.. I think you slide is taller than your home.

The flag below @ half mast reminded Kelly & I that we are only 12 miles or so from the school shooting in Parkland, FL. When will this new form of violence cease? I believe that all human consciousness needs to communicate. We all need to look after each other to remain healthy. Example: when a child is bullied/alienated in school (or a coworker @work) that is the time that people need to reach out with kindness and listen. We are all connected via social media and it will either save us or tear us apart, be kind.

flag half mast 1
Flag @ half mast

As we sit in the aft cockpit and take in the day the sun is setting between two high-rise buildings.

sunset between
Sunset between the high-rise buildings

and we watched as the sun climbed high on the tall buildings before disappearing.

sunset highrise
Sun’s final disappearing act

Palm Beach Here We Are

Along the ICW:

The route leg from Jensen Beach to Palm Beach was beautiful but crowded with boat traffic. This section of the ICW is lined with expensive homes.

Some of the homes are situated on “fingers of land” that have these straight water fairways lined with docks.

Chart Plotter
Fingers of land, flat bottom surface and a close pass by the red daymarker
Water Fairways

The speed along the ICW changes back and forth between “Idle – No Wake” in manatee zones and “25MPH in Channel” zones where boats are allowed to produce more sizable wakes. With exception of only a few homes the standard solution for docks is to use boat lifts. Kelly & I wondered if M/V Simple Life is too large/heavy for a boat lift. I joked that anything it “technically possible” even if not the norm. As we travelled South we saw boats almost as heavy on lifts.

Boat Lifts:

Big Boat on lift

Viking model/size unknown

Stern Heavy
Hinkley – supported by stern only. I dare you to stand on the bow.

Then there are those folks who need a boat that is just a bit to big for a boat lift.

Who Cares
M/V Who Cares

We even saw Grand Celebration moored as we made our way around Peanut Island Park in Rivera Beach.

Celebration Cruise Ship
The Grand Celebration is a Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line cruise ship, originally built for Carnival Cruise Line
Stumpy mast
Not sure what you call this type of boat?

We saw many wave runners enjoying the great weather.


Wave runners
That’s some ‘bad hat’

Sandbar People:

These ‘Sandbar Girls” were having too much fun taking selfies on one of the many sandbars that line the ICW channel.

Sandbar Girls
Sandbar Girls

Maybe this crew should have paid more attention to the sandbars?

I love that while they are coming up with a plan the trolling motor is spinning away on the bow

We almost stopped early in the leg to anchor at Peck Lake but many of the anchorages were crowded along the way.

Peck Anchorage
Peck Lake anchorage just South of Port Lucie Inlet

As we approached Palm Beach where I planned to anchor I wondered if my preselected anchorage would be full like many we passed along the way.

Catana 431 with a hard catamaran dingy in North Palm Beach

Tight Anchorages:

My concerns we justified when we arrived and struggled to find a spot with enough swing room for us with the strong reversing currents. The captain on the catamaran made a face at me as I noisily lowered my 90# anchor and all chain rode. I don’t agree with making faces at people when you think they anchored too close to you. I have always thought … Everyone is free to anchor in a free anchorage. Fairness is whomever gets there last should pickup anchor and leave if swing room becomes an issue. Barring that some idiot has not let out twice the recommended scope to be “extra safe from dragging”.  While I have been known to let out more rode than needed in an empty anchorage, should it get crowded, I’ll be the first to shorten scope before dinghying over to that boat which anchored after me asking them to shorten scope or weigh anchor.


Once on anchored, we had great view of the high-rise buildings during the day

High Rise

as well as at night.

Hi Rise Night

The bridge was something to gaze at as well, being lit with glowing lights.

Bridge Night

Next stop Boca Raton